Writing a new blog post has been on my to-do list for weeks, so I might as well just do it! To be honest, part of my silence here has been due to the fact that I’ve been sewing a lot recently! I don’t know if I mentioned: I traded lamps with Ramona. I was using a little clip-on lamp from Ikea as a bonus light for my sewing area, & Ramona had been using a larger tabletop gooseneck lamp in her room. We swapped & now my sewing space is actually bright enough to use! My sewing spaces in previous houses had always been in front of windows, & my sewing space when we move next month will also be in front of a window. My sewing space here faces away from the windows. It’s amazing how much the lack of light depleted my enjoyment of sewing. So that’s my tip: if you’re feeling kind of down on sewing, maybe switch up the lighting situation in your sewing space!
& Ramona is thrilled with her clip-on light. She clipped it to her bed & uses it to look at books before she goes to bed. It has an easy flip switch so she can turn it on & off herself. Sometimes she likes us to drape a quilt over her bed & turn it into a “fort,” & with the light inside, it’s pretty delightful in there. (I may have possibly laid down in her bed a few times to take naps while she was at school.)
Anyway! Here’s a thing I sewed!
This is another Lady Skater dress from Kitschy Coo, but this time I lengthened it into a maxi & did away with the sleeves. I am obsessed with this dress. I wear it all the time. If you can believe it, this is not only the first maxidress I have ever made…It’s the first maxidress I have ever worn! EVER! I guess I used to feel like maxidresses were just not my style. I feel like my legs are one of my best features, so I’ve not been terribly interested in covering them up, & I also associate maxiskirts with hippies, ie, the complete opposite of my personal self-conception. But I’m a total convert now! They are so cool & swishy for hot summer weather, & I don’t have to worry about them flying up over my head in the constant Kansas wind. I have another maxidress (in a woven) all cut out on my sewing table already.
This was a pretty simple hack. I’ve already added pockets to my Lady Skater, so I kept them for this version & just extended the seamlines of the skirt to make it ankle-length. Then I took out some of the width because it was unnecessary with all that length. I cut the armscyes a little bit deeper & guesstimated the length of the binding. My only quibble with this dress is that the arm binding could be a little bit shorter. They gape just a tiny bit. But I love pretty much everything else, so that’s kind of a nitpick.
The fabric is 95% cotton/5% spandex (my preference for almost all knits) from the Magic collection by Sarah Jane. This particular print is called Unicorn Forest & the colorway is “blossom”. In other words, pink & unicorns. As if I wasn’t going to buy this.
I like to use Me-Made May every year to dive deep into my self-sewn wardrobe & wear things that don’t get worn much. Sometimes I discover a forgotten gem that works its way into regular rotation. Sometimes I find something that I just do not want to wear anymore. That was the case with my pink unicorn print Cambie dress, which was maybe the third dress I ever made? As such, it just wasn’t very well-sewn or -fitted. I’m not being down on my abilities. It’s just a fact that learning to sew involves time & mistakes, & I’ve learned a lot since I made that dress four years ago. Getting it out for Me-Made May motivated me to get rid of it, but Ramona told me she loves when I wear my “pink unicorn dress,” so I decided to make a replacement right away. In a fabric that will actually be worn during hot weather. I’m not a fabric snob, I think quilting cotton can work very well in a self-sewn wardrobe, but it has to be the right application. A heavily-gathered sleeveless dress was not the right application for me. Too exposed for transitional/cold weather, but too heavy & oppressive for hot weather. Maybe I’ll try it again sometime in seersucker or something.
Nothing much to say about the construction. I did my usual understitching on the pocket bags so they turn under really nicely. I hemmed & topstitched the neck & armbands with a wide straight stitch. I am really getting good at topstitched bands on knits. The only hassle I had was with sewing on the clear elastic to stabilize the waist seam. My sewing machine is very particular about sewing elastic. I’ve learned that it really prefers a universal needle for that activity, regardless of the fabric involved. Otherwise, it skips stitches or birdnests. I’m not saying that my Pfaff Ambition Essential is a bad machine, but it’s certainly more tempermental than my el cheapo basic Brother. The Pfaff also hates buttonholes. When we move, I think I might set up both machines so I can use the Brother for the tasks the Pfaff rejects, & also so I don’t have to keep switching thread when topstitching or whatever.
I had just enough fabric leftover after making this dress that I was also able to make a retro-style bunny ear headband. It’s a lot of look when I wear them together, but I’m a lot of look kind of person.
pattern: Lady Skater dress from Kitschy Coo
size: right between size 7 & 8
fabric: three yards of Magic Unicorn Forest knit from fabric.com
notions: jersey needle, pink thread, coral quilting cotton for pocket bags, clear elastic
total cost of all supplies: around $45 (the fabric was kind of pricy)
alterations: added side front pockets, lengthened skirt 16″ to make it ankle length, removed about 2″ of width from the skirt, left off sleeves & bound the armholes instead
next time: make armbands just a little bit shorter so they snug up better
remarks from the public: “It’s very…glamorous, I guess? Because long dresses are always glamorous?” — Jared
photos: I took the photos of Miss Mackrelmint 1942 modeling the look, & Ramona took the photos of me