Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fields of green dress

It's funny how something so small can make a UFO you hated something you just adore. In this case, it's 3 porcelain vintage buttons.

I made this dress at the start of the year for my trip to South Africa. The fabric is a delicious green cotton with teensy white flowers, and would have been perfect for those hot sunny days. But I tried to hurry the project and when it finished I just hated the end result. It was so green, so.... dowdy looking. I carted it around in my suitcase for 5 weeks and didn't wear it once. I unpicked part of it, got discouraged and stopped, and left it to hang miserably in my cupboard for a long time.

I think part of the problem was that I tried to make a gathered skirt with not enough fabric. It just looked sad. So to fix this I have left the back gathered, and made a few small pleats over my hips in the front. I know it's hardly a drastic change but the fabric store had none left across the country and I had to make do with what I had.
Back View - heavily cropped as I was moving a deck chair, and it was the only decent shot of the back!

Possibly the thing I liked most about it was my in-seam pockets. I was going through a phase of adding pockets everywhere. Most of the makes from these days were too shoddy and I was too time-poor to add to the blog, so you'll have to take my word on this. These pockets are the reason I had not enough fabric for the gathered skirt. I learned my lesson from this dress as well. This lesson is: stop trying to squeeze dresses out of not-quite-enough fabric. And I've listened to this lesson ever since.
POCKETS! They is awesome!
If I may say so, this is actually (for me) a really well made project. The bodice is entirely french seamed. The skirt and sleeve edges are sewn with a roll hem. My facings actually lie flat. I even trimmed all the threads! I put in so much effort in and I hoped that it would show.

Slight chink at the neckline, but hardly indecent!

But something was missing. Then last weekend I considered adding some green flower-shaped buttons, but Jono vetoed this action. It would (and I agree) have been "too much green". So I pulled out my button stash and together we poured over my collection trying to choose. He's very supportive like that. We ummed and ahhhed and eventually I pulled out my preciouses - white porcelain buttons on their original card; 3 large, 7 small, painted with blue roses. I only added the 3 large buttons and immediately saw that it was the right choice.

I put the dress on straight away and ran around the house squealing. Result!

Fabric: Green printed cotton. Price forgotten. I probably bought 1.5 metres.
Notions: Green thread, green zipper, 3 vintage buttons.
Pattern: Lutterloh - I can't find the number though.
Wear again? Oh yes!
Make again? If only I could find the pattern...
What I learned: French seaming, lapped zipper, sewing a facing successfully, not giving up on a UFO.

And finally, anyone else ever find themselves in this situation?

Jono: What are you doing? That pose is weird...
Juliet: I'm showing off my in-seam pockets... NOW HURRY UP AND TAKE SOME MORE DARNED PHOTOS!!

Seriously, why else would I be doing this??

15 comments:

  1. Love it! I love those buttons, its perfect. I love hearing about the spouses of other creative people. I sometimes wonder if there's a support group for "Spouses of the creatively obsessed".

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    1. You know what? I think we need to make a support group for us lot. And our long-suffering photog's can have theirs as well. Mine won't take photos of me in public, he thinks people are looking at him funny. In reality, they are looking at the blonde girl pulling out her pockets on purpose.

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  2. Hi Juliet, I really like your dress and how you finished it with those 3 vintage buttons. I had to laugh when I read the word vintage regarding your buttons as they really are not that old when you are my age (55). I grew up and went to high school in Christchurch in the 70's and when I was in the 6th form, we did not have to wear a strict school uniform, just a version. At the time, I was trying to make my version as different as I could within the guidelines. I was already an avid sewer and making all of my own clothes, so off I went to Ballantynes and bought fabric and buttons to make a school shirt. I bought these very same buttons on a card in 1974 and they were new then. Porcelain buttons were quite common then as were good quality shell and horn buttons. So much better than what you find in the shops today. I loved those buttons and when I wore the shirt out, I cut the buttons off and I still have them in my collection. A word of warning; keep an eye on the threads used to sew them on, the porcelain will cut into the thread and you may lose a button. I am sorry this is so long winded but your buttons bought back happy memories!!

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    1. Don't be sorry! Wow how amazibg is that though, I think I'll have to do the same with these buttons when I eventually wear through this dress. And thanks for the tip about the thread - I'm planning on making mesh bags for each of my garments when I was them so I don't lose precious buttons!

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  3. Oh, those buttons are fabulous! And I agree, they suit the dress wonderfully. :-)

    I hear you with those sorts of conversations! My partner is also my (somewhat reluctant) photographer - every time I try to do a slightly different pose (in an attempt to make the photos more interesting) I get told to 'stand normally!', haha! (Hence lots of standing-front-on poses on my blog. *sigh* I guess detail shots are something only other stitchers understand....??

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    1. Oh good, it's not just me suffering the unenthusiastic photog! I considered getting to grips with my gorilla pod, but I have no idea how I would make the camera focus on me??

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    2. Use auto-focus. Or have your mannequin/ another person stand where you're meant to be and set the focus on them.

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  4. hehe, everyone knows that pulling your pockets inside out is a very fashionable pose!

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    1. Totally! All the hipsters walk around with the pockets turned inside out!

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  5. Oh, this dress is so cute! I'm glad you were able to figure out a way to love this dress!

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  6. Oooooh buttons! You've inspired me to start experimenting with buttons. I think I'm gonna thrift shop for buttons cos the nice ones at the stores are too exxy :(

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    1. You totally should! I adore buttons, it's been my sewing adornment du jour all year. Do thrift them though - nice buttons these days are either non-existent or expensive!

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  7. This is fabulous. If you're not loving the colour though, just get some idye and have at it XD

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  8. I've come here from Kat's blog and this is lovely. The buttons are a great touch and just what was needed.

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I love hearing your kind words and sage advice! Please and thank you for dropping me a line!