Ok, we need to talk about something. 'Something' being what on earth I was wearing on the last day of Me-Made-June '11. I promised you a full unveiling, so here we are:
This is something of a departure from my usual clothing, and to be honest I'm not quite sure yet what kind of occasion would be best to wear it to. But I have to say, despite questioning looks from my boss when I wore to work for the final day of the challenge, I really like this dress. It amuses me no end.
This dress kind of developed itself. I started with a metre of Frida Kahlo fabric that my best mate bought me (along with some other lengths of incredible novelty print fabric, I must add) for my 30th birthday. So it can easily be calculated that this has been in my stash for over a year and a half. It wouldn't have stayed in there for that long if I had figured out how to use it sooner. It was 1m long and not particularly wide, so my options were limited if I wanted to use it for clothing. Eventually it became clear that the bodice of a dress would be the way to get the most out of this fabric (which I made somewhat peachier when I washed it with a red blanket!).
Normally I have an aversion to princess line bodices for some unexplicable reason. But we'd been using the bodice pieces of Simplicity 4070 (pictured below) at work recently, and when I tried it on I was really impressed with the fit, so I made that my starting point. I redrafted the neckline to make it wider and a little more boat neck, and drafted a new neck facing to correspond. I decided to add little cap sleeves when I realised I had just enough fabric left. They are attached to the bodice in a manner that would make my Manufacture tutor from university weep, but if you don't tell Rita, she'll never know.
I was careful with the placement of the print (first time for everything!), because I really wanted to emphasise my favourite parts of the design, like getting the sacred heart that says 'I love you alot' over my heart. This means that I end up with what looks like a garlic bulb on my belly, but hey! There's usually garlic inside my belly, so why not have a picture of it on the outside too?!
The plain red fabric was from a large roll we have at work which matched the printed fabric close enough to avoid a guilt-inducing trip to the fabric shop. I tried to balance out its plainess by adding a row of the cream lace from my stash along the hem that I also used for my New School Vintage lace embellished dress. I actually think Frida would have approved of that addition, not being particularly afraid of decorative dress herself! I made the skirt from three rectangles which were joined at the side seams then gathered into the bodice when I stitched the waist seam.
I like to think of this dress as a kind of updated version of something Frida would have worn herself. The elements are there: celebrated imagery of Mexico, vibrant colours, a full skirt, modest neckline, traditional lace detail. It is also a surprisingly comfortable garment. This is the first full 'twirly' skirt I've worn in a squillion years, so it's fun to experiment with a different silhouette. It does feel pretty 'party dress', but not too 'little girl'. As I say, I'm not entirely sure at what event this dress belongs, but it most certainly needs to involve a Margarita, which to be fair, is how I feel about most events anyhow.