Hot! The “Deep Woods” Dress

The Facts

  • Fabric: deep green poly blend? Seems like a lot of the free fabric I get is polyester…
  • Pattern: Simplicity 5681
  • Year: 2003
  • Notions: thread
  • Time to complete: 5 hours
  • First worn: July 14, 2012
  • Wear again?: Yes
  • Total price: $0

You almost can’t go wrong with a completely free dress. Stash fabric I got for free (thank you poor old lady going into a home who I’m sure didn’t realize her daughter was giving away her freakishly large fabric stash–I’m putting your fabric to good use) plus thread I got for free (thank you brother of my friend for telling your hoarder wife she had to get rid of some of her sewing stuff) equals this dress inspired by my deep love for the deep woods. I did spend 10 cents on the pattern, so I guess it wasn’t completely free, but close enough.

One problem did arise during construction. There are supposed to be these triangular addendums, as it were, to the side of the skirt near the bottom but once the narrow hem was added they stuck out like hideous, injured wings. So I cut them off. No, I didn’t pick out the stitches and re-sew the skirt. I just cut them right off. I guess I was in a hurry to get to where the photoshoot would take place…

We took these photos in at Camp Lake Louise in northern Michigan, where my husband has gone since he was a child, my son has gone each summer (with us) since he was 5 weeks old, and to which I was introduced after my senior year at high school when I worked all summer as a lifeguard on the waterfront and dishwasher in the kitchen. Each summer my husband is the camp pastor for the junior high camp for one week. It was on the beach at Lake Louise that my husband proposed to me when I was 18. It was in that clear spring-fed lake I was baptized when I was 19. It was there where we heard our son’s first laugh and where he later took his first steps. It has inspired my poetry and photography and it was where I started my first completed novel. It is a place that holds a very special, tender place in my heart. And it’s where I’m spending this whole week. Mostly outdoors.


Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.


Comments are closed.

  1. Nice dress and pretty nice color!

    It is funny – because yesterday I was interesting how in English(I am not English speaker) people call person who collect many-many fabrics or something else!%) Today you use this words stash and hoarder, pretty funny%))

  2. What a lovely story to go with a lovely dress : ) Thank you for sharing.

  3. Very cool green dress and photos to match. Lucky you, to snatch up such a treasure of fabric and thread.

    • I am very, VERY lucky in the free fabric department. Though I’m running out of things appropriate for summer wear, so I’m glad we’ll be sewing for autumn soon!

  4. Hi Erin, I remember being a camp lifeguard and what a great experiences it was to be outdoors and connected to nature. Love your dress and the color looks amazing on you. Have a fantastic week.

  5. What how lovely to have all those great memories from the one place! Love the hemline and it’s a lovely colour. Polyester is not easy to sew so nice job!

  6. Love your dress.. Great photos too..

  7. Wow! FREE stuff! that’s my kind of bargain. Nice job on the dress Erin and what a special little sanctuary with so much significance to you and your family that you hold sacred. So, can we buy this completed novel of yours?

    • Someday, I hope. :) I’ve been revising and looking for representation. Practically the only way to get published in the US is through the help of a literary agent. But first one has to want to represent your work. IT’s a long process with a lot of rejection, but I’m patient. I work in publishing, so I know how it goes. :)

  8. What a wonderful green. The dress looks great without those triangular pieces on the side (I looked at the pattern…what were they thinking? Maybe this detail works better with chiffon…) Love the story about the place.

    • I think it must work better with a really sheer fabric, but then there are no instructions in the pattern to make a lining, so I’m not sure they were even thinking along those lines.

  9. What lovely inspiration and a great dress as well!