My family threw me a fabulous baby shower today. There was a tree of chocolate ganache cupcakes, a spirited speech and accompanying dance by my husband's six-year-old cousin, an array of brightly-colored (polka-dot) decorations, not to mention a baby bathtub full of 67 home-sewn cloth diapers and six baby carriers (my mom SO has me beat in baby sewing!). Baby Z even cooperated by kicking on demand for her devoted fans.
The only element missing? The orange floral silk dress I'd been working on for weeks, made from an adorable "Carefree" empire-waisted 1978 vintage McCall's maternity pattern. The poor thing lay stuffed--I mean, carefully wrapped!--in tissue in a large ziploc bag, her side seams unsewn, her collar unpressed, her armhole facings unfaced.
I mean—what was I thinking? I only jumped back into sewing after a five-year hiatus a little over a month ago, and I began carefully at first, with simple knits--a baby onesie here, a yoked no-elastic skirt there. Each project represented a few new or relearned skills at a time--a rolled hem here, gathering with clear elastic there, tracing patterns from Burda and Ottobre magazines. Little things. Baby steps.
So I'm not sure what possessed me to suddenly attempt the following all in one project on such a tight deadline, while also taking diversions to sew other random garments whenever I got slightly frustrated:
- My first vintage pattern
- My first actual woven dress fitting muslin...
- My first stab at sewing with silk
- My first attempt at sewing a collar
- My first woven sewn garment in 5 years
By the time I: made two muslins and perfected the fit (which involved a 6" total FBA and 12" total addition to the skirt front, among other things), hand-washed the silk print and contrast fabric and got all the wrinkles out, managed to get the silk to stay put enough to actually cut it out to a reasonable approximation of the pattern shape, figured out to get relatively even shoulder gathers...
Well, let's just say I found myself on the Amtrak home to Boston at midnight last night trying to sew on the collar by hand.
I admitted defeat this morning and wore the purple knit $30 Liz Lange Maternity Target dress (shown here on me with husband Masheka on our way to Valentine's dinner):
Luckily we're on vacation this week and my mother has a well-equipped sewing room, so the dress will get her proper debut at a bar mitzvah this coming weekend.
In the meantime, here are before and after photos of the muslin (not full-length, just the top bit), just so you know I'm not a total slacker. I decided to leave the back as is, so no "after" photo:
I'll have details on the whole process and photos of the pattern adjustments once she's actually DONE.
Finally, here's the original envelope--you can probably see why I went for the tie belt version instead of the muumuu version!