The Annual Elephant Dress Round Three!

Here we go, my annual elephant dress in its third incarnation! Those who have missed the first two rounds of this tradition can check out year one here, and year two here. And if you are wondering why I like elephants then I would kindly request that you stop reading this blog because you are obviously a heartless monster.


I am this baby elephant at all times.

I really am making this thing a tradition, guys. Which makes sense, because there is nothing that is easier to get in India than fabric with elephants printed on it. I mean, it’s a CENTRAL theme, in a big way. Elephants walk across fabric the way they walk across the subcontinent itself, and as a result, I can be a little picky about my elephant fabrics. After all, I don’t want just ANY elephants, and I don’t want to look like my whole body is a white tourist in Thailand.


Fun fact, on a recent trip to Sri Lanka, my friend Ben and I decided to count elephant pants, because we are united in many things, not the least of which is our loathing for these pants, and we counted like 10 pairs in one day at one tourist site before I gave up because as some point you are just setting yourself up for failure. Good GOD, just buy a pair of loose-fitting pants in a linen or cotton in your own country BEFORE YOUR TRIP! Note to tourists of South and Southeast Asia, THESE ARE NOT REQUIRED. They WILL let you in the country without them. Alternatives to these monstrosities include ANYTHING ELSE. These will not actually help you on your trip, they will fall apart as soon as you get home, and while you are traveling they are like putting a “please overcharge me for everything” sign on your head. Get a pair of loose-fitting, lightweight and dark pants, and you are DONE. End this madness! It starts with you!

So, I didn’t want THAT. I wanted something more subtle, more interesting, more me, less backpacking-through-Cambodia.(I tugged a WHEELIE bag through Cambodia, thank you VERY much.) So I waited, and watched, keeping an eye out for the right fabric, knowing it would come to me in time, with patience. Much like the elephants themselves, wise great creatures that they are, I picked my moment. And when I found this subtle green fabric with origami elephants on them at my newly beloved Thakur Fabrics, despite the fact that the color might not be exactly my perfect shade of green, I went for it. Because sometimes, you just gotta go with a color you know isn’t in your seasonal palette because dammit, the elephants! And then, once the fabric was secured, which pattern? Well that part was easier, because right now all I want to do is make Kalle dresses. Actually, that’s another thing that I’m on the fence about in terms of it being flattering, but honestly, they are such perfect dresses for hot humid weather which is basically most of my life right now that again, I’m letting that go. I’m letting so much go, and embracing elephants. What a life.

So here we are! My second Kalle, by third Elephant dress, shot in the blinding sun of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This face really reflects the ambiguity I feel about this color coupled with a lack of caring. This shot is the most reflective of the dress’ coloring, fyi.

Once again I lengthened this dress (seriously it’s so short, does any one else feel that way? I am a short person!) by five inches, and this time I put in the band collar which, if I’m honest, I probably wont be doing again soon, not my style, but I like to mix it up!

See, the elephants are very small and subtle here, basically they opposite of the way they are in…life. Elephants, great and small, are all amazing.

I don’t really have much to say about this dress, honestly. It came together fast, it’s comfortable as hell, and I am going down a size to the 12 for my next version (already cut!). That’s…about it.

I mean it’s basically a well-shaped sack pretending not to be. I love it.

The sun was extremely bright, and my grimace game strong, but here you go, me, a street in San Juan, elephants. What else is there to say?

If you too love elephants and want to contribute to their safety and survival, there are many places you can donate, and may I suggest this one for today?


Filed under Closet Case Patterns, Clothing, Sewing, Travel

3 responses to “The Annual Elephant Dress Round Three!

  1. Rosie Cortes

    Leah, i saw that it was your birthday on Sunday. I hope you had an enjoyable day celebrating. I was impressed that your dress had a collar. I sewed years ago and am thinking of sewing a dress or two with fabric that I bought years ago, but never had time to sew.
    I’m having a problem finding clothes that fit and flatter these days. I had a bilateral mastectomy last fall. Cancer again. I did not elect to have reconstructive surgery as I am not a glutton for pain. But at times I wonder if I made the right choice. Anyway, almost ten months after my surgery I have found it difficult to find clothes that fit. Everything just hangs. I do not have the swells of flesh that designers assume that most women have, so it’s a trick finding a dress that looks flattering. I keep telling myself that I need to design clothes for myself and other cancer patients that didn’t choose to reconstruct their breasts. But I am a major procrastinator and never make time to design a pattern and try it out. Maybe this will be my month. You’ve inspired me.
    I love your blog. And wonder if Providence put me in your path years ago so I could see read your wonderful blog. Keep it up.
    Rosie Cortes, your second grade teacher.

    • Rosie,
      That is so nice of you to remember my birthday. It was a big one, and I was home in Philadelphia with my parents which was really nice. I am so sorry the hear about your cancer and I hope that your recovery is progressing in a positive way. You absolutely should design something for yourself, if not for others, that celebrates and acknowledges what your body and soul has been through, and understands the way that has transformed your concept of your own flesh. I would love to help with my own meager skills, if you need help, and I would love to see anything you make.

      If Providence put me in your path, it was clearly more for me than you. You are a constant inspiration to me, and you were one of the most important people in my young life and someone I think about all the time. Your patience and kindness inspired me, and your passion is what I credit with my now essential love of reading.

      Making things with my hands has healed so many rough parts of me. I hope you find the same joy in sewing if you decide to do so, or in something else if you pursue that. Thank you for reading my blog.

  2. Annie

    Another cool Kalle! I have a week off…I need to cut one out. Personally, I dig those elephant pants, because elephants! Ganesh is my “om boy” as the tshirt says.

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