Sometimes when I am thinking up posts for the Craftsy sewing blog I start with an idea, and then sew up something to illustrate that idea - an example being my recent popover top. Other times I am making something and think oh, this would make a good post for Craftsy. Such as the hidden buttonhole placket or converting darts to gathers. Read through this post to see my refashion of a dress that hadn't even been worn in it's original ruffle version. Do we call that a pre-fashion?
This dress is something I made because I wanted to do a post on circular ruffles. Although I wasn't 100% sold on the idea of wearing a dress with a circular ruffle - which I think you could also call a flounce. Funny how there are so many terms for the same or similar things in the sewing vocabulary.
As it happened my pal Alice recently gave me a bunch of fabric she decided she would never use, with this eye-popping mod print among them. It is a bit crazy - however the colors are just to my liking. It's some kind of poly stretch which feels quite good to wear and would probably travel quite well - if you are going on a tropical vacation. (hey that's something I do - ok, this one might make it in the suitcase next time).
Enough with the blather huh? Here is dress version Number One with the ruffle.
Yes a bit wacky. And I felt like I was ready to enter the cha cha competition. Not that I know where one is. Just a mental picture.
Here is the link to the Craftsy post on making this ruffle. As I mention in the post it is not limited to the edge of the garment - you sometimes see it on knit t-shirts, perhaps running diagonally or horizontally across to add some texture, or you can place it vertically. In the documentary, Valentino, the Last Emperor there is a scene where he agonizes over the number of ruffles on an evening gown and I believe these are circle cut ruffles. In any case the gown is gorgeous and if you have not seen that movie I strongly urge you to find it - eye candy for a stitcher plus some fun behind the scenes drama and insight.
To make this dress I used my all-time favorite pattern, which is very simple but has some small details that I love. No way to count how many times I have used this pattern as the basis for something but it must be at least 15. The pattern has a copyright date of 1990 !! and I bought it new so I guess I got my money's worth. I saw it for sale on Etsy as a "very rare and sought after" vintage pattern for $ 25 but also saw a listing for $ 5 so I guess it depends on your point of view.
Dress form views, I made the version without the center V neckline. Of course one thing I like about this pattern is the cut-in armholes. Someone asked me recently on one of my shirt posts why I like this shape and how much to cut in. The why is perhaps personal taste, and just a way to be a little more bare without a strappy dress, and the how much I change each pattern on the fly. But usually just try on and then mark where my collarbone ends and that seems like a good spot.
So once I had this dress completed, photos done and the Craftsy post written it sat on my dress form. Mocking me. Do your sewing projects communicate with you, in any manner? This one said "you like these colors but you will never wear it with that ruffle".
And so I had an idea to change out the ruffle for something else. You can tell I took the second set of photos with my crummy Canon camera using the timer - not as nice as the first photo which my friend took with her far better professional camera.
But you can get the idea. Since the ruffle was 4 inches wide the dress was too short once I removed it, however I had taken great pains to get it sewn evenly all around, so removing it left me with an edge that just needed an addition all around. I had been wanting to add some inset or open ribbon work to a dress for a while, and I found this trim at Joann's which was such a perfect color match.
I know, I know - this might not be to everyone's taste but if I saw this dress in a little boutique in a beach town I would want it :) And as an aside - I have got to do something about the lighting on my photos. See above photo, wall is actually a very pale blue but never appears that way in my full length photos. I have to work on my photo location setup.
And there you have it, a tale of two dress versions. No going back now as I have tossed that ruffle out.
One last look at the before:
and the after:
Let me know which one you like better - and don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings if you liked the ruffle version more! I think the more likely opinion is that the fabric is crazy. Crazy good, right? Hey all that difference of opinion is what keeps the fabric stores stocked with plenty of different looks for everyone.
Happy summer sewing,
today's garden photo - just out of the frame in the last image is my precious red rose. Isn't this what you think of when you have roses in mind?