My birthday is on Saturday (Bastille Day). I’m turning old. This is usually the time of year when I load up my shopping carts around Ye Olde Internets, and start plotting for the birthday/back-to-school deluge. I sew now, though. While I’ll probably buy some stuff, I’d rather like to make things, too. My new rule is that I’ll only buy things that I cannot make (be it because of design technique or just a really amazing print).
This got me to thinking about why I buy things. Really. The reason I started sewing is because I noticed that all of the dresses I bought kept to a pretty standard formula. Full skirt, fun print, would work with a cardigan or with tights during the winter, slightly retro flair. That’s doable, I suppose. Also, I wanted really exquisite garments and was tired of just drooling at streamed Oscar de la Renta runway shows. The print issue tends to be what really gives me pause. I can find fun prints on quilter’s cotton, but I hate using it. Finding fun, non-floral prints on garment-ready fabrics is not as easy. Japanese cotton, Liberty, and widely available designer fabrics do help a ton. However, it’s really hard to keep this in mind when I’m in a store and a see beautiful dress with a lovely, interesting print that seems like it can’t be replicated.
The Anthropologie Native Birds Dress is a prime example. I was looking at it and thinking that the darling birds would push it from my sewing inspiration queue into the to-buy folder. Then I realized that there isn’t very much special about the birds, is there?
Finding a strapless dress pattern is pretty easy. I own the Colette Eclair and Vogue/Cynthia Steffe’s 1174. Both patterns use boning, which is a key feature of my favorite RTW strapless dresses. I think I could get away with doing it in an underlined (interlined?) cotton or silk. Maybe. (Erica B. did it in a linen/rayon blend a bit back. Then again, she could pretty much make anything look doable.)
What about the fabric, then?
This is Liberty Tana Lawn in a print called Childhood in view A. I love the color scheme and the whimsy of it.
I actually own this one. It’s a Milly georgette and wildly inappropriate for this application. It would make a horrible strapless dress (or, rather, I would make it into a horrible strapless dress), but it is one of my all-time favorite prints. I actively regret that I have but 2.5 yards of it. Plus, it’s basically the Tupac of fabrics. Just when you think it’s gone for good, Gorgeous Fabrics gets just a bit more of it in stock. Tease.
This Marc Jacobs fabric from Mood is lovely and bright and young. The black makes it a bit more dramatic than the first one, though, doesn’t it?
I’d rather like to do this a bit more, this channeling the dress spirits and working on my crappy mood boards. I do need stuff for school and this clarifies things greatly. It would be two birds, one stone, yes? I slay me.