Saturday, August 3, 2013

sew bossy

The word "bossy" is funny to me. I haven't used it to describe anyone since elementary school, back when most kids didn't understand social graces and were total egocentric maniacs. Bossy girls were the worst girls (especially if they were bossy AND braggy). As a calm, quiet kid, I was often getting barked at by the bossy types.

But lemme just say the term has lessened in severity in my mind because I've actually had great bosses in my professional life. And when it comes to SEW BOSSY girls, they're totally the best girls. Bloggers Closet Case Files and Oonaballoona jump-started this idea when they swapped mystery packages of fabric and patterns and "bossed" each other into sewing them up for themselves. They have since invited other bloggers to play along in the Sew Bossy Initiative, which you can read more about on Heather's blog here. It's really just a way to bond with our beloved bloggers and challenge ourselves to sew something we wouldn't necessarily have chosen otherwise.

I've always enjoyed following the projects made by Sophie, the byootiful sewing ninja mama behind Cirque-du-Bebe, but I totally bubbled up with admiration and adoration for her during our Project Sewn adventures together. In the beginning I predicted she'd win the whole thing, and of course she did! She has such a keen eye for beautiful fabrics and prints, and her style is bold, sweet, fun, classic, sassy and refined all at the same time. So when she asked if I wanted to get a lil' bossy and swap projects with her, I knew I was in good hands. And yes, the woman delivered:

Sophie sent me the goods all the way from Brisbane, Australia. In a package covered with puffy alligator stickers! The fabric she sent is a floral print silk from the fabric store where she works (lucky ducky job). It honestly scared the sh*t out of me because I've never worked with silk before so I figured it would end in disaster. Turns out all you need is a sharp microtex needle, a rotary cutter and a LOT of fabric starch.

The pattern is the Pattern Runway Coffee Date Dress. Pattern Runway is also an Australian-based company that sells PDFs of their cute patterns via Etsy. If you've been paying attention to Pattern Runway's recent releases, then you probably recognize this pattern + fabric combo:

HEY, samesies! This is a first for me: sewing a dress in the same fabric as the sample dress on the pattern model. I mean, when do you ever get that opportunity? Turns out the Pattern Runway HQ is located just an hour away from Brisbane, so the designer and Sophie seem to shop the same sweet spots. The colors are obviously very different from each other in these photos; in real life, the fabric is much less pink and glowy than you see on the model, and a little brighter and less red than you see on me. 

You'll also notice I scooped out the neckline, which I find more flattering with my face shape and a little less puritan. Changing the neckline ended up being quite the ordeal because I'm really a pretty haphazard seamstress, but I'll gloss over that mess. I mostly followed the pattern but finished the neckline with bias tape instead of a facing. I also didn't blind-stitch the hem because this silk is so thin and delicate that my hand stitching on the wide hem quickly started looking like a hot bubbly mess.

Love these pockets.

I actually made a muslin of this dress first, because I wasn't going to blindly cut into the fancy silk that flew all the way across the open sea to reach me. I made a size 38 in the bodice and waist and graded out to a 42 in the hips. I was worried about the straight skirt but the whole thing actually fit pretty well from the get-go.

On my final version I did remove a sizable wedge of fabric from the center front bodice, because all that pleating otherwise formed a droopy sack of fabric in the middle of my bosom. Now that's how you score dates, ladies. 

I've never sewn or worn a skirt vent like this before, but I like that it doesn't flash any thigh when I walk. Have you ever walked behind a woman whose slip is sticking out of the vent of her skirt, or the back slit of her skirt is cut so high that it's a little scandalous? Anyway, no fear here with the clever fabric pyramid attached from within:

This is the color of the dress in more direct sunlight, and you can tell the fabric is pretty sheer. I will definitely wear a slip with this in public.

The dress actually has back shoulder darts! Hallelujah for us broader backed gals. Why is that so rare these days?

The waistband sits a little higher than I normally like (I think it was my fault due to my bodice alteration), and the skirt may be a weeeeee bit short for work, but otherwise I'm pretty pleased with how the dress turned out. I'm grateful to Sophie for sending me such a lovely package and bossing me into sewing florals and sewing silk for the first time. What a peach! 

And of course, thanks to Heather and Oona for hosting the Sew Bossy Initiative. I hope we made them proud.

In honor of my Pattern Runway dress, I had the newest episode of Project Runway playing on my living room TV while I was taking these photos. I kept getting distracted and watching the screen while my camera timer was going off. I caught my genuine reaction to one of the designs, in a series of eight continuous shots, so I had to post it as a GIF. I didn't realize I was so expressive when looking at crazy fashion:

The contestants would probably have the same reaction to the things I sew, too, ha.

Run, don't walk, over to Sophie's blog to see what I bossed her into sewing: HERE. SHE'S SO CUTE OMG