Alder Dress


After falling in love with the butt ruffle Archer I knew that I needed to get my hands on the dress equivalent - the Alder.  Now I should probably say that when this pattern first came out I was kind of "ehh" about it, mostly because I get the feeling that View A is not the most flattering cut on me.  But then View B's popped up all around the internet and I was sold!

You know what else popped up on the internet - warnings that this dress runs on the short side and it definitely does.  Here's another warning for you - don't try to be lazy and just trace out the size 18 length for size 2 pieces because they don't line up correctly.  Trust me - I learned this lesson learned the hard way.  Use those shorten/lengthen lines that Jen so kindly put on the pattern.  I was able to work a little magic to get the mismatched front pieces sewn together but there's some definite gentle waves in the fabric where the piece was too long.  Aesthetically, it doesn't look too bad nor is it very noticeable, but it drives me a bit crazy knowing that it's not supposed to be there.

The dress is sewn up in a lovely navy double gauze that I purchased from Drygoods Design and all I have to say is "why, oh why, did it take me so long to try out this fabric?"  I now want to wrap myself in nothing but double gauze.  And it's a great option for a flowy dress like this, although I'm concerned that it may be tad see-through if I stand directly in the sun.  I'll have to do a bit more investigation into that potentially embarrassing possibility.

I think this dress is going to be a great option for summer since it's so light and airy but until summer gets here I've been wearing it with tights and a cardigan thrown on top because I'm perpetually cold.

Also, many thanks and big high fives to O for taking these pictures.  And many thanks to C for mastering the art of the photo bomb.

Now get out of my pictures!

The One In Which Hoarding Pays Off


What I'm about to tell you will both inspire you and make you realize what a total hoarder I am.

Almost 20 years ago my sister went to Ghana on a nursing trip and brought back two skirts made from beautiful Ghanian wax print fabrics.  Unfortunately both of them were made for people with teeny-tiny waists.  One I could barely squeeze into, but this one sadly never fit. 

And yet I kept these skirt...for almost twenty years...through at least six moves...and I've literally never worn this skirt.  And I didn't sew for the vast majority of that time nor did I have any great plans to start sewing so I have no idea why I kept holding on to this skirt.  Hoarder much?

But, there's a happy ending to this story because after almost twenty years of lugging both skirts around, one of them now has a new life as a dress for O.  

The pattern is the free Popover Dress Pattern by Oliver and S.  I've made it once before and am a huge fan of this super-simple dress.  Just like last time I added some width to the front and back panels (five inches) and gathered the extra fabric when sewing it together.  I also slimmed down the straps by cutting out strips of 1.5 inch bias binding (instead of 2 inches) and sewing them at 3/8".  The straps are made from navy double gauze from a yet to be blogged project and sewing such thin bias strips of double gauze was not the easiest of tasks so don't look too closely at my stitching, okay?  Thanks.

And with that ends the nearly 20 year saga of this fabric.  Maybe in another 20 years I'll make something out of the other too-small skirt that my sister brought back.  One can dream.

Also, this is my new favorite picture of O.  I don't think I've ever seen a picture that captures so perfectly who she is.  I love this little nugget.

Butt Ruffle


Well, my love affair with the Archer continues and if possible, it's grown, because I think I love this version of the Archer even more than my first version.  I may just be a butt ruffle kind of gal...who knew?  Actually, what's probably most surprising about my love for this shirt is that I love it so much even though I made it out of a fabric that I really didn't like.  It's a 100% cotton shirting fabric that I ordered ages ago from a long forgotten online fabric store but as sometimes happens when you order fabric online, when it arrived I realized that it really wasn't what I was looking for.  The color and actual fabric are fine, but I just didn't like the way that the dots were printed on the fabric.  It looked a, maybe? In any case, it sat on my shelf for probably three years and I don't know if I would have ever gotten around to using it had I not been forced to dig through my shelves for something to sew with.  While I may not have loved the printed dots, a great redeeming factor for this fabric is it's super-wide yardage which made it so that I had plenty of fabric to work with.  Also, having worn this shirt a couple of times already I can tell you that the fabric is definitely growing on me because it rarely needs ironing when it comes out of the dryer (although, you wouldn't know it from looking at these pictures since I'd been wearing the shirt all day long when I took these pictures.  Bad blogger!)

As for the shirt, what is there to say that hasn't been said before.  This is a straight size 2 with no fit modifications.  I followed all the pattern directions, except that I used Andrea's tutorial for attaching the collar.  The pattern and instructions are great and I'm a huge fan of the ruffle on the back even if it is kind of a mullet shirt.

Business in the front.

Party in the back.

You would't know it from the silence around here, but I've actually been sewing a ton for myself lately.  I just can't get up the motivation to actually take pictures of the garments.  I'm hoping that Me Made May will finally force me to debut some of my most recent makes.  I'll probably be playing along on Instagram if you want to follow.  Let's hope that I stick with it longer than I did last year.

Seersucker + Chambray


While I've spent the last two years trying to be more intentional about sewing from my stash, there is now a sense of urgency behind these efforts since I'll most likely be unemployed come the middle of June.  And not only unemployed but also racking up student loan debt.  Ah, the great American dream.

In any case, while I've always tried to be pretty sensible about not dropping too much money on fabric and patterns (with varied success), it's pretty clear that I need to make some changes in how I approach picking my projects.  Lately I've begun to dig through the stash trying to sort out the scraps from the larger pieces of fabric that can actually be made into a garment.  So many of the pieces that I have are fairly small so imagine my surprise when I found two pieces that were actually big enough to sew a dress from.  And it was an even better surprise when I saw just how cute these fabrics look together.  The chambray and seersucker make for an awfully cute preppy dress.

The chambray's leftover from this top and the seersucker's is left over from this dress.  The piping around the waist is also left over from some unknown project  and the zipper was shoved in the back of my cupboard no doubt from some long-ago discarded project.

I kind of felt like one of the little mice putting together leftover bibs and bobs for a dress for Cinderella to wear to the ball.  A scrap of fabric here, a zipper there, and ta-da!  A dress!  And, of course, it's a Hanami Dress because that pattern holds a special place in my heart.

Sure, it's no ball gown but I happen to love it all the same.