Happy New Year dear readers!
Compared to previous years, 2018 was relatively calm for me. I didn’t move across any ocean and I didn’t birth any human! But I did experience significant changes, some that were to be expected and some that were completely unexpected. On the expected side, my quiet and smiling baby turned into a determined, not to say very stubborn, toddler committed to climbing onto everything (especially me). On the unexpected side, two major changes of responsibilities in my day job have have considerably increased my workload.
While I love the idea of a #slowlife and I enjoy tremendously the hours spent sewing on my own, I regularly over commit and end up with more than I can handle. I won’t recap my entire year but in January, I almost drove myself insane and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the year. I was working and adapting to my new job in Haiti, sewing for myself, sewing and writing for Sew News and then I decided to participate in a 10-day book proposal challenge. I didn’t even have intentions of submitting a proposal, even less to write a book right now, but I wanted to see what it would take to write a sewing book proposal (in case you are wondering, the answer is: a lot of work).
In 2019, I still have both the busy job and the toddler, so I probably won’t be able to regain control over my time. But what reassures me is that even if my ability to document on the blog and on instagram was reduced, I still managed to sew and to add clothes to my wardrobe that I love. The answer to the question in the title is no, it is 2019 is unlikely to be the year I slow things down. But I still want to try doing things slowly, or at least slower as I think that it has more to do with a state of mind than an actual pace.
Hopefully I will be able to spend some time reflecting on what slow sewing and slow fashion mean to me, and then share some of those thoughts with you. For me, it has to do with trying to produce your best sewing, pushing your skills and creating clothes that will have a special place in your closet for the years to come. The dress I’m showing you today is very far from perfect, but when making it, I did try to sew at my best. I sewed it in 2017 for an article in Sew News that was published last year.
Pattern – Just Patterns Linda Wrap Dress
Size – 34
The design is loosely inspired from the Christy dress by NYC label Khaite. There is also a version very close to the original dress that won a Pattern Review contest in 2017. I completely fell in love with the big buttons the moment I saw it, and we’ve seen big horn buttons every where since! I used our pattern for the Linda Wrap Dress as my starting point. I did the same modifications to make it sleeveless as my black linen version: remove 1” of shoulder length, raise the underarm by 1/2” and bring it in by 3/4” on both front and back bodice pieces. I omitted the collar and removed the extension of the waistband part. The bodice is fully lined in self fabric.
Fabric Mid-weight suiting of a mysterious blend from Mood Fabrics in NYC
Notions Buttons from Botani in NYC
For the full details of construction, you can check my article in the April/May 18 issue of Sew News. It includes instructions for an in-set buttonhole at the junction of the bodice and the waistband. The most important design aspect of the this dress is the size of the buttons and their placement. I’ve said it before, but I have a personal pet peeve with slightly off button placement on handmade garments, that makes the entire thing look awkward. For instance, I often see buttons too far away from the edges, or very small buttons with too much space between them. I find referring to RTW clothes, in my closet or using pictures online, helpful to figure out what combination is most pleasing to the eye.
I really like my final dress and it’s perfect for my formal work events in Haiti. In the pictures the bodice looks maybe a little too roomy, but I actually appreciate the comfort. Not all my work dresses are comfortable for a full day of work. My only issue with this dress is that I picked the fabric based on the look that I was going for. It has the right mix of body and drape, it was easy to work with, and is easy to launder. But I’m guessing that there it’s a blend of something artificial and I don’t love the feeling on my skin.
As you can see, I am kind of letting go of the expectations that I will blog everything that I make, or blog about previously sewn garments in any kind of structured way. I hope it does not make it hard to follow along and the positive aspect is that I already know how I really feel about the clothes I’m showing you since I’ve been wearing it already! As I start to draft my next post on what slow sewing mean to me, I would love to hear your views or your resolutions for the year!