Since I'm buried in the mountains of Montana this summer, I'm not making any dresses this month. Never fear! I've got several ladies from around the blogosphere who are sharing their thoughts on dresses and giving you loads of amazing inspiration! We're going to start off with the lovely Jane from Handmade Jane. I hope you enjoy her slightly vintage perspective!
How long have you been sewing?
Almost five years. I took a dressmaking class in 2009 when my youngest started school and was hooked from the very first lesson!
Do you have a fabric stash?
Yes and believe it or not, it's actually pretty manageable. For dressmaking I have one large box of main fabrics, plus a box of lining fabric, a box of gingham and polka dots and a box of heavier weight fabrics such as denim and knits. I'm quite careful when buying fabric - I never buy more than I need and I usually have a good idea of how I'm going to use it. Although this can often change if a new pattern comes along and sweeps me off my feet!
What was the first dress you made?
It was McCall's 2401, a classic fitted shift dress and very easy to make. Sadly, I never wore it as it always looked a bit office-like for everyday wear. The fabric was also wrong for the dress: it was a coral coloured Liberty quilting cotton, which didn’t suit me and was far too thin. Making that dress taught me a lot about choosing the right fabric!
What was the most challenging dress you have sewn? Why?
I’d have to say my Colette Patterns Oolong dress, which I made for my brother’s wedding in 2011. It’s all cut on the bias, so the entire dress and lining had to be cut from a single layer i.e. not on the fold, which took forever. The silk lining I chose was just too difficult to work with (silk??? what was I thinking?!) so I ended up underlining it instead with thin cotton muslin. Sewing with bias cut fabric was very challenging, especially for a relative beginner as I was then, but I got some great tips from my readers, which really helped. It turned out beautifully in the end and is now one of my favourite dresses.
What is your favorite dress to wear? Why?
The style was a little out of my comfort zone, but in terms of feeling fabulous, my By Hand London Georgia dress is a favourite dress to wear. It’s incredibly flattering and I get so many compliments when I wear it! The stretch pique fabric means it’s comfortable to wear too.
Why do you think dresses have such long lasting appeal?
Wearing a dress means your entire outfit is sorted in one fell swoop, so I think practicality is definitely part of the appeal. I also think however plain and simple the design of a dress is, wearing one always makes you feel a bit more chic and dressed up.
Why do you personally love dresses?
Both of the reasons above - I’m totally lazy, so an outfit in one go will always appeal! I also think dresses are indisputably feminine and wearing them makes me feel pretty – it’s as simple as that!
Do you have a particular style of dress you like?
My favourite style of dress is the shirt dress. They’re simple and cute yet still manage to carry off a vintage edge. I love that fact that they’re so easy to wear too – just do up a few buttons and you’re good to go. I have one made from simple cotton, one in a fancier Liberty lawn and one in denim!
Wow, Thank you Jane! Aren't those some fabulous pieces! Makes me want to go whip up a couple now! I think she does such a nice job of making vintage wearable today. Do you like sewing vintage looks?
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