Friday, August 29, 2014

Chevron Lotus Dress

It has been a few weeks since I have been able to add a post! As an ode to the end of summer I thought I would post this lovely chevron lotus dress that I made about a year ago. It was one of my first pieces and it is far from perfect. It is always nice to see how much you progress when you keep at something.

This dress is from a vintage Butterick pattern, number 5657. The original pattern calls for a midi-length skirt but Kentucky summers are just too blazing hot for that nonsense. The pattern is backless, with a button-up skirt through the back. The pattern is so fun and I am thinking about using it for another dress down the road.

I will make one caveat when it comes to this pattern. See that billowing of the bodice in the back? It is LOOSE. I tried a variety of things to tighten it up but what it really needs is a tie to keep it from falling off my shoulders. The dress goes from cute to risqué in a quarter of a second. My husband's cousin gave me a hug at a family function a month ago and the top button on the back came open and the top fell off one of my shoulders. Whoops.

The pattern originally called for a plain front bodice, but to make it a little more interesting I created a chevron-patterned front panel to add visual interest. It is so not perfect but I love how it takes the dress up a notch.

Holy mackerel, this fabric is so wonderful. It is over 50 years old, a heavy polyester blend with tiny pink lotus flowers. It feels feminine and whimsical, like you should be drinking lemonade and eating lavender cakes at a garden party. And that lovely buttoning up the back makes the dress fun and girly.

While I feel like this dress is a song to end of the summer, here in KY the temperature is hanging around the 90s and the humidity makes you feel like you've taken a steam bath when you walk out doors. I am ready to say hasta la vista August, its time for fall.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

DIY Tie-Front Dress

The concept for this dress has been gestating in my mind for weeks. I have spent the summer obsessed with open front dresses, dresses with cutouts, and '50s style beach babe cover-ups. When I stumbled upon some sweet candy-cane striped fabric at Joanns, my decision was made. Think modern married to retro chic.

The dress is actually a Frankenstein-like mixture of patterns. I modified a darted bodice to include the triangular cutout and ties, then I used the front pocketed skirt pattern from another. Being without a dress mannequin, I have to use my own figure to make the perfect fit. This means pulling on and off the dress about a 1,000 times, taking it in quite a bit here and a little there before the fit is perfect. One of the challenges with this dress was keeping the waist band tight enough so that it didn't gape when I stood still. Too tight and I couldn't sit down comfortably in it, but too loose and you could look down the skirt front. After much trial and error, I finally got it right.

This dress just announces summer fun. It is so light and airy with classic lines and baring just enough skin. Once complete, I tossed this sucker on and spent the rest of the day frolicking in the sunshine.


Dress: self-made, necklace: thrifted, purse: vintage Coach

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Jungle Fever

Leopard print. The print of teenage girls, chicks from the club scene, tacky housewives, and hookers. So, when did it become okay for the rest of us to wear them?

I think wearing animal prints with class requires a little finesse. They need to be a small print, kind of like an afterthought, an innocent "Oh, this is leopard print?" that you utter when someone comments on it.

I found this fabric at Hancock fabrics for sale for like $2 a yard. It is a polyester mix with a light sheen and pretty, loose drape. At first I was going to make a dress. But as I seem to have more dresses than there are days in the year, I felt it was time to try something new.

This leopard print midi skirt took all of 2 hours to make. It is 4 pieces: the front and back of the skirt body, the ruffle, and the elastic waist band. It is comfy and floaty, a bohemian skirt style with the flirtiness of leopard print. I'll admit I have already worn it like five times since I made it; it is just so easy to throw on with a tank top and jacket. It is also super light, making it doable for the steamy Kentucky summers. 

I also paired this skirt with an old thrift store hack I dallied with a few months ago. This vest was originally a hideous suede jacket that I ripped apart and recreated. Taking something that is like $3 and making it beautiful and wearable is as addictive as whiskey sours. 

P.S. As it is the beginning of August, I am already excited for fall weather. Oh! Jackets, scarves, ripped up jeans and boots. This fall I am going to take my first attempt at sewing a few coats for myself and the hubby. Will keep you guys posted :)


Skirt: self-made, sandals: Target, tank top: H&M, necklace: Urban Outfitters