Hello hello, my friends! Lots of things to say today! And it’s my birthdayyyy!
I don’t usually go three weeks between posts, but I’ve been extraordinarily busy lately. We were already having a very full early spring and then about the same time as our friends who moved to Wales have been in and out visiting for the last couple of weeks, I’ve also been unusually swamped at work, which has meant I’ve had very little time for pretty much anything but work and seeing friends! Very fun (well the socializing part), but exhausting having weeks where I’m burning the candle at both ends. I know things will slow back down to a more normal pace soon.
So I want to say thank you all for the lovely comments on my Cascade duffle coat… about as soon as that was done was when I went into warp speed and I never got a chance to individually thank you all. ♥ And I have photos for an outfit post and my back neck facing embroidery… I’ll have time to share more soon!
With all this going on, I knew the odds were slim that I’d keep up my mini tradition of sewing myself a birthday dress. “Mini tradition” as I’ve done it twice before: last year’s balloon dress and the previous year’s vintage wrap dress. And I kind of liked the idea of keeping it up as a tradition, even though I haven’t really much been in the mood to sew dresses for awhile. But as the day grew closer, I was fretting about getting the chance to squeeze in a dress. And suddenly it was Wednesday night this week and I was determined to get a dress done, even though I hadn’t touched my sewing machine in weeks!
But I pulled it off with minimal seam ripping (gah, there’s always some isn’t there) and no tears shed. So here’s this year’s birthday dress, my Victory Gardening dress!
This is actually a dress I planned last summer but didn’t start to work on until fall. And by the time I had the skirt pieces cut and the bodice traced (another hacked Emery bodice with kimono sleeves and this time a big scooped neckline), it cooled down… and so did my interest in such a warm-weather dress. Rarely do I put down a sewing project that I do intend to finish (as opposed to bailing on a crap project), but this was one of those times. So it worked out perfectly when I needed a fast dress project.
The only problem in hindsight is that I’d traced and altered the bodice pieces from a previous bodice (my Eat Your Veggies dress), only to later decide I actually took that one in a tad more than I really wanted, so the fit was a bit tight at the waist. But I didn’t come to that realization until after I’d traced these bodice pieces last fall, and it being many months later when I picked them up to use, I didn’t remember any of this until after I was wearing the finished slightly-too-tight-at-the-waist dress. Whoops! Still plenty wearable though.
The bottom is a fantastic vintage border print from my stash, featuring gardening items in light blue, hot pink and bright green, on a green checked print. Isn’t it amazing?! I had exactly enough to eek out a relatively full skirt, cut on the cross-grain with a narrow folded hem. That green rick rack is part of the print, by the way!
I used a matching green Kona cotton on top. Because I was going plain for the top of the dress, I felt like it needed a little something to tie in with the skirt. Either a green patch pocket on the skirt, or a checked pocket on the bodice. I went for the slightly less obtrusive bodice pocket, in part because hey, cute tiny pocket! I love tiny things. But also because the vintage fabric is a bit lighter weight than the Kona, so I didn’t want a patch pocket on the skirt to end up looking too stiff.
In my head it absolutely needed a pointed bottom for some reason, so that’s what I did.
I think it’s just the right touch!
(By the way, the painting propped up against the Miss L Fire box is one Mel did and is giving to our friends from the UK, this is the guest bedroom so they’re taking it back with them when they go back home. File this under “hmmm what’s different about this same corner you often stand in?”)
Now, some of you follow me on Instagram and saw that a few weeks ago, I bought a Bernina! And… this dress wasn’t sewn on it. Ha! Honestly, I’ve been so busy I haven’t even threaded her. Gasp. I know! And stressed out and trying to meet my own sewing deadline was not going to be the time to learn how to use a new machine that I planned to buy for at least a year and finally did. So I figured hey, one last good project for my old machine, to remind me how awesome the Bernina is…when I finally get to use her. (I named her Betty, in case you’re wondering.)
Anyway, on Said Old Sewing Machine I did a side lapped zipper since I had to close this up the side and not the back to conserve skirt fabric, and I added an inseam pocket on the other side with the Kona cotton. Pretty normal doings for me. I like the peek of green in the pocket!
Can’t believe I managed to sew a birthday dress after all, but I’m tickled I did! Granted it’s not exactly gardening-themed dress season yet, but hey, it’s coming. And tonight we have lovely birthday plans with friends, and tomorrow more of the same!
I’m 38 today and that’s sure alright by me. I’ve only grown happier, more confident, smarter, and comfortable in who I am the older I’ve gotten. No less willing to be silly and ludicrous, wear loud, kitschy or sometimes “young” styles, speak my mind, splash in puddles, climb hills, travel, swear like a truck driver, or learn about and try new things. I only expect that trend to continue.
I wish the same joy in growing older, happier and wiser to all of you! xx