I don’t have so many clothes that I need to swap them seasonally, but a couple times a year I take a Long Hard Look at what’s around and work out what I’m missing, and more importantly, what I’m not using, and why. My size is slowly but surely growing, and I’m comfortable and happy with this; I’m not hoarding anything for a mythical smaller version of myself and I have no trouble getting rid of clothes that don’t fit. But what about clothes that kinda, sorta fit? That would fit if I spent a couple hours on them? Those are tricky.
My Lisette Itinerary dress (OOP) is a particular challenge, because while I just realized I haven’t worn it in over a year, in some ways I’m still pretty pleased with it!
Mainly I’m proud of the hand embroidery, which isn’t perfect, but it took ages.
The sewing is sashiko-inspired – the color palette, the design – but I think it’s probably not sashiko, because I didn’t stack multiple stitches on a long needle. It’s just a regular old backstitch throughout. I’m missing a lot of my usual data on this dress – time, money, even size unfortunately – because I made it 5 or 6 years ago. But I do remember doing the embroidery for hours and hours by the glow of a British murder series. The serial killer had a thirtyish white brunette wife, a thirtyish white brunette mistress, and he only murdered thirtyish white brunettes. I barely looked up while sewing and when I could I had no idea what was happening to whom. It was a confusing show.
This Lisette dress has fully lined back and front yokes, making it an ideal candidate for embroidery. Both shoulders are standard seams, since I omitted the shoulder placket. I gambled on fitting my head through the head-hole without the closure, and it does. I have to take my glasses off first, though.
The obi-style cloth belt is also self-lined. And I suspect, a smidge small for me! It doesn’t quite meet in the back. I sized my motif to fit the finished belt measurements.
It balances the yokes, IMO! Also, somehow the dress looks even shorter without it?!
Oh yes, this is short. I’m wearing pajama boxers underneath (which I actually always did, even when this was getting regular use, an example of the healthy kind of paranoia).
My version is more A-line than designed. In the misty past I forgot to grade out from my bust size, which meant it was way too snug on my hips. Instead of buying more fabric and re-cutting the body, I inserted two triangular gussets from the leftovers, widening from about 1” at the underarm to 7” at the hem. They’re invisible from the back of a trotting horse, as Ramona Quimby’s father’s grandmother would say.
There’s not one raw edge inside this bag. The side/gusset seams are flat-felled, the yokes are self-lined, and the armscyes are bound with the same bias tape I used to hem (every ¼” counted).
Even though it’s old, I’m proud of the workmanship. And I love this fabric! It’s medium-heavy cotton with a ton of texture and next to no wrinkling. And I think the embroidery still looks cool (and is aging shockingly well). Bad news: it’s too small in the biceps now, the armscyes are too high for my comfort, and the upper chest feels a little binding.
It gives me wedgies in my armpits.
So that’s a no.
If I remove the sleeves and lower the armscyes, that could fix all three problems in one swoop. Or I could shorten the sleeves and use the cut-off fabric to add further gussets in the underarms. If I made it much shorter (and a shirt, obvs) I might even have enough ‘new’ fabric to make the sleeves interesting in some way. This would probably represent a few hours work, and it would make the result of many more hours of work wearable.
But at the end of the day, this dress ain’t me anymore, you know? And I don’t see myself reaching for it as a shirt either. So I think I’ll just feel proud, and move on.
One more for the rehoming pile!
Happy Juneteenth, everybody!
Pattern: Lisette Itinerary for Simplicity 2060, view B
Pattern cost: ? pre-spreadsheet
Size: ? pre-spreadsheet – probably a 14, with modifications
Supplies: indigo cotton, white topstitching thread
Total time: ? sorry, this is
Total cost: ? worse than useless