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!
(And a little photo of The Jane Dress with that soft grey fabric, cuffed shirt sleeves, darling pocket tab and pleats galore…)