It’s summertime at long last, or so I am being told. I’m writing this in the middle of nowhere in the BC Interior (Canada). Mother Nature seems to still be playing around with us as the temperature has sunk from 29c to 24c to 15c today. Not the direction I wanted at all! Especially as I have been playing around with some Easy Breezy Summertime Trendy TeeDresses.
It started with my girlfriend, Lil Miss Rosie Bubbles, asking if I’d help her make a swinging triangle dress for an upcoming Gogo performance. “Of course”, I said, then put on my thinking cap … After a day or two pulling patterns I was told in no uncertain terms to, ‘STOP FAFFING!” and “why not use that nice tee-shirt as a base”. That nice tee-shirt is the Trendy Tee by Winter Wear Designs. I’ve made it several times before, with sleeves and without, and with a wider neckline. I live in the three of them currently!
Rosie Bubbles wanted a multi-purpose triangle dress that she could wear both on stage and off. She’d bought some lovely royal blue stretch velvet, and was performing a cheeky Gogo routine with some other dancers. Her dress needed to be big enough to have swing, AND a hula hoop installed in the hem – yes, you read that correctly.
Well, it seemed like easy enough maths. Just make the bodice fit, curve out the fabric to ‘swing’ flatteringly over her widest parts, and ensure it is big enough to (temporarily) install a hula hoop for the Gogo routine.
I pulled my Trendy Tee pattern out and redrew it onto tracing paper. I decided to make a muslin, because, even though its a simple pattern, I’m a totally different shape (and height), and velvet isn’t cheap. The resulting grey stripy muslin was pretty enough for me to finish, and I think it will look good with boots and a cardigan or jacket in fall.
I love V necklines. I think they flatter a busty woman better than a round or scoop neck. I also find using Best Press, or a spray starch invaluable when cutting and pressing a V neckline in place. It helps the narrow piece of fabric lay flat. Of course, putting my long sewing ruler over it until it has ‘set’ also helps. There is nothing nicer than a well shaped V neckline – and we all can sew one, if we know how. I also like to pin my neckline in place and topstitch it to prevent any of the seams rolling. I learned that one the hard way.
Onwards and upwards for Rosie’s blue dress. I decided I’d sew it for her because velvet sheds like teddybears in a barbershop, and I have a serger. Rosie took it away with her to sew in the hula hoop and the resulting dance routine is hilarious! Fortunately she owns some sparkly hot pants to maintain her modesty!
Rosie’s sewing has been coming along in leaps and bounds this past year or so. So much so, that she took the challenge to make herself a Canada Day Dress using the same pattern. The challenge here was that she bought a pretty red and white fabric – without stretch. The Trendy Tee is made for a stretch fabric. “No worries” she said, “we will manage”. Such faith …
As such, we chose to put the pattern on the grain of the fabric, but placed it 1.5″ away from the fold. This resulted in enough room for the dress to pop over her head and sit comfortably. I have it on good authority she will be wearing it to work on Canada Day.
Back to me … I decided that after making the muslin and being teased for faffing over its completion I’d make some more. Yes, I do think its worth finishing seams well, and being aware of my clothes construction. Enough said! If you take care in the making, the wearing will be easier.
When I met Himself (was it really almost 20 years ago, Laura?), I used to have three little summer dresses. They had shoestring straps and were fit and flare to mid/lower thigh. I lived in those dresses summer after summer. Then I hit my mid 40’s then 50’s and my shape changed. Making this Trendy Triangle Dress is a step into recreating that easy breezy ‘I’m going away for a few days, sunny weather guaranteed, and I just need a few little dresses’ feeling.
I have some lovely tee shirt fabric. It doesn’t stretch much and has candy and cakes all over it. I was concerned it would look like a nightie, but convinced myself that with a pair of Fluevogs, a sun hat and shawl I could carry it off as a summer dress. It looks and feels lovely to wear ands been through the wash twice in the last week. It also irons easily – a bonus!
My last fabric is a cotton lycra jersey fabric. It has about 20% stretch, and while I used to shy away from horizontal stripes, now I am in my 50’s my attitude is much more ‘If I like it, I will wear it’. I didn’t have quite enough of this fabric though, so decided to add a rear yoke in lace (as seen above). I didn’t want my bra straps to show, so decided I’d put in a netting underlay. That idea morphed into ‘but why wear a bra?’, and I drafted a built in bralet. It’s not perfect, but it holds the girls in place. One thing this Covid era has taught me is try to sweat less small stuff … and wearing a built in bra means less sweat! The saving I made on the fabric allowed me to (almost) pattern match the stripes while not wasting any fabric. Again, I paired it with a hat, heels, a wrap and a cute bag (I made that too). I feel I could go off to a summer garden party or informal wedding in this. Heck, in rural BC this would be for a smart wedding!
The good photos of me in my dresses are taken by my good friend AnnMarie. She is an amazing fashion photographer; as can be seen as she has brought out the good side of me! Her website is www.amaimagery.com
Note – I haven’t received any compensation for this blog. It’s my work (and yes, I did have Lil Miss Rosie Bubbles as my right hand woman). Rosie can be found on FaceBook if you want to see what she is up to.
Almost lastly, my Boyz, Mr Moose and EeyOre wanted to be in on the Canada Day action as well. As such, I made Moose some new shorts and EyeOre wanted his biker side brought out with a Canada Day waistcoat. His clothes were made using Himself’s old jeans and a duvet cover as lining. They both adore Miss Rosie, and EeyOre’s flag and Moose’s bandana are made from the leftovers of her dress fabric.
Lastly, do join along and read some of the other creations this week. Suzanne, the wonderful owner and designer of Winter Wear Designs has created a selection of patterns for $4 this week, through to July 5th. They can be found at The Summer Collection