Monday, November 26, 2012

A Post-Thanksgiving Dress


After all the eating that comes with Thanksgiving weekend, it seems only right to live in stretchy knit dresses for the next week, right? This is just the first of a handful of knit dresses that I pounded out, just in time for the after-eating bulginess. Also, a sturdy elastic belt is as good as tummy-control shapewear.


Back view.


Actually, Mr. Cation and I didn't really do an excessive amount of eating for Thanksgiving; it was the first major holiday since we started dating where it was just the two of us (three, if you count Walnut), so we didn't bother with a huge fancy dinner at all. I think our families were slightly taken aback when we told them we were just going to make beef stroganoff for dinner, but hey, red meat + butter + sour cream + white carbs = my idea of perfection (also my science teacher side's idea of heart disease in a meal). Most of the time, we try to eat lots of fruits and veggies and non-processed foods like the neo-hipsters we are, but sometimes (and Thanksgiving seems like the right time), a little regression is nice. Also, Walnut loves it whenever we make anything that involves red meat; he goes crazy with whining and head-butting until we give him a tiny bit. And by tiny bit, I mean a piece of meat the size of an "o" in 12 point Times New Roman.*
This is Walnut's "real, non-processed food is imminent" face.
Sometimes I look at his pictures and I think he doesn't even look like a real cat, just like some big, fluffy, impossibly cute creature. 

Anyway, this dress has the same basis as my Travel to Work Dress, what with the crossover front bodice and some-fraction-of-a-circle skirt. I used my not-a-Renfrew pattern to make the front bodice pieces as follows:
The solid line is the original bodice piece, and the dashed line shows what the modified piece should look like. Although in all honesty, I didn't think to extend the side seam to allot for curving under the bust when I sewed mine, so the side seam doesn't lie perfectly straight. You would need to cut two of these crossover pieces, making sure that they're mirror images of each other, and then gather or pleat the shorter side before sewing the side seams in order to get it to cross and end under the bust, if that makes sense. 
You can see here how my side seam pulls forward where the short side attaches.
The pieces are pretty snug under the bust as well. 

The construction is pretty much the same after that, except for adding the sleeves (I sewed them in flat), and that the skirt just has two pieces.

Summary:
Fabric: A little less than 3 yards of 54" wide cotton jersey in this quirky fish scale-ish print. I got it a year ago at the FIDM scholarship store, but it wasn't until I got my brown boots this fall that I felt inspired to do something with it. I was afraid that the blue/brown color combo might be a little too 2006, but I think it's okay. Actually, as I typed that, I just realized that I don't really care even if it is a little outdated of a color trend; I like it and that's really all that concerns me. Gosh, I love how getting older means getting a sense of perspective and realizing who cares what everyone else thinks as long as I like it.
Notions: Elastic at the waist to help with recovery. Aaaaaand the zipperless streak continues...
Hours: Two? These knit dresses go together so quickly once you've got a reliable knit block.
Will you make it again? Probably. Like I said, reliable block = fast and easy. Plus, I like the crossover bodice look. Good thing my Tiramisu dress pattern should be arriving soon! Also, I still want to make a crossover bodice dress where the pieces cross over the bust, not under it, with the shorter side ending right at the top of the armpit.
Total cost: $3! I am seriously going to miss the $1/yd prices at the FIDM scholarship store when I move away from TCOCC. It's gotten to the point where I think $5/yd is too much to pay for fabric. I know, I'm so spoiled.
Final thoughts: This print is a bit busy, but I love having a totally different dress from everyone else who's wearing black, dark grey, and navy blue while waiting for BART. Granted, teaching means I have a bit more leeway than say, lawyers and bankers -- I don't imagine it would go over too well if I showed up at a bank job wearing hippos. I also like that the sleeves are slightly warmer than cap sleeves, but not so large that I can't throw on a cardigan on top. And let's not forget how delightfully a circle-based skirt drapes and twirls!

With the twirly skirt and boots, these pictures remind me of River Tam dancing in "Safe." If only I could dance like Summer Glau!
Instead,  I've been twirling it up at English country dancing. 


*I do not condone the regular use of TNR, since it's a pretty boring font, but it's still better than Comic Sans or Papyrus. Seriously, my only gripe with Firefly/Serenity is the use of Papyrus. Still, TNR does have its place, and it also makes a good point of reference.

53 comments:

  1. I love that Walnut head-butts when he wants something; our cat also partakes in head-butting. Oh, and the dress is great, too ;)

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    1. Walnut is a champion head-butter (haha that looks so weird typed out!), to the point where sometimes we're afraid for his health, he butts so hard...

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  2. That's a really lovely dress! I'm also currently going through a knit dress phase and I think you're exactly right about having a good knit bodice block as a starting point. I like the browns and blues on you, you look fab! x

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    1. Thanks Jane! And yes, that knit block is a springboard into all kinds of awesome. I really liked your Peonyesque dress and I'm sure your future dresses will be equally comfortable and flattering!

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  3. Walnut being even more adorable, Firefly references, topography gripes, and a beautiful dress. What a fantastic combination. Also, how does Walnut get cuter? I think "surely he's reached maximum cute" and then bam, he levels up.

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    1. I love the idea of him leveling up in cuteness! I think his fluffy winter coat adds a +3 to adorability factor :)

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  4. Gorgeous dress, gorgeous cat!

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  5. What a cutie Walnut is and, I have to say, he matches your dress perfectly!

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    1. Hehehe, I didn't mean to match him, but I guess it worked out!

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  6. the fabric print is really great, love the dress! (and tummy-controlling stretchy belts... ha! i totally do the same thing!)

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad to meet another stretchy belt aficionado!

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  7. Your elastic belts must be sturdier than mine....either that or your tummy is more malleable, because I don't notice that effect. :-( Cute dress, I like how you color coordinate with your kitty (who looks adorable in the pictures, BTW.) ;-)

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    1. Kitty coordination wasn't planned, but it seems that several people picked up on that happy accident! I don't know that the elastic belt really does too much, but what it does do is remind me to suck it in ;)

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  8. your thanksgiving sounds delicious, pretty patterned ballerina.

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    1. I think moms just concerned when they hear that there isn't going to be turkey on Thanksgiving...

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  9. I think as long as the colors you choose to wear don't make you look ill (and they don't!), no one will think anything about them being "outdated". And you definitely made it look current with your accessories - another great dress! I love the "River Tam" series of photos. =)

    LOL - Walnut is adorable when he begs!! Very Puss-in-Boots ala Shrek. Does he cry as well? My dog knows how to be extra pitiful when we have meat he wants, and he usually adds hilarious crying to the pained expression. Look away from the big round eyes! (My husband is weaker than I am, so most of the begging is directed his way, hehe.)

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    1. Heh, I try to stay away from colors that make me look ill for sure! And yes, Walnut is a champion whiner as well. He sounds so sad that we give in. My husband is totally a sucker for begging too!

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  10. I love that dress and the print and the colors and everything :) I agree, that twirling is very River Tam :) I have to disagree about the Papyrus font though; I can't help it, I love it. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Donna! I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on Papyrus! Maybe it's living in LA, but I see waaaaay too many alternative health supplement stores, New-Age-y bookstores, and organic spas with Papyrus and it just makes me sad.

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  11. Sometimes I have to see something over and over before it hits me. Cation-postive ion(s)! Am I a box of rocks or am I right? Anyway, whichever, I love your posts. Keep up the good work. Regena in TN.

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    1. I'm glad you made that connection, Regena! Yes, that was the thought behind choosing cation for my blog name...science and cats and positivity!

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    2. Please tell Walnut that I am sorry not to have commented on how handsome he looked. As always, the country gentleman. Regena in TN.

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  12. How cute is that!!! And perfect accessories AND Walnut is beautiful!

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  13. It looks great---super useful. :) We had no less than four turkeys at Canadian Thanksgiving this year, so a bit of moderation doesn't really sound like a bad idea to me. ;) Also, my mom has her cat (and formerly the dog, before his death) on a raw meat diet. Not exactly cheap, but probably quite healthy for our beloved carnivores.

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    1. I have to admit I do the raw food thing, too. My cats are crazy for it. Also, I really like this dress. And your ability to make your knit top pattern into almost anything!

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    2. Four turkeys is quite a lot, Tanit-Isis! It boggles the mind just thinking about it.

      Walnut's previous owners told us that he grew up on a raw meat diet as a kitten, so we give him raw meat every once in a while. Not too often though, since it sort of spoils him for his regular cat food! Amy, considering that your cat came from the same cattery, it's not surprising that she's also into it!

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  14. I love this dress! it's really flattering and looks comfy to boot. I love those boots too! I don't think it looks like 2006 at all, but I totally support not caring if a certain colour is trendy.

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    1. Thanks Sandra! It's definitely comfy, and these boots have quickly become my staple this fall. I appreciate the color support!

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  15. Ooh lovely colors on you! Walnut looks kind of like Tororo in that large picture. Cats are so funny. We just got a new kitten and it has been amusing.
    Did you hear that there will be a Tiramisu sewalong? And she is working on a long sleeve hack?!! I haven't gotten my copy yet but as soon as Christmas money comes in... Is it wrong to count on Christmas money before it arrives??
    Anyways, love the dress! I always enjoy your posts!

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    1. Huh, he does look round enough to be a Totoro, doesn't he? Thanks for pointing that out; I love that movie!

      I don't know that I can wait long enough to sew along with the sewalong! I might be tempted to whip mine up right away. I look forward to the long sleeve hack, though! And I count on birthday and Christmas money every year, so if it's wrong, we can be wrong together!

      Best of luck with your new kitten! Take lots of pictures...they grow so fast!!

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  16. Love, love, love it! I am going to have to give your tutorial a try. Thanks so much for the beautiful inspiration- and the print looks great on you. Wish I had a $1/yd place nearby, but than my fabric stash would really be out of control!
    Shannon

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    1. I hope it works out for you! I hadn't meant for it to be a real tutorial, but whenever I see other sewists make stuff without a pattern I'm always interested in seeing how they achieved it, so I figured I'd include a snapshot of my process in case anyone was interested.

      In a way, I'm glad to be moving away so that my stash doesn't grow anymore!

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  17. You are the knit queen! I can't wait for the day I can start pumping out zipperless-knit-dresses!

    What a smashing dress, and for $3.. amazing. The boots looks great with the dress. Can't wait to see what u make next.

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    1. Neeno, that day can be today! Especially since you already have a serger. Just grab a piece and start experimenting; it's seriously not as hard as you think!

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  18. Oh, this is so cute on you! It's very autumnal and sweet!

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    1. Thanks! It feels a little silly to be working on autumnal things, though, when it's almost December!

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  19. Adorable Cindy! And beef stroganoff sounds really good.

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  20. Beautiful! I have some knit-fabric. Must go and see how much! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

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    1. You're welcome, and I hope your dress works out!

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  21. Your dress is gorgeous! I love the twirly skirt, and the belt. And the photos of Walnut are great!!

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  22. I've laughed a lot with this post ... you are hilarious! Knit wear dresses to make room for the belly after eating and your photos are so lovely kitten! Your dress is amazing, I think I'm going to copy you on this ....

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    1. Thanks for such a sweet comment! Glad to have brought some laughter, and I hope your copy works out!

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  23. So cute, I love this wrap around style! Your cat is so darned cute, i am sure even when he is head butting!

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    1. He might be the cutest when he's head-butting...it's just so darned affectionate, even if it's only food-motivated!

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  24. Another fantastic no-pattern dress! I am in awe. Love the print too.
    I am so glad to find out you are also a font snob. Yes times 100 about Papyrus and Comic Sans! I use TNR in all my work documents, since I feel like it is the very definition of neutral, but I love nothing more than thoughtfully choosing the perfect font for whatever else I type (oh boy, font choosing for wedding stuff was like 30% of my wedding planning time...)
    And my Orange Terror only eats cat food. Seriously. We have tried to feed him people food, cat treats, and other brands of cat food to no avail - we live in fear that his food will be discontinued and he will starve to death. See, so it's good to expand Walnut's diet occasionally, even if it's only by an O.

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    1. Aleah, it's thanks to you that I'm even making this many knit dresses -- you had such a great series of them on your blog! And can I just hug you so hard for understanding that font choice is a huge part of wedding planning??

      OT sounds like my parents' orange cat (what is it about orange cats?), who will only eat one kind of cat food and doesn't know what to do with "real" food. Unfortunately, he also things rubber bands and plastic bags are food, so we have to be super vigilant about not leaving those things out where he can get to them. Anyway, here's to hoping that OT's brand of cat food never gets discontinued!

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  25. The combination of Thanksgiving and the print on that dress immediately made me think elementary school turkey crafts, but I still really like it! I'm a sucker for fish scale patterns, and the dress looks so easy and comfortable to wear. Perfect for SF!

    Beggy Walnut is sooooo cute! Why don't you feed him more raw meat? We would if Felicity would eat it - silly kitty turns up her nose at any meat but two kinds of fish.

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    1. Hah! Elementary school turkey crafts -- I can totally see it! Thanks for giving me even more of a reason to love this print :)

      We don't give him much raw meat, because it occasionally gives him digestion issues, but he does get his share when we have salmon and shrimp...he's a sucker for seafood!

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  26. Awww...you cat Walnut is so cute! Great sewing projects and glad to have discovered your blog!
    May x
    www.walkinginmay.blogspot.com
    http://www.facebook.com/walking.in.may.blogspot

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