Well, maybe I do.  I'm just not sure.  I need more time to think, get off my back!

OK, so I might just be in a bad mood because I don't really like when it comes time to be in photos, and I felt particularly silly this month.  Could it be the pinky hues? Or the fact that I need a haircut?  Who knows.  Perhaps it's because even though you can't see them I am wearing shoes that really, REALLY do not match.  Or I could have just realized that I need to give it up and lengthen those skirts.
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Well, let's push neurosis and unformed opinions to the side for a bit . . . here is the May Dress.  She certainly is springy and girly.  I do have an event coming up and plan to wear her . . . maybe a little sun on the legs will help. 

We've got little pleasts at the neckline - front and back.  Little pleats at the waist of the skirt - front and back.  And, let's not forget the pockets, which you cannot see.  The sea green bow was a last minute addition.  I was trying to distract you from the color.  Did it work?
 

Yes I Did, FYI.

05/31/2011

 
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I did, in fact, scoot Demin Skirt to the front of the line and finished it in a few hours.  Unfortunately I didn't try it on (Will I never learn?), so the finished product is completely wearable, but not as fitted as I would like.  Sure I can tighten up the tie, but then the skirt front covers up one of the pockets.  And let's face it, the pockets are the star of the show here.

The look I was going for was kind of a 70s worn in denim kind a thing.  I pictured tucked in shirts and platform sandals.  I don't know if that's exactly what I ended up with . . . but I do have a plan and will report back at a later date.  Hopefully before summer is over (assuming it ever gets here).
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Hold your hats, kittens, I did something super wacky today!  No, make that some things (plural) super wacky. 
 
I bought denim!  
 
. . . and a standard over-the-counter sewing pattern! 
 
. . . and I intend to use afore mentioned sewing pattern (i.e. printed instructions) to the letter!  
 
. . . to make a denim skirt!  
 
. . . a wrap-around denim skirt!
 
. . . before I finish May Dress . . . or get back to Viola . . . or deal with an onslaught of sundresses . . . or the secret project I haven't been talking about!!
 
That's just how it has to be.  A wraparound denim skirt just popped into my head yesterday and demanded to be made.  (The pattern usage is to save some time.  I have to be a little bit practical after all!)
 
Then I'll get back to using complete sentences.  And regular DotMC programming.
 
 
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The sun is shining and I have a handful of zippers.  I am sure you can take a guess as to my geographical location: 

Sun Dress City, USA! 
Population: Me.
 
 
ALERT! ALERT!  My mind has officially been blown by a zipper and some Scotch tape.  Simultaneously, my life just got 12.4% easier.  And yours can too!

Seriously, you know how putting the zipper in a dress is the last big thing you do . . . really making you feel like the project is nearing completion?  But zippers can be frustrating.  Of course, in defense of the zipper that frustration is more often than not the result of your own decision to go ahead and get the zipper in when you should have quit for the evening. 

Most of the time it is late at night and you are already pushing the limits of what you are mentally capable of.  You have lost your temper once already because you ran out of bobbin thread at a most inopportune time.  You ran out of bobbin thread because you mistakenly left the stitches on super-long and had to redo the whole skirt which was basted together.  AND you had to cut out those stitches with your scissors because all three seam rippers were nowhere to be found.  I won't even get you started on breaking your second to last needle on a hidden pin.

Well, no more! 
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For fun (and sometimes learnin') I was perusing a beginning sewing book and the instructions for zipper-putting-in were to simply tape the zipper to the wrong side of the fabric at the back seam and then sew on the right side. 

Yes, you read it right, but here it is again presented in a slightly different manner:  Tape (Tape!) the zipper on the back seam inside the dress.  Flip.  Sew on the outside.  Sew OVER the tape. 

Do you understand what this means?  No pins to work around or forget to remove or break the needle on.  No basting stitches to pull out - if that's how you do.  AND you get the added benefit of sewing on the outside of the garment - so you can watch and make sure the stitches look perfect.  These are the ones you see after all.

Well now I am just too excited to sleep, which is good because I have some zippers to install. 
 
 
It's been work, work, work in the Dress of the Month Club basement  this week.  That's fine with me as long as the outcome is a fabulous dress.  Fortunately all indicators point to fabulous for May.
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The pleats at the neckline are looking good.  This fabric loves to be ironed, so the tucks just lay down so nicely. 
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I did opt out on sleeves for this dress.  I feel that sleeveless often makes the cut a little more contemporary.  As much as I love vintage styles, I try to avoid costuminess.  Of course, that might be nearly impossible with this fabric.  It's so very bright and flowery.  No complaints, though. I picked it.  But, I may have to give some added attention to how to tone it down a little.  A neutral belt?  Or  . . . hmm.  I'll do my thinking later.

Although I am making swift progress, the to do list is still on the long side.

Still to do:
1) Try it on and make necessary alterations.
2) Sew the shoulder straps together.
3)  Put in the zipper. 
4)  Hem
5)  Handwork/fix up the lining.

I'm gonna have to knock this one out if I'm going to get to a few other projects I keep thinking about.  Extraneous sundresses are haunting my dreams. 

Portland's unexpectedly blue skies are not helping matters. 

 

Sun + Dresses

05/11/2011

 
The sun finally decided to make an appearance yesterday. The occasion was  particularly auspicious considering the exceptionally wet spring (i.e. endless gray skies) Portland has been experiencing this spring.  But sun!  Oh, sun makes one want to pack up the wool and get out the little cotton dresses. Or, in my case, make little cotton dresses.  And do I ever have the cotton. 
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What I don't have is the extra time.  But what I DO have is a rapidly approaching trip to warmer climes.  But what I DON'T have is the need.  But what I DO HAVE is the want.  I want sundresses. Sundresses mean summer.  Ergo, summer will not come until I have sundresses.  Uh-oh!  I am holding back summer.  I better do this.

I am pretty sure my recent dose of Vitamin D-infused ambition and super sharp  Ginghers are ready to whip out a handful of sundresses in the coming weeks.  Assembly-line style.  My sunkissed (but still SPF protected) knees and shoulders of the future will thank me.
 
 
Yes, the May Dress bears a striking resemblance to the January Dress, but that's because January was solid.  You know it was.  Pockets are where it's at - as simple as that. 
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To spice things up, I added some pleats around the neckline, front and back.  There are also pleats on the skirt.  I think this may be the last dress I do with pleats at the skirt.  I feel that it is time to go back to darts.

I was thinking about the possibility of little cap sleeves, but am now leaning back toward sleeveless.  I do like little sleeves, but this fabric walks that dangerously fine line between "Vintage" and "Old Lady Chic".  Sleeves tilt toward old lady. (I have no problem with old ladies in general terms . . . but I just had a birthday and the whole subject is a little sensitive.)  I'll work out the length later. 

Dressmaking issues aside, I am a little concerned about the shoe factor.  I have an aversion to pastel shoes.  What to do, what to do. 

Yes.  The anxiety kills me too.
 

The Way of May

05/07/2011

 
What we have here, kittens, is a whole lot of pink.  Well, salmon really.  Potato/potahto, but perfect for spring regardless.  The fabric is of dubious origin and questionable fiber content, but it presses up like a dream and that's enough for me. 

Textured and brocade-like, the bright salmon is accented with little violet flowers and splashes of white.  It has a very vintage look which is why I fell.  I'm a sucker.  And a predictable one at that. 
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Before I calculate the cost of my soon-to-be favorite dress  I have a disclaimer:  Amnesty has been officially declared for all fabrics and notions already in my collection.  That's just how it is.  I am the dictator (although a benevolent one) of my basement.  Understood? 

May Dress Supplies and Costs
Fabric - have had it for years and years - $0
Lining - leftover from Kate Dress (September 2010) - $0
Thread - same as above - $0
Grosgrain Ribbon - from an obliging birthday gift - $0
Zipper - estimated $2.30, but I have Joann's gift card with $2.58 left on it, so I am making a $.28 profit off the zipper.  For good measure we'll call it - $0

Total projected cost of May Dress:  $0

May may  just be the deal of the century.
 
 
I feel like the April Dress was made in the dreaded “Race Mode” - that's when I think less about what I am doing and more about the finish line.   This, of course, totally defeats the whole idea of this project.  With the pressure of making a dress for someone other than myself (mostly) off the table I had high hopes that I would be able to rediscover dressmaking as a fun and stress-free hobby.  You know?  I could take it slow and create twelve perfect and perfectly fitting additions to my wardrobe. 

We are now four months into the new format and I am not so happy with March (yes, I will still give it a second chance down the road) and although April turned out pretty cute I don’t know if it’s really me.  Although it really should of been since it secretly doubled as my Birthday Dress.
 
Oh, and while we are on the subject of birthdays, the end of April marked mine.  I see my birthday as a personal New Year’s and as such it is a time to reevaluate and resolutionize.  (No, it isn’t a real word, but maybe it should be.)  
 
I have come up with the following Dressmaker's Manifesto which hope will help keep me on task and provide the guidelines for what I want this project to be.

Dress a Month

The following topics will be presented for each month's dress:

1.  Inspiration.  What is the thought behind the dress?
2.  Initial idea(s).  I should really practice drawing.
3.  List of Notions and Supplies. I am curious to see how much I have to buy and how much already have!
4.  Figure out cost.  Really!  Is making a dress cost effective?
5.  Evaluate time spent.  How long does it take make a dress?
6.  Talk about  the process.  This might slow me down a little, which I hope will mean fewer mistakes and mind-changing
7.  Present finished product.  I have to be accountable to somebody after all!
8.  Wear it!  That's the goal.
 
Side Projects

While making a dress a month is the main event 'round these parts, I always have the urge to set more (and more) plates a-spinning.  The other things I want to tackle:

1.  Viola Collection.  I am really excited the collection of old patterns that I inherited.    I have broken it down so that each pattern I present will be divided up into four blog posts covering a range of topics about the patterns, history, the dress I'll make, and perhaps a bit about, Viola herself.  Or, at least, the eras in which she lived.
 2.  How to Sew books.  I love old sewing books. because they are such a sign of their times.  These entries will surface from time to time (like when I need to take a little break?).    
 3.  Extras.  You know, like cool findings and words on fashion and the history of.
 
Goals

Can't get any simpler than this:

1.  Take it slow and build my skill set.
2.  Use my hoarded supplies.
3.  Master the art of fitting.
4.  Improve photography.
5.  End up with dresses I really want to wear.
6.  Remember the cute and thoughtful little details make it..

Easy peasy, right?  OK May, let's get going.  We'll just see if getting organized brings back a love of the stich.  Because, really, dressmaking feel like this:
 
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This photo asks for it. Plus I love word bubbles, OK?