Monday, February 11, 2013

DIY: A Poodle-tastic Valentines Dress

Dude, that hair! The other day, I was having a "serious talk" with a student when I noticed her eyes kept wandering up, up and up to the top of my head. It's no small wonder these kids can focus on anything besides that giant 'do. (And by " 'do" I mean hairdo, not something I recommend you "do". Unless you are so inclined to backcombing and hair-hosing, er, spraying).
Well, Happy Almost-Valentine's Day to you! You got some big lovely-dovely plans in your future? Aw, ain't that sweet (gag). Me? Oh, you know, hubs and I will prob just do our usual: enjoy some delish Greek take-out, open cat-themed Valentines cards we both barely remembered to grab at the Walgreens on the corner and snuggle up next to the space heater to catch an episode of Dual Survival (does anyone else miss Dave besides us?) on our craptop. I know. Super sappy gaggy stuff. Don't hate.
I'm stoked to wear this dress on Thursday even if the kids won't be thrilled. Every dress I've created since that light-up number has been received with an, "Eh, that's neat. But does it do anything?" I'm thinking I might need one of those squirt-you-in-the-eye roses as a brooch. Too mean?
 But enough about my romance life, let's chat about this here dress. It was created on a miraculous gift sent straight from Teacher Heaven: A Snow Day. Or, as I decided to dub it, A Sew Day. When I heard the news that morning, I hopped right up and decided to make the most of it. The pieces of this dress had already been cut and I was so thrilled I had a day to put it together.

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I'd try out some new dress patterns this New Year but I just felt this fabric was meant to be this dress pattern. The fabric is from Alexander Henry, one of my fave fabric design companies. So much retro-y cuteness!

I felt pretty self-assured when starting the dress since I've made a Cuckoo Clock Frock, a Gnome-y Dress and that aforementioned light-up number from the same pattern. So I was a little annoyingly surprised when I struggled with the V at the neckline and the fit and finish around the bust line and waist. I did get mighty distracted catching up on episodes of Project Runway (there's a fellow Nashvillian in this season's lineup!) and a mid-day bubble bath (don't judge) so maybe that was part of the problem.
 Creepy Doubles Photo. Sorry, but am I the only one that finds side-by-sides creepy? Then why do it? Cuz I am creepy, yo! By the way, the photo on the right is how I'll most likely be wearing my V-Day dress. This sweater is a DIY from ages ago that gets little air time. I think it suits this dress nicely.

I think part of my struggle is: I DON'T REALLY KNOW HOW TO SEW. There, I said it. Whew! It's finally off my chest. And don't you go leavin' a comment saying otherwise because that's just like tellin' a buck-toothed, too-skinny, four-eyed girl she should model (here). I've known that I've been fakin' and fudgin' it for a while and when this dress just didn't come together as it should, I knew it to be true.
 Awkward Hands Photo.

However, that doesn't mean I'm going to give up. Oh no. I'm determined to get better. But this dress helped me realized that just going down the same sewing path over and over was not going to improve my sewing skills. I've got to learn how to sew the right way. Awkward hands and all.
 Hands in Awkward Place Photo. Really? I mean what pattern drafter decided that the pockets should be right there. Kinda awkward, right?

So I'm giving myself a sewing course. No, I'm not taking some local class, I'm gonna start by reading one of the many sewing books I've purchased over the years. In fact, I began reading Gertie's Book for Better Sewing this weekend and I've already learned so much...and come to realize how little I know. In fact, this book may be a little bit too advanced for me, but I'm goin' it anyway. I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I'm still wearing this dress regardless of my flubs. I'd show you a photo of the backside but that's where my problems seem to show the most (in more ways than one)...and I already shared one embarrassing photo within the last 24 hours, I don't think I'm ready for more.
Outfit details: hair clips: DIY here; dress: moi, of course!; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; red tights: Target; sparkly fishnets: TJMaxx; leopard print heels: Goodwill
All that blabbering aside, I do hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day! I know it'll be nothing as divine as my Greek Food/Cat Card/Space Heater/Survival Show affair, but what can you do? Not everyone can live la vida loca.

Until next time, xox!


  1. So, when I was a girl, back in the 1900's, it was a given that all the girls took Home Ec (Or Eck!, depending on your view) and the boys took shop. The first dress I made, I cut and sewed together with the wrong side of the fabric on the outside--not a great start! Then in the '80's I was a sewing fiend--made blouses, shorts, pants, even my own wedding dress! I doubt that I've sewn a thing since my daughter was born (She's 27 now!) So, I'm just trying to say--if I could learn enough in a small town Home Ec class to do all that half-ass sewing--you, my dear, are the Betsy Ross of Poodle/Gnome/Blue Light Special dresses!

    1. Ha! You just cracked me up...the Betsy Ross of Cheesy Dresses...I think I need that on a t-shirt. Thank you for your encouragement :)

  2. Great fabric again!

  3. Another masterpiece! :) I feel it to be a bit weird that I get so much joy from what you wear each week, but alas it happens anyway! I have an exam today (Adults having exams is just wrong!) and as your dress has poodles on it and my exam is emergency first aid on animals I figured it a worthwhile distraction from my revision. I feel I need to try this whole sewing lark, because if, and I mean IF you are not a great seamstress then I have the possibility that I may be able to create something that is wearable myself! I shall see when I set up my sewing machine in the new house! Also I'm having none of this 'cant sew' thing, what would you tell your students if they said 'I cant draw Miss' you would say, and I'm ad-libbing here 'There is no such thing as cant, your best will always be good enough' HA! gotcha!!! :) Did you still want those postcards by the way? :)

    Jerra xx

    1. Oh, man, you are so right. I just need to improve, I guess, because my half-a#% ways are starting to show. My main prob is lack of patience. That's what I REALLY need to work on! And I encourage you to try your hand at sewing clothing! Just get one of those pattern envelopes that say "EASY" on it...and stay way from Vogue patterns, they are the devil!

      I actually thought of the postcards just now -- I need to send you my address...can you remind me of your email? Oh, duh, I can look it up! Thanks again!

  4. Awesome dress! You have inspired me to make more things for myself when my short grade 1 teaching assignment is done in a few weeks... The teaching job is short, the kids themselves, while short, and average grade one size.

    1. That should read "are average grade one size." I can't let a typo go.

    2. Yay! I look forward to seeing what you create! I hope your teaching gig goes well...I enjoy teaching the "short ones". I definitely couldn't handle the "big ones"! Have fun creating!

  5. Girl, anytime you got a rando sewing question you can always holler at me :) Or come over for a sewing date! Because sewing dates are AWESOME.

    I have sewn that pattern - twice, actually, but both the same v-necked version with the little cap sleeves - and I think the drafting is a little off. Plus the v on my dresses tends to drop, despite my best efforts, which drives me crazy. And wtf is up with that pocket placement!? Have you tried any of the indie pattern companies, like Colette or Sewaholic? If not... be prepared to have your mind blown. The sizing and drafting on those are impeccable, and the instructions are so much more in-depth than what you get from the big 4. Not to mention the designs are so fun :)

    1. Yes, let's do a sewing date! I'd love that. And I so appreciate those recommendations...I will check them out. I think part of my (many) problem(s) is that I might be getting the wrong size. I always thought measuring the "bust" meant across your bust but now I'm reading that I should actually be measuring at my "high bust" which is above my breast area?! Whah? Why so confusing? I'll figure it out one o these days...

  6. What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much.


Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)