Hi guys! Thanks for your thoughtful responses to my interview with Leigh Anne Van Dusen. It was reassuring to hear that many of you experience the same feelings I do – wanting to sew with sustainable textiles but wondering (and feeling overwhelmed by) what really constitutes a sustainable, healthy fabric. I thought it was cool was that people had a wide range of experience with the idea – some people were new to the concept while others started sewing because they specifically wanted clothing made from textiles that met certain requirements.
Anyhoodles, today I’m sharing a project made with one of my personal favorite sorts of fabric – second-hand! One of the more astounding fabrics I’ve found at Our Fabric Stash was a royal blue silk noil. It’s weird, amazing stuff – heavier, some drape, crazy easy to sew. And, it’s one of my absolute favorite colors that I don’t seem to come across often in fabric. I’ve been pondering what to make out of it, and decided to go for a dress-length version of my long-coveted, out-of-print Built By Wendy pattern (graciously given to me by Philippa and previously sewn up in the shirt length).
As I was constructing the dress, I started wondering what I could do to make it special. Eventually, Sanae’s sashiko stitching on a dress for her daughter got me thinking, and I realized I could try to play up some of the cool design lines in the pattern with embroidery.
You want to look even closer, you say?
I tried a lot of options – three strands of embroidery floss, two, different designs – and this is where I ended up. Part of me wanted to go crazy and cover the yokes and insets completely, and another part of me wanted to stitch a single outline around each piece. Evidently, I reached a compromise! I’m a total novice at embroidery, but I really enjoyed seeing the graphic stitches come together to form a pattern.
I’d meant to start listening to Christine’s podcast Thread Cult for awhile, and this was the perfect project to start digging in. I’ve often wished for more sewing-related documentaries and media, and Christine does a great job interviewing a wide swath of sewing folks.
One change I wish I’d made is closing up the back opening. The neckline is large enough for even my melon head, and the weight of the ties tends to make it gape open. I stitched the ties down to make a fake bow that isn’t as bulky.
I decided against a sash (included in the pattern) or elastic waist (not included). I’m not sure it’s my “best look” (I’m irritating myself just writing that!) but it’s definitely a “best feeling”. And, I get to feel like I’m following in the stylish, un-fettered steps of Sonja.
The pattern has you sew the little sleeves and the binding onto the arm scye. Given the thickness of my fabric, I had to remove the binding and use a thinner silk scrap for binding that I hand-stitched. More hand-sewing = more Thread Cult!
I shortened the dress a bit by cutting off 10″ or so and turning it into a hem band. I love the weight this finish adds to the dress.
And that, my friends, is how my precious piece of blue silk noil became a embroidered, no-waist dress that is a delight to her creator. Is embroidery in your arsenal? Do you go waist-less? Do tell!