There are some colors that always catch my attention and I find it hard to say no to – such as olive/khaki green, navy and some shades of pink – and there are prints/patterns that have the same effect on me – stripes and pepita (aka houndstooth).
I feel like any fabric with this pattern is calling my name and so did this one:
The story of getting the fabric is quite funny, actually. One of my sewing buddies shared an idea of a skirt that took lots of fabric and I had just seen a post on FB that someone was selling a suitable one and actually in the exact yardage that she needed. So she bought the piece, but the seller threw some samples in her bag and this is how I found out about the existence of this one. I paid 12 euros for 2 meters and made myself the party dress of this season. The season meaning one party, though, haha! And I know I am lucky because so many people don´t get to go to any parties at all!
The pattern is McCalls 7997 that I bought about two years ago already. I even have another fabric option in my stash that I initially intended to use but that will have to wait. I like the agled front version of this pattern too but didn´t have enough fabric for it this time.
I have been sewing mostly Style Arc patterns lately and their size 10 fits me usually perfectly. As their style is usually more loose fitting, sewing them has been forgiving for my figure. But after stopping breastfeeding in spring but not stopping some bad habits I acquired while pregnant with my son (suddenly I just could not resist cinnamon rolls and dipping biscuits into my coffee), I have gained weight and most of the extra is on my hips. So although I have been sewing size 12 for most of my sewing “career”, I had to cut size 14 from the waist down this time. Not a nice realization for sure.
Nevertheless, I am happy with the end result of the dress, even though there are some mistakes that once again remind me how important is accuracy in the cutting phase – mistakes made there are harder to fix than sewing a few stitches wrong.
By now you may have started to ask about the photos of this post. I usually take photos at home or outside when the weather allows and the problem with winter light (or the absence of it, really) has been bothering me for so long. And I can admit that I was totally influenced by Fehr Trade who when struggling with the same problem, finally solved it by getting herself a small softbox for product photos. It was a lightning moment for me and right away I searched up what I needed from Amazon. And got the same life changing experience, because for just 120 euros (at the moment when I am writing this, you can snag it for 99 !!) I can now take photos with enough light in my own home anytime I want. Just like that.
The set that I got comes with two softboxes complete with bulbs and stands and a backdrop system with two stands and a rod in between with 3 backdrop cloths (green, white, black) and clamps for attaching them. Everything packs into a duffel bag so it is super convenient if there is no space for a permanent studio spot. The setup is easy as well, I did not need any instructions actually.
And last night just before we left for the party, my husband surprised me by setting it up in our spare room (this is something like a chill out room next to the sauna, a guest room with a kitchenette at the same time and now as it appears, a home photo studio!) so I could get the photos done in a heartbeat.
On the left below is how it looked the first time I set it up in my living room (sorry for the mess in the background, I was too excited to try better) and on the right is the set up from last night – I ironed the background cloth this time:
The light is really natural and actually all of my expectations have been exceeded. I haven´t tried it without the backdrop yet, I guess even just using the lights would make a huge difference.
Now, back to the dress. I am really not positively surprised by the armhole treatment of the sleeveless version as per instructions. As I understand, I should have used bias tape in the armhole while also lining the dress. I solved it by just sewing the lining and main fabric together right sides facing. It is tricky to sew, but I think the end result, especially after understitching is so much better.
The other confusing part of the instructions was that the drawings show 6 buttonholes on the front, but the pattern pieces have marks only for three and so does the cover photo and line art of the pattern. At the same time, there is also a marking for an inner button on the left front, but no buttonhole marking to match this on the right! Anyway, I made three buttonholes and used 6 buttons, so the right line of buttons is just sewn on and not functional buttonholes. In addition I put in two snaps that help to keep the bust area in place above the buttons.
Sometimes it really pays off to have a large stash at hand. I did not have to shop for the lining as I have had it ready and waiting for about five or six years already and I bought it from Helsinki. So all I needed was some matching piping (miraculously found the perfect shade locally) and although no one outside my family and my followers will know, I find pleasure in knowing that my black and white dress has such a bright inner side.
I don´ know if this makes any sense, but the dress gives me such 80´s and early 90´ s vibe, how about you? For me this just a fun flirt with that era but could be that someone who was an adult during these decades finds it a bit costume-y?
Anyway, I wish you all a very merry holiday season and that you would be able to spend this time with your loved ones!