Ever since Edith was born, I’ve daydreamed about making a dress. Most of my favourite summer dresses aren’t breastfeeding friendly, and if I’m honest, most are still a little tight. For a long time I told myself I didn’t have the time or focus to sew a garment, until one day I got fed up of merely killing time during Edith’s naps and decided I needed a project.
So I made a dress. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I started this on Wednesday and finished on Saturday. So much for not having time. Really, it was more about accepting that I just had to work in little bits of time, not always when I would choose.
I decided to go for a tried-and-true pattern for a simple dress, one I’ve made twice before in a couple of variations:
I also used fabric and supplies I already had, so the only thing I had to buy was the zipper. I especially enjoyed using buttons, bias trim, and thread from my grandmother’s sewing stash, which I inherited last summer.
Previously I had taken in this pattern to fit me better, but I made it this time without the alterations to give a bit of extra room. I prefer my clothes a little more relaxed now. I also addd a front button placket for breastfeeding friendliness, pockets, and a simple straight gathered skirt. Inside the waistline, bright blue bias tape hides the seam and contains hidden elastic which makes it fit snugly but with a couple of inches of give.
I almost belted it, but I actually like the more relaxed and simple look without a belt. It has that late 50’s vibe that I love, but without being overly fussy.
I also made the buttonholes by hand, because I had some ‘buttonhole twist’ from my grandmother which was the perfect colour. Buttonhole twist is a thicker thread for making buttonholes and sewing on buttons, but since most sewists use machine-made buttonholes I don’t see it used often.
In making the buttonholes, I consulted The Art of Needlecraft, from 1935, which meticulously describes how to make a buttonhole stitch and the procedure for making different shapes of buttonholes. It informs me that
[…] the first need of the embroideress is to know her stitches well.
I don’t know if my stitches would pass approval by the book’s authors, but this embroideress feels proud of having attempted them.
I like to think that, as apparently was the case in 1935,
To-day [….] Beautiful work is being done, no longer depending for its charm on […] the tedious nature of the work involved, but upon bold and intelligent designs.
Perhaps it isn’t exactly bold, but I feel that this is a dress of intelligent design – comfortable, easy, and suited to my practical needs.