During my last trip to Mood Fabric LA, I wandered down the cotton print aisle. Right there, amid the floral cotton voiles and yarn-dyed shirtings, this Marc Jacobs print practically jumped into my arms (click HERE for a huge assortment of Marc Jacobs designer fabrics from Moodfabrics.com). When it comes to cotton prints, I first need to fall in love with the print, then I need to fall in love with the hand of the fabric. I would best describe this fabric as a lightweight cotton gauze. It has a floatiness to it that I haven’t ever seen before. This is the stuff you go to Mood Fabrics for. Editor’s note: Here’s an assortment of cotton voiles, batistes and gauzes from MoodFabrics.com.
A yard and a half came home with me even though I had no plans for it whatsoever.
As often is the case when I’m looking for inspiration, I started flipping through my collection of vintage patterns. I knew this fabric needed a style that didn’t break the print up too much. Advance Pattern 3214 had just enough detail but not too many seams. A vintage printed cotton I picked up at an estate sale years ago made the perfect little contrast peter pan collar.
I have found myself with the bad habit of sewing pieces of clothing as quickly and cheaply as possible. This habit is only exacerbated by sewing blogs that promote “10 minute skirts”, “secret sewing shortcuts”, and “this shirt cost me only $1 to make”. But as a new member of the Mood Sewing Network, I’ve been inspired by these men and women who make expertly crafted garments that look just as good on the inside as they do on the outside. While there is a time and place for projects that can be finished while the baby naps with techniques that are quick and materials that are cheap, I have been yearning to slow the sewing process down and focus on quality instead of quantity. I want to create things that will last because they are made with materials that will last. I want to create things that will become heirlooms. I want to use techniques that take time. I want to make things that look handmade (in a good way). I want to put a piece of myself into each garment. I want to enjoy the journey of sewing a piece of clothing.
This dress was made in numerous sessions of sewing. French seams and bound armholes seemed the only right thing to do. One night was totally devoted to hand gathering those shoulders just so and hand-tying all those little thread ends (something I haven’t done since design school).
Then on another afternoon, I sewed the buttons on with a pin spacer to give a little extra room for the layer of fabric around the button to lay.
As much as I hate hand-sewing, a wide, hand-sewn hem is what this pattern called for. The orange vintage lace hem tape is another intentional yet subtle detail.
This dress, which was made with love (because love is sometimes synonymous with time, right?), will soon be on it’s way to someone who I know speaks that same love language and will treasure this piece for years to come.
Have you felt your own personal sewing pendulum swing? In what way? I’d love to hear.