Those of you following along with the hair color game will notice that my hair is much redder than before. Thanks are owed to Wella 6R, and no thanks are owed to Age Beautiful’s “light strawberry blonde,” which turned out more like light carrot orange. These pictures are a week and a half old and I’m realizing that my hair is noticeably lighter now. My roots are also coming in with a vengeance, so it won’t be long before my hair is teal!
What you see before you today, aside from a gorgeous mop of red hair, is a Grainline Alder, view B. Oh, and also a new spot in my living room. I took these pictures very late in the day, so I had to move from my usual spot in the corner furthest from our windows because it was totally in shadows. My camera may not be the DSLR I long for and it may, to my perpetual consternation, not be compatible with remotes, but what it does do is pick up all available light like a mofo. You guys, it was really dark in that room when I took these pictures and I was pretty sure I’d have to give up and try them another day. They’re not the brightest, but I’m shocked you can see anything! You can definitely see that mess of wires under my husband’s second desk, though, so sorry (he works from home and this is his personal desk, while I usually stand next to his work desk. Your eyes do not deceive you – we have two of the exact same desk).
So, the Grainline Alder. I was obsessed with this dress from the moment I saw it on Jen’s Instagram. You see, I love love love shirt dresses, but I feel like they don’t flatter me very well. But when I saw these style lines, I thought I might have a shirt dress I could actually wear. The results are debatable, but man did I have a fun time sewing this up. I had no idea how enjoyable shirt-making could be. I loved the precision of all the steps and I enjoyed putting on the collar, and I love how it turned out – so professional! A lot of what I sew seems unique to me; for the most part, I sew because I can’t find things I like or that fit me in stores. But a button-down shirt is a button-down shirt. It seems silly after sewing for so long, but I got a thrill out of making such a standard, recognizable item. Like, “Wow, I really can sew things just like you can buy in stores!” Like I said, silly. I’ve traced off a pants pattern because I’m determined to conquer them this year, and I expect to feel the same silly way about them.
But the above photo accurately captures my dissatisfaction with how the Alder looks on me, and let me be clear that the problems are all my fault. This pattern is great, it’s just that I made it a size too large, and failed to notice until literally the last second. I finished everything, tried it on, and thought, “Oh, this is actually way too big!” And I’d made a muslin and everything – a muslin that was too big. I made very few adjustments to the muslin, and I think I was just so shocked and delighted that the fit was pretty good right out of the package that I didn’t quite see that I’d chosen the wrong size. The Alder is supposed to be loose-fitting, so it’s not that it looks terrible or inappropriately large. It’s just that I think I’d like it more and find it more flattering on myself if it wasn’t quite so billowy. I’ve thought about nipping in the side seams a bit, and I may do that. It would mess up my nice finish on the inside, though, which would make me sad.
The only alteration I did make to this dress was to pinch out some armhole gape and rotate it to the bust dart. This made the bust dart look to be about the same size as most of the patterns I sew, so I thought I was golden. In retrospect, the fact that such a narrow bust dart fit me should have been a sign to me that I was going about things incorrectly. I think what I really needed to do was sew a smaller size and do a full bust adjustment. Next time! And I’m pretty sure there will be a next time for this dress.
Hey, there’s that collar I loved constructing! Like everyone else who’s sewn a collar and stand recently, I used Andrea’s tutorial, which makes the whole process so easy. If you notice any floppitiness in my collar, it’s only because I didn’t interface anything on this dress, not because Andrea’s tutorial was lacking. I don’t have any good interfacing and I’m on a fabric fast, so I couldn’t buy any. Perhaps I could have made an exception for interfacing, but I didn’t think it would be a big deal for this dress. It’s a more casual sort of thing, so I didn’t think I would miss the extra stiffness in the collar or button band. I may live to regret this decision; only time will tell.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Hark! I see some shiny space fabric in this Grainline Alder view B!” And you would be correct. This dress is from space, and it has the harsh reflection of light from its silvery coating to prove it. This fabric is a funny story. I saw Sew Dixie Lou’s post on her metallic linen cami and immediately high-tailed it on over to Mood’s website, where I ordered some of what I thought was the same thing. When it arrived, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I unfolded it and realized that it would make a great costume for this guy who wanders around downtown Chicago dressed in a metallic suit and covered in metallic paint, pretending to be a robot for tourists. It was WAY shinier than Clare’s appeared to be. I even asked her if hers was blindingly metallic, and she assured me it was not. Readers, I bought the wrong fabric and Mood doesn’t accept returns. And this fabric wasn’t all that cheap. I was quite distressed, but eventually came up with what I thought to be a quite inventive compromise: using the fabric with the wrong side out. Someone (I sadly can’t remember who!) recently posted about how Kenneth King argues there’s no right side to fabric – there’s only the side you want to show. I think that Kenneth King fellow is right on. I was initially set on dyeing this fabric a deep teal, but was too lazy to order everything up from Dharma trading and didn’t relish the idea of hand-stirring my fabric for an hour as I can’t extend the spin time on the coin-op washers in my apartment building. So I stuck with the grey, also rationalizing that my hair would soon be bright colors, which would mean that perhaps some neutral clothes are called for. I ended up really liking the grey, so I’m glad it worked out.
And here’s the inside of my shiny shiny space dress. I was a bit worried that the metallic surface might reflect my body heat back on me, sort of like those space blankets, and make me too uncomfortable in the summer heat. My husband assured me it wouldn’t work like that. I’m happy to report that my understanding of science was woefully inadequate enough for my suspicions to be proven untrue. It’s a wee bit hard to tell in these photos, but I did use the metallic side as an accent on the button band and collar. Despite my concerns about looking like the robot man, I secretly do love my shiny space fabric, and wanted a bit of it to be visible.
A few closing notes:
-You can barely see my scar from my hideous wound anymore! It’s on the leg closest to the camera above. I was diligent about putting vitamin E oil on it once I was able to stop bandaging it up, and I think it really helped.
-There’s been a lot of great discussion about blog photography lately, making me want to purchase a DSLR and a prime lens to make my photos look as gorgeous as those of Amy and Jenny. Lacking the funds to do so, I decided to take another bit of Amy’s advice about posing. So here’s me trying to face the light and trying to look pensive. I think I look depressed, which may not be that inaccurate during what is going to be a very busy semester for me on many fronts. Next time I experiment with blog photography, I will definitely use the low-to-the-ground Oona tip. These photos were taken before she posted about it, so I haven’t had the opportunity yet.
-In the past few weeks I’ve sewn three Deer and Doe Daturas and have a fourth on the horizon. I’ve been toying with the idea of participating in One Week, One Pattern, and I think I’m going to go for it, so look for that next week.
-I sat down and planned a bunch of fall sewing earlier tonight, and while I’m positive I overplanned, I’m excited about sewing some cooler-weather items. I have a pair of purple pants planned, so my game plan is obviously the best. I’m also very excited about sewing a winter coat, which my button-down shirt success inspired me to do. I think I’m going to go with the Deer and Doe Pavot because I usually have success with their patterns. I’m also having a great time ogling wool coatings on various websites. September 22 and the end of this summer stashbust cannot come quickly enough for me!
-On a summer stashbust note, I consider this make a real win. I was certain this shiny, impractical fabric would sit in my fabric bin forever, so I’m really glad I found a use for it!
See you soon with my stockpile of Daturas!