4.15.2016

A most special dress is in the works - NewLook Pattern 6261

This rayon/cotton beauty has been sitting in my stash for the past six months just waiting for the perfect occasion and the perfect pattern.  It has been lovingly petted and attended to in the meantime.  :)
Many of you are probably familiar with Handmade by Carolyn, a blog written by the lovely and most creatively talented Carolyn from Perth, Australia.  I have admired her work for years.  I have learned so much from her.  I am so grateful to her for writing and sharing her work so freely.  Her unabashed love of the art of sewing is very clear and one that I personally find engaging, encouraging and inspiring.

In the more early days of Instagram, a Cadbury Chocolate Vegemite bar became the topic of conversation one morning on Carolyn's IG feed.  And as this American had never tasted vegemite, much less heard of it..... one showed up in my mailbox soon after, shipped all the way from Perth, Australia.  :) And, by the way, I liked it! and I savored this chocolate bar eating teeny tiny bites at a time to draaaaag out the goodness.  Another chocolate bar with bits of honey accompanied.  That was good too.  
Carolyn's IG
So what does one do upon receipt of a thoughtful gift of chocolate and a desire to share one's own 'something' from her area/country?  Well, if you are born and raised in Alabama and grew up a short distance from Florence, riding your horse surrounded by fields of cotton we Southerners like to call 'Southern Snow'..... you send a yardage of Dusk Blue Alabama Chanin fabric to Perth, Australia.  Carolyn's fabulous outfit she made with this yardage, coupled with yardage she purchased locally and dyed herself can be read about here.  This, below, brought tears to my eyes.  Is she not beautiful!  Please read her post as the photos of the work she put into this ensemble is stunning.
Carolyn's IG
My story is getting long, but suppose you've figured it out by now, the most special fabric shown at the beginning of this post is from Carolyn.  It is a print of the gum blossom flower native to her beloved Western Australia.  Carolyn has photographed it in her instagram feed here.....
Carolyn's IG
 .....and also here, below.  She writes that the blossoms can be found in red, pink, orange, yellow and white colors..
Carolyn's IG
This fabric is more of a modern contemporary print of the gum blossom leaves, buds and blooms.  My photographs just do not do this fabric justice.  It is simply beautiful and needed a most special occasion to be made and worn.  My daughter Melissa's upcoming college graduation seems most fitting and worthy for this special fabric.
You may recall I recently made Newlook 6261 out of bird print fabric to be worn at my niece's Florida wedding.  You can read those details here.  This sheath dress pattern will be perfect to showcase the lovely pattern of the gum blossom fabric.
Since the time the bird print dress was made, I have lost a little weight.  Not much, but enough to alter the sizing of the pattern.  Yesterday afternoon was spent drawing new pattern tracings complete with much pondered size 12 bodice to size 14 hip modifications.  After taking my measurements again this morning, and considering the 5/8" seam allowances, decided to cut a straight 12 with the thought I'd have 5/8" on each side for fudge factor if needed.  Below, I'm showing all my hard work before cutting off the modifications.  Also, whenever I begin a new project, I like to begin a new index card for all the notes to be jotted down along the way.
You can see my little red arrow at 5" on the gauge below showing the scale of this beautiful motif.  My biggest concern today was placement of those blossoms. 
Thinking it probably would not be a good idea to have the blossoms on the bustline, nor right at the derriere, it took me another couple of hours of agonizing to figure out how to place my pattern for cutting.  Can you tell I'm quite scared to cut into my beautiful fabric as I simply do not want to mess up!!!  Below I'm using my patterns to sort of 'see through' for ideas about a cutting line.  About this time I also realized I did not know enough about gum blossom trees so I stopped everything and searched the internet for about an hour to see how the trees grew and how the leaves and blossoms hung, deciding that the fabric did not have an 'up' nor a 'down' so that helped move things along.  I also learned a lot about the gum blossom trees that grow in Australia.  :)
So....... after thinking and pondering most of the day, the courage has been mustered.  This is where I'm at now...... front, below...... and may I say how pleasantly pleased I am to see the blossoms centered nicely at the neckline and toward the bottom.
.....back.... not bad though it looks like I'll be sitting on a clump of blossoms on the right, but the placement could've been worse.  ;) 
Thank you so much Carolyn for your generous gift.  I hope the finished dress will be worthy!

Happy Sewing Everyone!

16 comments:

  1. Lisa ... It is going to look just beautiful :-). Congratulations on the upcoming graduation :-)

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  2. This will be a beautiful spring/summer dress for the graduation. How clever of you to consider the placements of blossoms. I probably wouldn't have thought of that before cutting into the fabric!

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    1. Hopefully the blossoms will be okay where placed.... and I bet you would've got all that thought out at the beginning of your project.

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  3. Such a lovely dainty fabric pattern deserves all the care and angst you have expended so far. If the dress is half as pretty as your bird sheath you will have succeeded beautifully. Also, now you probably know more about gum blossoms than this native born Aussie :) Look forward to seeing the finished dress.

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    1. Thank you so much Kathy!!! Oh yes! I learned lots about Gum Blossom Trees! They are so lovely in a wild, unkept sort of way. Love them! :)

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  4. It's interesting to know what the other side of the world eats :)
    I opened up the fabric photo to see it better. It's a beauitiful print and it's perfect for a special ocassion. I also often wonder which way is up on floral prints :)

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    1. Eating is a common language, is it not?! I was really worried about that, so it was nice to not have an 'up' or a 'down'. Made it all a little easier to place. :)

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  5. I can see your predicament. Placing those blossoms just right must have been nail biting stuff, but it looks as if you have got it sorted out. I look forward to seeing the finished item.

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  6. Oooh, it's going to look gorgeous Lisa! I'm so glad you picked that design for the fabric, I have to confess I pictured you in that style for it and I think it will be perfect for you :) I can't wait to see you in it!

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    1. Oh thank you so much Carolyn! It all reminds me of that Burda bird dress you made a few years ago. I'm going to try to do the facings like you did on that one for a smoother look. :)

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  7. It is so nice to hear about you two exchanging gifts, putting so much thought into them! I really liked the dress Carolyn made from the fabric you sent to her and I'm excited to see your finished dress, I'm sure it will turn out beautiful! :)

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    1. It has been such fun Katharina to exchange gifts internationally! Thank you! :)

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  8. Oh my gosh, I would be so uptight cutting such a piece of fabric with such a sentimental journey attached to it. And just wonderful you took the trouble to work out how gum leaves grow - they are quite untidy trees in a way! The green greys are very representative of the foliage - gum trees tend to be a sort of bluey-greeny gray, and you do like those colours. This is going to look lovely. Fingers crossed all the way for you.

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    1. Oh my goodness, it took such courage!!! I procrastinated as long as I could, held my breath and cut! Thank you so much Sarah Liz for your kind words! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about gum tree and their blossoms. Even created a special Pinterest board to organize the information for myself. :)

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Thank you for taking the time to leave a note.~Lisa

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