Garment Stories: Floral Dress

This is a new category born out of my burning wish to tell this one thing… It’s not #100wears just yet for this one, and it is long way from being beyond repair, but it’s a lovely gem of a garment and the story behind it makes it even lovelier. In this case, because I made it!

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If you have followed this blog for a while – or met me in person more than once – you should have gathered by now that I am a dress person. For me those are the most comfortable and versatile garments, and I pity Western men for having stopped using them. On the other hand, in the era of skinnies and t-shirts, there is an air of something special around a dress, just because of their scarcity. Here, have a blogger quote about all that amazingness:

I wore only dresses for three months in 2017 just to make a point about their versatility (1, 2), and now I have finally made one myself. Aplaudiment! But it started with another dress and my desire to refashion… I picked a dark blue summer dress from my mom’s wardrobe during the same purge that the gingham dress. But this one is not made from jersey and is way too big for me as it is, so fixing it is not that straightforward. I brought it to Carmen at Opció Taller (the best place ever in Barcelona to get your sewing or shoemaking classes, for real) and she, finally tired of me winging it, suggested I finally do a pattern-making course because then I’d have my ‘base pattern’ to fix garments against.

So I joined one of her joyful mini-classes (sharing the professor with only two other fun ladies) in February, and went through the motions of measurements and pattern construction once a week. Just to calm my productivity anxiety, I was sewing the second yoga mat bag meanwhile.

What normal people do for the base-pattern class is to buy cotonet – the rustic 100% cotton used mostly for 3D pattern making – or to use some other no good fabric (old sheets, etc.) to do he second stage of pattern making, actually stitching it all together and trying it on a body. With no malicious intention but with my waste reducing subconsciousness clearly alert, I just ignored the idea and showed up without such material. Carmen proceeded to get out of her chambers of deadstock magic a loud floral fabric for me to practice on… and I fell in love. It even has a second-order story: it comes from a textile plant that Carmen’s family still owns, and they have made mostly bed linen out of it. Carmen took a bunch to Spain to cover her sofa, but Cristián protested it and to the cupboard that fabric went

Sooo… the practice went on and it just made perfect sense to actually make it into a garment instead of tossing it all out, mistakes and all. My 3D pattern got a skirt, and hand-basted all together, this is what I had:

Then on to the machine it went for some proper sewing:

Many firsts happened on this dress. Not only my first bust pattern, first darts, first sleeves, first pockets, but also my first neckline facing

…and three invisible zippers, because I really wanted trustworthy pockets (and no purses)!

I hadn’t taken into account that this floaty volume is not backpack friendly: it rides up and exposes my bum… Bah! So no backpack with this dress until I finally make the tulle petticoat I’ve been wanting since forever. Meanwhile, as you can see above, for additional comfort it works fine with trousers underneath. We’ll see how the fabric will feel in the sweaty Barcelona summer and how it will wear, both my stitching and the fabric. Already after the first few wears it seems that it is prone to piling, ugh… This is what happens when you live off random deadstock. Will keep you updated!

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What have you been up to, my talented friends? Have you done any life-giving fixes recently? Made any garments? Or is there something you would like to fix and don’t know how to? A fun fabric you keep looking at and sighing wistfully?

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Luīze

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