24 August 2008

speaking of dresses...

I made one too! I mentioned earlier this summer, in my summer manifesto, that one of my goals for these past few months was to make a dress to wear to my dear friend Marieka's wedding. Well, as some of you may have noticed, this summer kind of got away from me a little bit. I had a bunch of other projects to work on, and the hot weather isn't really the best motivating factor for sewing. I did some research earlier in the summer and found a good pattern. But then I got stumped. I had no idea where to buy fancy fabric, and I didn't really love the idea of ordering it online. Time was running out, and I started to think that I wasn't going to have time to make this dress. I was sort of resolved to just wear something that I already had.

When my parents came to visit and we were taking a little driving tour of St. Paul, we drove right by this fabric store, Treadle Yard Goods on Grand Avenue. I had heard of it, but had never been there. Frankly, I had thought it was a hardware store with some industrial fabric ("yard goods" to me meant, like, yard work. My mom was kind enough to inform me that it's actually an old fashioned term that was commonly used for sewing stores. Duh!). We went in, and I discovered that this was the store I had been waiting for. They had an amazing selection of fabrics, from Japanese imports and Amy Butler, to silk, to organic cottons, and everything you would ever need for making garments. I decided to make the dress after all.

I picked out some silk dupioni, the pattern I had chosen is Simplicity 3867 (view B). I was super nervous about making this, since I really wanted it to actually look nice and not, well, homemade (in the bad sense of the word). I know I've made lots of clothes this past year, and I know that my skills have really improved since that very first skirt I made last spring. But sometimes I let the little details (like zippers) slide, and I'm normally okay with things not being perfect. But for this dress, I really wanted it to be perfect, and professional looking. Plus, I had never sewn with silk and didn't know what to expect. The women at the store were really helpful and reassuring that I would be able to do this. They even made me feel better when I had to go buy another yard after cutting half of the pattern pieces in the wrong direction on the fabric!

I took it slow, sewing the entire dress over three evenings last week. I only made one minor mistake, which is that the zipper doesn't go down as far as it should, but that's not a big deal, and is something I can fix later on if I want to (I can't deal with fixing anything on this dress right now). Otherwise, I think everything came out just perfectly, and I'm really really happy with it. The fit is a bit looser on the top than I would like, so I think if I make it again, I will take the bodice pieces in a little. I would like to make this again, probably just out of a light cotton for a nice sundress. It was very easy and the instructions were really straightforward.

The wedding is next weekend, so I finished in plenty of time. I had lots of visions of me sewing up until leaving for the airport (which I've done before) and I'm really pleased that I don't have to worry about that! I'm super excited to wear this dress, and now I'm scheming up other fancy parties that we'll have to throw or go to just so I can wear it! We're off to Oregon on Wednesday night, so I'll pop in here again before we take off. Happy Sunday, friends!


  1. julia! the dress is wonderful. and you look so beautiful in it. congratulations! and have so much fun next weekend.

  2. Wow! I love the texture of the fabric and the blue and red together. Beautiful, beautiful!

    I really need to keep on plugging away at the sewing attempts. I picked up a few Built By Wendy patterns after your reviews but haven't had time to try them yet.

  3. wow. you are so talented!
    well done, julia. you look beautiful!

  4. Julia, that dress is gorgeous! Come to Chicago and we'll _make_ an occasion to wear it! :)

  5. so, so beautiful. i am catching up with all your wonderful projects and just so inspired... and in shock that you started sewing last spring!! this looks completely professional and stunning! xo

  6. Silk? You are way cooler than I am. It is beautiful. Treadle is my favorite and they have great classes there, too.

  7. great dress! I used to live in the cities and the best place to get fashion fabrics is SR Harris in Brooklyn Park. It is a enormous warehouse literally packed to the ceiling with fabrics. (Maybe you have heard of it...) You will totally be overwhelmed, but it is fabulous! It can get kind of wild cause you have to cut your own fabric - but it is definitely worth the trip. Plus all of the fabric is half off of the marked price! Everytime I go back to visit, I stop in. Here is the address - 8865 Zealand Ave NO, Brooklyn Park,MN 55445

  8. Looks great! I've been wanting to try this pattern since, oh, when it came out a couple years back. Perhaps your post will give me the incentive to go ahead and do it!