Saturday, May 25, 2013

Life at 35

It's been around a month since my last post and that was NOT how I had planned things. My husband had to have emergency eye surgery for a detached retina and helping him, along with picking up the slack while he healed, literally took up almost all of my free time for the past 4 weeks. He has been doing everything just like he is supposed to, and it has helped him recover as quickly as possible. I'm so immensely proud of him! I also home school the girls. Oh, and I started my job this week, so free time was certainly at a premium.

Yesterday was my 35th birthday. Normally for my birthday I host a Tiki Party. With everything that's been going on (Hubby's eye and me starting my job) I decided not to do that this year. Instead I opted for going out with Hubby and close friends for dinner and drinks at National Harbor. I made that decision 2 weeks ago. A week ago I decided I would make myself a dress for the occasion. I scoured my stash and found some rayon challis yardage that I had bought probably 15+ years ago for a dress that never got made, some white cotton broadcloth, and McCall's M6277. I also found a zipper that was right for the pattern and I already had thread that matched the rayon perfectly. What?! I can make a nearly free dress?! Yeah, I was all over that!

Here's what I ended up with:
McCall's M6277

I love it! It is so incredibly comfortable! It's lined (except those awesome flutter sleeves) with the cotton. It's a good thing, too! Normally the end of May is around the mid 80's (Fahrenheit) but yesterday might have hit 60 degrees! And it was in the LOW 50's by the time we got to National Harbor. I had to buy a jacket after work yesterday! I got this one on clearance for $19.98 at Target. An XL fit me almost perfectly. Just need to shorten the sleeves a smidgeon.

It was gloomy and cloudy and threatening rain all day and well into the night. What a yuck day, but I still made sure I had a wonderful time in spite of Mother Nature. We had dinner at McCormick & Schmick's (it was delicious and I completely overstuffed myself) and then went to Harrington's Pub & Kitchen for drinks and music. It was a great time and I had simply the best company!

I consider myself a strong intermediate seamstress and decided to follow instructions to the letter on this pattern (I almost never do that). The pattern for the dress is rated as Easy. I'd say that is mostly true. Key word is "mostly," though. The lining instructions are a little wonky, and as I'm not extensively experienced in lining, I got a bit confused. I had to unpick the lining at the start of the process but I was able to figure it out. I think the instructions need better pictures of the armhole attachment of the lining for it to be a truly easy/novice friendly pattern. I also had an issue with the neckline (View C's V-neck) completely stretching out of shape in the rayon. There was nothing noted in the pattern instructions about stay-stitching the neckline for that view and it really should be corrected to add that. Otherwise you end up with what I got... a very strangely gaping neckline if you use rayon challis as suggested on the pattern. I ended up purchasing some gold-tone and purple enameled clip earrings and using them as dress clips to convert the neckline from V to a sweetheart style. Worked great as a fix.

I had to make some adjustments, of course. It's a princess seamed dress so it was super easy to do. I had to narrow the back and shoulders a little. I had to add more to the bust. I cut it at an 18 for the shoulders and bust and tapered to a 20 for the waist and hips. I had to alter the hip curve a bit. It was high on the pattern compared to where my hips curve most. Otherwise the waist and hip were perfect. I liked it having some ease and ended up not inserting the zipper because I could slide it over my head without any problem. The belt/sash cinches it just fine. I also shortened it just about an inch or so. It's a great, comfy, spring and summer dress. I'm so glad I made it! The simply best part of the dress is those sleeves. They flow when I walk and swish when I turn. AMAZING! I will probably make a version without the flutter sleeves as a basic, though, with the zipper and a little more fitted. I'll make sure I stay-stitch that V neckline, though.

I sometimes get asked "Do you feel any older?" on my birthday. You know, I literally felt AWESOME. I really believe I improve with age. I'm proud to be 35. I've earned every fine line and gray hair I'm developing. I've had an amazing life and it just keeps getting better.