experiments on a theme

October 3, 2012

These dresses are all the same pattern, using different fabrics. Made with a combination of hand-woven cottons and vintage embroidered skirts, both from the hill tribes of northern Thailand.

There are three dresses. The first is red with blue and red embroidered bodice and trim. The red fabric is hand woven cotton. It is a thinner weave, and very soft. The embroidered fabric was originally a skirt. I took apart the embroidered and appliqued skirt, and only used one of the sections, pictured below. I have the bottom section left for something else. It includes a corduroy trim and more fabric patchwork.

The dress is billowy, and hits just above the knee (on me anyways). The gathered sleeves, cuffs, and bodice create a peasanty sort of look that I hope isn’t overdone…

The brown dresses are a little bit simpler. The bodice is all the same color. On the first brown dress I added a hem of another skirt. This particular skirt was all hand embroidered. I fell in love with the back of the skirt and used it instead of the front.

The above picture is of the “right side” of the dress, using the “wrong side “of the skirt border material. Below is an image of both the wrong side, top, and the right side of the fabric, bottom.

I am sure that some would prefer the right side of the hem, but I was really drawn to the muted colors and slight imperfections of the wrong side. I saved enough fabric to make another garment, and maybe the next time I will use the right side.

The third dress went along with the simple brown theme and was brown the whole way through, border and all. I made it simple to experiment with using only the cotton. I also wanted to try to belt this dress, and felt that the quieter brown would lend itself well to that. The plain brown one is also about an inch longer, to adjust to the belting.

spring flannel

March 10, 2012

This dress is flannel, but doesn’t have sleeves…a little bit of a contradiction, and I will see how it wears.

I bought a dress recently that I really liked, and drafted this pattern from it. The original had a short front, and a long back, and was a little bit more fitted through the middle. I wanted this to be a bit more simple, and have a looser fitting top.

The neck and arms are all stitched by hand, which takes a while, but I generally enjoy doing hand stitching. I made bias tape out of scraps, sewed it to the edges with the machine, and then folded it under, pressed and pinned it, and then stitched it down. One of the best things about making dresses is being able to finish them carefully and by hand…

The hem is also hand stitched. I love a wide hem, turned under and sewed. There is something very substantial about it, and the dress seems to hang better that way.

The waist is elastic. I inserted an elastic band into the dress, tied it tightly at about the right spot, and cut the ends.

Overall, the dress is comfy, cozy, and can always be worn with a sweater if the weather turns cold.