And of course life has been getting back to normal. Work for the adults, school for the kids, and the usual hobbies - sewing for one.
This dress is a pretty good representation of my current frame of mind: predictably, I'm feeling like life's too short. Too short for not sewing your favourite fabrics, for worrying about embarrassment, and for dressing staidly. Too short for being a wuss. Too short for putting off the small pleasures that don't hurt anyone. It's time to be bold.
So this dress is bold and abstract and sack-like - a reminder to relish life; an antidote to fearfulness.
Now one of the really cool things about this dress (I think) is that worn normally, the print looks semi-abstract - just interesting lines and blobs on a lovely blue background.
And yet when I assume Australian Sugar Glider pose, the abstract reveals itself to be an illustration for an interesting story involving animals of the air and sea:
The pattern is of course Vogue 1482 by Rachel Comey (Vogue patterns listing here), aka Wades dress. The tech drawing already gives you a hint of sugar glider-ness, doesn't it!
The pattern is described as follows by Vogue:
"Very loose-fitting, tapered, pullover dress has bias neck facing and loop, front seam with left side pocket, sleeves, cuffs, stitched hem, back neck slit and button/loop closing. Note: No provisions provided for above waist adjustment."
I didn't think the back neck slit was necessary - the neckline looked wide enough to get over my head, and I had enough fabric width to cut the dress without a centre back seam - so the back of my dress looks like this:
It's probably also worth noting that most of the original Rachel Comey Wades dresses that you can find online are made from light looking silk or polyester georgettes that drape in thinner folds than my fabric - as does the one on the pattern envelope:
My amazing Japanese fabric came from Tessuti Fabrics' Surry Hills shop last year. The blue is my idea of stunning, and I think the stylised drawings on the fabric are gorgeous too. In other words. this fabric immediately joined my favourites list. And I've pulled it out of my stash so often since buying it - but you know, always held back by the usual excuse: "what if I mess up my amazing fabric with a dodgy make?"
I'd cut the dress out in my usual Vogue size (12-14) but that size looked oversized on me; the curve of the side seams was swamped by excess fabric and the fabric hung on me with curtain-like vertical ripples. The kids gave me the side eye and extracted a promise that the dress would not be seen by their teachers :(.
Happily when I pinned out the excess down the side seams, the dress looked much improved. I removed 5 centimetres from each side seam in the size 12-14 I'd initially cut out, tapering to 2 centimetres at the hemline and nothing at the cuffs - basically a size smaller than I'd usually wear. It's possible that with a lighter weight fabric my original size would have been fine, but my fabric is quite heavy, with a reasonable amount of give despite its not being a stretch. Due to that weight I included clear elastic down the length of my shoulder seams - I think it'll prevent the weight of the fabric from distorting the sleeves.
From my kids' perspective the dress is still not a safe enough choice for parent teacher meetings, but in my eyes changing the fit has made a huge difference. This is definitely the kind of look I want to wear out.
Finally, thank you mum for taking these photos for me! We had a lovely afternoon out last weekend, and mum took these pictures in front of some grand historic houses on a very busy Johnston Street in Annandale (in the inner west of Sydney).
Happy sewing (be bold!) and see you soon
- Gabrielle xx