Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So Easy You Can Do It Too: The Minimalist Dress Panel

I took 20 photos, and this headless shot turned out the best. But this sleeveless, shirred bodice dress, along with its burgundy twin, has become my spring/summer staple. It's amusing, to me at least, how these two dresses which I made last year, spent the better part of the fall and winter slumped over a wicker folding screen. I didn't even bother to hang them, which says oodles about how I actually felt about the dresses. Don't you find that the tops, pants, etc. that you are so proud of sewing or knitting get the scooped off the floor pronto? I mean, they rest there for maybe a nano-second, and then Bam! they're back on a shelf more neatly folded than a chemise at Victoria's Secret? I know that's the case for me. I think my sub-conscious mind sees that all the labor, cost of supplies, adds it up and tells the conscious part: "No way, Jose, is that top I spent half the day Sunday sewing going to get dirty....Wait, this is so pretty. I love how nice and neat the twin-needle stitching is on the neckline. Gosh, that looks so good." I admire my work, smile, fold, stick item on top of other sewn goodies I love to wear, trip over dirty ankle socks on the way out of the bedroom, still more pleased than Wasabi nuts (I'd say peas, but that's so cliche).

Maybe I don't hang these dresses because they're strapless. I need to store them like they're skirts (which they can be if I so desire.) But I'm a procrastinator...so back on top of the screen they go when I'm finished wearing them for the day.

Anyhow, if you're so inclined to wear dresses like this now, you're in luck in more ways than one. I see similar ones on the rack at Marshall's. If you want to sew, here are a couple of supremely sewable dress panels: a baby blue version and a pink one. You could finish these off in an hour or so on a sewing machine. Here's what I did to mine:

1. Flip over bodiced edge. Stitched down.
2. Use over-cast stitch on a Viking Husquarna (not sure if it's mine or the one at Vogue Fabrics' classroom in Evanston). to enclose back seam.
3. Attach rolled-hem foot to sew and prettify the hem. If you don't have a rolled hem foot, you could simply stitch on matching lace for a different look.

Wear. Again and again. They travel well - any wrinkles incurred while smooshed inside look like they're supposed to be there. With the right shoes, this is so stylish. Here I am wearing same dress last year. What super-easy one afternoon dresses are on your sewing agenda now?

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