Monday, 20 April 2020

quarantine projects: maxidress mash-up

We've now been isolating for over a month. It's not getting easier (one or the other of us has a slight breakdown every few days or so) and the desperation to be out in the world again versus the terror that we'll be let out again too soon and loads more people will die is, frankly, stressing me out. If we're trying to find whatever positives we can, then I've got: a) I can really tell that my therapy is working; b) I've remembered that I actually really enjoy baking, something I haven't done for years after being repeatedly belittled by a previous partner; c) our flat has some visible floor space for the first time in ages and d) I was able to bounce back from the jacket fiasco with reasonable speed and make a simple, happy, confidence-boosting dress.


Maxi dresses! I love maxi dresses SO MUCH, man. I show up in one, everybody goes, "oh, you dressed up!" and the fact that I just couldn't be bothered to co-ordinate shoes or worry about the state of my legs remains my own personal secret. They're the best possible effort to appearance of effort ratio you can get. Over the past few weeks I've discovered it even still works on me - I'll chuck on a maxi because it's the easiest possible thing, catch sight of myself in a mirror and think "hey, I'm fancy today". 


This is the only piece of fabric I've bought so far in quarantine; I was only intending to get a couple of spools of thread etc to tide me over for what I wrongly assumed to be the next couple of weeks, but faced with the prospect of cancelling some events we'd been planning for a long time I felt in need of a boost. I went with this sky blue viscose jersey which seemed not an overly risky purchase, suitably bright, and one of the more affordable options on the Minerva website. 



You probably recognise that this is the Vanessa Pouzet Wanted top. I've used this a few times to make maxi dresses, but it wasn't actually my intention for this dress. I'd only got as far as "use the skirt from Butterick 6051 with something else" and this was basically the first suitable pattern that came into my hand when searching through my pattern stash. My purple Butterick dress is still one of my absolute favourites for summer wear, but I do not want to make that top again, no sir. It was a complete accident that it came out as well as it did, and I have zero interest in basically redrafting the whole thing to make it more reliable. The skirt is just perfect though, and I've often wished I had more dresses like it. 


To make the top and bottom work together, I cropped the top severely (so much so that as a flat piece it looked like it wouldn't fit over my boobs) and cut a matching back waist inset as the pattern only includes the front. The skirt was definitely a couple of sizes larger than the top, but I didn't want to size down as one of my favourite things about the other dress is that it's not especially fitted and most of the shaping is made by cinching the back ties. I'm not willing to bet this was an intentional drafting decision, mind. I gathered it very slightly at the waist to get the two pieces to fit together and it works well. It's not quite as loose as the purple one but it doesn't cling to my stomach either, so we're all good. 


I'm so pleased with this. It works so much better than my previous Wanted mash-ups where I cut the front piece of the BHL Anna and then some random gathered panels to make up the rest of the skirt (not that I won't still wear those until they fall apart), it's comfortable enough for me to doss around at home in, and I actually feel like me when I'm wearing it. I have a lot of what I previously considered to be very comfortable clothes, but the comfort bar has been raised substantially by this much enforced sofa time and only the very easiest clothes to exist in will do. I don't intend to compromise on that, and it's nice to still be able to look fancy sometimes. If we're allowed out by the time summer comes, this will be the first thing a lot of people see me in.


I've budgeted for another two pieces of fabric over the next month or so. One is earmarked for an indigo denim or chambray jumpsuit, but the other may well end up being another one of these. I don't want to set myself any more super-challenging projects for quarantine (I initially thought that's exactly what I'd want, but nope, I want to zone out for two hours and have a finished item at the end of it, that's what helps me right now) and I especially don't want anything that I have to hang up in the wardrobe for an indefinite "when this is all over". I want nice, cheerful projects I can make use of immediately. Hopefully some suitable fabric will present itself! 

Up next will be my second jersey make of last week, a leopard print lounge set which is maybe the most ridiculous thing I've ever made. I love it. 

11 comments:

  1. That’s a great dress - a really nice shape on you. Make loads for being fancy in lockdown

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  2. Fab-u-lous!!!! Looking wonderful and fancy! My sewing mojo has left the building, but I am trying to get it back as I have a huge stash to work off. Take care.
    Barb

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    1. Thank you! Fingers crossed your sewjo finds you again soon!

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  3. It's perfect! I love that fabric and it fits so well.

    +1 for maxi dress love!

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  4. wow that is so pretty, perfect match up of fabric and style.

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  5. you look absolutely fabulous (immediately looked up Wanted Top and can only find a French version...) I was planning to make a column-style maxi dress, but might need to re-think that... so inspiring!

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    1. Thank you! The Wanted top is only in French, but because it's such a simple knit project you only really need instructions for the square-front neckband and I found the diagrams to be informative enough not to need the words! Someone on YouTube (I think Stitch my Style? Something like that) has done a tutorial video in English as well.

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  6. I've followed your blog since last year but this might be the first time I've commented. This dress is gorgeous! And I also have made two versions of Butterick 6051 and had a terrible time fitting both bodices (different views, different cup sizes, same headscratching with ease or lack thereof). So I might use this idea going forward because I agree, the skirt portion is great! That square neckline from the Wanted top is lovely too. Thank you for the inspiration on how to keep using a pattern that I had previously sworn off!

    -Caroline/@carobanano on IG

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