A Tourist in Kalkatroona
This month’s Sewcialist challenge theme was “Oonapalooza”. Named after the one and only Oona of Oonaballoona, the theme was meant to inspire aspiring Kalkatroonans to go forth and sew up outfits inspired by Oona. I loved the idea of Oona-inspired sewing, but for most of the month I was completely uninspired. It isn’t that I don’t love to read Oona’s blog, I really do. It was just that her style is so completely different from the things I usually make and wear. I didn’t want to make something just to join the challenge, rather I wanted to make something that would combine the best of my own style with a dash of Oona awesomeness. It needed splashy colors, a positive attitude, and fabric devoid of polyester-ness. I love her floaty maxi dresses, but I didn’t have anything in my fabric stash that struck me as particularly Oona-ish. Finally, it hit me. I needed to make a wiggle dress, and it needed to be out of a particular flowery fabric that has been marinating in my stash just waiting for the right project to come along.
No one does wiggle dresses quite like Oona, but as far as I’m concerned, I don’t think my version is too shabby. The fabric is something I never would have managed to find and buy, mainly because it’s orange. I like orange as a color and as a fruit (my house is even painted orange, and yes, we chose the color on purpose). However, the colors that tend to make me look best when I wear them veer toward the soft pinks and navy blues. Orange is usually one of those colors that doesn’t set me off well. When I have worn orange, I’ve spent my day telling people “no, I’m not sick” or “no, I slept just fine.” This particular fabric, though has the orange interspersed with enough green and white that I don’t think it ends up pulling all my color out of my face, and even if it does, what other color could they possibly have made poppies? Anyway, I acquired it in one of those FabricMart bundles, and I may have shrieked in glee when I pulled it out of the box. It’s a heavy sateen type fabric, probably mostly or all cotton from the way it presses and sews. The selvedge was printed with “Smithsonian Botanical Collection”. I suspect it might actually have been intended as upholstery fabric. Can you imagine this fabric as curtains? I used white batiste to line the entire dress. In retrospect, I probably should have used something slipperier for the skirt portion of the lining.
The bodice is from the By Hand London Flora pattern. I didn’t make any changes to the bodice from my previous Flora. The skirt is the By Hand London Charlotte skirt. I’ve had the skirt pattern for a while, but hadn’t made it up yet. The initial results of this franken-patterning were very nearly tragic. (but since things turned out okay in the end, you can laugh at this next part.)
Here you see the dress in motion. I love how this dress hugs my curves, but as you can see, there’s quite a bit of curve there. When I first attached the skirt, thankfully before I put the ruffle on the bottom, I tried it on. It was nearly 11 p.m. I was tired, but trying this dress on was making me feel much more glamorous than I’m usually inclined to feel at that time of the night. I had been wearing leggings with my dress that day and hadn’t taken them off to do the post-zipper-insertion try-on. I noticed some bunching and decided that I should probably take the leggings off to check the fit properly, since I’ll never be wearing leggings with this dress (though a pair of control-top pantyhose is probably in order). I tried to lift the skirt to doff my leggings, and realized that the Charlotte pattern, as drafted, is too pegged for the hem edge to fit over my hips. Now, if I had been making a skirt, I probably would have just told myself that when I wear it, it will have to come down from the waistline like trousers when using the facilities. I briefly thought about what that would be like in a dress and dismissed it as far too impractical. I don’t really want to have a dress that I would have to take off every time I went to the restroom. I don’t really want to find out if women in public restrooms would zip me back up if I asked them nicely. So much for feeling glamorous. I went to bed and thought about what to do to fix it. The skirt was quite long, even though I’d taken off an inch or so from the pattern as I cut it out. To fix my problem, I ended up cutting off 6 inches from the hem of the skirt, and that brought it up to a point in the skirt that was wide enough to fit over my hips. Then I attached the ruffle, and the finished length turned out to hit at a relatively flattering spot on my legs. Hooray! I could go back to feeling glamorous.
I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to wear this dress. It’s got too much va-va-voom to wear to meet for worship. It’s too fancy for the usual running errands and such. It will make a good date night dress. I guess I need to ask Pete out to dinner without the kids.
Since this dress is Oona-inspired, I thought it would be fun to try to have at least one photo similar to a pose/shot that she tends to do. I have this idea that she’s really, really tall because she takes those photos looking down at the camera from a few stairs up that make her look really, really tall. I don’t have any outdoor stairs, though, and my indoor stairs are not at all photogenic, so I had to improvise.
I’m pretty sure I don’t look as tall as Oona, but at least my experiment yielded me an interesting picture.
Stash-Busting Stats: 35/50 projects. 73 1/2 yards.