My light bulb moment

Or how Carolyn made me come to Jesus.  Carolyn and I were trading emails today about work wardrobes.  I told her that the nude dress she made in recent months was a light bulb moment for me in sewing.  Here I was trying all these patterns with some sort of bling in the details.  Remember my first Burda pattern, the skirt with the drape pleat?  How about my attempt at the Knip Mode skirt (or what Thea called my Crazy Skirt)?  And then Carolyn sews this simple yet elegant and beautiful nude dress.  She looked fantastic, svelte, and so classy.  And oh so perfect for the environment in which we both work, finance.  It was then that I realized I was on the wrong track.  I was being mesmerized by kitschy details when I should be learning how to sew simple and classic things that will work with my real life. 

Then we met up for a fabric lunch at Kashi’s (Metro Textiles) to meet the fabulous Eugenia of Eugenia’s (Fabulous) World of Fashion.  Eugenia is a lovely fellow sewist whose sewing pursuits I have read about for quite a while now.  It was such a treat to meet her since she lives in London, and really, how often does one get to London?  And then a random woman in the store stopped Carolyn (who was wearing her amazing red dress with the racing stripe today!) and it was Opal of Opal’s Passions.  Now I confess, I hadn’t yet come across her blog before, but I am definitely putting it on my google reader list now!  She was wearing that amazing McCalls dress that everyone’s been making lately, M6069.  Now I have to make it too!!!

Here’s one picture, courtesy of Carolyn, documenting our visit (Carolyn is not pictured as she was the one who took the picture.  DUH!).  And yes, apparently I do look that dumpy in person.  Sheesh.  Never wearing that suit again, I can tell you.

The lunch was too short but it was fun.  And productive!  Although I didn’t buy a stitch of fabric (shocking I know!), I left there having been “come to Jesus-ed” by the best of them, Carolyn.  She asked me why I haven’t made any woven dresses and I told her I was scared of fitting them.  And then they all ganged up on me and told me I should get over it and start working on some dresses.  Carolyn and Opal pointed out the obvious that when you make a dress, you have a complete outfit; there’s no need for any other item.  Whereas, if you make a skirt, you have to make a top to go with it. 

Well, I came home all fired up.  I went through all my copious patterns and narrowed it down to three contenders, B5147, B5314, and V8146.

Butterick 5147

Butterick 5314

Vogue 8146


I’d do a poll, but I am already leaning towards B5147 right now.  I think it has all the features I’m looking for: darts for fitting, open collar, but not too daring, and simplicity (the fabric will shine here).  Understated elegance.  And the bonus???  IT’S A LINED PATTERN!!!!  I don’t have to “figure” crap out.  Love. That!

I have some more news, but that will have to wait for another post.  Hahaha!  I’m such a tease.

Happy sewing everyone!  I am about to enter the muslin zone.


19 responses to “My light bulb moment

  1. Elizabeth, you are so lucky to meet up with Carolyn and Eugenia and Opal. I’ve yet to see Opal’s blog. It must be so inspiring. What a good idea to make a ‘whole’ garment rather than part of one! Please don’t make the pink version of B5147 …. lol. I quite like B5314.

  2. Jane Larsen

    You are not dumpy! You are my lovely sweet daughter who maybe needs to lose a couple of pounds like her mother.

    Love, Mom

  3. Jane Larsen

    I forgot, I like B5147 too, the little black dress. I do love little black dresses! What should I wear to the Opera in Vienna? Is a strapless little black dress too much? Do they dress up in Vienna for the Opera?

    Love, Mom

  4. Sounds like the meet up was fun, seems like ages ago already that I was there. I really like that Butterick too, but I recommend doing some online research before you merrily follow the lining instructions in case they are as stupid and annoying as those on a Vogue dress I made earlier this year. You do not look dumpy by the way!

  5. You are actually not just pretty, but beautiful-looking and as a reader I strongly suspect you’ve a got a mild case of Body Dysmorphic Disorder! Loads of women would be ectstatic to look as good as you. I have noticed that for you the thought “date” is swiftly followed by the thought “too fat”, which is a problem. However, the “fat glasses” seem to be a family problem, juding by your mother’s comment on here.

  6. I always say the same thing about dresses – that’s why I make so many – one step dressing. I also would like to attempt some woven dresses – I have tons of patterns for them but haven’t actually completed one. Yet another thing I can get excited about and probably not actually end up doing (although I do plan to do all the things I say I will, eventually…) And BTW (as everyone else told you already) you do not look dumpy.

  7. Yeah. I just made a patterned skirt and asked myself, what became of my resolution to sew basic stuff? My downfall is color and pattern. I have enough basic/monochromatic RTW at the moment, but at the rate I’m buying (hardly) and sewing (quite much) that balance is bound to tip soon!
    I like the top pattern for you, too. I think the lower neckline would be flattering.

  8. I forgot to say – what about this pattern (Butterick 5277)?

    I think this would look great on you, especially in a lightweight stretch woven like cotton sateen. I started cutting out a muslin of it a few days ago but got sidetracked.

  9. Trust me, you will actually prefer sewing with wovens over knits and it’s easier to get a more professional look. I would love to see you take Susan Khalje’s class one day…

    City Sewing on W. 38th (btwn 8th and 9th) has a ton of feet. Try them first.

    Glad you guys enjoyed your sewing lunch!

  10. E – you weren’t dumpy looking you looked like most women in finance…that’s my problem with the look and why I’m always pushing the boundaries. And I agree with your mom, B5147. Look at Sheila’s site, Sheila Crochetz, Knitz & Sews…she’s made this dress several times and it works beautifully!

  11. You are NOT dumpy, silly goose.

    I’ll be super excited to see your new dress. I’m on board with B5147. Once you master the fit, you could go ANYWHERE as far as fabric goes. You could tweed it up for the office, make an LBD for the dating you’re going to be doing, some fun patterned fabric for a weekend dress… the opportunities are limitless! Can’t wait to see where you go with that. I heart dresses. One piece dressing takes the guesswork out of my day. (Also, that jacket! Make it, too!)

    Yay for reality checks and wake-up calls. We’ve got a pretty great sewing community, don’t we? Love that.

  12. Elizabeth – you are beautiful – don’t you dare think otherwise.

    Fess up about the other news now!

  13. Dresses really are great for the office. I vote B5314–only because of my own personal pear-shaped prejudice in favor of waist seams. Also, I like the collar.

    And seriously, you do not look dumpy.

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  15. Silly you! You look perfect! I vote for the middle one. I think the darting will help you get a better fit. If you do go for the top one, please make it shorter than it is pictured!

  16. Amen, sister!!!

    Oh, and I agree with LindsayT – knits are SO much trickier than wovens!

  17. I like 5314 too – and agree dresses are an easy way to look put together! I know I should sew classic, solid colour pieces to build up my wardrobe too.. but prints and bright colours always seem to be top of mind! Good for you for being able to separate the pretty things you want to make, from the essential items you wish you owned. Good luck!

  18. Hi Elizabeth

    It was so nice meeting you guys yesterday in M/T. It was so much fun just chatting and buying fabric. I agree with Carolyn you dont look dumpy at all. I understand the attire. I work in Finance also and many moons ago my old CFO enforced a very strict dress code similar to what you have on but thank goodness those days have long gone. Our new CFO is more relaxed so I am able to be more trendy and casual in my dressing for work. I have the first two patterns and have read the instructions. They both seem like a quick and easy sewing project. I say go for one of those two.

  19. Hi Elizabeth. I had such a great time meeting up with you, Carolyn and Opal. You – dumpy?? – definitely not – I can absolutely vouch for that!!! I’m really looking forward to seeing your first woven dress project …..

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