Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably heard that Colette Patterns recently released a new sewing pattern, the Laurel shift dress, and not only that, but they sponsored a huge contest with absolutely fabulous prizes. Who wouldn't love all that free money to buy fabric and notions with?! Unfortunately, I'm a cheapskate when it comes to buying sewing patterns. I love the sales at Joann's, but even those are a bit pricey when you can buy vintage patterns for $0.25 each at thrift stores. Which means that when it comes to having to pay over $10 for a pattern...well, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Especially for such a simple shift that I could probably make up on my own. I bid a sad goodbye to thoughts of free Spoonflower fabric of my own ($18/yd, even for my own design, is something I can't justify right now. I'll have to settle for drawing or printing my own), but somehow the idea of a simple shift wouldn't leave me alone! Even though I was pretty underwhelmed when I first saw the Laurel pattern announcement, Debi was right -- contests really do inspire me to rethink my initial assessments of a pattern (or in this case, a look) that I'd previously dismissed as unsuitable for my body type/personal style.
So...what did I finally make for my if-I-could-I-would contest entry? Well, let's just say that velociraptors, especially as depicted in Jurassic Park, are the ultimate in antisocial behavior:
|Okay, I know, this isn't a velociraptor*, but it's still pretty awesome to find metal dinosaurs outside a random car wash in TCOCC.|
|A wash and wax for $9.95! They actually do a pretty good job, as Mr. Cation car can attest.|
|There was a |
I could also wear this on days that I'm feeling particularly introverted, because there's nothing more antisocial than a dress printed all over with ominous words/phrases like "Keep Out! Danger! Caution! Warning!"Also, Mr. Cation swears he will not walk next to me when I wear this in public, so that's even less social interaction...
|You mean you don't want to be associated with me? At least Amanda will join me in making dinosaur poses!|
When I first received this Jurassic Park sheet in the mail, I was so excited, but I couldn't figure out what to do with such an awesome (and large-scale, and multi-colored) print! Thanks to Brooke, who suggested that I make it into a shift dress with as few interrupting style lines as possible, I decided to make this not-a-Laurel. While I can't exactly enter it into the contest, I still think it would've been a pretty fabulous entry for the showing-off-a-print category.
I started with Simplicity 8722, which I've used in the past, but only with knits. In order to get the more fitted look that I wanted, I ended up making a whole bunch of modifications, taking in the side seams and back (at both the CB seam and by making larger back darts), almost totally redrafting the sleeve, and of course, axing the facings and replacing them with bias strips. Now that I've finally done the work of modifying the pattern, I'm surprised by how much I like the shift dress look! It's simple and classy (as long as you're not using dinosaur sheets from the 90s) and not nearly as awful on my body as I was expecting.
Fabric: Just half of a 70/30 poly-cotton twin sheet. I love that shift dresses use so little fabric! This means I still have enough fabric left over to do something else, although I don't know what yet.
Notions: Bias tape for the neckline, seam binding on all the inside bits (there are no raw edges anywhere, because this fabric frayed like fraying was its only goal in life), a 20" zipper, and a hook and eye
Hours: Eight, for all the fiddly fitting and seam binding everything within an inch of its life.
Will you make it again? Now that I've figured out how to wear a shift dress well, you bet I'll be making more! Colette, I'm sorry for ever doubting the brilliance of the Laurel. However, I'm still not paying you $14 for it.
Total cost: Thanks to the generous NYC sewing bloggers, this was a free project! All the notions were in my stash already, but I guess if you had to count how much they originally cost me, I'll say it was $1.
Final thoughts: This might be one of the more ridiculous things I've made. And that's saying a lot, since I've made quite a few ridiculous things in the last couple of years! Unlike the other geeky dresses I've made, which were all a sort of uniform blue with a slightly more subtle print (you wouldn't think they'd be subtle, but I've hung out with people and had them not notice until several hours in that I've got Jedis or superheroes all over my dress), this dress boasts all the primary colors in a huge, blocky print. Dinosaurs just don't do subtle. Still, I think the colors and pattern actually add to the mod 60s look. Hah! Obviously I don't actually know anything about the mod 60s look. At any rate, the nicest thing Mr. Cation could think to say about it (actually, I'm not sure he was trying to be nice...he might have just been confused) was that it looked like a pediatric nurse's scrubs. You know, the kind with teddy bears all over to keep children calm. Well, watch out, children, these terrible lizards aren't even pretending that the shot won't hurt! They're all like caution danger warning this shot is going to hurt like a dinosaur bite. Still, despite all that, this dress makes me really happy because it's just SO WEIRD.
Even better, though? I'm not alone in my weirdness! Gingermakes, of Mood Sewing Network fame, and one of the NYC bloggers who was in on sending me this sheet, kept a JP sheet for herself...and she also made it into a shift dress (but she used the real Laurel...I guess I'm just the Chinese knock-off)! I'm pretty sure that when Andrea announced the S.O.S. challenge, she never thought it would be applied to such fabric. But there you have it, sister fabrics...go check out her make!
|At this point, Mr. Cation was like, are we done yet?|
*A true-to-life statue of a velociraptor wouldn't be very fun to take pictures with, though, since they're not nearly as scary as the Jurassic Park movie portrayal. As expressed so delightfully in one of my favorite nerdy songs, Hollywood Raptor, velociraptors should be feathered and more or less turkey-sized. Incidentally, The Doubleclicks are an absolutely brilliant pair of sisters who write awesome stuff -- if you're into D&D at all, you'll love This Fantasy World.