Remember last week I said I had two special dresses to share with you? Well this is the second one.
I’d been given some money for my birthday back in February from my parents knowing that I would get most pleasure from buying fabric with it. How well they know me! It was about the time that Roisin had shown off her Northland Row dress and I swooned over the fabric she’d used (Alexander Henry Golden Garden) . This has an oriental feel to it- and being a lover of orientalise decorative art sought it out. Strangely enough I found a one off seller on Etsy, in Canada, that was cheaper than buying it from the UK. ( I can be such a skinflint sometimes!!)
I chose red because I love red, it is one of my basics, my neutrals. And the fabric arrived and was kept with reverence, being accorded the privilege of space in one of my fabric drawers. ( At the moment my stash cannot fit in the drawers I have, and subsequently, recent purchases reside in piles on the floor of my loft room. )
Once I had completed my whiteboard sewing programme, I fancied I would be inspired to make something for my youngest son’s graduation. This was not planned for, it was not on the whiteboard- I had let myself off the hook since I’ve clearly got plenty of choices to wear to a graduation should I not feel like making anything. Luckily I know myself well enough to realise that given a swatch of time, I would be compelled to make a new frock. And serendipitously the culmination of ‘special fabric gifted by my parents’ and ‘special occasion for a proud Mum’ formed into this dress.
This fabric being super special needed a plain fronted style I was thinking. Possibly a Sewaholic Cambie. But I didn’t choose that, I chose the Hepworth dress by Sinbad and Sailor. Since making my first version of this dress I have probably worn it more than any of my other dresses to work as it is the perfect work appropriate summer dress: classic shaping, formal enough neckline, comfortable roomy but flattering a line skirt plus pockets. And I get compliments every time I wear it. So with this success in mind, the Hepworth was the ideal pattern to showcase the awesome fabric strewn with cherry blossom and the occasional Chinese character. And I knew it would look a just a tad more formal for a graduation, but not be too formal that I’d wear it infrequently.
I cut the pattern pieces out carefully, with the fabric’s pattern in mind, especially the centre bodice piece ( remember the style has princess seams at the front but darts at the back). Somehow though I cut the back pieces on the fold. I mean who cuts the back pieces on the fold? It meant that any pattern matching I thought I was doing went completely awry when I cut them up in half. Thinking about it after the event ( aren’t we all so good at that- realising what other options we had when it turns out to be too late!) yes, after it was too late, I realised I could have had an awesome back and front with uninterrupted cherry blossom twigs if I had moved the zip to the side. But I didn’t clearly. Which is even more galling considering I even cut it in error on the fold. Der brain strikes again.
So sewing this up was great- I do love the facings, see what I wrote about them last time. I had some alterations to make to the centre back this time- not sure whether I did this last time, or cut it too big this time, whatever was the case, I still had too much going on at the CB bodice as well as a little but too much at the upper side seams. And let me ask you a question. Have you ever been caught out by lack of notions at critical points in the sewing process? I was making this dress up at breakneck speed, only to discover that I had no red dress zips in my stash. What!! No zip?? no time for a special trip to town, I had to look around for a willing victim. A cushion cover sacrificed itself for the greater good, but to be honest,the zip is only just big enough and I could barely get the dress over Barbarella’s shoulders- mine are a little more squidgy, but I shall be swapping it for a longer one when I get the chance.
So for the ceremony itself I also paired it with my recent black velvet bolero & was that a match made in heaven? I had no idea boleros were just so useful, but it certainly suits this style of dress I think. And the black marabou peps up the special factor even more.
And I know the question you are dying to ask me, did I blub as my youngest born, dressed in possibly the smartest suit I have ever seen, with brand new haircut & shiny shoes, did I blub as he strode across the stage to shake hands with the Chancellor & receive his degree? Well, not at that exact moment, but beforehand a slight moistening to my eye could be detected by anyone looking close enough (but no one did ) No, for that all important moment let me warn you…do not attempt to take a photograph to mark the occasion. I fell into the same trap for this time as for my first born – too busy trying to capture the moment (& ending up with a poorly lit blurred back shot) – when I could have just enjoyed the moment itself. But let’s be honest, that moment is just a symbol of the end point of all of the hard work, development of independence & confidence, new friendships & lots of new skills that studying at Uni 180 miles away brings. The best part of the celebration was what we did as a family before & after, but it’s always lovely to be part of a little pomp & ceremony, a bit of a do, isn’t it?
OK back to the dress. The good news? This dress is also getting worn a lot during my work week, just like its predecessor. Its cut & styling is smart enough for summer office wear & I love it. So glad that I made it in time for a very special day & then for the rest of the summer. I think this Hepworth pattern is possibly my dress pattern of 2014 you know …last year it was everyone’s favorite, Simplicity 2444, this year, the Hepworth, judging by how many wears both dresses are getting.
What’s your summer dress of 2014?
PS apologies about the trashy slip ….clearly I looked a whole heap better on the day!