Tag Archives: Eyelet

The Recipe For Disaster Dress

It is excellent advice, in a sea of far too much advice, that Polonious gives to his son, Laertes: To thine own self be true. Of course, it comes with a bunch of other stuff around it that is questionable, I mean, neither borrower nor lender be? I think the banking industry would have some issues with that one. Do not dull thy palm with entertainment/ Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade? That’s basically telling him to never make a new friend. Don’t you want your kid to have FRIENDS, Polonius? Jesus. But the worst one for me is probably: give thy thoughts no tongue, which is just….I mean. That’s pretty much, like, my entire personality and career. So THANKS, Polonious, for that nugget of wisdom. But the last thing he says, the be true to yourself thing, is pretty good, and often quoted by many, and we all like it, right? It’s very new-agey for an Elizabethan writer. You can just imagine the teenagers who went and saw Hamlet at the globe and then came home and were like MOM I’m not GETTING married or getting APPRENTICED or ANYTHING. I’m becoming a LUTE PLAYER because that’s who I really AM. I’m being true to ME. It’s a wonder that play wasn’t banned, I swear.

But the point is, you SHOULD be true to yourself, really, I do believe that, and that starts with knowing yourself. But that said, I do sometimes make things that, despite real and sincere efforts towards self-knowledge as an adult human, have nothing to do with me and my life. I mean, I’m the kind of person who should wear a bib at leas 75% of the time, because I am klutzy in the extreme, prone to spilling, dripping, splattering and dropping anything and everything on myself within mere minutes of donning a light-colored ensemble. And yet, for some reason, my clothing for the past few months has been trending towards a color I should really avoid, purely because I rarely treat it well. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about white. White, whose pure expanse I ruin with coffee, sauces, dirt, lipstick, you name it, I’ve done it. There isn’t a white I own that I haven’t spilled something on. Truly I, like Laertes, ought to be true to myself, shouldn’t I? I should be true to the me that spills and wear clothing made out of whatever fabric those absorbent Dockers are made of, honestly, because that would probably be the best bet. Or some kind of laminated fabric, raincoat material. Or all black, all the time.

But for whatever reason, it seems that I have had a growing attraction to said color this year. I’ve been flirting with all white dresses this year by making a bunch of things like this, and this, and this, that aren’t all white but are MOSTLY to 50% white. But this time? I went all the way. WHY? Why did I do this? When I put this dress on, what’s-his-face was like, are you sure you want to wear that? We are going to lunch and you….and then he discreetly trailed off. He blamed Indian food, which he said has the propensity to stain. Yeah. Sure. The FOOD is the problem.

I ditched this number for the lunch, but put it back on again for a friend’s birthday, and of course I spilled on it, and life went on. The truth is, I like white, and I spill on everything, and I just have to accept that. Perhaps THAT is being to mine own self true.

Enough with the philosophy! To the dress:

I used my typical bodice block, which I wanted to be a bit loose because I knew it would have to fit over a slip, so I added two inches at the side seams, and I pleated up a skirt. Pockets, natch, self-drafted sleeves that are a bit floofier than I had wanted but they’ve grown on me, and that is about it, honestly.

Love a pocket! Don’t you?

See, a little self-conscious of the floofy sleeves. But the pleats look nice in this one! The fabric is really the star here, I believe:

I love the vertical pattern of the eyelet, I think it makes it less cutesy, although this is still solidly in the cutesy category, and more clean. I got it at Thakur, of course, my new favorite.

I would say, stains aside, white is quite nice in the Mumbai heat.

Side view for ya.

And back!

So there you have it. A dress that would probably be better for someone who isn’t me, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Maybe that’s the real problem with Polonious’ advice, that one’s own self is sometimes a bit of a conundrum, confusing even to the self that one is. Ah, well. For as long as I have this dress and don’t stain it irrevocably, I like it!

 

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The Commencement Means Beginning Dress

Graduations are awfully strange affairs. After an intense education experience, a glorious glass bubble of learning and work and effort and delight (I…love school….) the bubble suddenly pops from a champagne cork right through the heart of the glass, covering you and people who apparently went to school with you although they are perfect strangers, with painful shards while relatives snap photos and you sweat in polyester robes. Or, more simply put, the experience of graduation never seems to have anything to do with the experience of education. They just don’t seem to relate in any way, normally. My undergraduate graduation was a three-day affair of strange traditions ripped from early Anglophilic American settlers who were too good for/not good enough for British universities. But, I got to meet this dog! 4711_572279200734_400281_n

So it was kind of the best day ever. God, I miss him. I MISS HIM SO MUCH! But honestly, as interesting as it all was, my graduation, it literally had nothing to do with my day-to-day college life. Which, maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe graduations are so different because they mark a new chapter of life. However, my most recent commencement, from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, was a disasterously disorganized affair. Which…actually is exactly reflective of my Art School experience. Wow! Look at that. Well, I mean, come on, do you really trust creative people to plan anything? Like an administration? Though you would think that given that this was basically a production, they would have figured it out more….but whatever. Martin Scorsese waved his little Italian hands at us and described his recent dreams. Undergraduates did a medley from Ragtime. I nearly strangled myself with my brown velvet masters hood. It was pretty special. No dogs, though….

But I made THIS dress, unlike last time! What a difference 5 years makes…

CMB4.jpgAnd obviously, I went on theme. NYU’s school color is a deep violet. I just HAPPENED to have this in my stash from my exchange with the lovely and talented Amity of Lolita Patterns, and I thought, well, let’s do this thing. What’s-his-face’s father asked me if I was still wearing my robes, so I like to think I succeeded!

CMB7.jpgThe pattern is By Hand London’s Elisalex pattern. After the last time I made it I was itching to try it again. I want to make more, but I think I need to adjust the bust and arms. It fits beautifully everywhere but in the bust, where I feel like I’m wearing a corset. And a breast binding. And armor. Breathing became a challenge. CMD2.jpgEh, what can you do. I still love this dress and will wear it again. And breathe lightly.

CMB5.jpgThe back is just so good. I love it.

CMB8.jpgFor the skirt, I just gathered two rectangles. I wanted it to be really full and I wasn’t disappointed. This pattern is really quite easy to put together, honestly, especially because I’ve done it before. I like princess seams, they are flattering and nice and I think they will be easy to adjust. 1500.jpg

The bodice came out a little short. It looked okay, and it looks fine here, but I would also lengthen the bodice pieces next time, because the empire look isn’t a good one on me.

CMB6.jpgThat lovely gold necklace was a gift. The pearl one came from pearls my friend Lisa got me in China. My neck was overflowing with love! I lined the bodice with white fabric but left the skirt unlined, which shocked my roommate Emily, who took the photos. I figured the gathering would take care of it, and hey, man, it totally did.

CMB9.jpgTake a look at the eyelet! Amity has splendid taste. So cute, right?

CMB10.jpgI used it for the skirt as well. Eyelet makes everything easier, I tell you, no hemming!

CMB1.jpgOne final full body shot. You can totally see the shadow of Emily haunting these photos. Thanks, Emily!

Massive massive congratulations to the NYU Class of 2014, and to all graduates! You guys better have themed your outfits, too. Come on, get into it! It’s fun!

Now that school is over, let’s see if my clothing production and blog output resumes its normal pace, shall we? Of course, I’m looking for a job in writing, so, you know, I might just be having daily nervous breakdowns instead. Who can say?

In other news, I’m selling vintage patterns in my Etsy shop! Check them out here:

StruggleSews

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Filed under By Hand London, Sewing