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Gift of the Wind Dress

April 18, 2012

I feel like a bad blogger lately. The weather has been gorgeous, I’ve been trying not to spend so much time glued to the computer, spend more time with words on paper, etc. Marathon Monday was two days ago, and for the first time since we moved here, I went down to check it out. Talk about being moved. I camped out at mile 26, with just two-tenths to go before the finish line. From the first racer to zoom by in a wheelchair to the elite women, men, then the waves of thousands (people in costume, blind runners, soldiers in full gear with backpacks, pairs tied together), some still looking strong, some barely able to take that next step, the crowd was incredibly supportive. There was great energy all around.

What’s that, you want to read about the dress? Okay… well, here is the extra credit dress I made from the pack of Simplicity patterns sent to me for the blog hop. Despite my aversion to full skirts, I went ahead and stitched up 2444, as all the versions I’d seen online were much better than the pattern envelope suggested.  I’m still not entirely sold on full skirts for my figure, even though all fashion advice says I should be. Last summer I made a skirt with pockets that I absolutely love (hmmm, it’s also in red & white), and this dress is just as comfy. However, I’m always afraid I’ll pass the line to full skirt frumptastic.

The full run down is over at the Sew Weekly. The theme was local color, and originally I couldn’t decide what my inspiration would be. I’ve been such a nomad! But then I settled on my current city, and this public art sculpture I came across in my first outing amidst unpacking. It was a blustery, bright autumn day, and the wind was spinning the red metal hot air balloons around against an azure sky. A nice break from brown cardboard boxes! The red flowers on the fabric from my mom’s stash look equally windswept and cheerful. It wasn’t until last week that I discovered the name of the piece, Gift of the Wind. And how perfect, as the fabric is a bit of a recent windfall. One last bit of serendipity – both textile and sculpture are circa 1983.

I added a full lining in batiste, also from my mom’s stash, and hemmed with white lace hem tape. The darts of the lining and bodice are attached with a tiny thread chain so that they don’t shift around while wearing and cause a visible layer under the fashion fabric. The zip is of the invisible variety, but I hand-picked it. It was the only appropriate length zip I had in white, and I like hand-picking, invisible zipper or not.

I carried over the bodice adjustments from the 1913 Lampoon dress to this pattern, and it worked beautifully. These included a minor swayback pinch, slash/spread for round shoulders, then add neck dart, pinch front/back to bring up armscyes. I’m really happy with the way the back bodice turned out, but there is quite a bit of gaping at the front neck, and some stress lines from the shoulder to bust. (I think Ginger experienced a similar issue recently.) The only thing I can think of, is that it’s finally time for me to ‘fess up and start going down a size, then making a full bust adjustment. Ugh! I’ve always considered myself average-busted, but maybe FBAs are what I really need. I swear, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. Now that I’m able to fit my hips properly in skirts and my upper back, it’s time to address the front. What really kills me is that I made a bodice muslin, and yet again did not see the issue until I was practically done with the actual dress. On a related note, I just cleaned out my closet, and with it several old FOs from when I first started sewing with patterns (instead of upcycling). They were sewn nicely enough, but with absolutely no knowledge of how to properly adjust things. It was all take in side seam/let out side seam. There wasn’t much of an online sewing community, or at least not to my knowledge. Where would I be? I love you guys!

I’m still going to wear the hell out of this dress. But one of these days, I’ll make a garment that doesn’t have some weird fit issue. In other news, my waxed canvas moto jacket is done, and I totally love it!!! Stay tuned…

31 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2012 11:05 am

    You should give full skirts more of a chance. You look a-dor-a-ble!

    • April 19, 2012 9:08 am

      Thanks, Cynthia (though looking too adorable is another full skirt fear… hehe)! Your versions of this are awesome :)

  2. April 18, 2012 11:10 am

    Ooo! You going to wear your jacket tonite??!!

  3. April 18, 2012 11:25 am

    This is the coolest fabric! I’m with you, I somehow have an aversion to full skirts but this is a really great silhouette on you. It’s kind of fun learning more precise fitting; I have a ways to go as well.

    And I hope your words on paper are flourishing!

    • April 19, 2012 9:10 am

      It’s so wacky, but I love it. I think a little dose of full skirt goes a long way with me, even though I swoon whenever I see them on others. Budding :)

  4. April 18, 2012 12:07 pm

    That is such a pretty dress! It looks so fun and summery.

  5. misscrayolacreepy permalink
    April 18, 2012 12:13 pm

    The dress looks great! And I don’t blame you for trying yo be outside in the nice weather. I plan on doing that myself this weekend :)

  6. April 18, 2012 12:48 pm

    Love! What a perfect spring/summer dress!
    No need to feel guilty for enjoying the weather. I’ve been enjoying the outside world, too, lately.

    • April 19, 2012 9:15 am

      Thanks, Lizz… I’m hoping it won’t be too indecent for bike riding! If only sewing outside didn’t include problems like wind :)

  7. April 18, 2012 12:59 pm

    I’m so the same as you! I really avoid floaty full skirts on me because I really don’t think they suit me one little bit; yet I’m always attracted to them on others :) I think it’s less about body type than personal style; I feel like I’m dressed like a dolly when I’m wearing a full skirt, which is kind of fun, like playing dressup but doesn’t feel like ME :)

    I also feel the same way about fitting, like the more i know the more it baffles me! LOL – and I’m a total n00b, girl – if I can do an FBA, surely you can!! Mine’s getting bigger with each garment I make, what’s up with THAT? LOL. I’m still totally baffled at the back part, though; you’ve got that down – your back bodice looks stellar! :)

    • April 19, 2012 9:21 am

      Exactly what I’m afraid of… being a little too frou frou! But they look so great on others :) I think the playing dress up aspect is why my wardrobe, sewn and bought, is so eclectic. It’s like that’s how I pretend I’m an actress or something. Ha!

      Wait, is there something you’re trying to tell us? Wink, wink ;) I will own you, FBA! Then onto the whole crotch length/depth!

      • April 19, 2012 9:38 am

        LOL no nothing to tell…. except that in my inexperience, I think I’ve underestimated how much of an FBA i actually need…. my last dress was woefully tight LMAO!! I’ve been going by the suggested amount in Perfect Fit but I think you also have to look at the finished garment measurements as well, and go from there… *sigh* the more I learn the less I know LOL.

        I do enjoy feeling like a princess – I ‘spose every girl does in some way, but it does somehow feel like it’s not really me (maybe cause I know I’m not REALLY that dainty inside hehehe)

  8. April 18, 2012 1:15 pm

    SO cute. SOOOOO cute, I love this. The material is just lovely and I like the full skirted thing, it works for you! So nice.

    I hear you on the FBA thing. Wish I didn’t have to do one every damn time, sigh.

    • April 19, 2012 9:24 am

      Thanks, Leah! I like the way it looks in the photos for sure, but it definitely feels weird at first wearing a full skirt. Now that I have two (dress/skirt), I’m a little more comfortable with them, and feel like I’ve gotten it out of my system for a bit. What I do love… riding a bike (hopefully without flashing everyone) is possible. Not so in a pencil skirt!

  9. April 18, 2012 4:08 pm

    I was running in the Boston Marathon on Monday! It was brutal. That heat… It’s fun to know you likely cheered me on though. By the way, I really like this dress. It popped up over on the Sew Weekly right when mine did, and I loved the shot of you spinning. Good luck figuring out all of your fit needs. What does your high bust measurement say about the size you should be sewing?

    • April 19, 2012 9:32 am

      NO WAY!!! That is awesome! Congratulations, Amy!!! I wish I’d known, I would have been looking for you and screaming like mad, then insisted on a sweaty hug and well-deserved beer! It was so hot for y’all… Mutai dropped out at mile 18, right? There’s a slide show up on Runner’s World right now, and you can see me in photo 15, just to the right of the 26 mile sign (in this dress).

      My high bust is 34″, so I sewed a size 12 accordingly. The finished bust, per envelope, is 37″, and my full bust is 36″. So it should all work out nicely, right? Wrong. Maybe I’m just narrow above my bust, and thus need to tuck out a wedge on the pattern piece?

  10. April 18, 2012 6:46 pm

    SO. CUTE. You should definitely let full skirts grown on you, I think the silhouette looks fantastic! Great print too :)

    • April 19, 2012 9:33 am

      Stop saying that! Hehe :) Thanks, Rochelle… they’re growing on me a little, I’ll admit.

  11. April 18, 2012 8:06 pm

    I concur with everyone, you look wonderful in this skirt shape. Adorable!

    • April 19, 2012 9:34 am

      Not you, too!!! Okay, okay… maybe I’ll just try to work it. In itty bitty doses. Pretend I’m Zooey Deschanel or something. Ryan would like that.

  12. stephanie u. permalink
    April 19, 2012 10:27 am

    So pretty! That’s a great dress, Lav. I love the fabric and the fit. I know you say there are issues, but I don’t see them. I agree with everyone else, the full skirt looks really classic and beautiful on you. And so do fitted skirts, so you’re just lucky, huh?

    I have that pattern and your version looks completely different and much more wearable.

    I can’t wait to see your jacket!

    (Ha ha, my hubby is a Zooey fan, too.)

    • April 20, 2012 8:05 am

      You can kind of see the neck gap in the boob shot, but I think it’s not as evident due to the way I’m standing. One of these days, I’m gonna get it perfect! And fix everything in the muslin… I have muslin blindness. I can definitely see you rocking this dress! You’d look great in a nice summery version :)

      Oh man, ever since All the Real Girls, Ry’s had a crush. Can’t blame him, though!

  13. April 20, 2012 4:53 am

    So beautiful, I just love that fabric, you look great

  14. April 20, 2012 12:40 pm

    Gosh so many truths in your blog post as well as a wonderful dress – it’s so pretty & swirly – I love it :-)
    The truths I share with you – it is hard to be inside when the sun shines; that the more you know the more you realise you need to learn; and the need to do an FBA I am sure *should* come my way but I am still in denial with some patterns still being passable. On paper I should though.

  15. April 20, 2012 12:44 pm

    Aww, this is super cute! You look fab! Love the fabric choice, in particular– I think it looks fun, but adult (and not like a little girl’s dress, which is often my fear with full skirts). Yay!

  16. April 22, 2012 8:02 am

    Your dress is adorable, and the swishy swirliness so perfectly embodies the happy lightness of SPRING! I am absolutely dying to see the moto jacket too!!!

  17. learningnewtricks permalink
    April 23, 2012 7:01 pm

    You really should reconsider wearing full skirts because the style really looks great on you.
    Feel your pain regarding the fit issues. I finally fit the skirts, but still having problems with the bodice. I learned how to move the bust dart, but still working on the neckline. I find that once an issue is resolved, another one pops up. Being in between sizes creates such issues.

    These sites are good for pattern making and fitting: (free) (some free, but mostly fee based) (free)

    This site has good tips for “gaposis”:

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