When this theme came out, I thought of a friend of mine who lives in Australia, H. She has a kind and creative soul and I always imagine her with flowers in her hair (I know she doesn’t wear them all the time, I just imagine her with them, okay?) And I thought of her the whole time I was making this outfit for E.
I went through the bag of old clothes again for this one. There’s this dress that my parents brought back from a trip. The label has faded so I can’t say where it’s from. Mexico? Cuba? Well, somewhere in that general area at least… It had a beautiful crochet neckline and lots of lace. E wore it a lot when she was a toddler but one day, the gauzy fabric ripped. I removed all the good stuff from the dress: collar and lace.
The collar made its way onto the top. Since it’s crochet, it has some stretch and still fits over E’s head. The whole top was designed around that neckline. I started with the bodice from the Oliver + S Building Block Dress book. I changed the back to be cut on the fold (in the end though, the back and front were essentially identical). Both front and back were widened by 2″ in the center (so 1″ added to the pattern pieces to be cut on the fold). I lengthened it to be 18″ long. I think. I just remember that I’d planned on it being a little too long and it ending up just the right length… I tried to use the crochet neckline to draw in the top’s neckline but it was very uncooperative. I just did my best to make a square-ish neckline. You can’t see it because the crochet covers the seams but I drew a diagonal line from the corner of the neckline to the armscye and cut. The resulting shoulder piece from the front was joined to the one from the back. That was just to make finishing the neckline without a facing easier. I just serged the edges of the fabric before sewing and sewed that diagonal seam from armscye to 1/4″ shy of the corner. That 1/4″ was pressed under and topstitched in place. For the front and back, I added some 1/4″ elastic to gather the extra 2″. The elastic is right between the blouse and the folded over bit so that it isn’t against the skin.
I got very lucky because the crochet fit exactly right over my neckline. It’s just machine sewn along the top edge of the blouse (the crochet comes in closer to the neck than the blouse itself), and then sewn along the diagonal seams to secure it. The outside edge of the crochet was still a bit ruffled so I used a ribbon to cinch it up. (That ribbon actually came from the dress and served the same purpose there.)
The sleeves are the just the flutter sleeve variation from the book, using the 3″ length and 200% gather.
The fabric is linen that I’ve had hanging around for years.
At the bottom, I sewed some beautiful red rayon grosgrain from my stash. I thought of adding more ribbon stripes but I didn’t want the hem to compete with the neckline. I added some of the lace from the dress on top of the ribbon and I adore the effect! It tones down the ribbon’s bright color and simply makes that whole hem treatment work so much better…
The skirt is a… What do you call those skirts? Peasant skirt? Tiered skirt? Ruffled skirt? Whatever you call them, it has 5 tiers gathered together.
3 of them are made with the same yellow fabric as V’s dress from last Fall. The 2 other tiers are pieced. There’s some Cloud 9 Cirrus in I don’t know what color (the orange) and some blue cotton remnant I’ve had forever. The blue lace is leftover from a knit I made for a dress for E. (I can’t believe that’s already 3 years ago.) And the orange cotton – natural linen woven squares are from the sample weaving I’d done for a project back when we were still in Montreal. So, uh, 2009. (Why do I suddenly feel old?)
Both the knitted lace and woven fabric are backed with brown cotton voile. In one case to provide stability and opacity and in the other, just in case it might be scratchy against the skin.
I was originally going to use some more of the lace from the dress on the skirt but I didn’t have enough for it to look right. So no lace.
I feel like I say this all the time but it’s always true. E was happy with the outfit but we’ll have to see if it gets worn. *crossing my fingers*