Finally, A Seasonally-Appropriate Thing!

Look at me, back here already! 😉 Thanks to a recent flash of inspiration (don’t you love those?!?), I have something new to share with you all! What inspired me? FABRIC! (Duh.)

There have been so many incredible tropical prints coming out for the new Spring/Summer season (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), and many of my favorites were on rayon. I decided that a tropical print rayon had to be my next project! After trawling through multiple fabric sites and not 100% connecting with any designs for me (or balking at the price points of the ones I did like), it occurred to me that I had something perfect in my stash already: a palm leaf-print plum and aqua rayon challis I bought on Fabric.com (NAYY) about a year ago.

When I was re-organizing my stash and found this stuff again, I had planned on making pajamas out of it, but where’s the fun in that?!? The colors are good on me, and in the aftermath of this latest inspiration explosion, I decided I didn’t want to “waste” the print on pajamas. Having decided that I NEEDED to sew this fabric right now, I had to figure out what to make. A dress was the obvious choice, since I had 3 yards of fabric. But which dress?!? While searching one fabric site for “rayon,” some sewing patterns came back (since they listed “rayon” as a recommended fabric) and the Reeta Midi Shirtdress from Named was one of them. (I hadn’t bought any patterns from their Spring/Summer 2017 release and only even liked three of them–that’s normal for me and Named, as their S/S stuff doesn’t jump out at me right away like their F/W stuff does. My love is a peculiar love.) I was struck by the beautiful fabric of the Reeta sample, which is viscose/rayon. I was sold! I bought and printed the pattern 2 Fridays ago and had it put together and the fabric cut later that very night! O_O For me, that’s some high-octane action.

Anyway, here are photos! 😉

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Graceful-ish

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Who’s that happy weirdo?

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That’s more like it!

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Earth Day love!

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My feelings about there being no hammock in the hammock stand.

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Strike a pose

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…maybe not *that* pose. O_o

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Poison ivy in the foreground, nice.

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Showing off the collar and neckline!

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Gotta get the pup in there!

Pretty cool, huh? I love it!! I will probably wear this once a week all summer, LOL! I am especially proud of my pleated breast pockets, which I had never made before this; doing them in rayon challis was “fun” but they really turned out great! Well, except for the fact that the loud-ass fabric renders them nearly invisible despite no attempt by me to pattern-match them…

(Also, what is it with me and making Named dress patterns in ridiculous fabrics??)

I used a contrasting dark teal thread for my buttonholes–livin’ dangerously! I asked my Instagram friends if I should go with matching plum or the contrast, and they (you) voted overwhelmingly for matching thread.

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Testing buttonholes and thread colors!

But I can’t explain it, I just felt like the dress needed this pop of darker blue/green against all the purple. So I disobeyed my pals–sorry, guys!!! I do value your opinions (or I wouldn’t ask!) but sometimes, the heart just wants what it wants! After doing a partial test buttonhole, I realized I needed some stabilizer under the fabric or the results would be a hot mess. (You can see that partial buttonhole in the photo above–yikes!) That meant I finally got a chance to use my Tear Away stabilizer that I bought forever ago. It worked wonders and my buttonholes look pretty fabulous, if I may be so bold. 😉 (Especially considering that they’re on rayon challis!) I used buttons that I got from Wawak last year (thank you, Past Me, for judiciously buying multiple dozens of buttons in a few neutral colors). I settled on white in the end, because this dress needed something clean and understated about it.

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Buttons and buttonholes in action!

And now for a “Do as I say, not as I do” moment: I didn’t use any interfacing on this dress. *ducks for cover* I brought down my cotton muslin with all the best intentions of using it, but in the end I decided to see how I liked the drapier quality of the challis on its own, especially on the shirtdress features. The collar was my biggest concern, and I had enough scrap fabric left to recut it if necessary, but I decided I liked it without any firming up. I pressed it carefully, as always, and I think the dress looks well-made and very nice as-is. The collar is very light and flimsy, but so is the rest of the dress. I don’t regret my decision, but I will say that I usually NEVER forgo interfacing, and neither should you. 😉 I just liked the idea of a totally breezy midi dress this time around! Actually, while challis is a perfectly acceptable fabric for this pattern, a rayon poplin would have been my IDEAL material. Maybe I’ll get my hands on some eventually!

Pattern Alterations

As per usual, I couldn’t get away without making some fitting adjustments. I added my usual-with-Named 1″ at the bust line front and back and adjusted the shoulder slope of the front piece (adding 1″ to the outer edge at the armhole and tapering into about 1/4″ at the neck opening). I got away without needing to move the bust dart, which is always nice! I was not so fortunate when it came to the armholes though, having fucked with the shoulder slope at that edge to the tune of 1″, and therefore adding length to the armholes. Since this is a sleeved garment, that extra length needed to be added to the sleeve cap as well. This tutorial does a good job of showing how to add length to a sleeve cap without also enlarging the bicep of the sleeve. That’s the method I used, and I walked/measured the pieces afterwards to confirm that they would be compatible.

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All the altered pattern pieces!

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Sleeve piece after cap height was added

Finally, I took a bit of length off the hem, because 1.) Named already drafts for a height of 5’8″, and I am at most 1″ taller than that, 2.) I added 1″ at the bust and another 1″ at the outer shoulder (which does add length to the dress overall), and 3.) my legs are short for my height, proportionally. This should be a midi dress, and it was hitting me well below that point. All told, I took about 2-3″ off the original hem length; I also opened the side splits a bit so they were close to the original length, since they had been affected by my hem shortening extravaganza. I trust Named’s proportions on design, and wanted to make sure I didn’t lose that effect; based on the modeled photos on their site, mine are damn close.

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Side splits, doin’ their thing.

All that said, I should have checked the pocket placement after doing so much lengthening: they’re a bit low, but I think only by about 1/2″. And if I’m being picky, the dart point could stand to extend about 1/2″ closer to the apex. But all things considered, I think the dress fits very well.

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My beautiful pockets! Just a touch too low, but NBD.

Construction Notes

The Reeta dress was fairly simple to assemble–if you’ve made a shirtdress before (or a shirt!), you can do this. However, things got a little more complex thanks to the convertible collar with facings (as opposed to a stand + collar + button band combo) and the use of a yoke facing. You can’t just do the burrito yoke method and get a perfectly clean finish everywhere, so don’t get cocky like I did: I sewed my burrito and came back to the directions to find that I should have done it their way. I unpicked back to the part where both the yoke and yoke facing are sewn to the dress back and started again from there. It was complicated at the end, simply because the instructions are fairly short, and the illustrations weren’t clicking for me right away. Just go slow, make sure your mind is fresh, and keep checking your assembly against their instructions. The resulting finish is impeccably clean and fully enclosed, and you won’t regret taking the extra time! (I did manage to sew my collar on upside-down the second time without realizing until after I was done with the whole shebang, so all my careful rolling of the seam was wasted. GRRRRRRRRR.)

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Finished yoke/facing/collar/dress thing–whew!

The instructions would have you use purchased drawstring cord for the waist, but I am of the opinion that this tends to look cheap. #sorrynotsorry I made my own 1/4″ drawstring out of my fabric by cutting a 1″-wide strip, turning the short ends in by 1/2″, pressing the whole strip in half length-wise, opening it back up and pressing both raw edges to the center crease length-wise, and then pressing THAT mess in half length-wise along the center line and sewing down the open edges. Still with me??? O_o I didn’t bother with a bias strip either, just a straight grain one–not only is that unnecessary for this application, I didn’t have the yardage anyway!! I used some rayon seam binding for the casing–it’s only 1/2″ wide but if you sew it right at the edges, it’s no problem to fit a 1/4″ tie through it.

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Waist tie casing, made from Hug Snug seam binding.

OH! And despite that drawstring waist, there is NO waist seam on this dress. So your front and back pieces (and front facings) are LOOOOOOONG. As such, I can’t recommend playing Pattern Tetris with anything but your sleeves, collar, back yoke, and pockets on this one–trust the fabric requirements, folks.

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All that’s left of 3 yards of fabric: daaaaaaaamn.

Conclusions

So there you have it: another wildly successful Named project! I am so glad to have one much-needed Summer/Spring dress added to my wardrobe, especially since I used fabric AND notions that I already had on hand. That’s right: the only thing I bought for this project was the pattern, which I would have eventually bought anyway. Sewing doesn’t get much better than that, does it? 😀 Well, Tom did find a way to make it slightly better, thanks to his epic Photoshop skills. This dress has now “theoretically” crossed time and space, making it The Greatest Ever:

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I dare you to beat THIS on #tbt

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DRESS…….IN…….SPAAAAAAAAAAACE

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“Mads” the Mountaineer!

And speaking of kickass Summer dresses, I think I will do a planning post for a summer wardrobe next. I desperately need more options for that season, and it is coming on fast! My goal will be to use only stashed fabric, and to focus on those patterns I already own.

In closing (FINALLY), I will leave you with one final me-made-related thing! We did band photos a few weeks ago (UGH the week before my hair got touched up–that figures), and I decided to wear one of my Inari dresses for the shoot! I am so pleased that I got to wear something that I like and feels like “me,” that I think looks “cool,” and that I MADE for band photos. SEWING ROCKS!!!

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Sitting in my car with 6 weeks of roots, waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. 😉

See you all soon!

What have you been sewing lately? Do you ever curse yourself for choosing a tricky fabric for garments that require precision? How do you feel about the midi trend: LOVE or HATE? 

 

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13 thoughts on “Finally, A Seasonally-Appropriate Thing!

  1. I love this dress! It’s so you and was well worth the unpicking of the collar of you ask me. When I saw this dress in the Named collection, I wasn’t taken with it, but your version is making me look again. I’m a fan of the midi length in spite of the fact that I am a bit short 5’4″ for it. And You wore your Inari dress in your band photos….so fabulous, the best dressed band member no doubt!

    • Thank you so much! I had the same reaction to this pattern initially, I was totally uninspired. Just goes to show that sometimes fabric is the key! 🙂 I don’t think you are too short for the midi trend! It’s all about proportion and styling–you could totally make it your own, as you do with so many other things!

  2. I am a huge fan of Named too (I had no idea they were drafted for 5’8″ – no wonder I love them so much that’s my height exactly!) but I don’t have this pattern. You’ve inspired me with this dress to revisit that decision. Gorgeous fabric and LOVE those photos. You’re right they are unbeatable 🙂

    • Thanks, Kathleen! I really wasn’t inspired by the pattern at first either–sometimes the fabric has to provide the spark! (And I think that pre-fab drawstring got to me more than any other aspect of the sample–no thank you!)

  3. Named patterns are your THANG!!! This looks amazing and although I was of the “matching thread” vote initially, I’m glad you went astray and went for the contrast. I love it! You’re very brave to make something so involved with a fiddly fabric, but it came out great! I don’t think I would have such luck – I’ve learned the hard way that I should stick with simple patterns for fiddly fabrics.

    What am I currently sewing? I’m trying to bust out some Las Vegas threads for my upcoming trip in June! I am about to finish hemming a Seamwork Mojave made out of onion skin fabric (UGH the worst but it works very well for a swimsuit cover-up!) and I’m procrastinating on cutting out sequin fabric for a razzle dazzle top.

    My vote for the midi trend: NO for me but YES for certain others. I think the midi trend looks best on slimmer figures (hence why you look FABULOUS). I find longer skirts on me make me look squat and short even though I’m an average weight and tall!

    And YASS I want to see your summer sewing plans! I want to see if there are any ideas I can steal. 😉

    Keep on rocking!

    • Oh my goodness, I felt like such a traitor doing contrast buttonholes after bugging everyone for their thoughts, LOL. I legit felt bad!! But I figure that y’all are creative people too, and would probably understand how those split-second choices can happen. But seriously, 12 buttonholes on rayon challis, plus those pockets? I’m lucky I got a dress! 😉

      Onion skin for a cover-up sounds fabulous! (But yeah, totes don’t envy you having to *make* that cover-up…) I am having a hard time (i.e., IMPOSSIBLE) imagining you looking anything other than tall and gorgeous in anything, but I know from experience that skirts hitting at the wrong part of the leg can totally ruin a look. O_o

      • Haha we ain’t mad so don’t worry about being a rebel! The dress kicks ass so that’s all that matters. 😉

        Aww you flatter me! Maybe I can pull off a midi skirt if I pair it with heels. But this old lady can’t do heels all day as much anymore. Darn you, adulthood!

  4. Everything about your dress is fabulous, and I appreciate your thorough notes. Rayon challis seems like it would be a nice choice for the blisteringly hot summers here, so I’ll definitely be keeping this post in mind for tips for future dresses. My sewing lately has been very basic, but I’m contemplating a more complicated dress pattern for an upcoming work event. At 5’2″ with robust calves and not-particularly-slender ankles, I’ve never felt midis did me any favors, but I love seeing others rock them and am happy to live vicariously admiring the pics of taller ladies. 🙂

    • Thank you, Caitlyn! I think you will LOVE rayon for hot weather–it always feels cool against the skin and flows so nicely. You should absolutely go for the work event dress! And honestly, I wasn’t sure midis were going to work for me either–their proportions are tricky. I do have to make sure I wear some sort of heel though, or that length looks frumpy (even on my chicken legs, LOL)!

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