Tag Archives: maxi-dress

The Worth The Wait Dress

This is the first thing I ever made when I came to India, and it is sort of strange and wonderful and awful that I haven’t blogged it before now. But the thing about this dress is, it is probably also my favorite thing that I’ve made here to date, and I’ve worn it so many times and thought about photographing it So. Many. Times. that it in some strange way makes sense that I never took a moment to photograph it before because I was too busy loving it to get a moment to document it. I have seriously worn this dress in all kinds of circumstances, in several Indian cities, all over Mumbai, and now, finally, in Udaipur, the most romantic of Indian cities, which I recently visited (i.e. returned from today) with my friend, Emily. We had a very romantic time in Udaipur, although people did ask me where my husband was, but I mentioned that such a thing would be wasted on him….

Isn’t is amazing how the garments that are most useful to you end up being the very last that you document and share with the world? I have put this dress on so many times and told myself I was going to get photos of it and every time that has been a huge fail. The very evening I finished it I was all set to go out in it, and then our plans got cancelled, we ended up in with wine and netflix, and that was the first time of many that the documentation of this dress was a dream deferred. I wore this to work, to be the hospitality official for a Bollywood celebration event (don’t ask, I can’t even deal with my life here sometimes), out to a birthday party in Kolkata, to my friend’s literary panel in Bangalore, and now, strolling the streets of Udaipur. This dress gets around.

Maxi-dresses were never really my thing, but I have to say, it’s a really useful thing to have here in India. If you are planning a trip to India, let me recommend the maxi-dress. Maxi-dresses are extremely useful here, they keep you cool and comfortable and you still subscribe to Indian modesty standards, limiting and arbitrary as they are. I personally am not a huge fan of the way that some clothing traditions restrict women and not men, especially when they have no cultural or religious injunction and are a modern invention that has had an imagined social history established as part of a national myth, but you should check out my other blog for my more articulate feelings on THAT subject. Nevertheless, I live in India, and however else I feel, I still want to adapt. Maxi-dresses are a helpful way to do that. They work really well in a rickshaw, which is good, because the open-air of the experience along with the bumps in the road make you happy you have covered your lower body and don’t have to think about anything. Except how awesome this looks! Check it out:



As maxi-dresses go, I happen to think this one is aces. And I finally got a chance to take photos of it, courtesy of Emily! Thanks, Emily! And the setting couldn’t be more perfect. Thanks, Udaipur!


As I said, this was the first thing I made when I got here. I found the fabric quite near to my apartment between Santacruz West, where we live, and Bandra, a super hip neighborhood. I was going to meet my friend Natasha, hi, Natasha! for lunch, when she texted that she would be late, a common ailment in Mumbai because of the traffic. I took a moment to explore the neighborhood around the place we were to meet, and found Sew In Style, a fabric store along the way.


I picked up this Ikat fabric, and cut out a maxi dress from it, employing a little strategy mixing directions along with my bodice block for the bodice. I wanted a slightly looser style, so I added a larger seam allowance than usual, and I finished everything with bias tape instead of lining it. Very Mumbai weather friendly…


I drafted the skirt, whose large box pleats do not seem that evident in these photos, and it’s turned out quite well. The hem is a little narrow for the strenuous activity I have performed in this dress, but what can you do? Sometimes you buy fabric first, realize what you need later, it is what it is. And I sort of like lifting up the skirts of this dress as I climb up large temple stairs and pitch myself over obstacles. I feel downright historical.


A little back view for you, with the skirt in a very bell-like situation.


A little close up of the bodice, slightly obstructed by my hair, for which I will blame Udaipur. Udaipur, which is a small city in Rajasthan, is simply gorgeous, and on a small lake.


Everything in this town is about the lake, the views, the sunset over it, the palace near it, etc. It’s great.


But the wind is also…a thing .

Also, we realized I had been standing in front of an amazing royal marble bench that whole time and not even used it! A fatal crime, am I right? I had to deal with that.


My best possible Maharani pose. I think I do the Mewar dynasty fairly proud, don’t I?


Okay, I couldn’t keep it up for long. But what can I say, I’m just a girl in a maxi-dress, making life work for me as best as possible. I am so glad I finally blogged about this dress, though. Of all the places I wore it, this was the best, view-wise. Well worth the wait, I say. For the first dress I made in my new home, I knew something special was in order. Thanks, Udaipur. You, like this dress, were worth the wait.


Filed under Sewing, Travel

The In The Pink Dress

I wouldn’t consider myself a girlie-girl, per se, though my mother might disagree, because compared to her I’m Imelda Marcos meets Marilyn Monroe meets Shirley Temple. And that’s just because I enjoy a ruffle or two, while my mother once turned to me and said, stop sewing with ruffles. It’s too many ruffles. Take a break. And, as usual, she was correct. That woman knows her ruffles. I do like a floral, and a shimmery eyeshadow, on occasion, I enjoy le Pinterest, and I have been known to order the rare fluffy cocktail, although not as much as what’s-his-face, who never met a fruity cocktail he didn’t like. So maybe I’m somewhere between my mom and him on that scale. That’s a fun thought….

But generally I would like to think that I’m more womanly than girlie. Girlie is like Polly Pocket (which, sidenote, remember Polly Pocket? Why did anyone think that was good for small children? It has so many choke-worthy parts! Can you even buy that anymore? I had, like, 4.) Womanly is like Mae West. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself…but I honestly can’t remove, by surgery or otherwise, my enjoyment of pink. I like pink. Especially bright pink, the brighter the better. Maybe that’s the adult way to like pink, in fact, as a fierce bold color, not a pastel insipid one. Maybe liking pink is the daring choice, especially in New York, where black is the new black is the new black. Maybe pink can be a feminist statement, not a Stepford-Wife aspiration, saying that I’m comfortable enough enjoying such a pretty-pretty-princess color while still maintaining my adult (well….semi-adult, let’s be real, 26 years and a master’s degree does not a complete grown-up make) sense of self.

At any rate, anxieties about adulthood aside, I recently was puzzling over a pink fabric purchase from months ago, two yards of magenta jersey from, where else, GirlCharlee.com, and thinking what would be the best use of it. A wrap dress? I’ve made so many. A few tops? I’m kind of sick of overbuying jersey and having three shirts in the same color. And then it hit me, a maxi-dress. I’ve wanted another since my first attempt, and I knew I wanted to use the Mission Maxi for the bodice, while having a fuller skirt on the bottom. I also knew I wanted sleeves, albeit little kimono ones. These desires fresh in my mind, I went to work, using a highly unscientific method of making it up as I went. I cut, snipped, and hoped for the best. And you know what? It turned out pretty wonderfully!

ITP 2.jpgOh, dear, that expression looks really painful but I promise this was a really fun day! I wore this dress to my department graduation, where what’s-his-face and I both were lucky enough to hear the most amazing speech from the truly astounding playwright, Anne Washburn, and then we enjoyed lunch and a boat ride with what’s-his-face’s family. As it turns out, a maxi-dress transitions well from place to place, and boy does it work well in New York in warm weather and then out on the semi-open seas. And the color? I can only speak for myself, but I think it works.

ITP 1.jpgThere we go, that looks like a better face, right? Much more reflective of the day. Tour boats might seem touristy, but actually they are the most fun, especially when the weather is lovely. Manhattan looks lovely from afar, where you can’t smell the garbage so strongly, and New Jersey even looks attractive, woodsy and well groomed. I would heartily recommend it, for tourists and natives alike.

ITP 5.jpgI have to tell you, I’m deeply in love with this dress. I got more positive feedback on it from my classmates at our department graduation than I did on any of my work over the past two years. Which is….sad, now that I come to think about it. No, I’m just kidding. My classmates are amazing and I have been so lucky that they all support my writing AND my sewing.

ITP 4.jpgThe construction of this was extremely simple, just like knits always are. I gathered a large rectangle into the skirt, and stitched up the bodice with a neck binding and a simple turn and stitch hem at the sleeves. I actually left the skirt un-hemmed because it was the perfect length and I didn’t want to mess with that. I know, I know, sloppy, sloppy, but whatever, I can live with that.

Just to prove to you that these boat trips are fun, check out some views:

ITP 6.jpgNot too shabby, right? One more:

ITP 7.jpgIf only there weren’t so many PEOPLE in the way. Damn the world…

ITP 3.jpgOne final happy boat shot. This is totally going to be my go-to summer dress, I can tell right now. Pink and all, girlie or womanly, it’s me, and that’s what matters.


Filed under Clothing, Jamie Christina Patterns, knit

The Under The Impression Dress

Happy 4th of July, everyone! I hope that if you celebrate the United States of America’s sort of kind of birthday you had the best day, and if you don’t, I hope you had a decent Thursday and ignored all the fuss. I actually worked today (time and a half whaaaaaaaaa?!?) so I didn’t exactly get to do the whole bbq and booze thing, but I hope you did, if that’s your bag!

So, as a short person, I have always been a bit wary of this whole Maxi-dress/skirt trend. That’s for all willowy giraffes, I told myself. A short curvy struggle like myself would look like she was swimming in fabric! No, no, no, none of that nonsense for me, I sensibly declared, and then watched in envy as seamstresses the world over made gorgeous curve hugging breezy-looking maxi-dresses from Jamie Christina’s oh so popular pattern.

But this summer, I had  a long talk with my friend Becca (hi, Becca!) about the subject, because I don’t know about you, but with some of my friends I can literally debate an item of clothing, a shape, a material, hell, a COLOR for, like, an hour and not get bored. This must be a me thing. That said, some people can talk about sports forever and beyond, they won, balls were thrown, running happened, I literally have no idea what that would be like, so we’re all different. So Becca and I weighed the pros and cons, she described her own maxi-dress (a very cute woven number, for those inquiring minds wanting to know, it’s good, I’ve seen it), I shared my fears, she comforted me, we laughed, we cried, we loved, and we learned. It was a deeply emotional journey, I don’t mind telling you, but I’ve come out on the other side now, a stronger better woman for it.

The point is, I flipping went for it and bought the pattern and made a damn maxi-dress. Which, as it turns out, really isn’t such a big deal! Concerned as I was, I figured, well, you hate it, you can  chop off a few feet at the hem and make it a normal-sauce dress. This isn’t brain surgery here. Sidenote, if it was brain surgery, I would currently be being thanked by a grateful patient and their gushing relatives because I’m pretty sure I rocked this:


I KNOW, RIGHT? I’m pretty into this. Like, in a big way. Probably because I was so concerned it wouldn’t work, that the fact that it does (it does, right, I’m not taking crazypills here?) has filled me with glee and delight. I seriously feel like a goddess in this thing. I feel like a model. I feel like no one even noticed me tripping over my hem because I look so damn good. AM I RIGHT?


This pattern is unbearably easy to put together. Like, it’s STUPID easy. For my first go-around I picked view A, which seemed the simplest. I used a cotton jersey from Paron’s, which I scored on sale recently (I have a problem….). It was a dream to sew with, actually, and I have enough left to make a tank top, I think….

UTI 3The bindings are a little interesting, but I like the final result:

UTI 12

There is a bit of a bra-showing going down here, about which I am not wild. Ah, well.


My friend Jacqui, who I ALSO discussed this with, because seriously I think I talked to, like, five separate women about this if not more, so nervous was I, told me that she thinks maxi-dresses look GOOD on short ladies because you look like a column. Thoughts?


So why the title? Well, for one thing, I had been under the impression that this style wouldn’t work for me, and lo and behold it does! In fact, a total stranger told me she liked my dress on my block yesterday. Granted, she may or may not have been a crack addict, but you know what, still counts!

UTI 5I really crack myself up during photo sessions, especially when there is ice cream involved.


And for another thing, yesterday my friend Victoria and I (hi, Victoria!) went to the Met (museum not opera) and decided to devote ourselves to the impressionism wing. In between picking out Matisse paintings we would hang in our summer homes if we A. could have a Matisse painting and B. had multiple summer homes, we devoured the Van Goghs and firmly ignored the Renoirs (because….gross), and generally had a lovely lovely time. And then we got wine. Which made it all even lovelier…

UTI 9(My met admission sticker is still clearly stuck to my hip. Sigh….)

But in between she took my photos! So in tribute to the day, which was lovely, and the dress, which I’m pretty damn into, I dub this the “Under The Impression Dress”.

I also saw some lovely paintings, two of which fascinated me particularly because of the ways the painters depicted fabric:

UTI 10Gorgeous, no?

UTI 11Don’t you just want to touch this dress?

So I had to make some art of my own, obviously:

UTI 13Still life with cat. It’s pretty brilliant, I know….

Have you ever had an assumption about something and then tried it out and just loved it? Do tell…have you made a maxi? Tell me about that, too!


Filed under Jamie Christina Patterns, knit, Sewing