- Read/hear about an awesome thing.
- Get all excited about it. Can't stop thinking about it for the next three nights.
- OOOH LOOK OVER THERE! Distracted by a new idea.
- A month later, realize that the deadline for the awesome thing passed a week ago.
- Get all disappointed, lament my lack of organization when it comes to creative things. Keep trying to tell myself that I'm a J on the Myers-Briggs personality test, really I am!
- Execute a half-assed version of my original idea.
- Swear to do better with planning next time.
|Trying out the angry/I hate you/constipated look that models always seem to have.|
That's what happened to me with Pretty Grievances' Jungle January. I had grand ideas for another qipao based on this one that I've had pinned for ages. It was going to be the perfect multi-tasking sewing project -- it would use up a piece of stash fabric from four years ago, work as my new outfit for Chinese New Year, and fit with the Jungle January theme. Alas, corset-making got the better of me, and here I am, over a week into February and it's a simple dress that's not at all qipao-ish and only very vaguely reminiscent of the original inspiration dress. To top it all off, Mr. Cation didn't even like it very much. Ah well, I can't always win.
[ETA: Mr. Cation insisted that I clarify -- he doesn't actually dislike the dress. He was merely surprised when he first saw it because the lighting was bad and it's not my usual kind of print. It looks much better in natural lighting, and while it's not his favorite thing I've ever made, he doesn't dislike it either. My apologies, husband, for unjustly exposing your sartorial judgement to internet censure.]
|Still working on the angry look, apparently. The sun glare was making it difficult to smile and look normal.|
|Better, if a bit squinty.|
|Even better: facing away from the setting sun.|
|Twirling to show off the movement and flare of the skirt.|
Pattern: A modified version of my free bias-cut top pattern, but with the lines extended down and out to make the flared skirt. I was hoping for a floor-length maxi dress, but bias-cut garments just eat up fabric like no other, so it ended up being tea-length. The best thing about reusing old patterns is you already know they fit, and if it's a self-drafted pattern, it's already all adjusted for swayback and fleshy underarms and everything!
Fabric: 3 yards of 54" wide purple leopard-ish print rayon, stashed since 2009, originally from SAS Fabrics in Tucson. I loved the watercolor look of the spots when I saw it, but at the time I knew that my skills weren't good enough to do it justice. I'm glad I waited to use it.
Notions: Just seam binding, no zippers or buttons or snaps! I knew I wanted to avoid putting any closures in this thin fabric, as a zipper would just be too stiff for the drape of the rayon. Thanks to the bias-cut, I can just slip this over my head. I really, really, really love not putting closures into dresses. When I'm putting zippers into dresses, it's really not that bad, but then I make a dress like this and it becomes blindingly obvious that no zippers is even better.
|My insides look so pretty!|
Techniques: Making bias tape from the fabric and using it to bind the neck and arm holes. My favorite method for nice finishes on rayon.
Hours used: Three. It was easy enough to sew, but trying to squeeze the pattern pieces onto my limited fabric required some serious Tetris skills. Even so, the grainline on one of the back pieces is more like 39 degrees, instead of the 45 degrees of a true bias-cut.
Will you make this again? Not as a tea-length dress. I feel like it's a really awkward length, and it reminds me too much of the 80s and its weird dress lengths. I may try it as a knee-length dress, but then I would lose the fantastic flare at the bottom, and a maxi dress would require five yards of fabric...yikes!
Total cost: $8, if that. Yay for discount fabrics! Besides, it's been in the stash so long, it feels free.
Final thoughts: Bias-cut garments eat fabric like hungry hungry hippos, but it's so worth it for the drape they provide and the fact that they can pass the Mena Test. Mr. Cation and I both agreed that the leopard print is actually kind of distracting and not really my style, and I'm afraid that the print+length brings the dress into the matronly/cougar-y category. Still, it twirls well and is comfortable, so it'll be fine for lounging around in and going English country dancing. And a wearable garment is always better than stash fabric just sitting around, taking up space.
|Okay, they're right, it's pretty difficult trying to walk straight and not trip on my blog heels. The concentrating face is totally necessary.|
I will say that I'm immensely proud of myself, though, for breaking free of my usual pattern for the Jane Austen Evening. I planned ahead for that event, executed both ideas for dresses fairly well, and was even done early enough that I wasn't frantically sewing on trim five minutes before getting dressed. Let's hope that my ideas for the Hobbit Oscar party follow that timeline and not this one. Things are looking pretty good, though, as the major parts of my shieldmaiden gown are done; it's just the closure, embellishments, and hemming left now!