Tuesday, January 10, 2012

If at first you don't succeed, make something else entirely.

My sweet SIL is expecting.  I happened to draw her name for Christmas this year, and I debated whether or not to make her homemade.  On one hand, homemade is heartfelt, right?  And thoughtful, right?  On the other hand, homemade could be totally insulting when made by me.  Not on purpose, of course.

I decided to try my hand at this awesome maternity Maxi Skirt from Elle Apparel.  It looked extremely straightforward.  I had my SIL email me her measurements so I could get started - did I mention she lives 1500 miles away?  Yeah... anyway.  So I sat down with my measurements and the PRINTED OUT TUTORIAL.  Yes, this time I printed it out.  
And you know what?  It went like a dream.  The tutorial was easy to follow, and the skirt itself was a very simple pattern.  I finished all the edges.  I used a stretch stitch.  I lined things up perfectly.  I ironed open all my seams.  It looked so pretty... 
When I finished I thought to myself, "huh.  That looks kind of big."  So I slipped it on.  And lo and behold, you could fit about 3 and 1/2 of me in there.  Now, I know she's pregnant and all, but it just seemed bad form to send her something the size of a parachute, you know?  I could not for the life of me figure out how I had mismeasured so badly.  Is that NOT the theme song of my sewing life?  Can someone write that song for me?  "Oops, I mismeasured again" or something like that? I will play it on a loop on my blog.  Please, someone explain to me what I am doing wrong??  In any case, I tried to salvage the skirt... to no avail.  Which was indescribably sad, since I really liked the fabric.

But I still needed to make her something.  During a random brainshower (much like a brainstorm but done while taking your early morning shower, which is apparently the best time to think since that's when all my ideas happen...) I remembered back to this dress.  The fail that wasn't a fail?  Dubbed "the Flamenco Dress."  I remember saying it would make a really awesome maternity dress.  I will admit that I considered just sending her the already completed one, but I very quickly dismissed the thought since I wasn't entirely certain she'd like the color combo or the exact style.  So I decided to make a new one.  One that was more maternity-friendly.  One that was a little simpler but still detailed.  One that wouldn't be a giant insult to send.

I came up with this:

It's very straight forward, though I don't have a step by step tutorial.  It is basically a combination of my Flamenco dress and a simple knit skirt with fold-over waistband.

I measured, cut, pinned and sewed two rectangles together to make the skirt.  I cut off the shirt at about my belly button.  I decided to use the bottom part of the shirt for the waistband, since I thought that would be much more comfortable than elastic on an expanding belly.  I also thought I would need a way to make the waistline adjustable so she could wear it longer.  I decided to make two casings and then top stitch them.  I cut the hem off the bottom of the shirt and I was left with a tube of knit.  I first took the sides in just a bit (because the bottom of a shirt is made to fit near your hips, not your waist, right?)  and as I was doing so I sewed one top stitched casing to each side seam, to make a tie for the back of the dress.  

I made sure to sew the casings to the bottom part of the knit tube.  

Then I folded it in half.  I sewed the shirt to inside of the knit tube (just below the fold) and the skirt to the inside of the bottom part (the bottom part of the tube was the end of the fold that was open and I sandwiched the skirt between the two pieces.)  The waistband runs all around the dress and the ties on the side cinch the dress in and tie in the back.


It seemed a good solution for making the waist comfortable, adjustable and yet non-muumuu like.

Then I used a different t-shirt to make the characteristic "flamenco dress" ruffle around the bottom of the skirt.

You can see that the front of the skirt is cut slightly longer than the back to allow for a baby bump.

But my favorite part of this dress is the neckline.  I decided to add more interest to the upper part of the dress.  I didn't want to duplicate the floppy bows from the original flamenco dress, because as I said, I wasn't sure she'd like that style.  So I decided to mimic the pleating from the bottom of the dress up top.  I did one row and liked it so much I figured two rows would be even better.  And I LOVED that.  The pleats around the neckline are only on the front of the shirt.

 And now I kind of want one.  I mean, not that I'm pregnant.  I'm not.  But, say I got pregnant sometime?  I'd make me one of these.  

In the meantime, maybe I'll just put some pleats on a t-shirt for me.  Yeah.  I could do that.

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Christina said...

You did a great job with this - I love the ruffles & the colors!

Thanks so much for linking to "20 Below Thursday"! :)

Unknown said...

Very nice! I love the ruffle along the collar! Thanks for sharing!
~Tonia @TheGunnySack.com

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