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Saturday, June 21, 2014

· When Life Gives You Lemon Fabric.... ·

..... Make a dress, of course!

When I first saw this fabric at JoAnns several years ago, I knew it needed to become a dress. :-)

Sadly, the road to completion was long and misleading..... but I think I've finally arrived.  Or actually, it's more like I've finally run out of every last inch of this dye-lot of fabric so now I literally can't change anything. :-P

The first incarnation of this dress was a double-breasted, white portrait-collared dress.  I loved the pattern, and I was certain the resulting dress would be my absolute favorite dress, bar none.

Alas, that just wasn't to be.

The dress was OK, but it just never felt right.  It felt like I was wearing something foreign, rather than having my clothing just feel like a natural extension of myself.  On a practical level, the fit was a bit "off" in a few minor ways, but other than that I had a really hard time putting my finger on the problem!  I wore it a few times that year, and then packed it away in the hopes that later I would grow to love it.

The next year, I was away from home all summer and far too busy to obsess about uncooperative clothing, so it waited some more...  Last year, after completely falling in love with my fruit dress, I determined that remaking it into the same style was probably my best bet to rescue this still-beloved fabric. :-)

I didn't have enough fabric left to cut an entirely new bodice, so I bought some more fabric only to discover that mine was a radically different dye lot! :-(  So I tweaked my design a bit to have set-in sleeves instead of kimono, and was able to squeeze it all on.  I made the collar white, since I thought that would break up the fabric nicely and add a cute element.

But yet again, it didn't live up to my expectations.  I just didn't like it.

(Alright, I'm willing to concede that apparently I had entirely too high of expectations.  But...!  That  realization still didn't help the disappointment.)

So, I put the dress away for the fall/winter and hoped that when I put it on this spring I'd magically have a different perspective and be able to overlook all its supposed flaws.  No such luck.  However, I did have the epiphany of what it needed to finally redeem itself.  Simply: a matching collar.

So!  Armed with confidence and determination to FINALLY MAKE THIS WORK, I set about fiddling with my small, hodge-podge scraps to conquer the challenge.  I was so pleased to see that my collar pieces would fit just right in the leftover scraps. :-)  The easiest, quickest way to do this was to sew the fabric on top of the other collar by hand.  I trimmed,pinned, and sewed on the first side, but once I got to the second I realized: I had sewn the first side on upside down.  Oh, the agony!!!!  That now meant that my perfectly shaped scraps no longer worked for the other side! :-/  Ugh.  Sometimes I really hate myself.  Anyway, I finally worked out a way to *just barely* get the other piece on and piece it in a few mostly-unnoticeable areas. 

After seeing the photos of this, I think I'm finally reconciled to it and able to like it and wear it this year.  It still has annoying fit issues, but after all I've been through, I'm ready to finally call it quits and live with it. ;-)

So there you go- who knew such a cute dress could be so intensely irritating?? ;-)

(See?!  Sad little upside down lemons.  At least they don't look too out of place!)

A yellow and white polka-dotted ribbon and a chunky bead necklace made the perfect accessories. :-)

So after all, I think this title would be a bit more apt if it read, "When Life Gives You Lemon Fabric, You'll Re-Make Your Dress Three Times". ;-)

· Thanks for taking pictures that reconcile me to the dress, Kathryn!! ·

(See??  She really is invaluable. ;-) )


  1. It's very cute, and I think you are literally the only person who would notice those upside down lemons unless you mentioned them.

  2. Your work is amazing! I love not only your dress but your darling little hat as well! <3

  3. What an absolutely fun, happy, gorgeous dress! It certainly seems that it was worth redoing three times! It turned out stunning in the end, and oh, so cute!

    the Middle Sister and Singer

  4. I am so in love with this dress! You have such impeccable fabric taste :)

    I had the same sort of experience, though not with quite so much drama ;), this past week. Two years ago I made my first dress out of some sweetly printed Pottery Barn sheets that I snagged from a Garage Sale explicitly for a 1950's wrap dress pattern I had just picked up. Well, as it turns out, the fabric was much to heavy for the pattern style, and the whole thing sort of flopped. Not that great for my first experience in dressmaking, but oh well :) I reconciled it this past week by creating a bodice from the ample left-over scraps, and put the HUGE circle skirt to good use in the dress that I created. Very simple, yet very satisfying :)


    1. Thanks! And I'm so glad you were finally able to redeem your dress! :-) I had that experience with 2 wrap dresses I made years ago. (probably from the same pattern actually- Butterick walkaway dress?) I ended up remaking them into a few dresses that worked much better!

      I hope you will have a blog post of your dress sometime soon! :-)

  5. I love it. And the upside down lemons are not noticeable at all.

  6. So it seems you also made a lemon of a dress into lemonade, so to speak. :D Great job! I always loved that fabric too. There was a pear print that I thought was just too cute as well. What is it about fruit prints that is so very loveable?

    1. I just saw that pear fabric again on Saturday- sooo cute! You should make a dress out of that! :-)

  7. Seriously??? There are issues? I'm pretty sure this is my favorite vintage-inspired dress EVER!!! It is so gorgeous, and your hat is too cute. Looovvvee it, as always!!! :-)

  8. Thanks so much! The more I look at these pictures, the more I realize that I really do love this dress. ;-) Can't wait to give it plenty of outings this summer! :-D

  9. I love your dress! Even in the picture where you pointed out that the lemons on the collar are upside down I had a hard time seeing it. I don't think anyone else will ever notice! Your hair looks great, too! It does the swoop and roll styles so well!


  10. Oh my goodness! I am so in love with this dress! The color is super fun and summery!! Very well done!

  11. Adorable!! LOVE the scalloped edges <3



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