Remember back when I said I was going to try to sew something for myself every month? And then my kitchen imploded? Well, believe it or not, I kept sewing. Not quite at the one-garment-per-month rate, but not terrible either. I just didn’t get my act together to photograph things.
I’ve also decided that after this, I’m going to post images of garments on the hanger or nicely arranged on some furniture or something. It turns out, I really, really hate taking pictures of myself. And I’m bad at it. So, no more of that.
Several years ago, I made gardening aprons from thrift store dresses as Christmas gifts for friends. They have deep pockets for holding tomatoes or a trowel. At that time, I picked up an extra dress, intending to make one for myself, but never got around to it. I did it in April, and it made all my garden work over the summer so much easier! No more setting down my clippers and then wondering where they had gone.
Back in ancient times, right after we got married, JC and I bought our giant blue couch at a consignment shop in Charlottesville. Our friend Andy Clingempeel helped us bring it over the mountain in his truck, and then assisted in hauling it up the stairs to our apartment. One of my favorite features of it was that it had a lot of different pillows that could be rearranged (rather than one or two large back cushions), so that people could design their own comfort. Over the years, the pillows have slowly disappeared or gotten destroyed. So I saved a bunch of old bed pillows and made up a big collection of new couch cushions. Here they are all together, although really, we keep them distributed on the various couches in the house. I still need to do a repair where the cats have torn up one of the arms—planning to use some more of the phoenix fabric for that.
Kitchen flood. Survival.
We had some unseasonably cool mornings in August. It was still too warm for my big fluffy terrycloth robe (which, incidentally, I bought a few years ago and is falling apart—seeking recommendations for a new one!).
I took some flannel left over from other projects and made myself sort of a… half robe? Morning jacket? Who knows, but it’s soft and reversible and I love it. If you think you recognize the print, you’re right—it was left over from my favorite thing I ever made for Silas.
So, I actually did the sewing part of this dress in early July (before the flood). The pattern is the same as the morning jacket, just longer. What happened was that I saw a targeted ad. I liked the dress, but I was pretty sure that the company advertising it was Not Legit. I thought, “I could make that.”
And then I did, but honestly not quite. I made it in white linen, thinking I would dye it, but didn’t ever quite get there. Honestly, given the current state of the kitchen, dyeing anything feels impossible. So it sat on my sewing table for a while.
And then I got the official word that the play I was supposed to do this fall was canceled. I wasn’t surprised; it was before Delta had peaked, it would have required me (and probably my family) to go out of state for several weeks, and doing theater at all is risky right now. Still, there was something about having it made Official that sent me into a serious funk. I felt weirdly compulsive about needing to Create something. So I got out that dress, and I did glue batik on it. I didn’t have much of a plan. I just started laying in lines of glue, and at some point it started to look like the Shenandoah with its famous bends. And then I made a little house, and a moon, and a sun and some mountains.
After the glue dried, I spent several afternoons in the yard, filling in the colors.
I didn’t realize this until I was telling some friends about it weeks later, but it was like… in the middle of mourning the fact that I wasn’t going to spend my fall Somewhere Else, I needed to create something about being Here.
The whole time I was making it, I was just responding to a need to make it. I thought maybe it would end up in the kids’ dress up bin, and I didn’t care. I was pretty sure that it would be a Bit Much to wear as a garment all on its own. I was … definitely right. I also didn’t love how it ended up fitting… just all around, this was not a good thing. SO it almost became part of the kids’ dress-ups.
But then, I remembered seeing a bunch of photos from Sew Liberated featuring their Lichen Duster. I realized that that was exactly the right way to style this dress. Lose the rainbow self belt, and throw it over something neutral-ish. And now I’m very much in love with it.
This was a quickie; I made another version of the Hinterland Dress that I did in gold last winter. Because I made the pattern not all that long ago, it was pretty fast to put together. This one is a soft dark turquoise linen. I made it a size smaller than the gold one, and the fit is better. I also used pearl snaps on it, and I LOVE them. I got the snaps and the world’s greatest snap-setting tool from Bags, Beads, and More on Etsy.
One thing I enjoy about the Hinterland Dress is how easy it is to dress up or down. It looks great on its own, but I also like pairing it with a chunky sweater. And then there was the day I was rushing out to pick up my groceries and it was chillier than I thought, so I grabbed the first thing I could find (flannel!). The girl at the grocery pick-up said she loved my outfit. That last picture? Literally exactly what I was wearing, down to the Doc Marten’s. It’s a fool-proof dress.
Petra’s first project with her new Very Own Sewing Machine (more on that soon) is going to be a skirt in the same linen, which I think will be super cute. Matching!
I’m planning to make a Metamorphic Dress and maybe an Ashland Dress. The latter sort of reminds me of the dress I wore at Fort New Salem when I was 17 and spent a summer living in 1840. Still one of my favorite jobs of all time.
I’ve also got a fair amount of that dark turquoise linen left; I’m thinking of making a sleeveless blouse if I can find a pattern I like. Tune in next … like June or something to see if I did any of this!