by Daughter Fish

One of the things I love about sewing clothing is that each garment acts as a sort of wearable journal entry. I remember where I bought the fabric, what I was doing when I sewed it, and what new techniques I was testing out. This linen dress, which I finished for last week’s Sew Weekly challenge (UFOs: un-finished objects), shows how I’ve grown this past year as a seamstress.

I started the dress last summer as a circle skirt. I’d just begun sewing again, after a many-year’s hiatus, and was easing back into the game with some simple projects. The  skirt hung cut (but not sewn) until the end of September, when the turning leaves marked the official close of pink-skirts-for-summer season.

At some point in the winter I saw a Cynthia Rowley pattern with ruffles around the neckline and was inspired to make the circle skirt into a dress with similar details. By this point, I’d gotten a little braver with my sewing, but hadn’t designed my own bodice block yet. I wasn’t very scientific about it, and used a favorite tank top as the inspiration for the athletic-cut back.

I like certain parts of the dress, such as the pleats at the waist, and the sporty line of the shoulders and neckline. For the ruffles, I used two strips of fabric I cut from the hem. I bunched them around the neckline and top stitched them with dark purple thread. The fringe will continue to ravel, which will continue change the dress, and I like that.

Now the parts I hate. That bodice back? A train wreck. The zipper buckles and the sides sag. I sewed two darts into the shoulders, because the armholes gaped, and now they poke out in what I’m calling shoulder nipples.

Thanks to these Anthropology-like shots, taken by my friend H. with her snazzy SLR camera, you can focus on the pretty lights and 4th of July festivities in my friend’s backyard, and not tune in Tokyo on my shoulder blades.

I do, however, love the way the skirt flows. It’s pretty hard to screw up a circle skirt, no matter your skill level.