Tag Archives: celebration

The Lots To Celebrate Dress

Ah, the 4th of July. What a holiday. Who would have known that when a bunch of slave-owning white man got together and said, you know what is the worst, paying taxes to other white men who speak our language on a tiny island far away, let’s deal with that in a long and elaborately worded “Dear John (or George, as the case may be) letter”, we would, some three centuries later, be celebrating that half-assed international mailing with fireworks, beer and awful displays of jean-short madness? Also, quick side-note, given that overseas mail took signficantly longer then, that must have been the most anti-climactic break-up ever. That’s like sending an “it’s over” text via carrier pigeon.

Look, I’m just kidding, I’m a huge fan of the founding Fathers of the United States, specifically Benjamin Franklin who gave us firehouses, public libraries, bifocals, and the best children’s book ever.  My father is probably Franklin’s biggest fan, and you can’t help but be a bit of a groupie if you grow up in Philadelphia, Franklin’s adopted city. He was actually from Boston, and was apprenticed to a candlemaker until he escaped and…you know what? You should read his autobiography. I did. At the age of 13. Because my father made me. And then you can come to Philadelphia and see his home and his grave and the University he founded and the museum named after him and you can cry to your dad that you don’t WANT to read more about Franklin and you like John Adams because Principle Feeney played him in this movie and besides he seemed like a cool guy who respected women and oh my god I need a moment a lot of my childhood just flashed back excuse me. Sob.

ANYWAY.  I even love celebrating July 4th.  Who doesn’t love freedom? Specifically a freedom only granted to landowning White males of a certain income and education level? It’s a great excuse to grill a bunch of things, drink a bunch of wine (I don’t CARE if it comes from Europe, it’s freedom juice to me!) and enjoy some time with my family. That’s worth celebrating, right? It’s certainly worth a new outfit….

And with no further ado, may I present to you the latest in a long line of Plantain and Plantain hacks, my Lots To Celebrate Dress? Don’t mind if I do!


Ah, I love this dress! And could it BE more patriotic? My cynical ramblings are totally negated by this dress, aren’t they?

So, yes, Plantain. To this. How,you say? Well, I took the top part of the top, that is, above the waist, and used that to cut the bodice. I then slimmed it on the front and back pieces by about two inches, and used the sleeves as they were, and the neck binding. Then I just cut and gathered the skirt. Gathering a knit is the damn worst. I don’t recommend it. It’s dumb. Still! I like this.



The fabric I got at my beloved Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet for literally 1.98 a yard. Because, Philadelphia. I got two yards and I still have enough to make a tank top. Luckily it stretches in both directions because the vertical stripe and I are good friends.

LTC 5Although I do think that it is deeply hilarious that the stripes look bigger on the bodice because of my, um, front area. Sigh. Whatever. Franklin would have appreciated this. He loved himself some ladies.

LTC 3A little rear view for you. This dress was insanely easy to sew. I have made this pattern 10 times now and it only gets easier. And it wasn’t hard to begin with. Make this pattern. It’s awesome. That’s all I can say about it. It’s easy and fast and free. What else do you want on July 4th?

LTC 6Obviously these photos were not taken in Brooklyn, but rather at my parent’s house in Philadelphia where we had a lovely BBQ to celebrate the holiday. Not that we are so into it, but, honestly, any excuse to grill…

LTC 8Obviously I left Cadfael in Brooklyn but that’s okay, I wasn’t lonely:

LTC 7Cats gotta be a part of everything, am I right?

LTC 9We made some excellent slaw from this excellent blog. Try that today, too.

So, obviously, celebrating the United States and it’s weird and wonderfully awkward revolution is important. But it’s also important to celebrate personal things too, like this dress, or the slaw I made with my mom, or, you know, getting engaged. Which I also did. So there’s that.

LTC 11Yes. Sharp eyed readers will have noticed this new piece of jewelry making it’s first appearance on the blog. And in my life. As it turns out, what’s-his-face was not just hanging out with me for the sewing tips, and he proposed to me recently. So in honor of that event, and because my mom is unhappy with the moniker “what’s-his-face”, my gentleman caller is being upgraded to Mr. Struggle. I don’t know that you will ever see him on this blog, as he is shy, but I do know that I will be documenting all of my wedding-related makes here, so it seems only fair to tell you why all the white all of a sudden. And why I have a lot to celebrate. He took these photos of me. Maybe that’s why I look so happy? Hard to tell. It’s probably just dreaming about Ben Franklin….

LTC 1Yeah. That’s gotta be it.

I hope you had the best 4th of July possible if you live in the United States, and if not, I hope you had a lovely Friday that had no other meaning to you. I know I did. Thanks, dead white guys!



Filed under Deer and Doe, Life, Sewing

The Sphere of Influence Dress

Happy Independence Day! If you, like me, adore the musical 1776, you have enjoyed this day for that reason alone. Because the parades are deeply annoying, given that I can’t get around them even on a bike, and people injure themselves yearly with homemade fireworks and barbeques are full of PEOPLE and I certainly don’t like that….I do like real, non-homemade fireworks, but I never get the chance to see them, though as I type this, thunder and lightning split the sky, giving us here in the great city of Philadelphia, home of the Declaration of Independence (seriously, go rent the film version of 1776, it stars Mr. Feeny as John Adams and it’s just the best), some real artisanal fireworks courtesy of nature herself.

I wore this dress which I actually made for an event for Jenny’s wedding, but didn’t get a chance to photograph, to a very relaxed evening with my parents at their house. At any rate, I don’t know how festive this thing actually is, it’s really more vaguely Ming Vase themed then anything else. So that’s why I’ve deemed it the sphere of influence dress, to symbolize our complicated relationship with China which dates back to the 1800s, and to pay tribute to the famous “spheres of influence” which caught the Chinese Empire in a world of colonialism under the guide of benevolent imperialism. I know, not a day goes by you don’t sew a garment and dedicate it to fighting the patriarchy, any way you can….

I think it’s pretty darn cute, honestly. The bodice is Dixie DIY‘s ballet dress bodice, with a few modifications. I took it in on the sides (from a size medium, and honestly I could probably go to a small with no fitting issues), and re-drafted it a bit to be less of a “bodice” shape and more of a “tank top” shape. I also lengthened it by 2 inches, so I could be sure it would fall at my natural waist, which it does. I lowered the neckline by about 1 inch and a half, and I narrowed the straps, That ultimately proved useless, as the finishing binding is rather thick, and honestly I should have narrowed the straps more, really, they aren’t what I had in mind, but I like this, nonetheless!

The skirt is Vivat Veritas’ half-circle skirt, as I wanted something a bit fuller than Dixie’s (wonderful) design. I have made that skirt three times now, but of course some how I cut this one out on a bit of an asymmetric angle. I DO NOT KNOW HOW. But it was totally unintentional intentional. I honestly didn’t notice it until I tried it on for the first time and then I tried to convince myself I was just seeing things. However, my ever observant Mamala commented on it today, so I had to just own up to it and go with lalalalala design choice asymmetric hems are in this year lalalalalalalala.

The fabric came from Girl Charlee. I can’t talk enough about how much I love Girl Charlee.

Here it is from the back. I would still like the bodice to be a bit tighter but honestly it’s SO COMFORTABLE so how can I really complain?

Side view. Thanks for taking these photos, Mamala! I’m getting a tripod soon, for my birthday (WHICH IS MONDAY) so I wont have to torture my relatives and friends for much longer.

Now, as I made this dinner and we ate it in our garden, I thought you might like to see A. what was served and B. the garden, as the fruits of the labors I mentioned back in May. Oh, you have no interest in any of that? Suck it up.

Turkey and Beef Burgers from Whole Foods with baked fries (so…are they bakes? Whatever, they are potatoes which I peeled, sliced and baked, okay? We also had a capresse salad.)

Me with wine.

A white eggplant, on the stalk, growing…

A cantaloupe! This is what they look like, as babies. Later their skin does that wrinkly thing.

Tomatoes, ripening on the vine.

Beans, which we really plant because they add nitrogen to the soil, but their fruits are a delicious bonus.

Chard! How pretty is chard? It’s a very dramatic plant, if you ask me.

There are also flowers.

So there you go. Vegetables, flowers, a cute and easy knit dress. Is there any other way to enjoy our nation’s freedom? (And of course in point of fact the 4th wasn’t the celebration of the freedom of the United States, it just celebrates the day a small group of white men wrote an angry bitchy letter to the UK and signed it in fancy ways. It’s the Colonial equivalent of singing “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Still, it’s fun to grill things.)

A parting shot of me, my dress, and an awkward smile. Enjoy!

And don’t forget about the giveaway! And look for a new one for Friday!


Filed under Clothing, Sewing