This dress was materializing in my mind for years. I love 50ish dresses, I love pastels and I love tattoos. Ever since I’ve realised the potential of my embroidery machine, I knew I wanted to make a top or something in the line, that would have two swallows positioned on each side of the top of my chest, kind of where a lot of girls have tattoos of birds. I really like how they look, but I don’t like the commitment that comes with getting a tattoo in such an obvious place.
I bought the swallow design from Urban threads in one of their sales, just because it’s so pretty. At the time I didn’t connect the design with my dream dress, after all it wasn’t obvious that I could separate the birds and put each one on one side of something. Than one day I decided I’ll sew the Elizabeth dress from the Burda Style Sewing Vintage Modern book as a kind of muslin, from cheap fabric, to see how well the size I think I am fits me, before I try any of the other patterns in the book that are based on the Elizabeth dress. (The concept of the book, If you don’t know it, is that you have a few basic patterns and then it shows you how to make a wide variety of other clothes based on those patterns). Than I found this pretty pink fabric and knew I wanted to actually wear the dress that would grow out of it, but I also knew I had to embellish it somehow. So I searched through my library and there it was… Eureka! 🙂
I just separated the two swallows into two different designs with PE design (the software came with the machine, that I bought second hand. I’ve had it for 4 years now and still don’t know how to use it properly) and changed the size a bit (one of the birds is a bit small now, but I don’t mind that). The positioning is not exact either, but I’m OK with that, too (as you can see, I’m far from a perfectionist;)).
The one thing I wanted to try out to make the pattern a bit more interesting, was to “spice up” the back a little. I really like cut-outs and I think trying a simple one on the back is a good start. My trusted Elsa (my tailor’s dummy) was a HUGE help, I couldn’t have done it without her. It’s was so easy with it though, I just pined the pattern to the back and could mark the desired position and shape of the cut-out exactly. I think the cut out is the most successful part of my experiment.
I also sewed my first lapped zipper into this dress – mainly because I’m too impatient and lazy. The local fabric store where I bought the fabric didn’t have either invisible or matching zippers, so I bought a contrast one. I had to hide it a bit and a lapped zipper seemed like a good idea. I think it was. 🙂 It turned out better than I expected it to, but again, far from perfect. 🙂 (I learned the basics of how to do it with help of the free class on zipper insertion techniques on Craftsy)
The sewing of the dress was a good exercise in positioning embroidery, cut-outs and trying out new zipper techniques. It also helped me to see that the fit needs a bit of improvement, but I’ll work on that on the next one.
I’m definitely going to wear it, I think it would be a shame not to. It seems like a dress one would wear to go strawberry hunting to the Sunday markets, doesn’t it? Hence, the name… 🙂
Ps: I do realise my one sided braid was not really the perfect hairdo to showcase this dress. But as you can see, I don’t particularly enjoy modeling, so I decided these pictures are good enough;)