winged things

Anthropologie Mariposa Dress

This dress makes me so very happy.  The color is not the best for my skin tone, but an interesting lace with a keyhole back?  Yes, please.  I was hardpressed to find a pattern that is a good dupe.  I imagine that just cutting your go-to dress’s bodice back on the fold and actioning some sort of half-circle might do the trick.  This would require a side zip, which is basically my sewing nemesis, but it seems worth the headache.

Retro Butterick 5605 is quite nice, though it does have a gut-wrenching five-yard requirement.  (I swear, one of these days I’m going to sew up some of these five-yard dresses and report back with the actual amount of fabric used.)

Can we talk about the fabric now?   I am a fabric hound.  Interesting lace just might do me in.  The top three (butter, banana, and olive) are lovely cotton laces from Mood.  They are super lovely, relatively inexpensive ($14-$18), and would make sweet dresses.  The soft rose-colored lace is from B&J, purveyors of fabrics that make you wonder what the heck you’ve been sewing with all this time.  The grayish celadon lace is also from B&J, and I intend to run away with it.  Reader, I love it.  Reader, it’s perfect.  Reader, it costs $130 a yard.

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Isn’t it beautiful?  Just me?

I’ve been thinking a lot about slow, thoughtful sewing and wonder if that also extends to fabric buying.  Instead of heading down to 39th Street and haggling over fabrics of questionable provenance, why not just save for something that will really make a splash?  That’s always been my RTW buying philosophy.  Fine, I’m just rationalizing at this point.  Mark my words, you will be mine, my pretty.

but there are birds, you guys.

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?

Anthropologie Bird Dress

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?

Childhood Tana Lawn A

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.

Marc Jacobs Birds!

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.