This month’s Sewcialist theme was “Tribute”, sewing projects inspired by another sewing blogger. It should have been so easy to choose one, but it was actually quite difficult to try to narrow down the options seeing how many amazing and different sewing bloggers are out there now. I had to come up with some criteria to limit my options. I wanted to challenge myself, so I wanted to try to pick someone whose style is relatively different from my own. If I realize that someone has inspired a project, I usually try to credit them, so I know I have several past projects, like this one, this one, and this one, that were inspired by other sewing bloggers. I wanted to make sure to choose someone who hadn’t already inspired me with a project.
As I was trying to choose a muse, I began thinking about a particular question posed by Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic a few months ago. She had asked something to the effect of why aren’t there more sewing bloggers making up professional clothing such as business suits and such. I have a couple of theories about this, but the one that runs closest to my own personal experience is along the lines of how someone who is in a position to need really professional clothing on a frequent basis is also probably someone who is terribly busy with work and who thus may not have the time to also make their own clothing and blog about it on a regular basis. It’s easy for me to make excuses for not making more professional clothing; being a telecommuter, I don’t exactly need to wear a suit. On the other hand, if I had a professional event I needed to show up for on short notice, what would I wear? It seems prudent to have at least one option in the closet.
Carolyn seems to be the reigning queen of sewing professional woman’s work-wear. (as an aside, she is also a plus-size woman, so incredibly inspirational for me on the fitting front too) She often makes dresses, usually some variation on a sheath-dress shape. She uses beautiful fabrics and various trims to create all kinds of different looks, despite the similarities in shape between many of them. She recently used Vogue 8972 for a color-blocked dress, and she often uses ponte knits. I thought I’d combine those elements and make myself a sheath dress of my own.
I had this textured black knit (poly or poly blend) fabric as well as the black/ivory colored printed ponte in my stash. The print would have been hard to use on its own in a dress, but I love how it combined with the second fabric. in princess-seamed panels The varying textures made it possible to combine the two, since matching black fabrics is pretty much impossible unless they were designed as coordinates.
The pattern wasn’t designed for knits, even stable ones, but I think it really worked out. It’s one of those patterns with multiple bodices to customize the fit, so I was able to work off the finished garment measurements rather than just body measurements. I lined the dress in black Laguna Cotton (cotton/lycra 95/5%), so it’s really comfortable and not at all see-through. One of my main peeves when wearing poly knits is how itchy they can feel, so lining the dress makes it much more wearable for me. I maybe could have done without a zipper, but I put an invisible one in the center back, as per the pattern, because I hate trying to wrestle things over my head, especially when I’ve already done my hair.
Since this is a sleeveless dress, if I were really going to wear this as business wear, I’d plan to wear a jacket or cardigan of some sort for coverage. It’s summer though, and since I don’t have any board meetings to attend, all my pics are bare-armed. Ignore the arms and just look at these Ann Taylor shoes that happened to match my dress perfectly.
Thanks Carolyn for being my career-dress muse, and for the ongoing advice on corporate dressing. Even when it seems the younger generation isn’t listening, on some level we are.
Stash-busting stats: 38/50, 80 1/2 yards