Sunday, 15 January 2012

Parsley Dress with Matching Hat

So I know I have posted about this dress before. It's the first one I made for myself when I was sixteen.
My mum brought home the fabric from the opp shop and I fell in love instantly. Now, it would be safe to say I wore this dress almost every day for a few months and it was my favourite for a few years, until I grew out of it. Now it hangs on a mannequin in our lounge room wearing the hat I made to match instead of studying for exams in year 12. 

I just wanted to do a tiny detailed post because I really am quite proud of my teenage seamstress self. I draped and topstitched the fabric to fit my bodice, without knowing what draping was. I hand-sewed the buttonholes, topstitched pleats lined the bodice and made loop-fasteners with ric-rac. Now it has retired, looking very faded, missing a few buttons and sporting a few tears and smudges, but all in all a very interesting first attempt at construction.

Definitely my favourite dress.

 In a lot of ways I am glad I am not formally trained as a seamstress as it means I would never have made the same mistakes and invented the same techniques and played as much as I have. I remember making a shirtdress in year 12, and one of my friends who was studying fashion at the time said that she had heard sleeves were really difficult. I had not heard that or known if sleeves were complicated so I just did it. And it worked. This is the way I approach most things and I think it has made me pretty expressive and free when it comes to design and construction.

The hat was also an experiment (in procrastination) I remember sewing it in a hurry as I had a lot of studying to do for final exams. But I was enthralled with this project- sewing a giant circular beach hat.
I used a 1920s bathing cap pattern and traced a circle as wide as I felt was appropriate. Then I "quilted" around and around and around the circumference of the brim and put coat hanger wire boning around the edge. The pom pon trim is tucked inside the brim and it is handsewn all the way around. I quickly realised that if I wore it to the beach it would blow off my head instantly and so I attached ties to the sides, which I took off again when I retired her to the mannequin.

I hope to bring a few more of my first frocks out of hiding and write about them in the next few weeks.


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