Friday, August 12, 2011

The 45-minute dress

I'm obviously undergoing a dress-making craze at the moment. I've pretty much made myself a dress a week for the past few weeks. Not with the intention of achieving that Herculean feat, but it seems to take me about that long to cut, sew, adjust, and finish.

I've learned a variety of new techniques, I'm getting closer to figuring out my size and sewing to that size, which is still a work in progress, as well as the more abstract concept of how a piece of fabric will look with a particular style.

But all of these dresses have been pretty involved. I want to make something cute, but simple. I was trying to explain this to my husband - I just want to make a dress that you can seam up and be done.

"That would be a mumu," he replied.

Well, yes, and that is definitely not what I'm going for.

I've been looking for a nice simple sundress to make. You would think a pattern would be easy to find, but I think I possibly am suffering from too many options. It is hard to know where to look - the big pattern companies, the independent pattern companies, and then the morass that is the web, including vintage patterns on Ebay or Etsy.

As an aside, vintage patterns are all the rage right now among seamstresses online. Who knew?

I settled on this pattern:

Vogue 8723. I'd never made a Vogue pattern before. Ooh la la.

Note this:

Very Easy. The main reason for the selection.

After jumping in, I discovered that a Vogue Very Easy pattern involves:

Full Lining.


Convoluted instructions which resulted in what was probably a bit of a non-traditional construction.

Several days into the dress, I started to become concerned about what a regular Vogue pattern would involve.

The dress is very lovely (and I will give it the respect it deserves at a later time). While creating a fully-lined dress basically involves sewing two dresses at once, the final product is very polished.

But after hemming it up, I wanted something simple. Very simple. And truly easy.

So I dug through my fabric scraps and found this:

Just enough fabric to be modest. I seamed the sides to create a tube, folded over the top for an elastic casing, added straps, and I ended up with this:

(photography by resident four-year-old)

The 45-minute dress. Definitely not as refined or fitted as the Vogue dress, but light, and simple, and immediately available to wear.

"You're done already?" my six-year-old commented. "That was quick!"

Why, yes, it was.

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