SEWN - Festive Road Perfect Hostess (with no one to host)

SEWN - Festive Road Perfect Hostess (with no one to host)

Dear readers,

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that due to COVID-19, I had to relocate from Kinshasa to my parents' home in France. Although it's a global dynamic this time, it strangely echoed our last-minute exit out of Haiti last year. When I was talking about leaving Congo, a colleague mentioned that I sounded like I had "unplanned-move-PTSD." As a result, I didn't want to repeat last year's mistake of leaving my sewing room behind, so I packed most of my belongings (and my little human 😉) overnight, including 2 of my 3 machines, all my notions, fabric stash and my 2 projects in progress. 

The dress I'm showing to you today was the most advanced of the two. I had committed to testing the latest free pattern of Vicomte de Boisjoly, from the French blog Essais & Erreurs. Vicomte, aka Biquette, is a super informative and generous blogger whom I mentioned before, for her free patterns in a round-up I did years ago. Her designs are usually not exactly my style, but the design of this dress really called on my love for the classic feminine silhouette of the '50s. 

In a time of a global pandemic, it feels like quite an indulgence to sew, photograph, and blog such a dressy dress. But for me and many of us sewcialists, sewing is self-care (and these days often also care of others)!

Pattern

Since this was a test, I made no changes to the pattern except lengthening the skirt so that it reached below the knee and doubling the width of the belt (I currently have an inexplicable dislike of narrow ones). I'm impressed by how well it fits straight out of the printer. The pattern is also now available with sleeves, and an alternate gathered skirt instead of a pleated one

Making

  • Fabric - Synthetic (probably poly something) from Lanvin from General Diff

  • Notions - Brown plastic buttons, hooks, thread, bias binding, and lightweight interfacing, all from stash.

I made a few changes to the construction to fit my personal construction preferences. I widened the front facing and skipped the armhole facings for silk bias binding. For the first time, I tried the trick of sewing the interfacing with a narrow seam allowance to the right side of the facing, turning it over, and fusing it to the wrong side for a super clean edge. It was quite a fiddly operation, so I'm not sure I will use it again in the future. In general, I have strong feelings about facings, but I'll keep those for a future Tidbits post so we can all discuss the love/hate relationship we have with them!

The fabric is from 1 of the 3 fabric shopping sprees I went on last year while in France. The current situation has made me look at my fabric and notions stash with a renewed appreciation. Everything for this dress came from the stash. I noticed that coming up with ways to use what I have on hand brings me more satisfaction than shopping for the "perfect" buttons or zippers.

But going back to the fabric, while it's the absolute perfect shade of warm brown, it's entirely impossible to press. This is my second garment out of this Lanvin deadstock, and I'm happy to have finished all of it because I cannot say it was a pleasure to sew. The tiny inverted box pleats all around the skirts were very difficult to keep looking neat, and at some point, I abandoned and decided that some kind of wrinkle was ok...

Finally, I want to express my appreciation for the sewing community (both in French and English speaking). I am enjoying so much all the posts about the COVID-related sewing but also the completely unrelated frosty stitching. Scrolling Instagram and reading blogs is genuinely one of the highlights of my day. Don't hesitate to share in the comments, your favorite source for sewing goodness these days. I'm always looking to add more to my reading list.

Stay safe and (if you can) happy sewing!

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