The “Statement Necklace” Dress
Fabric: Denim in slate <$1, Vintage voile $22 (only half used)
Pattern: Simplicity 3864
Notions: Belt buckle kit, $.75
Time to complete: 15 hours
First worn: January 2012
Wear again? Yes!!
Total Cost: ~$23
I never wrote a sewing resolution post. If I had, I would have said that (besides making more separates), I was going to try my hardest to make garments that I’m certain I’ll wear more than once. Either that means a more practical garment or something that doesn’t bother me in such a way that I’m never comfortable wearing it. This week’s creation is exactly the sort of multi-use garment that I’m talking about. But, it wasn’t easy to get there. More about that later.
One glance at the photographs and you should be able to immediately spot my inspiration: that gorgeous turquoise and vintage enamel brooch necklace I’m wearing.
In thinking about this challenge, my first instinct was to find a new pair of shoes to base my creation upon (I love shoe shopping and women be shopping!). But I don’t need any new shoes and I really wanted to highlight something special. But I also wanted a new accessory to work with. So I headed to Etsy to find the perfect inspiration.
Almost immediately in my search through San Francisco sellers (I needed it in two days), I found the most beautiful necklace from Yueh-Wen Chang of Sora Designs (here’s the shop’s Facebook profile.). It had everything I wanted my inspiration to be: colorful, repurposed vintage, totally a statement and local. I LOVED it. So I contacted Wen from Sora and asked if, in exchange for the necklace, she’d be interested in having her shop featured at The Sew Weekly. Like the Sew Weekly’s 30 Days of Pincushions, the opportunity to spotlight sellers and their works makes me really happy. Getting a gorgeous necklace like this one, makes me ecstatic!
And to make things sweeter, Wen is offering Sew Weekly readers a discount: From now until 1/31/2012, use the code “Sewhappy10” to receive 10% anything in her store. I wanted to pick out a couple pieces to showcase and I seriously can’t narrow them down! Here are my four favorite pieces currently in the shop:
And now, a bit about the dress.
So as soon as this necklace was chosen, I went downstairs to my sewing
dungeon room to see if I had any fabric that would work with this piece. I imagined a two-toned outfit, a top and a skirt. The top would be super simple in order to let the necklace to shine. The bottom would reflect the colors of the piece. In a matter of moments, I found the perfect fabric — this vintage voile that I purchase on Etsy last year for $22.
While the flowers look a bit more blue than turquoise, I think the print works marvelously. And that was it, I knew what I wanted to make.
So remember that resolution to make separates? Well, the skirt and top quickly turned into a dress. The basic concept (a dark, simple top and a printed skirt) remained and I just decided that it was going to be one piece. Ok, now remember the part about that resolution to work my little fingers until I created something that I truly loved. Well, that came into play with this dress. The pattern has been made up before as my Eat Local Dress and my Barely Green Dress.
The original bodice was way too much like a sack — especially in contrast the light and airy voile of the skirt. It just wasn’t doing it for me at all. Omitting the zipper had made the dress not form-fitting enough and the sleeves were too frumpy. And this was my conclusion after I actually hand-stitched the facings down! But instead of just making due with what I had (and not wearing it again), I decided to go in and alter the bodice until I thought it was perfect. I took about four inches out of the back of the bodice (I could still omit the zipper, thankfully!) and then I chopped the sleeves. I actually kept the facings on the outside since I liked how it looked. Oh, and I took in the shoulders about one inch. And then I went to bed.
When I put on the dress this morning, I was quite pleased how it looked (especially since I hadn’t tried it on with my slip previously). I was happy that I went the extra step to make it fit better and make it something I knew I’d wear again and again. And that made me quite happy!
I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but here in San Francisco, it’s uncharacteristically warm. It should be raining and it’s not (which, probably is a pretty bad thing). I was able to go the entire day with this dress and a light sweater. And I couldn’t resist the San Francisco shot that makes me realize how beautiful California can be.