It’s taken a while, but the sew-jo seems to be back in force. This summer I’m really feeling the love for dresses, rather than separates.
It started with the Heliotrope Silk Instagram Takeover Dress, that I made for the Simple Sew Blog. Well, I made it because I wanted to make it, for me, but I was blogging it there. It has been an utter delight to wear, because it’s such a gorgeous fabric. It’s a silk jersey (from the world famous Man Outside Sainsburys, Walthamstow) and it’s almost like wearing nothing at all! It feels so light on. Which is perfect for hot weather.
It was another Shannon Collection dress. They sew up in a jiffy and if I hadn’t decided to pretty it up with a sort of couched embroidery/appliqué edging, it would have been done in a day.
I should have learned that lesson with my next Shannon dress.
I’d just splurged on fabric, twice over – a couple of weeks ago with the FC Fabric Studio sale and again last weekend, at the Sewisfaction Big Summer Stitch Up. So I decided I had to get on with some actual sewing in order to justify having bought so much (total 9 new pieces added to the stash!). There was a smallish piece of chartreuse jersey from FC that whispered “I’d make a lovely Shannon dress” at me. “That’ll be quick and easy!” I thought. I got the dress cut out and stitched together on the Sunday morning after the Stitch Up.
Pattern alterations – I made it quite a bit longer than usual, 7½” longer, as I had enough fabric to do so, and you don’t want to be seeing my knees all the time. I also ditched the neck and sleeve bands because I didn’t want this dress to look too t-shirty.
I was meeting a friend to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, that afternoon, so I took the dress with me to hem on the train, and because my friend’s journey was rather more fraught than mine, I got quite a lot done, while I was waiting for her. I wholeheartedly recommend the exhibition, by the way. It personalises Kahlo in such an immediate way. And it’s a delight for sewists, to see her outfits. And there are instructions on the V&A website on making your own Huipil (Mexican sleeveless tunic), should you be inspired to do so.
So I had that dress made up and ready to wear in just one day – Boom! But I am such an idiot, I couldn’t just let it be. Part of the massive FC Fabric haul had been a deep violet jersey that was just begging to be put with the chartreuse. I knew I had to bring some of that violet into the dress, somehow. I didn’t know how, exactly, and it took the Monday to think about it and work out what I was going to do. My friend and I had been discussing the forthcoming Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A and I’m fairly sure that’s how I ended up opting for gigantic MQ style flowers.
On further reflection, this design idea goes back to 2013 in my consciousness. Fortunately, there were only six of them, and they didn’t take too long to sew on by hand.
And here’s the finished dress…
I’ve got two more Simple Sew makes in the offing, and I’ve got some more plans that I feel excited about making, so hopefully, there I won’t need to feel so guilty about boosting the stash, and there will be a few more posts coming up this summer.