I Made A Dress!

>> Sunday, September 2, 2012

I'm no longer sure whether sewing garments or photographing garments which one has sewn is more difficult. Both are tricky. The instagram/mirror option above does the job, provided no one looks too closely at the state of my mirror. (It's hidden in the closet, who needs a sparkling clean mirror in their closet?)

I finished this Washi dress over 2 weeks ago and have worn it well, let's just say a lot, since then. But I didn't post about it because I needed more pictures, which required enlisting a friend to play fashion photographer. And fashion photography, it turns out, is hard. Hard for the photographer and hard for the model. You know how even catalog models look like they're just going about their day, looking at the pretty sunset or petting a nice horse (who does that wearing a nice dress? Catalog models, that's who) or laughing at what must have been a hilarious joke. That's not easy to replicate. I look absurd doing all of those things (especially petting a horse, since the horse was invisible ).

Now about this dress. First, it is awesome. And not just because I made it. I made a dress! (Got that?) It's awesome because it is super comfortable, can be worn with boots (even if it's 88 degrees during said photo shoot, the boots were key), and has pockets. Pockets. All dresses should have pockets.

Second, it's not all that hard to make. Let's be clear: I make quilts. Occasionally I make bags. I have never once sewn a garment. Wait, that's a lie. I once made a pair of "pants" for a Tempest-themed Halloween costume (I was Ariel, my friend was Caliban, we were nerds, it was great). But basically, I have never made a garment or at least one that needed to last more than one night and fit. Which this delightful dress does. I think it's an advanced-beginner or intermediate-sewer pattern, in that the sewing is not hard but requires being able to visualize how pieces fit together and know how to work with bias binding and the like. But a dedicated beginner could, I think, do it.

{The what-am-I-supposed-to-be-doing-again pose}

It's also an intermediate-esque pattern because it will fit best if you make a muslin and do a full or small-bust adjustment. I made the dress in class with Rae and Karen (best teachers ever), and all but one person needed to make some adjustments. I also added an inch below the bust to move the waist down a bit as I wanted the dress to be a more fitted (within the bounds of the pattern) to fit my figure. A few people asked if the dress will work for pear-shaped folks. My answer is yes. Depending on what measurements and ratios one follows or whether one simply looks at oneself as a line-drawing, I am either a pear-shape or an hourglass-shape, and the dress works for me. I sewed the side seams with a larger seam allowance to work toward a more contoured fit, which I think is more flattering on me, and I think I will make further adjustments to that end in the future, but it's an eminently adjustable pattern, from what my novice-pattern-making brain can understand.

{My second enlisted fashion photographer came up with the tree angle, but knows the red-car-in-background composition is not winning any prizes.}

Third, this pattern is adaptable. As soon as I finished Washi #1, I hightailed it over to Pink Castle Fabrics to buy more fabric for Washi #2, also known as Atomic Washi. I should note here that until I made these dresses, I owned all of two items made from prints. My print-clothing population has now doubled. Which is all to say, I didn't expect to buy this print but I love it, seriously. And each time I've worn this dress out, random people have stopped me to say they love it too. About the adaptability: the Atomic Washi has a round, rather than notched, neckline and is sleeveless. The second time around, I remember to reduce the length of the skirt since I had added an inch at the waist, thus making for a more normal hem.

I'm not sure what Washi #3 will look like, though I'm thinking some Chicopee leaves or paisley might work well. Maybe a contrasting facing or hem band? Options abound.


Esch House Quilts September 2, 2012 at 10:42 AM  

Your dresses look fantastic! How great that the pattern is so versatile.

FlourishingPalms September 2, 2012 at 7:30 PM  

Such a cute design. I really like it, especially the little scooped keyhole at the neckline. Your fabric choices are great. Think I could make the proper adjustments to my figure, without taking the class? Are suggestions for making it fit included in the pattern?

Amanda September 2, 2012 at 10:17 PM  

I agree; all dresses should have pockets! It's a really cute dress.

Karissa September 2, 2012 at 10:59 PM  

Cute and cute, lady! Great job on both! Each Washi I see makes me want this pattern more!

~Michelle~ September 3, 2012 at 4:35 PM  

Wow, 2 versions! I'll probably break down at some point and try it - but first on the agenda is a Halloween dress for the little missy! Also, perhaps I should try one of the commercial patterns I already own, lol! Oh, and I would not have guessed the scale of that Atomic print - it works perfectly for a dress!

felicity September 4, 2012 at 12:53 AM  

You and the dresses are adorable! That pattern would not work well with my significant bazooms, but all this garment sewing I'm seeing around is inspiring me....

Rae September 5, 2012 at 9:29 PM  

ooh YAY! I LOVE Atomic Washi!

Nicely done Ronit. This rocks!!!


Lynn September 8, 2012 at 9:30 PM  

They look great! I know what you mean about the fashion photography... I recently found myself trying to laugh for the camera on a tripod... yeah, the things we do...

Also, I bought the atomic fabric for a Washi but it ended up in a quilt! I hope to show it soon. The top is almost together. Such great fabric.

Carla September 10, 2012 at 4:47 PM  

You and the dress are adorable. I may have to think about sewing one for my daughter and maybe even me. I was having my mother take a picture so I could post a picture of my new hair cut and color. I find it hard to find a pose too. She caught one of me being really goofy. Not sure yet if I'll post it on my blog post later this week. I look a little crazy. Never did get a desired shot. Oh well.

Thanks for sharing and you did just fine. I like the one of you on the steps the best. ;o)

Kelli September 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM  

Love it! Posing for pics is hard isn't it? I hate it when I have to pose. Quilts and children models are much easier. ;)
The dresses looks great!

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