Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blackcurrant Pastille "Dress"

When I was in elementary school, I used to hate Christmas and the end of school, but not because I was some stick-in-the-mud who hated fun. I used to be painfully shy and the twice-yearly recitals that our piano teacher required us to perform in were like torture for me. Put on pantyhose and then sit in a cold brick room, while your fingers get stiffer and stiffer, waiting for my turn to be the center of attention? No, thank you very much, you can have it back. The one bright note (no pun intended) in these recitals was they were the only time my mom would ever let me have the best candy in the world: blackcurrant pastilles, aka Frutips. Seriously, these are the best things ever. Sweet, complex, blackcurrant chewy goodness, sugar-coated for a pleasing crunchy textural contrast...mmmmm. Anyway. She would secretly pass them to my brother and I as the recital went on, keeping us mollified and enabling us to perform in a sugar-trance.

Close-up of the fabric.
Last week, when I was cleaning up in preparation for my in-laws' visit, I realized just how much random fabric I have stashed away. The problem with storing all my fabric under the bed in large plastic bags is I forget what I have. Well, I found these two knits that just went so well together, but I was thinking that I should make more I decided that I would go ahead and make a separate top and skirt, but wear them together as a "dress." The white knit of the top has a beautiful texture that totally reminds me of the sugar coat on the pastilles, and the rich purple of the chiffon knit is like the blackcurrant underneath. And, of course, this outfit would be perfectly appropriate for a piano recital (minus the lack of pantyhose).
With such disproportionately small hands, it's a wonder I can even reach an octave.

To make the top, I sketched out a t-shirt shape, then thought that I should make it a bit more finished than I usually make knit tops. Rather than leaving the edges raw, I drew and cut a yoke. I've never done one before, but I think it turned out okay...just don't look too closely at my wonky topstitching! Thankfully, the knit's texture is pretty forgiving. The skirt is just a rectangle folded in half and gathered to a black elastic waistband. Although I've gotten better with sewing on elastic, I still find it exceedingly tricky to keep a straight line. Good thing it's hidden by a belt :\

Unfortunately, it was pretty overcast today, hence the especially bad pictures.
Fabric: 7/8 yard of poly-cotton knit on top, 1.5 yard unknown fiber content chiffon knit on bottom
Cost: ~$5 for both pieces together
Time: One afternoon!
Things I would've done differently: Drafted looser sleeves and a tighter curve on the top. Used more fabric for the skirt. Unfortunately, it was a remnant from a store in Tucson, so I couldn't go out and get more. 
Things I've learned: I don't like yokes.Trying to attach two oppositely curved pieces together seems like an unnecessary pain. Maybe I'll be scared enough to go give facings another try.
Things I already knew: I suck at sewing straight while trying to keep elastic stretched. Also, I am in love with my black belts that go with everything.


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