A Dress Just For Me

 

A few months ago, I began pondering my attire for the warmer months ahead and was struck with the idea of having a dress or two custom made for me. I love dresses but often have a hard time finding one that fits in all the right places with my hourglass shape, and the creator in me was fairly dancing on tip-toes at the thought of a tailored wardrobe. 

My inspiration? Cinderella. Not the big, flouncy ballgown - no, no, I wanted something more akin to Ella's chore dress. That sky blue turquoise with pink details was the perfect compliment to her rosy cheeks and flaxen tresses. *Sigh* Perfection!

After asking my collaborator and seamstress Aunt Brenda (a real-life fairy godmother who can make real-life dresses!) if she would be willing to make them up, I began gathering.

I've always adored the feminine, flattering cuts and styles of the 1940s and 1950s so I hunted down my size (16 - the equivalent of a modern-day 8!) and ordered them from various Etsy sellers.

Once I had the instructions I could see what kind of measurements and yardage was needed. I visited Joann's and several other fabric stores but to no avail - they just didn't carry the kind of material I was after. Cue: light bulb moment. I could order samples online! A few hours of browsing resulted in a tiny box full of chambray, linen and cotton swatches that arrived at my doorstep.

After getting my parcel of fabrics, I could touch and feel each to determine their true color, weight, opacity, wash, and "wrinkliness" to ultimately decide which would be transformed into my beloved dresses.

The winners? An American-grown cotton broadcloth in a light aqua blue and an imperial batiste in light grey.

And naturally the zipper had to be pink!

My sister lent me serger thread...

...and after a few fittings (Aunt Brenda even made mock-ups of each dress for fitting and accuracy!), altering, and sewing, the dresses are a reality - and just in time for a Mother's Day debut!

Alice bequeathed this one, so ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, the Ella Dress...

Thank you so much Aunt Brenda! You really are a fairy godmother. I feel like a princess every time I wear it and still get twitterpated when I see it in the closet. It is so immensely satisfying to hold and wear such a whimsical, beautiful and useful project. Cinderella nailed it: "Have faith in your dreams and someday Your rainbow will come smiling through..."

Cheers to making and wearing what you love!

(Photos of the second dress to come...)

 
Heather Hall