Easter Princess Flora and my Fabric Fast

Happy Easter Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely holiday yesterday – for once, the weather actually cooperated and it was a truly lovely day in New England :). I have sooo much blogging to catch up on, but for today I’m just going to talk about my latest make and my experience fasting from fabric purchases during Lent.

So, first, the fun part – my Easter dress! I knew as soon as I saw the By Hand London Flora Dress that we would be great friends. I love wrap tops and circle skirts, so this gal was win-win! I was following along with the sewalong, but after I got the fit right, I got impatient and just had to finish ASAP! I’ll be making a second following the sewalong, though – I have a feeling there will be many Floras in my future!

So, speaking of fit, I found that to be by far the hardest part of the dress. Which is not to say that it was too mind-bendingly difficult, but it was definitely a challenge for my relatively new set of fitting skills. I knew I would have to adjust the dart positioning, so I started off by doing a quick tissue fit to identify where the bust point should be. And sure enough, I needed to lower that bust dart by a good inch or so, which also meant fiddling with the position of the waist dart. I made a muslin of the bodice after that, and OH MAMA was that thing big! The gals at BHL say this dress is drafted for a B cup (I.e. a 2″ difference between your high bust and full bust measurement), but my Bs definitely did not fill out this roomy top, and I have a 2.5″ difference between high bust and full bust. Just FYI. So I did a SBA, which did the trick, and I’m happy to say I’m super pleased with the fit now!

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Isn’t she just a peach?? I love how I love this dress so much I refer to it as “she” :P. Anyhow, I’m super proud of the fit. I also made a few back adjustments – took in a teensy bit at the top to get rid of gaping, and did a sway back alteration about an inch from the bottom, taking out about a half inch. (I’m still working out that particular adjustment – I was in denial of the whole sway back thing for a while, hoping that if I corrected my posture it’d go away…I’m still hoping for that, but in the meantime, I’m working out how much to take out at the bottom)

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One little construction note…in the sewalong, the BHL ladies suggest using twill tape to stabilize the bias edge of the wrap neck, which is a fabulous idea, and they also suggest cutting the tape 1/4″ shorter than the pattern piece – also a great idea. But I got it in my head that “if 1/4″ is good, than 3/4″ must be even better” – ha! NOPE. Cutting my stay tape that short resulted in the wrap pulling up at the waist seam where it attaches to the skirt, which was a major headache to try to fix. It’s still not perfect, but it’s good enough and I learned my lesson for next time. Oy.

Now a quick word about the fabric! This is actually a piece from my mom’s stash – she took pity on me during my Lenten fast and asked if I wanted some of her old stash remnants that she knew she wouldn’t use. Um, yes please!! This lovely pink brocade (not sure of the fiber content – I’m guessing cotton/poly, but I really have no clue) was actually used for a costume for a Shakespeare play I did back in middle school. I didn’t get to wear that particular costume, but I’ve loved this fabric ever since, and am so happy that I got to turn it into such a dreamy dress!

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Ok, now for a few words about my Lenten fabric fast. It was definitely a challenge – sooo many wonderful patterns came out during Lent, not to mention the Sew Dolly Clackett challenge that I knew I wanted to take part in (I’m also submitting this dress, btw). But I stuck to my fast and did not purchase any fashion fabric for 40 days (I got some lining fabric, but it’s white, so I wasn’t tempted to make a garment out of it).

I learned many things during my fast – what my fabric spending habits are like, what my wardrobe needs actually are, and how to be creative and improvise with what I have. For example, the fabric I used for my Dolly Clackett dress was fabric I initially got for muslining because I didn’t like the color – but it turned into a dress that I love. And I didn’t get to go hog wild over all the new patterns that came out – instead I had to really think “do I actually need another sun dress pattern?”, “will this fit in my wardrobe?”, etc. It taught me to be more intentional about the things I make and wear. And lastly, I got a better sense of my own style and what garments I need in the future. In fact, I was so inspired by my new sense of style that I finally went through my closet and got rid of some old wardrobe pieces I haven’t worn for ages, and identified other pieces that I like and want to wear more. So, all in all, it was a very helpful experience that taught me a lot.

…so today, I’m on the bus to NYC to visit Mood Fabrics and finally buy fabric! What better way to end a fast than with a feast, amirite???

Happy Easter, y’all 🙂

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