lovely version of it. I still love the laendler dress (that scene is my favorite in the whole movie), but I'm waiting for the perfect bedsheet to recreate it. So that left the idea of curtain dresses as my inspiration.
I found the perfect pair of curtains at the thrift store -- light and gauzy, 100% cotton, and no imperfection or weird stains. There was a tear at the very top where one would string the curtain onto the curtain rod, but that didn't bother me since I wouldn't be using that part anyway.
The House of Flying Daggers. If you've seen the movie (which I actually wouldn't recommend, as it's so artsy that it loses its momentum, characters, and plot), you know there's a bunch of epic fighting in a bamboo forest...it's all warriors leaping out of nowhere, flying through the bamboo, throwing flying daggers. Well, it just so happens that I carved a linoleum block a month ago of a leaping cat. So it was only a matter of stewing a couple nights as I lay in bed (but not singing "Sixteen Going On Seventeen") to arrive at the idea of printing cat ninjas leaping around the bamboo on my dress.
|Cheerfulest ninjas ever.|
I'd been wanting to use Tanit-Isis' birthday dress pattern ever since I saw it a month or so ago, as I'm always on the lookout for free patterns. This seemed the perfect time to test it, since it looks as if it would work best with a lighter fabric. Also, it gave me the push I needed to try shirring, which I vowed to do as part of Check the Technique. I had heard that shirring is difficult on Brother machines, and indeed my first attempt was nearly disastrous (always practice on scrap fabric before the real thing!). The elastic was all loopy and didn't gather at all. Before I went so far as to adjust the tension on my bobbin case, I decided to try what one commenter suggested and just wind my thread tighter. Well, that worked beautifully and now I am over my fear of shirring! When I finished, I just sat and admired my lovely shirred lines.
|Okay, so they're not exactly parallel.|
The dress went together smoothly, and Tanit-Isis' directions were quite clear. However, I don't know what I was expecting, but I think in my head I thought that as soon as I put on the dress I would magically, mysteriously, suddenly look like her -- poised and gorgeous with awesome hair. Big surprise: I didn't. The dress had some weird bagging in the chest area; there was so much fabric hanging down that I looked like those grandmas whose breasts have lost all the collagen and are now sagging down to their waists. To fix this travesty, I ended up putting an extra two lines of shirring over the original ones, curving up in the underbust area to gather up some of the excess fabric.
While better, this fix still wasn't enough, so I also put in a very tight gather on each shoulder. This ended up being the trick to get it lying the way I wanted it to. Even though this detail makes it a little different from Tanit-Isis' original dress, I think I still achieved the overall look, and I confess that I kind of like these little "embellishments."
So with both The Sound of Music and The House of Flying Daggers as inspiration for this dress, it only follows that I portmanteau the titles to get...The Sound of Flying Daggers. Which sounds a lot fiercer than it actually is. Anyway, I figured that I might as well bring out my old wooden katana for the pictures.
|The kawaii ninja nekos belie the seriousness of my expression.|
|Back view. The V looks like it should be lower, but then I don't want it to slip off my shoulders, nor do I want to add a tie across the top.|
Fabric: Thrifted cotton curtains ($6)
Notions: Elastic thread (and fabric paint and a lino block? Do those even count as notions? Why are they even called notions anyway?!)
Hours: Four? But a lot of that was printing. And trying to figure out shirring.
Techniques used: Fabric printing, shirring
Will you make this again? Probably not, since I don't foresee needing two of this type of dress in my wardrobe.
Total cost: If I factor in the cost of the lino block and paint and elastic thread (the latter two were already in my stash), probably about $8.
Final thoughts: I can't complain about a free pattern, and I quite like how light and comfy this dress is. It's been a while since I made a non-form-fitting dress, and this is perfect for lounging in while I rewatch either movie. It's also loose enough to move freely should I need to fight, but not so drapy that it would get caught in something or hamper my movements.