Sewing Projects


I have a well documented case of the hots for By Hand London patterns (see my Anna, Elisalex and Victoria here). In my book, no one does dresses better. And it doesn’t hurt that their sizing is pretty much on point for my body shape.

I’ve been in muslin-making purgatory with the new pattern, and needed something fun to distract me from the crippling load of stuff I have on my plate right now. I also wanted to continue the annual tradition of making a birthday dress to distract myself from the hard truth of my mortality and ephemeral time on earth. In short, I WANTED ICING. SWEET, SWEET YOU-ARE-NOT-GETTING-OLDER DELUSIONAL ICING. Thankfully, I had the Georgia dress sitting on my workstation, seductively winking and waggling her hips at me all month. What a tart.

Determined to not spend any money this month, I hit the stash. I mulled a few options, but kept coming back to this idiosyncratic stretch denim I bought in San Francisco with my mom in the spring. It is silkscreened with some kind of iridescent metallic tie dye pattern and was so bizarre and cool and SanFran in its denim tie dyosity that I had to buy it. Since Georgia calls for something with a little stretch, and I wanted something with SPARKLES BECAUSE IT IS MY SPECIAL DAY AND LIFE IS FLEETING I took the plunge.

I cut View A in a straight size US 10 as is my wont with BHL patterns but as I was testing my bodice, I realized it was at least a size too big. I think this may have something to do with the stretchiness of my fabric, and also the fact that I think fitted dresses made of tie dyed denim such as this should be tighter than my hamfisted clutching at my youth. I ended up taking in both side seams at least an inch, which seemed to rectify the issue. My disdain for ease is not for everyone, but the denim was stretchy enough to be comfortable and fitted enough to kind of scoop and firm everything that needed scooping and firming. They recommended doing a muslin fitting (especially for the bodice) but I’m a rebel and proceeded anyway. I think the girls fit pretty well in there. So well in fact that I don’t need a bra for this baby, but because I am a lady I wore one anyway.

I lined the bodice with a similarly stretchy cotton-polyester blend from my stash. I serged the seams and hemmed it using the only hem tape I have in my stash (I desperately need to get more as it is orange and terribly ugly.) I will have to add the construction photos later today as I’m at work and I forgot to upload them before I left this AM.

The final result is pretty fabulous I think. I love how the weirdness of the fabric is tempered by the classic shape of the dress. I feel like a million bucks in this and l’homme told me I reminded him of his teenage crush on Monica Bellucci so you know, high fives all around. Birthday dresses really do have a special kind of magic!

Photos by Guillaume Gilbert