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So this dress has been “finished” (for a given definition of finished) since, well, 31 December 2012. But it has been sitting in my boudoir, getting slowly crushed ever since. I freshly handwashed it last night in order that it be ready to be worn today to a cupcake party (for the launch of Natalie’s Vegan Cupcakes). You saw the fabric way back when in my second post.

Woman sitting on couch wearing lilac home-made dress.

That is my housemate’s couch. Above me is a giclee print of a painting of me playing the melodeon (a type of accordion). I bet you think I’m joking.

As I said then, I used the Colette Macaron as the bodice, and a gathered square skirt as per Gertie’s tutorial for the, well, skirt. I didn’t follow Gertie’s tutorial precisely for the width, but tore the cotton silk to about the right length and then just gathered the full width of the fabric. Don’t look too carefully at the hem, because it still has a crappy machine-stitched blind hem. It was my first machine-stitched blind hem, and it shows. I was planning on hand-stitching the beggar, but rather ran out of time. Pro tip: don’t try to sew two dresses in less than a week.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the illusion neckline is oyster-coloured silk organza, and the rest of the dress is a pinky-lilac cotton silk. Both fabrics are perfect for Australian summer. The bodice and waistband are self-lined, and I used leftover silk organza to line the waistband and (from memory) the bodice.

Not so pleased with the placement of the waistband, which is why I’m wearing it with one of my favourite belts (from Modcloth, natch). When I first wore it, I decided that the waistband was much thinner than I was expecting; I was unthinkingly expecting it to be about two inches wide, but once sewed up with seam allowances gone, it was more like one inch. I realised today, putting it on for the second time that although a thicker waistband might have been nice, it’s really the placement that bugs me. The bodice finishes just below the arch in the front of my ribs, meaning that the “waistband” finishes above the bottom of my ribcage, or about two inches higher than my smallest point (my natural waist). Since I actually made a muslin of the bodice, I probably should have realised this, but I was mostly just focused on making sure that my bust fitted (I’m between a B- and a C-cup, so I got away without a small bust adjustment. Woo! One day I will have to learn how to do bust adjustments, but thankfully it was not that day.) I was thinking about taking the dress apart and fixing the waistband so it was thicker, but since I’ve realised it’s the bodice that’s too short, I’m not sure I can be bothered. I would have to go buy more fabric, for a start, both of the cotton silk *and* the silk organza, and there’s a side zip, you guys. I’ve only just started putting in zips semi-successfully by lapping them. The idea of re-doing one traumatises me a little (although it would probably be fine: see previous remark about finally being semi-successful at zips by lapping them).

Photo showing a dress's waistband two inches above wearer's natural waist.

The blogger pauses to take an unflattering selfie (housemate being asleep), NFF mug in hand. I have adjusted the position of the belt so you can see the difference between where the pattern waist was placed and where my waist is. That weird underbust crease is not usually there.

If I look again at the image of the Macaron on the Colette Patterns website, I can see that yep, the waistband is higher than the model’s natural waist. I realise that doing this emphasises the length of the legs. Still, I was aiming for more of a 50s rather than 60s style, and since I am a pear shape with a small waist, I like emphasising that. So I could have maybe realised that the bodice was foreshortened had I paid more attention, but it’s not something I would even have realised to look for.

Basically, if I were to re-do this with more forethought next time, I would have chosen a different pattern for the top part, since when I had this dress in mind I envisioned a more pronounced heart shape to the bodice line, and was a little disappointed with how flat the Macaron shape was. Annoyingly, I found another pattern that would have suited my original plan much better something like a week later, but I didn’t save the link or even pay attention to which blog I saw it on. C’est la vie.

My reservations aside, it is a good-looking dress, and the high waistband doesn’t actually look too bad. It’s probably even more flattering than a natural-waisted dress since it better hides my poochy belly that I often feel self-conscious about. I just feel weird with a waistline on my ribs.

I actually planned on dyeing the dress darker purple with an ombre effect, beginning at the hemline, since I didn’t find fabric in a purple colour I liked. I also planned on possibly sewing on some artificial violets, but I didn’t find any. The dress was actually conceived to match a fascinator hat I had planned, in honour of my favourite cocktail, the Aviation.

The Aviation, for those not up on their classic cocktails, is composed of gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice, apparently invented in the 1920s (says the 1806 bar menu). Basically all of my favourite things. I read once that violets were a covert code for lesbianism, but I have no idea where I read it, nor if it was true. I swore then and there that if I were to ever get married, violets would feature somewhere.

A cocktail hat with a small cocktail glass on it, with white-dot veiling attached.

This is actually the only photo of me from NYE 2012, and I only took it so I could remember how I’d draped the veiling.

Doesn’t look too bad, does it? Sadly, this is a completely unfinished hat. I just made it good enough for theatre. There is a clip tacked to the bottom, but no fabric finishing the bottom of it, and the veiling was attached directly to my head using bobby pins. I still haven’t finished the hat.

By the way, you may not have got the (OK, accidental) joke: that is a cocktail hat. With a cocktail on it.

Here’s a slightly better shot, showing off the hat:

Woman sitting on black couch with cocktail hat on

Another shot of the hat, attached to my head by bobby pins and hope. Now I’m starting to think I prefer it without the veiling. Hmm.

A cocktail hat resting against a mint green bag

The hat and the handbag: a modern love story.

So far I’ve taken three more photos (as per above) while writing this post. And I wonder why it takes longer than I expect.

So yes. As you might be able to see from the last photo, there is a small plane sticking out of the purple “liquid” in the tiny martini glass. Which is purple. (Mostly because I couldn’t find transparent ones in Australia.) The “liquid” is glue and paint; I mixed the paint colour using a photo of an Aviation as a colour guide. I even made the glue in the bottom part of the glass red, to represent the maraschino cherry. Sadly, the glue didn’t try transparent as I hoped (maybe too much paint in it?), and there are big air bubbles that have appeared since it tried completely. Oh well, it still looks pretty great.

Feeling that glue was cheating, I actually stitched the glass down by tacking large stitches in a sort of sunburst around the stem, across the flat base. Then one of the stitches burst and I glued the stitches to the base, reasoning that if they were stiff it wouldn’t matter if they broke, because they should still stay in place. Then I decided that wasn’t the look I was going for anyway, and glued the purple flowers I bought around the base. They’re not violets, but most people won’t notice anyway.

I didn’t wear that hat today. I wore this one.

Woman wearing pagoda-style hat made of green sinamay

This hat makes me feel like a 1950s Vogue model. Even if I don’t look like one. #I really like hats okay

I didn’t make it. I bought it as-is from Lincraft. I had plans to attach a branch of artificial white cherry blossom that I had left over, but I can’t find it, so I’m still wearing it as I bought it. I love this base style and bought a couple of others, although I misplaced them for a year or so. The other bases are blank; I should really make something out of them.

And you can see my bra in these photos, I know. I promise you couldn’t on NYE, but I decided to go for comfort for today. Also my bra matches my dress, so I decided I didn’t care. Sorry about that if you’re in the “I should not see your bra” camp. (I’m usually over there with you, so save me a place for my tent, okay? Thanks.)

And now, to destroy any Cool Points I may have inadvertently built up, a shot Housemate T took while I was ironing the front of my skirt for the photos. I took these (T took the first and the last two) for this post at the end of the day, after I’d been to the party. Silk creases like a mofo when you spend most of your time sitting down, and also a toddler climbs repeatedly into your lap and you joggle him up and down for a few minutes.

Woman ironing the front of her skirt

Don’t try this at home. Yes, I am ironing my skirt while I am wearing it. I had the steam turned off. Yes, I have my tongue sticking out. I was concentrating.

This is exactly how much of a dork I am. You’re welcome.

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