Apparently all my best ideas come from Madewell emails. In my inbox there recently appeared a pic of their Lakeshore Midi dress (top photo) — super simple and comfortable but also the perfect dress-it-up, dress-it-down dress. That shirred waist reminded me instantly of April Rhodes’ Staple Dress pattern (middle left), with some obvious key differences. Pulling up the images of that one, I started thinking about Frankensteining something together — using the fitted bodice from my Liesl Gibson class, the Staple’s waist treatment, and maybe the shirttail hem from the Wiksten tank-dress.
While I pondered that one, I cut out the next thing I intend to sew, which is Liesl’s Gallery Tunic/Dress pattern (middle right). I’ve been planning to make it knee length, with the band collar, but sleeveless. (First in plain linen to try it out, then in one of those amazing fabrics I scored from Imogene+Willie.) My machine has been acting up after all the sewing I’ve been doing lately, but I went ahead and cut it out a week ago and hoped for a little equipment miracle of some sort … which didn’t come. Even after a good cleaning (I watched Fancy Jaime’s CreativeBug class!), it’s still no go. So the pieces have just been draped desolately over my ironing board, begging to be sewn. As I stared at them longingly one morning, I realized the answer to the Madewell-inspired dress was right there in front of me, in the form of the front and back pieces of the Gallery Dress: sleeveless, jewel-necked (before the placket gets cut into it), and shirttail hemmed. I held the front piece up to myself in the mirror and it’s perfect. All I have to do is cut the back in half to create a center seam and neck closure — it already has extra width built in for a back pleat, so that will just become center-seam allowance. The bodice will be less structured and detailed than the original, but that will suit me better anyway.
Now my conundrum — machine woes aside — is whether to go ahead and sew up the linen pieces into the Gallery I meant it to be, and then follow my plan for this other dress with other fabric, or go ahead and modify the linen pieces into this dress. But as you can see from my sketches up there (and last Friday; sorry for the repeat!), I’m already imagining multiple versions of it in my wardrobe. Linen for now, flannel for later. Sleeveless and sleeved. And layered with every single sweater in my closet …
(UPDATE: Hey look, Kristi and I have fraternal-twin blog posts today!)
PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: The pinstripe dress