I love sunshine. And I love HOT sunshine. We’re had a few nice days here and there, but it’s starting to taste like summer now. The air feels different, I’m eating more fruit and salads. Somehow life just tastes like summer. Time to bring out the summer dresses and skirts, shorts and blouses. Except … harumph … after a winter of stroopwafels and Gouda, none of those lovely items quite fit right.
See that’s what I love about making my own clothes, making things that suit me and fit my body. ‘Just the way it is’ as Mr Darcy would say. So when it looked set to be a scorcher for most of the week, on Sunday evening I rifled through my shelf of patterns and pilfered my fabric collection. It was time to make a new summer wardrobe (I don’t like to do things half-assed).
First up: something lightweight and fun, bright and playful. There nestled amongst some pretty random fabric is just the right thing. See I might buy fabric with a specific pattern in mind. Or the print might inspire me to search for the perfect pattern. Or sometimes I have no idea what to make but I get it anyway cause I love it. This particular fabric I bought a few years ago with the intention of making a long, modest blouse that would withstand the heat as I was going to Yemen for work. Neither the blouse nor the job panned out.
I’m afraid I cant remember the exact type of fabric it is, some cotton blend for sure. With a slight wrinkled(?) texture – I don’t know how to describe, hopefully the picture gives you the idea.
Anyway I decided to go with a Vogue Easy Options dress (V8184) which I’ve made a few times in the past. The bodice has princess seams which I find quite flattering and as indicated, its super easy (no sarcasm intended – in my experience just cause some twit designer decided it was easy doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be able to figure out what the hell the instructions mean). For the last few years, I’ve been loving the straight skirt dresses (in London cycling on a road bike I tended to just get changed when I got to my destination – I suppose that’s in part why I am predisposed to fabrics that don’t wrinkle). But here in Amsterdam where cycling is a more relaxed affair than catching the Tube, cycling my lovely little Oma Fiets in straight skirts have proved challenging, and theres the stroopwafel/Gouda issue. So I went with option B and the slightly flare skirt.
It’s a super easy pattern to throw together, although I take issue with the placement of the shoulder straps , but I’ll come back to that. Seeing as I only bought enough fabric for a blouse and here I was making a dress, out of plaids no less that of course need to match up, i had a wee bit of difficulty actually getting a dress out of the amount of fabric on hand, so I sacrificed my modesty and decided to go short. But then you see calamity struck as I was ironing one of the bodices, front princess seams. Sniff … sniff… what’s that smell? oh yes, the smell of fabric melting. Now I was planning on lining the bodice (I don’t always), but it was going to be lined with a lovely soft creme tana fabric and see the delicate location of the now gaping hole was right about where … err …a nipple would be. You see the problem.
My mind went running, much like I imagine a dog after the smell of a rabbit: I bought the fabric in the UK. I now live in the Netherlands. I bought the fabric a few years ago. I only bought enough for a blouse and I’ve made a dress, and a short one at that. I had the match the plaid. There were only random scraps left. There WERE SCRAPS left. Where are the scraps? There are the scraps. Ahhh match the scarps’ plaid – is it possible. Dear goddess it is. I’m saved.
Now to really get the full effect you need to read that like you’re fast forwarding a movies, see that all happened in less than a minute. Then I had a cup of tea.
The dress turned out pretty darn good, but as I said I am not pleased with the straps, see I think they’re a bit widely placed which results in them feeling loose and threatening to fall off. unfortunately in the back the straps are sewn between the bodice fabric and the lining – changing their position would require me to unpick a lot. I tried changing the position on the front, shortening them etc. I either ended up looking like I was wearing a child’s apron or cutting of the circulation in my armpits. So I’ve decided along with the short hemline, to go for the sultry occasionally bare shoulder look.
I’ll post some pictures soon!
I loved the carefree feel to it so much that I decided to make another one out of some lush linen/cotton blend with a tropical print I picked up with my best friend on my last visit to Brighton at Ditto (one of my favourite fabric shops in the UK).
What are your favourite summer patterns?