Does anyone remember seeing this music video on Sesame Street? For some reason, this one song has stuck with me through a couple of intervening decades. My sister and I used to whisper it to each other all the time and say it was a secret (not so secret anymore!)...we were odd children. Anyway, when I finished this dress, there was really only one obvious choice for a name, and it doesn't hurt that it's a song with a good message too!
I actually originally picked up this knit fabric thinking that it would make a really cozy bed sheet. I know, what was I thinking? Well, that was three years ago and now I know better than to turn fabrics into sheets; instead, I take sheets and use them for fabric! With three yards of such a large-scale print, I knew it could only be a maxi dress. And while it's certainly not a normal maxi dress print, it's my favorite color combination and gosh darn it, if I want to wear squares all over me, I'm going to just do it. I love the way this dress flows and it makes me feel a million miles tall. And my husband loves it, so that's always a plus.
This dress was inspired by Andrea of Four Square Walls' black raspberry chocolate chip dress, which was based on a Renfrew bodice and unapologetically simple and practical, but oh-so-lovely at the same time. Well, I've got enough summery maxi dresses, but I wanted one that was slightly more suitable for winter, and with the longer sleeves and plenty of space under the skirt for boots, this fits the bill. At least for SoCal winters. It's my usual not-a-Renfrew top with some-fraction-of-a-circle skirt, and even though it's so simple in cut, the length and pattern make it frosting-y enough to please me. It's just what I needed to distract me from my less-than-stellar return to zippered dresses.
Even though I like the idea of making complex dresses with interesting pleats and tucks and lines, sometimes I need to step back and remember Occam's Razor -- if simple will do, there's no need to turn everything into a production. I think that's a good thing to remember as December really gets going and the holidays approach. I don't need to make Christmas decorations (or even party preparations!) into a big ordeal; let's keep things simple and focus on the important bottom line, like family and friends and the reason for all this celebration. I don't need to make things complicated just so I can compare with other people. If somebody else wants to make yards and yards of homemade bunting, good for them! I don't have to. I can be a square, someone else can be a triangle, and I'll still play with them and celebrate who they are. As I start my last year of being in my twenties, I'm continuing to learn to be confident in my own square-ness, and even if this dress doesn't look like the trendy numbers out there, it's still hip enough for me.
Fabric: Over three yards of 60" wide knit fabric, mystery content, but fairly high in lycra since this is remarkably stretchy. I've already had to trim the bottom twice and it still keeps stretching out!
Notions: Elastic to stabilize the waist
Hours: Less than two. Sometimes I think I should just make knit dresses for the rest of my life, they're so addictively easy.
Will you make it again? Considering how many of this basic type I've made so far, I think it's safe to say that there are many, many more iterations in my future.
Total cost: I got this fabric so long ago, it feels free. But to be honest, it was probably less than $8.
Final thoughts: I don't know why I love maxi dresses so much...I think it's my love of feeling swishing around my ankles. They make me feel all dramatic as I walk around, sort of like when you wear a cape. Gee, I guess it's that simple -- maxi dresses are the closest I can get to playing dress-up while not actually wearing a costume.
When I was in high school, I truly and seriously thought that being almost thirty was the end of the world. Even now, when I talk to my students in AP Psych about aging, they all talk about how they think life only goes downhill after 25. And while it's not even like I have that much perspective, I think it's safe to say that getting older means getting more beautiful. I don't mean that in a gosh-I-look-awesome way, but in a I'm-understanding-and-embracing-myself-more-and-giving-myself-permission-to-like-what-I-like way.
|Quote by Simon Pegg, image from here.|
I wish I had understood this more when I was a teenager wasting time angsting about whether boys liked me, or if my clothes were cool, or how awful my skin was, or if I was taking as many AP classes as everyone else. But hey, I'll take the realization now and just do my best to communicate it to my students, and live like I believe it to the best of my ability. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Many thanks to all of you who took the time to wish me a happy birthday! I am so grateful to all of you who continue encouraging me on my journey of self-discovery through sewing, and for all the wisdom you ladies share in your comments and in your own blogs. So many of you inspire me through the way you embrace yourselves and your lives.