The print in this fabric reminds me of brush strokes, and so I took the theme of Frieda's painting as my overall inspiration for this dress. When Frieda takes up her brushes again at the end of Dance, Gladys, Dance, in response to and in spite of terrible things happening, there is a sense of hope and forward movement in her life. I found this an encouraging way to end the story, and inspirational in an unsentimental way. This dress celebrates that sense of creation despite life's foibles.
I had always thought that this fabric (a light,crisp cotton) would make a good shirtdress. So now was the time to finally make myself a McCalls 6696, the darling of the shirtdress sewing world. I enjoyed it, though it took longer than I had anticipated. Partly due to the more detailed nature of this project and partly because midway through I came down with the terrible flu that has been making the rounds of my workplace. Ugh. However, all is well, and I finished my dress this week!
I had some hesitation over buttons; originally I'd considered having multicolour buttons, all different, but when the dress was done it didn't seem to go well. So I narrowed it down to two buttons in my stash. And then completely changed my mind and finally went with a set of clear plastic buttons I'd picked up at the thrift store. They are small and unobtrusive, and really let the fabric shine.
|Final "invisible" buttons!|
I had to make quite a few adjustments to the pattern. Like many others, I tried to remove the back poof. My measurements were slightly off so I did have to make a mini gather at yoke and waist, but it's almost entirely removed. And I also had to shorten the bodice fairly significantly, so watch that if you are also short torsoed! I think I ended up taking over an inch up at the front and more in the back, including a sway back adjustment. But I am pleased with the results - I got the waistband sitting at the narrowest part of my body, and the skirt falls to the length I was going for.
But oh those pleats! They took quite a while, and picking out the basting threads took a while also. In fact my husband was still picking bits of thread off me while taking photos, haha.
I used the burrito technique for the yoke, and did not do any of the hand stitching that this pattern calls for. I "stitched in the ditch" after pinning carefully, to catch the inner band, collar and sleeve cuffs. No slipstitching for me. I used the long sleeve view, including the winged cuffs, but found I had to loosely tack the points of the cuffs to the sleeve, or they kept flopping out, making my arms look like origami cranes.
I absolutely love this dress! It makes me feel creative and lively, just like Frieda did as she began painting again after her crisis of faith. I styled this with some thrifted shoes (brand new Naturalizers) and coral necklace. I'm really feeling this dress, and it is also just perfect for Easter weekend. How fortuitous :)