Monday, June 25, 2012

My Magenta Mucha Maxi


First off, apologies: for the cheesy alliteration, for the over one-week break from posting anything sewing-related, and for tacking the incomparable Alphonse Mucha's name to this very modern dress whose only nod to Art Nouveau is the lily motif.

The wind whipping my hair around into vaguely Art Nouveau-esque curling tendrils?

Okay, now that the disclaimers are all done with, let's talk about this dress! I've sort of fallen off the wagon when it comes to Sew Weekly challenges, not being particularly enthused about mixing patterns, the 1940s, or Vegas. I did want to do something for the Jubilee or TV (have you seen Devra's awesome homage to Inara of Firefly?), but moving got in the way. I might go back and revisit those someday, but in the meantime, have my take on last week's holiday-themed challenge! I'm pretty sure that maxi dresses are the epitome of being on vacation, and the simple lines of this type of dress were perfect for such a large-scale floral print. I found this gloriously magenta-colored knit at the FIDM scholarship store while out with Oonaballoona (where apparently, I got away with the fabric equivalent of highway murder), and it's the first of that day's haul to be sewn up.

Wait, is that the bridge in the background?

Why, yes, it's actually clear enough to see the bridge!

I fell in love with the fabric's large white Art Nouveau-esque lilies and the stability and thickness of the knit (none of that thin, butterfly-fluttery slippery thin tissue that passes as jersey, unlike my coral-striped dress!). Upon closer inspection, I discovered that this fabric is actually white knit that's been printed with magenta all over. Whatever paint/dye they used for the magenta is slightly crunchy-feeling, and when you stretch it too much you can see the white underneath where the dye didn't reach. Ah well, what can you say when it's $2/yd?

Back view, with only a tiny bit of wrinkling around my swayback.

I wanted a one-shoulder maxi dress just to keep it from being totally boring (two straps would've essentially made this just a very long tank top!), and I was lucky enough to happen upon Dixie DIY's free one-shoulder maxi pattern. I kept her pattern's lines for the top, but instead of a waist seam I just extended the lines down and out to make an A-line-ish skirt. I also omitted a lining and instead just folded the top over to encase my elastic. Because my fabric is fairly stable, the cut of the dress is so tight, and I have a tiny apple dumpling shop, that little line of elastic is enough to hold the dress up...I was worried that I would have to put in a spaghetti strap, but it held up just fine on our half-mile (uphill) walk to the reservoir for pictures.

You can see all of the Outer Sunset down to the ocean!

Speaking of the reservoir, can you believe how gorgeous it's been in the city lately? Normally, this backdrop would just be dark gray, and I would've been freezing to death, but instead I was perfectly fine without my cardigan and you can see the Marin headlands, the bridge, and the sun reflecting off the ocean. When my city tries, it certainly cleans up nicely, doesn't it?

You can see here that the flare starts much lower than my torso.
Summary:
Fabric: 2 yards of magenta-paint-on-white-knit fabric, unknown fiber content.
Notions: a strip of 0.25" elastic for the top
Techniques used: I used this same neckline finishing tutorial to finish the one armscye; it looks lovely.
Hours: I had to do some minor fitting to the torso area to get it to hug my body properly, but otherwise this was a ridiculously easy garment, clocking in at about three hours, including cutting. I also didn't bother hemming or finishing the seams inside, if you must know.
Will you make this again? Probably not, since I don't need anymore one-shoulder dresses.
Total cost: $4.50, including the elastic.
Final thoughts: My husband thought I looked hot, and a random lady walking her dog stopped me to say that my dress was beautiful, and the stretchy fabric means it's super comfortable, so I'm pretty sure this dress gets top marks. I was a little worried about how clingy it is, but I think as long as I suck in my tummy a bit and keep hiking up SF's notorious hills, I think I'll be okay. I was also concerned about my swayback and pooling fabric in the back, but I'm not sure how to adjust a waist-seamless pattern to fix that. I ended up just tugging it down a bit more so as to avoid this look, and that seems to have worked. If I were to make this style of dress again, I think I would make the flare of the skirt start at the torso instead of the hips, since the mermaid dress look, while appropriate for my wedding dress, feels like a bit much for what is supposed to be a casual dress.

Casual enough to squat down at look at the assortment of plants at the reservoir.

I feel a little sheepish about sewing up so many brainless garments lately, but I tell myself that it's because I'm gearing up to sew another 1912 project garment -- this time a whole dress! -- again, without directions. I need to ration my brain power...yes, that's it.

62 comments:

  1. Phenomenal! Very stunning. Love the mega-scale print.

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    1. Thank you! Mega-scale prints aren't usually my thing, but for this I made an exception :)

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  2. Beautiful! It totally looks art-nouveauy to me. And thanks for the link to the Inara-inspired dress - not only did I get to indulge in Firefly reminiscing, but you introduced me to a new blog, yay!

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    1. Oh, Devra's blog regularly makes me wonder if she lives inside my mind...and yay for Firefly reminiscences!

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  3. what a stunning and statement dress. I love maxi's but I rarely see one that is one-shouldered. I am like you in that I don't have much up top and would worry about if the dress would hold up. Good to know that just elastic and a turn back would work just fine :)

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    1. Thanks! The elastic does just fine, but I think it needs to work in concert with a fairly tight & stable knit to help it.

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  4. AHHH, now i really am starting to think we share a brain. i am making a maxi dress this week too! love yours. the color is totally flattering and it makes you look even longer and leaner than you already are. i'd call that garment a stunning success.

    (and thanks for the shoutout. we browncoats need to stick together!)

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    1. Thanks...I'm waiting to see yours!! I think it's super-scary how alike we think sometimes! Did you know that Firefly's tenth anniversary is this year? It's so sad how long it's been.

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  5. your husband is right. you ARE hot. meow, baby.

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  6. You made something consisting of two things I almost always hate (one-shoulder dresses and maxi dresses) and I reeeaally LIKE it!! I think it is perfect for that awesome giant print you found! (It sort of makes me want one, but I'm not sure I would ever find such a great printed fabric.) It looks great on you!

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    1. Wow, I'm flattered that you think it's good enough to overcome your one-shoulder/maxi prejudices! Yeah, I rarely see such incredibly large prints, otherwise I wouldn't have made this type of dress.

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  7. Just stunning! You look a million dollars, it fits like second skin. I bet you turn heads everywhere u go in this. Well done!

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    1. Aww thanks! I think I will be satisfied with just turning my husband's head :)

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  8. Fabulous dress! And, you're now in the city! This news requires lots of exclamation points at the end of sentences, obviously!!!!

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    1. Indeed! And I might finally get a chance to meet you!!!!!

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  9. Very pretty, love the colors, I used to jog on that reservoir, I lived around the block. And sometimes was just stopped in my tracks by the beauty of the view. Great photos!

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    1. Oh wow, you actually recognize that reservoir! I used to go up there all the time when I was still in the city...maybe I saw you jogging there and didn't know it!

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  10. You look fantastic! Oh, yeah, the dress is nice too! Seriously, though, love the dress. Coulda sworn you bought it!

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    1. Thanks! Your saying that it looks RTW means a lot to me, because I would hate to look like I just walked out of home ec class!

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  11. Having been to Prague and witnessed the glory of Mucha, I think this is pretty spot on! I love it. You look statuesque and brilliant, a look I can never even attempt. I love it. Well done,and I'm glad you are settling in back in San Fran!

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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    1. Ooooh, I am so jealous that you got to go to Prague and see Mucha's work in person! Thanks for the reassurance that I'm not totally blaspheming his name :)

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  12. Hot!! Your hubby was right :-D
    I think the mermaid look is great - beats the whole shapeless thing I've seen happen with a lot of maxi dresses.
    The print is pretty fab too!

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    1. Thanks! I was definitely trying not to end up shapeless!

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  13. WOW! Stunning dress! I really love the fabric and the fit, certainly you´re hot!

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    1. Haha...I was wondering if the back view pictures were too much...

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  15. So beautiful! The fabric blows my mind, and your maxi totally wins over the RTW one you link to with the pooling fabric over the model's behind.

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    1. Thanks! I don't think pooling fabric is ever a good look on someone's behind...

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  16. You look like a freaking mega baberoni! A 6' tall baberoni! It's so the best - amazing mix of pattern & fabric. YES.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I will keep this in mind if I ever feel like I need to add half a foot to my height!

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  17. This dress is gorgeous and you look AMAZING!

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  18. smokin'!!! :) sad that the fabric is kind of weird with being painted. i am going to pretend I didn't hear that and that you are wearing the most comfy knit ever!

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    1. It's still very comfy inside, since the paint is only on one side...so you can keep on thinking that!

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  19. Wow this truly looks absolutely gorgeous, I can't believe you made this! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you! That is very nice of you to say!

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  20. This. Is. Gorgeous. ZOMG. Your backdrop doesn't hurt, either. I hope your fabric holds up---those crunchy/painted knits always scare me---but DAMN. That print is worth it. Good work. In further synchronicity, I picked up some $2/m jersey at the fabric store last sale that also wants to be a maxi-dress, and it's even a print, although not as astonishing as this one...

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    1. Thank you! I prewashed it on hot, so hopefully it's already done all the weird things it intends to...and synchronicity with you is awesome, although I don't have any fishing vests in the queue!

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  21. Wow that is just gorgeous! You have the perfect shape for it too :)

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  22. It's interesting that the dress you linked to show the pooling effect for a swayback is actually ruched at the sides. I have the same issue with my waistless maxi dress and the ruching is an interesting thought for next time. If you can't beat it, do it on purpose, maybe?

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    1. Yeah, I actually had it bookmarked for in case I couldn't deal with the fabric pooling and needed to make it look like it was purposeful. As it turns out, I didn't have to resort to that, although I think it's definitely something to keep in mind for waistless knit dresses!

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  23. It's a wonderfull dress. You look like a mermaid!

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  24. oh goodness me!! I LOVE THAT FABRIC!! And the maxi silhouette is just so perfect for displaying those gorgeous lilies. Absolutely breathtaking, I think - my favorite maxi version I've seen yet!

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  25. This dress is *stunning.* You did such a magnificent job! Don't think about any "wrinkles" in the back - it is truly beautiful. Definitely going in my bookmarks of sewing inspirations!

    ~Kelly, level8craftling.blogspot.com

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  26. Just utterly gorgeous... you look magnificently elegantly beautiful ^___^

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  27. This is gorgeous! It really suits you.

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