As soon as i spotted this Marcy Tilton beauty on the Vogue patterns website months ago, i knew. Come to momma, little one. This baby is mine. Cara mia!!! (swoon) Seldom do i see a design which speaks to me so completely. Everything about this design clicked for me: stylish yet not trendy at all, this take on the classic shirtwaist reminds me of the ladies in early twentieth century novels by various modernists - very femme with antique details (high, ruffled collar and little puff cap sleeves over a slim arm) but extraordinarily modern in it's complete practicality (pockets!). * my nickname of 'Beatrice' for this dress design just happened, but i suspect it hinges on precisely this antique aesthetic vibe/ birth of modernity intersection.
Easy to wear, with plenty of room to move, this dress can be made up sleeveless in cotton gauze for a summer garden party; in heavy linen hopsack with cap sleeves and sturdy buttons to toss on over whatever while gardening, cooking, or pulling a transmission; or in embroidered silk shantung and organza with cap and long sleeve as a stunner of a cocktail dress - try ivory for a completely adorable bride. Made up in, let's say, a medium weight printed linen in neutral colors a single iteration of this dress can be easily dressed up or down with accessories and pieces worn under (petticoat & cami) or over (little shrug or jacket). It also takes quite nicely to belting.
|the detail on this print is so fine i wanted fine details in the construction too. i used the black & white stripe to finish the armscye as well as the pockets.|
While that was a big surprise, at the same time it confirmed my desire to focus on taking the time, effort, money, and thought to make pieces that i reallyreally like. It's fascinating how little it takes to satisfy you when that little is EXACTLY what you want.
The last few months i've been meditating on or contemplating the idea of slow fashion. I've been taking my time sewing these garments in a way quite new to me. I've never been a quick sempstress, but for many years my focus was on speedy, sturdy techniques i could use to 'knock out' clothing in as little time as possible. I do believe there's a place for this type of sewing, like when you have little kids who can't run around naked ALL the time, or when you need clothing pieces and you're not all that excited about the process (making workhorse tanks or leggings, maybe). I was just ready for a change.
|Just shy of a Watteau back - so graceful, so easy to wear.|
|all this hopping around gives a girl a certain glow....|
Ironically, over time all this slow sewing ends up streamlining, simplifying the whole process. As i pay attention i make fewer mistakes and have more control over the process. I've figured out the fit and construction techniques on this dress, and every time i make it in future i'll be quicker through practice. Construction details techniques, types of materials, fitting strategies - the more familiar i am with my preferences the fewer fuss and fumbles, the more i can quickly hone in on what i want to make and how i want to go about it. The calendar time stretches ever longer, but the quality of that time is smooth, satisfying, regenerative.
When i started my style journey years ago, i thought i would end up at a more efficient, organized place. I have gone about much of my journey within a rational, logical framework. But the meat of it all comes back to a very intuitive, fluid, almost leisurely approach. Magdalen Rose was spot on!
And yes, I'm participating in Visible Monday, not least because dear Patti manages to comment within minutes of any post publication no matter how many months since i've last posted! Supernatural powers, i'm telling ye! And of course wearing a garment you made yourself always ups the visibility ante - no one else to take the blame or credit. But by making a garment designed by a goddess (Marcy Tilton) you can hedge your bets ;)