Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Anne Outfit Plans for an Anne Picnic

 My friend and I may have, somewhat accidentally and most certainly impulsively, started a fantasy event company early this year - and our first event is this coming weekend!!! (If you follow me on Instagram this probably isn’t news to you, as I’ve been sharing about our events there for a few months now.)

We’ve got balls and a tea coming up over the course of the next year or so, but for this first get-to-know you type event we decided to do a free picnic in the park - an Anne of Green Gables themed picnic to be exact! 

The idea is people can come dressed in their finest “cottage core” attire for a delightful afternoon and get excited about the larger, fancier, events we have coming up. I am, of course, also using this as an excuse to make myself a new Edwardian ensemble! One I’ve had planned for atleast the past 2 years, but haven’t made a priority, until now. . .

Ok, I suppose the real beginning of this ensemble was about 3 years ago when my mom gave me this white cotton nightgown. 

Nearly sheer, embroidered, white cotton - with a pin-tucked yoke and mother-of-pearl buttons. This thing was just begging to be re-fashioned into an Edwardian blouse! There was only one problem. I liked it as a nightgown. It was a welcome addition to my collection of summer sleepwear and I didn’t really want to cut it up. 

This issue was solved when I found an identical nightgown at Goodwill few months later. The thrifted nightgown could get refashioned into a frilly Edwardian blouse, the nightgown my mom gave me could stay intact!

The idea for a skirt to go with the blouse came about at some point in the past couple years when I found a pale green herringbone cotton on the clearance rack at Joann’s. The fabric was cheap and just screamed “TURN ME INTO AN EDWARDIAN SKIRT” - so everything that was left on the bolt (3ish yards I believe) came home with me for that purpose. (Doing research as I began actually sewing this skirt, I came to the realization that the reason this green fabric screamed at me so was probably because of this Anne outfit made by The Quintessential Clothes Pen. Her green skirt almost certainly influenced mine as I read her blog post about it shortly before finding my green fabric I believe.)

About a month ago, in preparation for our upcoming picnic, I pulled out the nightgown and green herringbone to begin the outfit. 

I decided to listen to the Anne series in audio book form while sewing to get myself in the mood for the picnic - and not an hour into listening I happened upon the perfect idea for a hat to complete the ensemble.

A hat trimmed with pink roses and yellow buttercups, reminiscent of 11 year old Anne’s first Sunday attending church in Avonlea! Fake roses and buttercups have now been obtained for just such a purpose. . .

At this point the skirt is complete, with the blouse and hat are well underway - on track to be perfectly completed before Saturday afternoon! All that’s left for me to decide on is what I’m packing in my picnic basket. . .  And I’ve got some Anne-inspired ideas for that too!

If you’re local and interested in joining us on Saturday info about the picnic can be found here!

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Butterfly Denim Wrap Dress

 As soon as I made Simplicity 8085 (8 years ago now!) it became my favorite pattern. Basic sundress in the front, wrap dress in the back, beautiful fit - it was fantastic! I went on to make that pattern 3 more times (and I highly doubt I'm done with it yet!), and it gave me a love for dresses that wrap across the back. Along with versions two, three, and four, of the Simplicity pattern, I also made the Wearing History 1939 sundress with a similar back-wrap feature. These dresses are all summer staples in my closet - getting worn year after year (yes, 8 years later I am still wearing and loving the original green dress.).

Thus, when, at an estate sale several years ago, I came across a vintage mail order pattern with this back wrap feature - obviously the pattern had to come home with me and be tried out!

A mail order Anne Adams pattern from, well, honestly I don't know the exact year, but the postage mark appears to say 1980, so probably somewhere around there. I decided to pair it with a light weight denim from my stash embroidered with rainbow butterflies all over. Someone had given me this fabric several years earlier, and I'd been waiting for the right project to come along for it - something that would look good in butterfly denim, without looking too childish - and I decided this dress was it!

The pattern was a size 16 - possibly not my size, but I didn't worry too much about that. Just figuring "wrap dresses are forgiving" I cut the dress out of my fabric with no alterations.

I sewed up the dress - and it was too big. Better too big than too small! I " fixed" this by just wrapping the dress a little tighter and adding small darts to the top edge of the bodice where it wanted to gape. The waist dart placement does not sit correctly at my bust thanks to this sizing issue, but the dress is comfortable, and looks decent enough from a distance, so I chose not to worry about that.

As for the waist fastening on this dress (the only fastening dresses of this style require), I decided to do something a bit different than I've done before and, rather than waist ties, I made a belt that buckles attached to the waistline of the dress. 

I carefully embroidered sturdy eyelets of different colors on the belt to match the colorful butterflies - only to discover that, as the dress was too big, the belt was really too long and none of those beautiful hand-sewn eyelets were at the right place to fit me.

Thus, those original 5 colorful eyelets are now a decorative feature, and the belt fastens off-center (we're calling that a design feature as well) with a 6th eyelet I sewed at just the right location.

There are two lessons I could take from this dress - "double check your fit and adjust accordingly before cutting into your fabric" or "just cut into the fabric, you can always fix things later! (There's always a way to make things work.)"

I probably should have learned the first lesson, but alas, my sewing practice better reflects the second.

Quirks and all, I do love this dress! I made it almost 3 years ago now (yes, I'm fearfully behind at blogging), and it's been worn regularly every summer since.

Last summer I wore the dress to spend a wonderful evening at a local winery overlooking the river with my friends, sister-in-law, and niece. My best friend took some photos of the dress for me, and after observing the photoshoot in progress, my niece requested to join in.

Any time kiddo! You can be in pictures with me any time!