Spring has arrived in Montreal, and I’ve made my perfect dress to match it. It’s bright yellow, puffy, and based on one of my favorite patterns, the Lempi dress from Named Clothing.
A few months ago I planned a list of sewing coordinates for spring. I’ve been slowly working through my list, and you’ve probably seen the results on my IG: a pair of high waisted jeans, paperbag trousers, and two cotton tops. One idea behind these recent projects is to create garments that can be worn with many other options. As I put this in action, I’m also aiming to create more personal styles and to practice better sewing techniques to improve on the quality of my handmade items.
Rather than kidding myself with unrealistic goals of how many garments I will sew in a given season, I’ve now a better idea of how long a project will take me. So, I’ve started to choose projects that I think I’ll want to wear all the time. But this doesn’t mean my sewing is less playful! On the contrary, I feel even more encouraged think about what I really like and to actually make it. Having sewn this dress once before, and still wearing the first version regularly, I knew it’d be on my spring list. I’ve always loved crisp khaki shirtdress, and my original plan was to sew the Lempi pattern as is in khaki cotton fabric. You’ll noticed I strayed a bit from that original idea. I’m pretty sure the final dress is even more suited to my tastes.
Transforming the sleeve style was the major alteration to the pattern. I used my Patternmaking for Fashion Design book for guidance when changing the straight sleeve to a puff sleeve. Despite what it looks like, this is a simple alteration. A straight sleeve changes to a puff by adding volume by “opening” the sleeve,” redrawing the hem, and adding a cuff (or two rectangles!). Learning some patternmaking can add so much fun to your existing pattern stash. I always encourage giving it a try and not being afraid to play with the pattern!
I left a few of original details out, like the shoulder tabs and belt. Normally, I’d never leave off a belt, but I enjoy the shape this structured fabric brings to the dress. The fabric is a gorgeous thick yellow twill like type of cotton (with a hint of spandex). I love the volume it adds to the sleeves and collar. However, it didn’t respond well to pins and my needle left marks. So, I had to be extra careful while sewing. In hindsight. I would have changed the darts to shoulder gathers for this fabric because I’m not super thrilled with how the darts look.
The truly personal feel many of us aim to create by making our own clothes is, for me, present in this dress–something that doesn’t always happen but worth savoring when it does! Little details like hand sewing the cuff and making fabric covered buttons meant that I worked on slow sewing throughout this project. Overall, this dress feels like it deserved the time I put into it!
In an upcoming post, I’ll write a little more on my current sewing plans to make garments which work well together. But, for now, its back to sewing!