Archives for posts with tag: dress

OK! Here we go. I picked a number between 1 and 29 (there were 30 comments, 2 of which were from the same person). has spoken, and the winner of the Shabby Apple Mariposa Grove dress is commenter #5, Chris C./bookgeekgirl. Congrats, Chris! I’ll be in touch with the details.

The folks from The Shabby Apple contacted me about doing a giveaway of one of their dresses–they have a lot of adorable vintage-inspired dresses, and I love free stuff, so I figured why not? Perfect timing to give away a girly sundress, too, since around here it recently went from apocalyptic snow-free 50-degree weather to the current 4 degrees below zero that “feels like -12” according to my weather app. It will give you something to look forward to. Or possibly to wear, if you live in a more reasonable climate like the Pacific Northwest uh, Florida?

The dress I picked out for the giveaway was Mariposa Grove, a kelly green cotton A-line dress with layers of raw-edged ruffle or petal detailing around the neck. (Different colors of the same style have different names–I find that a little unintuitive, but I will point out that you can get this same dress in golden orange, as “Cider,” or royal blue, as “Trevi Fountain“.) It reminds me a bit of the Coffee Date Dress.

mariposa grove dress

I think it kind of needs a belt, contrary to how they’ve styled it, and it would look pretty adorable with a neutral-colored cardi fastened below the bust, like Broderie or the Leitmotif Cardigan.

Go check them out! The Up and Away collection is probably my favorite, but I also kind of adore the Bon Voyage dress–flouncy yet tailored–and the Manhattan Collection. Look at those buttony dresses! LOVE.

To enter, go “Like” Shabby Apple on Facebook, then come back here and leave me a comment that you’d like to enter and letting me know what your favorite dress from the website is. It’s not going to change which dress you receive, but I’m curious. Or send me a link to any patterns you think would be cute with this dress. No exchanges, US-only. Since it’s been such a ghost town around here lately, you probably have a very good chance of winning.

Also! Even if you don’t win, you can use this code for 10% off: featherandfan10off. It expires in 30 days, or possibly 30 days from when I received the code, which was a week ago. Commence shamefaced foot-shuffling, apologetic language. I notice there is also currently a code for 20% off, so if they can’t be stacked, you may want to use that one instead. (I am a PRO SHOPPER! When am I going to get invited on that extreme couponing show?) Bloggy disclosure thing: I signed up for their affiliate thingy, so if you buy something, I will get 5% of the purchase total.

I’ll pick a winner on January 29. (Make sure you leave some kind of contact information.) Go forth and window shop!

Yo! I can’t believe it’s been more than 2 months since I posted anything here. But I’m alive and well. I’ve just been traveling a lot (was gone two weeks in May, and pretty much the entire month of June… will hopefully find some time to blog about that later).

I tried to get back into the crafting groove this weekend by sewing myself a new dress, one I’ve had in the queue for a long time. I always totally covet Wikstenmade’s clothes (though probably more because of the ethereally beautiful photography than any particularly strong fit with my own personal style) and she posted this cutout sleeve ikat top a while ago that set me foolishly yearning for a “cold shoulder” garment. (Side note: I found this other cutout sleeve dress just now… does it not totally scream “My biological clock is ticking!” in the voice of Marisa Tomei?)

Here it is: I’m calling it That 70’s Dress mainly for the shag-carpet-tastic orange hue, but these belted sack dresses were big in the days of disco too, weren’t they? Please excuse the wrinkled fabric across the skirt in all these photos–I had sat in chairs in this dress all day and didn’t feel like taking it off to iron it.


Pattern: Simplicity 2406, a Cynthia Rowley pattern (see here for original), view B (knee-length, cutout shoulders, open back)

Size: a straight 12, although I probably should have tapered it out to 14 for the hips–it’s more snug in the hips than I would like when I sit down. I have to hike it up pretty high to get on my bike, there’s not a lot of ease.

Fabric used: Orange cotton/poly shirting blend–very thin fabric. I would recommend using a very fine, drapey fabric; even though this one was pretty lightweight, the sleeves still wound up very stiff because of all the facing seams.

I had a few close calls while sewing because I only barely had enough yardage. I thought I had more than enough, but forgot I would have to cut out not 2 but 4 copies of the sleeves, one pair for the sleeve and also one pair for the facings; also, I accidentally set my iron too hot at first, so I melted the interfacing and a few corners of the sleeve facings. I can’t remember how much of this fabric I had to start with, unfortunately, so I can’t tell you how accurate the pattern’s yardage requirements are.

Pattern notes/mods:

I sewed this without any closures and omitted the back slit so I could wear a bra (and sew fewer seams)–I didn’t alter the back at all, just cut it on the fold and did not cut out the back slit facing piece. I can slip it on over my head. I forgot to cut the back neck facing on the fold, so I just finished the vertical edges with a zigzag and tacked it down in two pieces. This would have definitely wound up too tight for comfort in the hips if I had added the back seam or slit as instructed, since I essentially added 1 1/4″ additional ease by cutting the back on the fold without modifying the pattern.

I think I also hemmed it a little less than the pattern calls for, but I didn’t measure exactly, just did it by eye.
The instructions were a little puzzling. I didn’t understand the directions for the pockets, and didn’t have the patience to figure them out, so I just ignored them and put in in-seam pockets the normal way (sew them to the dress front and back, side seam goes around the pocket edges). I also thought at first that I was following the confusing sleeve directions pretty well, but once I set in the sleeves, I realized that I had wound up with sleeves with a neatly finished slit-like opening at the bottom instead of the normal tube-shaped sleeves.

If you sew this, note that you’ll probably need a loop turner to turn the sleeves inside out after the first set of facing seams; you have to get a lot of fabric through a very, very tight space.

Also, note that the front gathers are between the dots, in the middle of the dress, while the back gathers are OUTSIDE the dots, in the shoulder area. I accidentally sewed the gathering stitches in the middle of the back at first and couldn’t figure out how my pieces were supposed to fit together.

The sleeve sizing seems pretty generous; they’re loose on me, and I have pretty meaty shoulders and biceps. I think women with thin arms would probably want to take the sleeves in a bit. Also, the sleeves are quite stiff because there are a lot of seams in not a lot of space–the pattern photo shows this but I was still a little surprised at how much the sleeves stuck out from the body of the dress.

The sash is a little short for my taste. It’s long enough to wrap around once and tie in a short bow, or to wrap in a double loop and tie in a double knot, as shown in my photos. If I were making this again, I might want a longer sash so I could tie a more lavish bow.

Verdict: I like it! Cool. Comfy. Orange. I might consider sewing this again in a different fabric, maybe a different view, like View C with the 3/4 length balloon sleeves.

P.S. I know you can’t really see it in the photos, but I love all the jewelry I’m wearing. Gold necklace made from a real oak leaf, a hand-me-down from my mom; gold ring set with a teardrop-shaped, cloudy chartreuse prehnite; Monarch butterfly wing earrings. I got the ring cheap with a Heartsy voucher–do you know about Heartsy? It’s like Groupon but for handmade items from stores like Etsy and Artfire.

Here’s the last new dress finished before going on vacation. It’s super comfy, if not especially flattering (the fabric reminds me, now that the dress is finished, of pajamas).

It’s a nod to my favorite Magritte painting, The Empire of Light/L’empire des lumières–dark clouds below, blue sky above, business in the front, party in the back. I might make a bird applique out of the remaining sunny sky fabric, and make it a La grande famille dress.

Pattern: Titus Summer Blouse. I’ve sewed this twice before–once in orange cotton, and once in an adorable Japanese bunny print (I keep forgetting to blog this one). A nice, simple pattern.

Fabric: Bears Just Wanna Have Fun, minus the bears… 1 yard of dark sky, .25 yards of sunny sky; .25 yards of some random white cotton fabric to line the yoke


  • Cut the outer edges of the yoke about 1/2 wider because I didn’t have enough fabric for sleeves.
  • Lined the yoke with contrast material because I ran out of the sunny sky fabric.
  • Instead of cutting the bodice pieces as shown in the pattern, I sewed the entire yard of dark sky fabric into a tube, laid it flat with the seam at the back, then used the corner of the pattern to cut out armholes on either side. I gathered it to the width of the new yoke and sewed them together, then hemmed to the appropriate length with a double-fold hem.
  • Since I left the sleeves off, I turned the outer edges of the yoke to the inside about 1/4 inch, pressed them, and topstitched them together, sandwiching the raw edges inside the yoke. For the underarm parts of the armholes, I just turned the fabric under and stitched it in place–didn’t clip the curves or anything.
  • I gave it an empire (ha ha) waist by cutting the elastic Hanes Her way waistband out of some disintegrating underwear, pinning it to the inside of the tube, under the bustline (stretching the elastic out to the width of the fabric as I pinned) and then sewing 3 lines of stitches to secure it in place. I stretched the elastic out as I went and removed the pins one by one as I came to them to keep everything in the right place. I didn’t put enough pins in the first time, actually, so I had to do this twice after winding up with almost no gathers on one side and a giant avant-garde mass of drooping gathered cloth on the other.

Rahul’s verdict on this dress: “it looks like felt.”

Argh, I’ve been feeling so busy, I have been wanting to take lots of pictures of stuff and knit and blog but I haven’t had a chance. A few of the things that have been occupying my time–pictureless, because I’m just taking a break from work:

Non-yarny stuff:

– Work and class (The Anthropology of Tourism. Lots of readings.). Not much to say about that, except that our last reading was about Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi as a postmodern, hyperreal tourist destination/Baudrillard simulacra. I was simultaneously interested in the ideas and annoyed with the ivory tower uselessness of critical theory. I bet this comes from being the daughter of an engineer and a literature professor–I swing between attraction to the useless-but-fascinating and the practical-but-uncreative. Also, I’m doing an extra job this month for the business school, so I spent last Friday night from 8:30 to midnight grilling undergrad business students about the idea they were trying to sell me.

– Biking in the midst of blazing fall colors and hunting for mushrooms in the Brown County woods. The trees are all kinds of orange and yellow and red right now–much better than last year, when they had just started to turn and then a big storm blew all the half-turned leaves off the trees. It rained last week but was dry last weekend, so we thought it would be a good time to go mushroom-hunting. We were looking for chicken of the woods mushrooms and found two huge yellow shelf mushrooms–one of them weighed probably 20 pounds!–but decided we didn’t have a positive ID on either one, and threw them away. At least we got some nice bike rides and hiking in.

– Making vodka apple pie. I found information about a new pie crust recipe from Cook’s Illustrated from one of my regular blog reads (but now I can’t remember who! sorry). It uses vodka instead of water to moisten the pie crust, under the theory that gluten doesn’t form in alcohol, only in water, so you create much less gluten in the crust by moistening with vodka. The crust came out pretty well–very buttery, no taste of alcohol. However, the dough was super-soft and friable, and fell apart when I tried to weave the lattice top like I usually do. I used dark red Winesap apples and the “Apple Pie I” and “Flaky Pie Crust” recipes from The Joy of Cooking, substituting vodka for the ice water in the pie crust. Jeanne brought over some Musgrave cider she had fermented and we had an appleicious evening.

– Sewing. I’m trying to follow a sewing pattern for the first time: I fell in love with this dress called Shari from Burda Style, and armed with some cheap fabric remnants, I’ve been diligently working my way through the pattern and its puzzling assembly instructions. I also learned how to use the bobbin winder on the sewing machine Rahul’s mom gave me. Yay! Figuring out the zipper foot is going to be a whole new world of frustration, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. The main body of the dress is red cotton with white polka dots. The lining and yoke insert are a white cotton with tiny white circles printed on it. (The print reminds me a lot of quinoa.) In theory, if the piping doesn’t defeat me, it will be trimmed in turquoise–turquoise bias binding piping and some turquoise ribbon with red flowers for the edge of the skirt. I find sewing a very tedious process, even though it takes much less time than knitting. All that cutting out of pieces and ironing and sewing and threading and rethreading the machine… it may produce nice finished objects, but the process is not nearly as soothing as sitting down with needles and yarn.

– Buttons. I experimented with polymer clay picture transfers the other night (another good use for vodka) and made the most fabulous dodo buttons. I am going to find something small and round to use to cut them out, and make a whole set. I think I might use the two buttons I made for another Giftblitz Basketweave Neckwarmer.

– Tonight I’m going to canoe on Griffey Lake in the moonlight, tomorrow I’m going to a Halloween party, and on Saturday I’m going to see the Dalai Lama give a talk.

– I finally got the new Terry Pratchett book, Making Money, from the library! I was like 10th in line on the holds list. I can’t wait to quietly hole up somewhere and read this.

Yarny stuff:

– I finished my Ming cowl and I’m wearing it now, unblocked. It’s lovely!

– I got some buttons for my Jess jacket. I dragged Rahul to Jo-Ann and he helped me pick them out–silvery/pewter reproduction antique buttons molded with a posy of daisies. They only had 4, so I’m going to have to go back for a 5th one in about a week. When we were at Jo-Ann buying the buttons, we saw a saffron-robed Tibetan monk carrying a big roll of red fabric to the cutting table for replacement robes. I love Bloomington.

– I have been swatching and adjusting charts, and I think I’ve sorted out the lace charts I’ve been working on and will hopefully have produced a finished object from them soon. Why is “no stitch” such a bitch to figure out? I guess technically I could just put them anywhere I want on the chart, but I feel like that’s bad form. Still not sure I’ve placed the “no stitch” symbols optimally, but you live and you learn.

– Robynn sent me the most beautiful shawl pin as a Storytellers spot prize. Thank you so much, Robynn–it’s perfect, I love it! I need to take some pictures of it with my Lara sweater and/or my Sea Silk Swallowtail shawl. (The shawl really deserves a better photoshoot than what I’ve given it so far.)

– I signed up for a Knit Picks sampler a while back on Ravelry. The idea was that you would send in a skein of yarn to the organizer and she would make a little card with snips of each contributor’s yarn so you could see samples of all the different types without paying for all the color cards or sample skeins. Then you would get your leftovers back at the end. The cranberry Decadence on the sample card is especially lovely, but I think they discontinued it–I don’t see it on the site anymore. Anyway, I started laughing when I opened the package because it contained a note attached to a mangled Gordian knot of alpaca laceweight: “Sorry, my cat got into your yarn. Here is $5 so you can buy some more.”