Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Tale of Two Floras (and some cider)

Hello, darlings!  Hopefully everyone had a magnificent weekend!  The weather here has been lovely all weekend - the summers in Washington are nothing short of magical.
shhhh, don't tell California...
Friday after work, we decided to stroll around downtown. Anthony's restaurant has a great happy hour, and a stunning view of the waterfront.  A drink and some food later, and we took a stroll down to the pier to look at boats and enjoy the scenery.

We kicked around for a bit more, then called it a night.  I found the most amazing hard cider from Crispin - a magnificent blackberry-pear concoction that is a bit too easy to drink...  So two ciders in, and I felt productive enough to decide that rearranging the entire first floor to relocate my sewing room was a FINE idea, and proceeded to demo the necessary rooms before hitting the hay.

Saturday came far too early (5:30 am to be exact).  Jackie-boy had a golf tournament and I wanted to practice on the racquetball court.  I dropped him at the course, spent about an hour running around the court, then headed home to spend the next 4 hours on moving.  Ugh.  Exhausting, but worth it -- I'm delighted with my new space.

I claim this dining room in the name of The Stitchery!
I was DONE by the afternoon, but I did my best to rally and met up with my brother and his girlfriend for a delicious bloody Mary.  Then we headed north to another favorite brewery, The Slippery Pig.  It was a short, but pleasant visit, and there was even an impromptu acoustic guitar performance by one of the patrons.  Then we headed home and I crashed out hard.

Today was spent finishing up redecorating (after much sleeping in), doing some shopping, and generally puttering around.  We spent a late afternoon/early dinner at Der Blokken (their moto is "woman owned, woman ruled, woman brewed" - that's damn fantastic), where the lovely Katie made me the most heavenly cocktail of chamomile tea, honey, and rosemary infused vodka.  Sigh...

I do have two new projects cut out and ready to start sewing, but since I threw my poor sewing corner into complete disarray for the better part of 3 days, I don't have anything done yet.  To that end, I have a couple of projects from last month to share - my very first and my most recent Flora dresses.

I already blogged about how much I love the Flora pattern in my Hera dress post.  It's taken a back seat at the moment to the Anna dress, but I do plan on making this up again and again.  It's such a special look, and I adore it. I have some 60" wide fabric earmarked to make it up with the pattern's skirt.  But it is hard as hell to get away from circle skirts.

For my first go, I decided to toile the pattern up in a fabric that had been hanging out in my stash for several years (yep, I'm a fabric and pattern hoarder).  I've been in love with the idea of an Alfred Shaheen dress for quite some time, but I've never been able to commit to a pattern.  Flora seemed to strike an inspirational chord; my fabric was only 45" wide, but I had a ton of it, so the 5 gore circle skirt from Butterick 5882 seemed the ideal choice for a mid-century look.

The Shaheen dress, floppy hat optional
As this was the first go at this pattern, I hadn't dialed in the fit.  There is about 1/2" too much fabric in the back, and the darts under the bust needed to be taken in a bit.  But even so, straight out of the package at a size 10, this was love.

The back is straight, my posture sucks
The circle skirt did a bang up job.  If I could wrench myself away from one-directional novelty prints, I would use this a lot more.

The bodice is lined in pink cotton, the skirt is unlined as this is a dress that was ear-marked for Texas. And I know from experience that this skirt, when lined, is HEAVY.

The lining is tacked at the waist at the seams only.  It's a technique used in the Gertie pattern, and I think it works great.  The lining is hand-sewn at the zipper with my usual meticulous care and attention to detail.

Frankenstein couldn't have done it better
Flora #1 in the bag.  I adore this dress and would wear several times a week if I could.  But I can't, so off and running on another make I went.

I came across this gorgeous fabric while wandering through Joann's Fabrics and decided then and there that it was destined to be another Flora.

At this point, I already had the Hera dress in the "done" pile, and was feeling pretty confident about the pattern.  I had it cut out already, and it went together effortlessly in the space of one evening.

The Vineyard dress, Bettie Page shoes and hair accessory from Dame Deville

Pattern matching?  What's that?
The bodice fits MUCH more closely than the previous two dresses, but that is intentional. I prefer a more snug fit as I think too much ease (really any ease) looks sloppy. This may also be a holdover from my days of Italian Ren gowns....

let's jump into the wayback machine

Again, I only lined the bodice, using a quilting cotton that I've had for probably 6 years.  The lining is topstitched in place, which keeps the straps a bit more stable.  The straps are lined in the same fabric as the dress, because I think it's a neater finish.

And, as usual, I used a regular zip and inserted it using an invisible zip technique.

Cause I can, that's why
note to self...turn on your flash

And there you have it.  Two lovely Floras and a weekend wrap up.  Tomorrow's Monday, kids, hope everyone is ready!  I'm not, so I'm going to drink another cider and stare out the window at the glorious sunset.

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