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

By Victoria As-it-Seams - 10:29

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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  1. This dress is a true winner, it looks gorgeous on both of you!

  2. Your matching dresses are so adorable - that fabric is to die for!! You did a fantastic job.
    perry94022 at hotmail dot com


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