portlandia: 2; witherspoon: 0

by Charlotte

I’m not a huge believer in direct knock-offs.  They make me really uneasy.  However!  I do like getting inspired by an original piece and taking things from there, as you’ll see with this Milly dress.  This shirtdress is beautiful in every way, but it is too short for my taste.  I’d love to find a fabric that’s just on the gray side of taupe with a lovely print, but try as I might I cannot.  Do feel free to send over a heads up if you can, though.

Even though I prefer to dress like a nun conservatively, I still can’t quite shake this dress.  Maybe with tights and flats and legs that don’t start at my throat it might. . .oh, blast it.  It’s in the scrapper.  I do love a good bird, though.

Milly Cleo Bird Print Dress

I think that an integral part of slow sewing is careful wardrobe planning.  So a dress like this is in the queue.

This is more about inspiration than anything (and aren’t those Murano chickadees from Gump’s inspiring?).  A shirtdress with buttons on top, a defined waist, and a full-skirted bottom would be very Betty Draper.  These things eat fabric, though.  McCall’s 6506 calls for about 4-5 yards.*   Simplicity 2403 seems to be a good choice, too.  It’s one of the Project Runway patterns with a bunch of options, including a collar and sleeves.  No full skirt, though.

The fabric is not spot on, but rather helps capture the essence of the dress.  (La dee dah.)  The one on top with the meshy, netty business is from Manhattan Fabrics (aka Paron).  I’ve seen it in person, and it is so, so pretty.  The silk/cotton voile in the middle is similarly gorgeous in the flesh, and is from Mood.  The rose print on the bottom is impossibly inexpensive, which somehow cushions the five-yard blow.  However, I haven’t seen it, so I can’t vouch for its quality.  It could be sandpaper, it could be softer than vicuña.  Gamble, shall we?

*Randomly: When I first started sewing, I’d only had vintage dress shirtdress patterns, each of which called for upwards of 5 yards of fabric.  My grandmother always told me that three yards was a dress length, so I was basically drowning in three-yard cuts.  I thought I’d have to make baby clothes or something!

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