April 9, 2011

Things I Don't Need

This week's Sew Weekly challenge was to sew an apron and this dress, in black. I almost didn't do it, because I already have an apron that I love and I don't wear black. But then I decided I wanted to.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do for the apron. For several days, I had no idea what to do. I didn't want the new apron to be too similar to my existing apron, and most of the fabric in my stash wasn't appropriate. I'm a firm believer that apron material needs to be heavy-duty; I have no problem with cuteness, but if I'm counting on it to protect my clothes from splashing dishwater or whatever, lightweight cotton's not going to cut it. Any idea I thought of was quickly dismissed.

Then someone posted a blue and white gingham skirt with heart-shaped patch pockets on Sew Retro. I thought it was lovely, but also that, if it were mine, I would never wear it. But then I thought--I wouldn't wear it as a skirt, but I might do as an apron.

I didn't have any gingham, but I did have super thick blue and white striped cotton left over from a skirt I made a couple years ago, and I didn't have any plans for it, so...

I sort of used this free pattern, but made the waistband and ties wider (though not longer, which I wish I would have--the bow is tiny) and obviously did different trimmings. I drew the hearts by hand, and made the piping by sewing a piece of yarn inside some of my limitless supply of white bias tape. It's not as round or full as piping from a store, but it gets the job done.

I did a better job on the right pocket, which is what you see here.
And I also added a little loop in the back to hang it with. It's sewn by hand to the waistband's bottom edge, so when the apron is worn, the loop flips down and lays completely flat underneath. Very nice. Here it is hanging up, with my other, full-length, apron (also handmade) just visible in the back.
Anyway, though, this challenge was twofold. The other half was the dress. I didn't really do it right. I wasn't really into the chosen Burda pattern, nor was I anything even approaching excited about it being the kind you download, then print (or, in my case, trace) and assemble yourself. Nor did I have any black fabric on hand, and, try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to buy any. Instead, I used this.
Yes, it's a pillowcase. A very large pillowcase, granted--really more like a sham--but still. It was discounted a couple times and wound up costing something like a dollar fifty, and I had a gift card, so actually I got it free. And it doesn't show so much in the picture, but it's actually navy blue--dark enough for me to feel it fits the challenge, but light enough for me to actually wear it.

I wanted the dress to at least resemble the assigned one (and I think it does. Somewhat). For the pattern, I messed a bit with the neck and shoulders of an existing dress pattern (and actually made a muslin but I prefer the word toile) and used that for the bodice. For the skirt, I just sewed together everything that was left and gathered it together at the waist. It's not a very full skirt, and will probably be troublesome when biking, but again, I feel it's adequate.

I actually have several modifications in mind for the dress. Technically, it's finished right now, but I never get my armholes quite right (somehow, even with the toile...). If I'm just standing normally, it's fine, but if I reach forward, a couple inches at the bottom front start to dig into me. So I have to fix that, and then there are a few other things I think will make it more fun/wearable that I might attempt, too. Right now, I might wear it in a pinch; if the alterations go as planned, I might wear it fairly often.

The next time I wear it, it will be with the alterations, so I'll post photos and more details then. But here's what it looks like without the apron anyway.
If anyone is wondering about the baking pan, I made blueberry oatmeal bars for a potluck at work. Last summer, I discovered that I could no longer eat blueberries, but since they're probably one of my top ten favorite foods, I still have loads of them in my freezer. In other words, I am trying to get rid of them so I took them to work. Despite being blueberry, they didn't look incredibly appetizing to me--I think I used too much topping and not enough base, so the consistency was a little off--but they seemed to be getting eaten. I just wish I could eat one.

Here are project details, split between each piece:
: blue and white striped cotton, scrap from stash
Pattern: Based on this free pattern from this Spool Cotton Company booklet
Year: 1945 pattern, pretty new fabric
Notions: bias tape and yarn=>piping from stash
Time to complete: maybe 2 1/2 hours?
First worn: Thursday
Wear again: yes, though probably not as often as my other apron
Total cost: free!

Fabric: navy blue cotton pillowcase, wound up free
Pattern: redraft of Butterick 3029
Year: 1960s pattern, new fabric
Notions: metal zipper $.25, hem tape $.25
Time to complete: not sure--I have to either start keeping track better or stop including this.
First worn: not yet
Wear again: yes, with alterations
Total cost: $0.50

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