I am not a great believer in reincarnation, except when it comes to fabric in the dye pot. Many a tired looking garment or unpromising piece of fabric has experienced a chemical rebirth in my kitchen over the years and been all the better for it. This dress is a case in point. The crepe de chine is quite luscious, but started life as a rather insipid black and white print. Insipid because the white was not a really a bright optical white which I think is essential for a black and white combination to look good. And so it languished in my stash until I decided that what it really wanted to be was an electric blue.
However, if you want a happy dyeing experience it is really important to use good quality dyes. If it is done right, your dyed garments will look good for a long time and not fade or run in the wash. I use fibre reactive dyes and have written about the details of the process in earlier posts here and here.
I only had 2m of the crepe de chine and it was a border print as well, which did not leave a lot of room to manoeuvre. I fell back on my favourite dress style for border prints, a semi-fitted empire bodice and a pleated skirt. The skirt is a rectangle, pleated to fit the bodice, with a flange to cover the join. A 2m wide skirt is not very twirlable, 3m would have been better, but it had to do. In any case I don’t have a lot of occasions to twirl about in my very ordinary everyday life. 🙂
For the bodice I decided on an ancient pattern piece that has just the right amount of ease to slip into without needing a closure, which I have used many times because that is such a boon. I have no problem with installing zippers, but not needing one does away with having to find one that matches, and the additional ease of the looser bodice makes for great wearing comfort. Inconveniently the old pattern did not come with sleeves, so I needed to hybridise it with the Eva dress armscyes to use the short sleeves from that pattern. Last year I hated short sleeves and this year I can’t get enough of them, go figure.
For a more detailed description of the sewing process, have a look at my write-up on Pattern Review.
So here is the dress. The last photo shows it teamed with a Ponte bolero which is very practical during the change of season and I will blog about it soon.
My camera is back in action, which means I can take photos again in my favourite spot in front of my (– imprisoned because of the freeloading beasties –) herb patch. With my phone the brightness of the garden behind did not work at all, although as you can see from the last photo, when the sun comes out in the middle of the day the camera does not cope either. But at least at either end of the day, or when it is overcast, I can again take my pictures in this convenient spot where the neighbours can’t see me prancing about in front of the camera, and it is a bit nicer than my bathroom door as a backdrop.