Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On the hunt for a (not so) fancy frock pattern

I’ve been sewing for decades now. My earliest outfit recollection is the one I made for my favorite doll when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. (I should really include a picture of that outfit now, but that would require digging the doll out of the attic. Perhaps another time.) I continued sewing through high school, college and afterwards. I made my wedding dress. (Again, another picture opportunity here!) Then I switched over to quilting…hmmmm, I’d say I took that up in 1995 or 1996. (Yep. Another picture-insertion opportunity here!)

After the birth of my oldest son, my sewing projects become few and far between until they finally stopped, replaced by smaller “projects.” These included new recipes, crochet, needlepoint, cross-stitch---anything portable or that I could share with family and friends (like homemade marshmallows!)

So it’s been years since I’ve sewed on a regular basis and I’ve decided that it’s time for me to get that back into my life. First, I needed guaranteed child-free time. This was accomplished by attending Quilt Till You Wilt (at Tiny Stitches in Marietta) on a monthly basis. I pay $5, pack up my sewing machine and current project, and skedaddle to their studio for several hours. It so much easier to be productive when I can’t hear my kids calling, “Mooooommmmmmm!” all the day long.

During my first Quilt Till You Wilt session, I did actually work on a quilt. The last three times, however, I’ve been working on dresses. I really want a closet full of easy-to-wear dresses and that’s something I haven’t been able to find in the ready-to-wear market.

My criteria for these initial getting-back-to-sewing projects? Easy, no zippers or buttons, and semi-fitted waistline or none at all. With these requirements in mind, here’s the first dress that I made:

The pattern is Simplicity 2203. The fabric is 100% cotton from Joann Fabrics (and I’ve actually seen it at Wal-Mart, too). There are no zippers or buttons. (A top requirement right now as I ease myself into regular sewing projects.) It is an easy dress to make. Really.

And it has pockets! Quite cute pockets, actually. There’s a wee bit of elastic which gives them a scrunched up shape at their tops. A very nice detail. Granted, they were the most time-consuming part of the dress and at the time I was attaching them I announced that my next version of the dress would not include pockets. But time and distance are making me re-think that plan. I do believe the extra effort is worth it. Plus, I always like having somewhere to rest my hands.

The pattern instructions say to use binding as the neck tie, but I created a tie out of the same fabric as the dress. I thought the binding option made the dress look more homemade than necessary. Here’s the side-view. Notice the super long bow…I still need to shorten and finish off the tie.

Without a belt, the dress is an unflattering a-line on me. With a belt, the dress is semi-flattering. (I carry most of my weight in my middle. That combined with my relatively slim arms and legs result in unfitted dresses making me look pregnant.) It hung in my closet for days before I got around to trying it with a belt. I came very close to giving it away because I could tell the shape was not a good idea for moi. Now I’m glad I didn’t. And, yes, I shall make another one. Perhaps after I finish the next two dresses that I’ve got lined up.

No comments: