Sunday, July 20, 2014

An Oonapalooza Maxi Dress!

Not sure if it's just this time of the year, or if it's just me, but is anyone else having the feeling that time is flying like the wind...? I must be getting old. ;) Or maybe it's the weather. We've been having the most glorious summer weather since my birthday two weeks ago, which makes me silently long for times when summer still consisted of six to ten weeks of glorious holidays.

Anyway. Last weekend (um, wait - is it really just a week ago?!) I finally finished my birthday dress. And it's OONALICIOUS!
I found this fabric a few months ago at idee. It's an Italian cotton print. I've never worn a maxi dress in my life, but I fell in love with this fabric the instant I saw it, and it screamed maxi!

And I love it.

I always though that, since I'm not very tall and not very skinny, I'd look silly and stumpy in a maxi dress. Well, guess what. I don't think I do. Actually, if anything, I kind of feel taller wearing it. Which may be because of the wedge heels. Then again, it might just be that maxi dresses are all kinds of awesome. ;)

The bodice is the Tiki Dress bodice from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing, minus the bias band and shortened by about 5cm (because I have a short waist). I omitted the back zipper and just cut the entire back out of one piece, adding width to the back bodice for shirring and lengthening it into a maxi skirt. Then I used that template to make the front part of the skirt, using four box pleats to distribute the extra width.
The bodice front is lined with netting to enclose the seams and get a nicer finish. The straps cross over in the back. The front gathering is done by hand, which makes the gathers very even and it only takes a few minutes! This may be one of my new favorite techniques!
Shirring the back took pretty much forever. It's not one of my favorite techniques to sew. And even though I took care to backstitch at the front and back of every row, a few backstiches were too short and the elastic got loose. Hmpf. Note to myself: do longer backstitches, esp. at the end.

On the other hand, it makes fitting and wearing the dress so easy! So maybe I like shirring after all...

So, on to:

The Facts: 
Pattern: Tiki Dress bodice from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing, size 8 at the bust grading to size 10 at the waist. Self-drafted maxi skirt with slits up to the knee.
Fabric: 2m of Italian cotton print from idee, 14€/m on sale (yes!) and about 0.5m of elastic net lining from
Notions: Elastic thread
Time to complete: A couple of hours for tracing and cutting, maybe three or four hours sewing, most of which consisted of shirring the back.
Techniques used: Shirring in the back, hand-gathering the front bodice, the seams are first stitched on my regular machine and then overlocked. The straps are made like bias tape (but on the straight grain) by folding the edges to the middle and then folding along the middle and edge-stitching.
Alterations: Graded the bodice between size 8 and 10, shortened by about 5cm, added 5cm to each side of the back bodice for shirring (as instructed in the Tiki Dress variation).
First worn: Going shopping with my mom.

It's second outing was worthy of Oona herself, though: a glorious birthday bash at a 1920s cocktail bar, slurping Old Cubans and Dark'n'Stormys (my fav summer drinks!) while lounging in leather chairs.

So, what do you think about maxi dresses? And what's your favorite cocktail? :)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Musings

Occasionally, I'm very amused about myself. I tend to be either very busy or very lazy, but since I've started working, I have the feeling that I've been a lot more lazy during my free time, spending hours just reading various trashy books. It may have to do with the fact that I spend an hour or two every day uselessly sitting around at my job, because I have more hours than actual work to do, which is pretty frustrating to me. I know there are people who like having that extra time, but it makes me crazy, even though I like the rest of my job and the people I work with very much. 

Anyway, being in this lazy state of mind, I've been dithering a lot about my sewing projects, even though I currently have at least an hour or two of potential sewing time every day! Dithering about my Thurlow linen trousers and having to fit them (I might try starting by cutting them out...). Dithering about sundresses and which pattern to use and the potential hazard of fitting a strapless dress. I may have too many patterns, since I have been unable to decide between trying to make a strapless Cambie, Simplicity 4070, the Tiki Dress from Gertie's book and New Look 6457. 
While I have silently challenged myself to use more of my untried patterns this year, I'm tempted to just cut the chase and use the Macaron bodice without the yoke, because the pattern is already cut out and fits, and it would be fun to have another Macaron. On the other hand: I really do want to make up some more of these untried patterns of mine!

And with a well-fitting sundress bodice, I think there are at least 10 potential dresses and babydoll tunics I could (and would like to) make from my stash!

And to illustrate my obvious laziness: the text above is actually from June 12. Yes, more than three weeks ago. Since the weather in between has been really ambivalent, no sundresses have materialized in the meantime, either, even though I actually meant to make a new dress for my birthday (which is tomorrow, so that probably won't work ;) ).
I finally traced and cut out the Tiki Dress pattern a couple of nights ago, though!

I also managed to finish reading all the new blog posts in my reader sometime last week. The unread posts have been hovering between 250 and 400 since possibly Christmas. It's nice being almost up-to-date on the stuff that's going on, instead of reading about it, like, three or four weeks later. ;)

And my unblogged garments have gone up to eight now. Two Lolas, two Moss Mini skirts, two t-shirts for work, two little black dresses. It's a lot of fun to make things in pairs! (The last one is cheated, though, since it's two different patterns and the one has polka-dots...)

Hope you're having a lovely week-end!