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March 10

Stormy Skies Dress

I’ve had a version of the Stormy dress hanging in my closet for a while, and it needed to be altered (long story short…).  So over the weekend I decided to jump right in again on this dress and finish it up.  What I thought would only take a day or so resulted in a five day project instead.

The original dress had a bodice (sans sleeves) attached to a pencil shaped skirt.  I cut the pieces too small and I just thought I had to let out the side seams and continue on.  Well, after digging in again, I decided that I’d need to re-cut the entire bodice and that it also had to be underlined.  Aaaand I decided that I didn’t want the close-fitting skirt but a fuller skirt instead.  I believe I’ve been cursed with always having to go the long way instead of just doing a quick fix.  A whole new dress later, I can now say I’m very happy with the result.

While the ‘original dress’ was part of the Colette Spring Palette Challenge, I also think it’s appropriate for the Sew Weekly Challenge of “Some Local Color” since this fabric really feels inspired by my city.  (So I hope you all don’t think I’m “cheating”, since this new version is really meant for both challenges.)

All I can think about when I see the dark splashes of black mixed with the pinks and white on my dress is Chicago weather.  For those of you who have never been to Chicago is that our summers are the best.  It’s warm, sunny, and with the cool breeze from the lake mixed in, makes it my favorite place to live.  My friend Jake and I joke that Chicagoans deal with the winters and crappy weather just to get a few months of summer weather.

At the moment, we’re at the end of the winter and it’s still so cold, rainy, and dreary; it feels like the winter will never turn to spring, and get nice.  To me this dress really feels like a mix of the dreary weather (black splashes) with the hope of the springtime right around the bend (white and pink).

I couldn’t have picked a more ideal day to take these pictures.  heh  The weather is dreadful out which is so typical of my city, this time of year.  (The building to the left of me, at the end of the block is actually the Art Institute of Chicago.)

The bodice is make from the New Look pattern 6968.  I loved the interresting tie detail on the collar, but it was a bit tricky to follow the pattern instructions for this bit.  I also decided that I wanted a fuller skirt instead of the basic pencil-shapped skirt that was shown.  Having never made a skirt from scratch before, I went and took the skirt portion from a Simplicity 2444 dress.  I ended up altering the skirt pleats a bit since my fabric seemed too thick to get the nice draping that resulted with the pattern’s original pleats. 

 I added white cotton batiste for the underlining, did a regular invisible zipper on the center back, and added some lace binding to the inside hem for fun.  Other than that, I didn’t really incorporate a ton of different construction details than normal, since I don’t think this dress needed it.

And there you have it.  My first completed project for the Colette Spring Palette Challenge, which perfectly refects the current state of the weather in Chicago, and my longing for spring.

I’ll leave you with my silly rain-checking shot and I hope the weather is better wherever you live.  

  1. Allison / Mar 10 2011

    WOW – it is beautiful! You are so so talented! That fuschia/red/white/black palette is gorgeous, and I think its juxtaposition with the gray rainy skies is really lovely too!

  2. Gina / Mar 10 2011

    Wow, super, super cute! Love the colors on you. It’s such a great thing to sew for yourself. It looks like you have sewn your whole life!

  3. Janelle / Mar 10 2011

    Very cute. You really sell it too. :) Love the pictures.

  4. Tasha / Mar 10 2011

    Ooh I love it!! Am I’m impressed you braved the weather to strut your stuff sans a coat. LOL

    I’m not sure what the dress looked like beforehand, but the skirt has an incredible shape to it, perfect and crisp. I am most impressed that you took it apart and rebuilt it. I get frustrated by the smallest things so I absolutely could not see myself doing that. But really, in the end what a stunner of a dress you have!

  5. Marty J. Christopher / Mar 12 2011

    Gorgeous! Not that I ever expect anything less! : O )

  6. Emily / Mar 28 2011

    This dress is so pretty! Looks like you got a perfect fit. I like the detail at the neckline and the fuller skirt.

  7. Trice / Apr 12 2011

    Where oh where did you find that fabric? It is lovely

  8. Sara / Dec 6 2012

    Oh, YAY — I have NL 6968 and I’m so excited to see that it works with a fuller skirt. Gorgeous fabric too! :)

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