Take One Dress 12: As it Seams; a dress for winter

Monday, 19 January 2015

Can I say how much I love this dress?
I LOVE this dress...

When I look at it I can see the tonnes of love, thought and planning, and the year-long series that were all part of the journey to complete this dress.
This is the finale dress in the Take One Dress 2014 series I hosted  last year. There's a full round-up and details here.
In the last Take One Dress post, by Olga at Kid Approved, see here, she set me the challenge of sewing something inspired by this dress. 

My sewing brain headed off in a million directions!
A coat! A matching dress! Some winter shorts! Accessories! The lot. But as usual, I'm big on ideas and short on time.
It was the idea of a winter landscape, that floating figure, and a border print that I loved most, and which formed the basis for my creation. I also decided to sew a dress pattern I've had my eye on for a while, the Franklin dress by Brooklyn Pattern Company- which gently references the 'inspiration' dress with its three-button yoke.

My next idea was to somehow create my own 'border print' with a bit of applique and colour blocking. 
The dress is made in a peacock blue brushed cotton flannel, that is soft, fluffy and fabulous. The fabric is from my local store Herringbone in Nailsworth, which is a treasure trove.  This is perfect winter dress fabric, cosy and the colour is so  intense, it sings. 
The panel is grey linen mix. For the applique I needed something more stable than the flannel, which has a bit of stretch and is bulky.

Now this panel was A LOT trickier than it looks, I drew lots of skyline templates, and decided simplest was best, and then wrestled with drawings of winter trees. How to get fine delicate branches, with my grey linen? I absolutely DID NOT want lots of Christmas trees - just this one. And these winter trees, front and back, were the best I could do. I stopped thinking, started cutting and it kind of worked.

The trees are faced with iron-on interfacing with exposed raw edge,  but the panel as a whole is seamed on to the skirt as I wanted a 'cleaner' line across the skirt. That meant a lot of fabric manipulation, which is hard to explain. (I had to pull the house and tree through a gap in the seam, and iron in place). It was no easy feat. Simply getting that little yellow window in place as the one splash of colour, before I applied the whole piece, was tricky.

The grey panel also forms a hem facing - sadly I forgot to take a pic, (and yes I know, there are tonnes of other pictures. Did I mention I love this dress?..). This means I can let the hem down a bit, which I probably will do, it's a little short. That's my fault, I cut it short, thinking I might sew a 'tunic' but then changed my mind.


 I've been thinking a lot about why I love this dress.

  1. The colour! I am seduced by colour, whenever I try to go 'neutral' it doesn't work. This is a real peacock teal blue. It looks great on Missy.
  2. It  appeals to my unashamed nostalgia... 
  3. ...and a love of Nordic art and style. My very first post on this blog was about Carl Larsson, secretly I want Missy to look like she's just stepped out of a Swedish wooden cottage. Or perhaps stomping through the woods, on a magical adventure that might include a Gruffalo.

A Gruffalo? Oh look.... guess what happened when wearing this dress...(keep going.. to find out)

This dress had a special outing recently, when our small town was lucky enough to have a visit from  children's book superstar, Julia Donaldson, author of the Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Snail and the Whale and so much more.
She gave a lovely story-telling session that captivated the children.
And Missy, gamely got on stage to be a 'sheep'. Here she is, on stage with Julia and other 'volunteers' from the audience.

Missy had one line; "Baaa"... It got to her turn, Julia pointed at her to 'bleat', Missy drew breath, paused to remember what her line was, and made everyone giggle when with all her gusto she burst out; "Neigh!"

So there we have it - the end of the Take One Dress 2014 journey. Thank you so much everyone who took part, and thank you Olga for pushing me to think and create!

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Take One Dress 2014 - 12 stunning creations

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Well, look at this beautiful gallery of creativity!
These are the Take One Dress 2014 creations, and it amazes me that so many beautiful things have been show-cased  on my little blog.
In case you've missed it, Take One Dress was the series running on As it Seams, where each month a different blogger sewed something based on an 'inspiration' dress posted by the previous month's guest.

It's been a lot of fun!

I've made two galleries, for the first and second half of 2014. 

First row

December 2013 The first inspiration, a vintage red dress which inspired me to sew this  Christmas dress for Missy and  pass on the same inspiration to...
January   ...Natalie, Nat and the Gang, who sewed this cute peacock blue Mara blouse, and passed on the inspiration with a dress from her own childhood to...

Second Row

February... Marta, Do Guincho, created a unique lace-zip dress, and then selected an iconic MadMen poster of Miss Holloway for...
March ....Jenya,  While She Was Sleeping, sewed these pinsharp pleats and cute collar, and picked a nautical number to pass to...

Third Row

April ...Suz, Sewpony, who created the most adorable bow-collar dress and picked this floral shift to pass to...
May...Trine, Groovy Baby and Mama who sewed simple, stylish florals and selected this contrast striped dress for...

First Row

June Heidi, Elegance and Elephants, who focused on the stripes for a wearable little dress, and picked a silvery party dress to pass to...
July, Sophie, Ma Vie en Scrap, who created an impeccable Hanami complete with bow and chose a graphic dress for...

 Second Row

August Renee, Nearest the Pin, who combined black and Nani Iro double gauze  and picked a delicate lavender dress for...
September, Tasha, Glitter +Wit, who combined a gold hat with a colour contrast collar and selected her own creation to pass to...

Third Row 

October, Laura, Behind the Hedgerow, who sewed a dress that was guaranteed to create smiles, and chose big bold prints for....
November, Olga, Kid Approved, who sewed the most beautiful big bold print there is for this dress and ...picked a stunning shirt collar dress for....

December, As it Seams.. Me!

So where is my 'Take One Dress' Creation?

Yes, I know it's now 2015, but this being my series I've cut myself a little slack. But it's coming very, very soon. This week in fact!
Wanna see?
Here's a sneaky preview..

Honestly I am slightly in love with which dress Olga inspired me to make. Can't wait to reveal all, and would love to know what you think of this series.

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And the winner of "Best Dress 2014" is.....

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

So I was going to do a 'round-up' of 2014, but this week I'm off work at home with the children and the time is too precious to spend sitting fiddling with photos in front of the computer. Except I couldn't resist these two, because they remind me of summer days, and nights.

Instead I thought I'd pick my favourite from the year. And it turns out to be not one, but two dresses. Both have been absolute Sewing Hits. When either Missy or I wear our versions, random strangers stop me in the street to ask where they're from. I have never, ever felt so smug saying "I made it!" And Missy's has been a cross-season, wearable dress over T-shirts, and to party's or the park. Mine, on the other hand, is a bit of a 'statement'.

I sewed these two for a lovely series, You and Me hosted by  Jenya at While She Was Sleeping, and coincidentally, I don't think I've blogged about them over here yet. So I'm reproducing the un-edited post from the summer.

Hi, I'm Victoria, and I think perhaps I'm slightly insane...

This has to be one of the most bonkers sewing projects I've undertaken in a while, but forgive me, I just couldn't help it.

Yep, For Jenya's series,I've gone matchy matchy...and I'm really hoping that this is on the right side of the fine line that is 'wearable'.
When Jenya contacted me to take part in her You and Me series, I knew immediately what I would sew. I already had this  project in the pipeline.
Missy is such a funny companion. She’s full of personality, (almost) always happy, and is not very ‘girly’. She never asks for pink and would rather be a pirate than a princess.
Me on the other hand....
I live in dresses. Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I try and count the dresses  hanging in my wardrobe, (or tucked away under my bed...or in the attic cupboard...or...then I fall asleep.)
I wear dresses to work, to the park, gardening, walking in the woods  near our house.
Also Missy and I (and my son and Mr As it Seams) spend our summers outdoors, camping and being sociable. Mr As it Seams is a musician and we’re often at summer music festivals - where I love to dress up a bit.

And I’ve been thinking about my sewing addiction. It isn’t really about making clothes for Missy. What I really love is transforming wonderful fabric.
So how about if I used some of the fabric I love for me, as well as Missy?
Could I , almost four decades older than my little girl, wear some  Michael Miller print too?
When my brother flew back from New York he brought me an extra couple of yards of this Park Landscape print.. (Oh how jealous I am of my American friends where fabrics are half the price).
It looks so like the English gardens and countryside where I live.
I make no claims of originality with Missy’s dress. This is purely and simply copied from Straight Grain’s birthday Hanami  dress. I’ve done this pattern soooo many times, it was an easy sew. The only modification was some purple piping at the waist.

In contrast to Missy’s dress, mine was a massive headache...with Challenge # 1 - The Fit.

I haven’t sewn for myself since I was a teenager. Doing this I remembered why.
I  started modifying this ancient McCalls pattern. Big mistake.

I wanted to keep seaming on the bodice to a minimum to avoid messing with the print. But I also wanted a flared skirt. So I added a half circle skirt to this straight up and down shift pattern. I wish my Maths teachers could see their geometry  in action! I ignored the pattern instructions and sewed an invisible zip, Hanami style.

I also created a v-back neckline - in hindsight I wish I’d  cut this lower.
But I’m pleased with the invisible zip - especially Missy’s. Look the pattern matches across her back!
The fit on my dress was a nightmare - way too big.  I started fiddling with darts and lifted the shoulder seams. I forgot that this would make the arm holes smaller, and the result it puffed sleeves, which I didn’t intend!
After this post is published, I’m going to set to work with my seamripper on those sleeves.

Then there was Challenge # 2 - The Photo Shoot.
For this I had to rely on Mr As it Seams...And find a gap in our summer/camping/working schedule. And face his lack of camera skills and enthusiasm. 
Originally, I wanted to take pictures in a suitable setting, a park or meadow. Not Possible, for all the reasons above. And I suspect these dresses would 'disappear' in the English landscapes.
So it’s back to the old garage door. And when I edited the photos, there were none of Missy looking her  best AND me looking half decent. I decided to go with the ones I like of me - there are more than enough in the blogosphere of Missy already.
What do you think? Do I look like I’m wearing a curtain? Or is this the right side of funky!? I don't think we'll wear them together often, but Missy of course LOVED it. 
Her verdict...
“Mummy I can be Little Princess and you can be Big Princess!”
And for that alone, the seamripping was worth it.

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