I love visiting Cidell. She takes pictures that make me feel pretty *and* I didn't leave empty-handed. She gave me the silk print I have been coveting since she showed it off after coming home from China. The turquoise of the coral is exactly my color. She also passed along the cool striped piece from Africa, collected by a friend of hers.
As soon as new fabric comes into the stash, I must daydream about what it should become. I went looking for silk charmeuse inspiration. For the most part, I make dresses that are not tailored, but do have some fitting somewhere, often a separate midriff or a fitted waistline seam. This silk charmeuse is very lightweight and drapey, and wouldn't want to be a fitted piece. I adore the draping on the Ports 1961 dress, especially that tummy-disguising waist drape. The Vivienne Westwood seems very understated for her, but so beautiful! You just can't go wrong with a wrap dress of any shape or style.
However, the current front runner is Burda 03-2009-116 for the silk. It is somewhat fitted at the bodice, but in small enough pieces that the silk should hold up to it. I like that the skirt is princess seams because the coral motif is huge and I think will be best broken up into pieces to avoid large white spaces. I love my Butterick 5243 dress in knit with a similar yoke/sleeve combination so I think this dress would be flattering for me as well.
The African piece, from Niger and dyed with indigo, is a really interesting textile: the lighter colored striped piece is tie-dyed in stripes (LOVE LOVE LOVE that the stitching line used to fold the fabric for dying remained undyed and visible), and the darker stripes were dyed separately. Then the strips were seamed together with a narrow seam allowance, the seam allowances pressed toward the lighter stripes. The fabric was already fraying along those long seams so before the pre-wash I serged all the edges. It was a little tedious. But I enjoyed experiencing the project the way the original seamstress (I assume it was a woman) did. For the pre-wash, I tossed in a couple pairs of jeans that needed their color refreshed as dye catchers.
I sew with stripes very rarely. For some reason, I just don't picture myself in them, although I had a classic black-and-white striped tee that I wore for years (we're talking at least a decade) and still haven't been able to get rid of, even though it is now too small. So I really needed some help here. I love this Banana Republic dress, with its simple shape and directional yoke. It looks like it would be flattering to a wide variety of figure types. I have no idea when this dress was sold or if it's still in stores, I found it on a style blog.
For more directional stripe fun, I love this piece from Etsy! Alas, I don't know the seller because it showed up in a google image search and when I went to Etsy it said the page didn't exist. I found a pattern in one of my Japanese books that has a similar horizontal insert in the skirt, without the waist seam. It was my front runner until I actually held the fabric up to me. The stripes are so bold that when placed vertically they look like the archetypal prison uniform.
I suppose I could just reverse the direction of the stripes, but I think the winner is this simple Michael Kors sheath. In draping the fabric over my body, I could see that it is a great match for the Kors. The simple pattern and unfitted shape will be best for the somewhat stiff stripes.
I was so tickled to find these two different images to sell the same dress. It appears that Michael Kors and Dillards have very different customers, considering they are buying the same item. Kors is selling sophisticated ice queen glam, and Dillard's is selling the soccer mom next door. I guess I'm somewhere in between, but let's face it, probably closer to the soccer mom (even though I don't have kids).
Burda published two fairly unshaped shifts last year, 1-2010-130 and 03-2010-104, each just a front and back with horizontal bust darts. I think either of them will work, with a little tweaking at the neckline. The big question is going to be whether I can wear a dress without a center back swayback-adjusted seam. I seriously doubt it. I see plenty of stripe matching in my future!
You can check out all my inspiration photos for these two fabrics here (scroll down to the bottom)
Even in my time of self-imposed austerity (alleged), I did buy some fabric. But I exercised mindfulness--this is a hole in my fabric collection and something for which I will have a fairly immediate need--and, alas, it wasn't fun to buy.
I am uncontainedly excited about the bike trip Cidell and I are doing in The Netherlands in May. We have been warned to expect a lot of rain. For sun, I plan to bike in a skirt with leggings, but in rain I will want yoga pants with rain pants over. I have only one pair of yoga pants so I need to make more. I love the yoga pants I have, they are perfectly shaped and the fabric is so nice. Cidell suggested I check the fiber content and then search for that content online. So smart. I found this 90% polyester/10% lycra for $6.99/yd from Uptown Fabric, an eBay retailer located in Georgia (US, not former Soviet Union). They offer free shipping, which is awesome, and shipped promptly by USPS priority mail. They allow returns. This was my first time to buy fabric on eBay.
The fabric is, unfortunately, not as heavy nor quite as nice as my yoga pants. But it has about the same opacity and will do, as I don't think I'll get a chance to go to NYC between now and the trip(!!!) to look for my yoga pant fabric. Now to get started on those yoga pants. And the rain pants. And the rain cape. And... You'll be seeing a lot of bike sewing!