The I Don’t Do Casual Dress

I almost never spend New Years Eve in Philadelphia. I adore Philadelphia with all of my heart, but for whatever reason I just don’t seem to ring in the new year in my hometown. Last year I had an amazing time in New York with my friend Becca, and the year before I was in London with my friend Andrew and we did things with duck fat that can’t be even remotely considered healthy choices. But they were delicious ones….

Anyway, this year was no exception to my out-of-town rule, so when my friend Lee invited me up to Cape Cod for the holiday, how could I say no? And I’m so glad I went, because I had the most fantastic time. Highlights included but were not limited to impromptu dance parties, late night croquet, fireworks, making dinner for 17 people ( like I do), getting to spend time with Lee and my friend Lisa and a score of other old and new friends who were filled with awesomesauce, and drinking everything in the house. Everything. In. The. House. But for me, mostly wine. And then Makers Mark. In a wine glass. Because I like things fancy.

I really do like things fancy.  I would say that comes to me directly from my mother, who got it from her mother. I didn’t own a pair of jeans until I was about 15 years old. I can honestly say that I’m usually overdressed for things, or at the very least, the only person in a skirt. So when I called Lisa, who had been to Cape Cod before, and asked her about the dress code, and she was like, oh, it’s super causal, I was like, ….okay. Causal, you say? And that’s, what is that, exactly?  But I try to make an effort, and when in Rome, right?

And yet, I made a dress.

Don’t yell at me! It’s super casual! It’s made of knit! (Ooooooo!)

I bought this fabric last summer (as in, a year and a half ago) at PA Fabric Outlet. It was in the special clearance section and I got two yards at 2.98 a yard. I honestly had no plans for it for the longest time, after all, I’d never sewn with knits and I was a bit afraid of them, really. But I recently came across/fell in love with Dixie of Dixie DIY, mostly because she’s excellent and charming and wise, but also because she did a series called Never Fear Knits, teaching cowards like myself how to deal with non-woven fabric. And I actually read all her posts and made myself a shirt from Burda Style’s Lydia pattern. You will never get a post devoted to said shirt, which I’m actually wearing right now, because it’s a bit wonkey (first time, people, come on!) and I don’t want you to make fun of me. But I wear it all the time, so whatever.

And then, like manna from the heavens, Dixie released a pattern FOR FREE called The Ballet Dress Pattern. Now, this was a limited free download but it’s still for sale for a measly three bucks over here. AND she did a sewalong! Which I meant to follow but got very impatient/was on a deadline for my trip to Cape Cod so I went ahead! Oh, well.

 

What can you do. So I missed the instructions about the neckline binding and as such mine is a little loose and slightly gapes. But in every other respect, I really love this dress!

I used the zig-zag stitch on my machine and had no problems at all with my usual foot. Instead of stablizing the shoulder seams with clear elastic, I used seam binding, which worked just fine. I used regular elastic at the waist, and didn’t QUITE match my stripes, but I don’t honestly care. This dress is so so so comfortable, and never wrinkles, is warm and forgives me for a large meal. What more could you ask for?

No matching chevrons. Whatevs. You can’t have everything, and I in no way had enough fabric for that sort of thing.

I made a medium. When I make this again (oh, I will be making this again. Many times. Short sleeves, long sleeves, ruffles, embellishments, the works) I would take it in a bit at the waist. You can’t see, because it’s belted, but it’s just a bit loose. But it’s quick and fantastically clear and easy to make. Thank you, Dixie! You’ve made me a convert, I really like knits now!

I love the sleeves. Rather drapey and fun, no?

I did not, alas, take these photos in Cape Cod. I was too busy with the aforementioned fantastic time I was having. So I made my friend Ben shoot them after brunch at Farmacia when I got back home.

Thank you, Ben. You are the best. He even indulged my wanting to photos of odd things, like my cool belt/nailpolish:

I was like, people will want to know! Right? So the belt was my grandmothers, and the polish, which is grayer in real life, was a gift from Lisa. Thanks, Lisa!

The light was great this day, so I took some shots on my way home from brunch:

And one last one of happy knit-clad me:

And that’s about as causal as I get. At least, in public, anyway.

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8 Comments

Filed under Angela Kane, Burda Style, Clothing, Fabric, Sewing

8 responses to “The I Don’t Do Casual Dress

  1. lisa

    I get a tag!!!!

  2. I love a good knit dress – so comfy but still stylish! Yours looks so pretty and snuggly – especially love the stripeys! Yay for sewing knits! 🙂

  3. Ooh I really like your version of Dixie’s dress! Love the colors. I haven’t ventured into knits yet but I just bought some jersey from ebay. We’ll see how THAT goes! On a side note, I’m kind of like you, too, in that I’m usually wearing skirts and dresses (or wishing I were). Casual Friday at work really annoys me, ha.

    • I say just take the plunge. I was concerned but I started with a simple t-shirt, and this dress is actually very easy to make, and nicely designed. I’ve worn it twice since I made it, and I’m wearing it again tomorrow. That’s about as casual as my Friday is every going to get.

  4. me

    You’ve outdone the Cape, and in the best way possible. This entire state is just too cazh. The dress is divine!!! Off to check out that pattern.

  5. Pingback: The American Apparel Knock Off Dress | Struggle Sews a Straight Seam

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