Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DIY: A Mid Century Mod Dress

Do you find my creepy grin as disturbing as I do? I can't decide if it's the part where I'm trying to bare all my teeth or the dead look behind my eyes. I predict this is the same creepy grin I'll be baring upon the first day back to school. "Welcome back! I am soooo happy to see (uncomfortable swallow whilst maintaining creepo grin) yoooooou."
   Holy moly, I have so much to tell you I don't even know where to begin. Despite the title of this post, I definitely will not be chatting about this new dress right away. That was just a ploy to draw you in (because "DIY: Mid Century Mod Dress" is such a great hook, right?!). We have much more pressing matters to discuss. Like dangerous kitchen accidents with food processing blades where a tampon is applied to the wound to slow the flow. Yeah. See? I told you. LOTS to discuss.
   I don't know if you know this about me, but I have a fabric hoarding problem. No, really. I know, you're thinking, "Whatever, Stephens. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'Tis a rule of manners to avoid exaggeration.'" Wow. You're like so well read and stuff. But I'm not exaggerating! Upcoming post, I'll prove it to you. In the meantime, this here amazing mid-century mod fabric has been in my stash forever. Because I found it at the thrift store and there was no writing on the selvage edge, I dunno if it's actually vintage. Nonetheless, it spoke to me and said "Make me into a dress. After you make me a sandwich." Ermkay.
 Okay, so I know you're dying. Tampons?! Food processing accidents?! (Geesh, why wasn't that the title of this blog post? It woulda gone viral!) Well, just hold on. If Ima gonna tell this story right, I've gotta start at the beginning. And, like most beginnings not often shared on this here blog, mine begins with a DIY fail. Or four.
 Oh, look. My lovely deck. Funny story about my deck. Last summer I was put in charge of getting some quotes to have our deck painted. Which, as you can see, I never did follow through with. But whatever, that's not the point of this here story. One of the dudes who came out to quote us showed up in his adorable turquoise mini-cooper wearing skinny shorts and Beatles boots. In the summer. In Tennessee. Which means it's like 150 in the shade. But look at the way I dress, I'm not one to judge (haha, yes I am). Anyway, dude was a super nice guy from New Zealand. Are there any New Zealanders in the house? If so, I've gotta tell ya, ya'll need to learn the correct pronunciation of the word "deck". Because my deck quoting friend referred to it as our "dick." As in, "You're dick's in bad shape. I think if I stain your dick it will look so much better." Hubs and I could hardly keep a straight face. Because we're 12.

DIY fail item #1: My deck decorating. First of all, lemme just say, we have this nice big deck (heehee) and never use it. Because it's 150 degrees outside in the shade, remember? AND it has a hot tub. Which we've never ever used because it's not 1987 and my husband isn't Tom Seleck. I hate the unsightly thing so this summer I got the genius idea to "hide" it with plants. As you can see, it's working out great. As did hanging those planters on those diagonal boards. And, let's not forget the oil cloth pillows I attempted to sew. All of which frustrated me to the point that I just dropped my tools, snapped a photo and went inside to destroy another DIY dream:
These here Anthro-inspired chairs. Which I am determined to conquer. Although, as you can see, I currently stand defeated. Because after the 56th rouge staple flew out of the staple gun, I thought, "forget this noise, I don't wanna end up getting hurt" (little did I know blood shed would come later). And, just like the deck, I left the mess where it was and did what any normal person would do. I made a dress.

 Aw, don't act like you wouldn't have done the same thing. I've been toying with the idea of turning this fabric into a sort of early 1960's tiki dress for a while. And with my deck and living room covered in DIY disasterness, the only safe place seemed to be my sewing room. I used my two fave patterns, combining the pocketed and gathered skirt of the Project Runway pattern with the bodice of the vintage pattern.

 I am kinda in love with this bodice and the big band of fabric...as you may know. Because I've made this same bodice like 4000 times. Not only is it slimming but it's also a place to play with color and pattern. Which is why I've used it, oh, here, here, here, here and, um. Here.
 Now, being a pattern from the 1960's it has that close-to-the-neck fit. Which I don't totally love because it's not comfortable. And because of my gorilla neck. The other prob with this pattern is that once complete, there's this extra fabric at the at the neck. As you can see, along with my hairy gorilla neck, above.
 So, as usual, I went to get hub's opinion of the dress. And he was like, "What's with the gap in the back?" He's actually said that every time I've made this dress. And I'm always like, "oh, it's a design element" which is code for "I have no clue!" It was at the point in our convo for me to deliver my design element BS when hubs said, "wait a minute. I have an idea." Now, I have to tell you, my hubs is kinda this amazing idea man. My favorite case in point: the time he and his roommates who never ever cleaned the bathroom of their apartment were moving out of their soon-to-be-condemned place. But they were still expected to clean the joint to get a return on their deposit. Idea Man's suggestion? Buy three cans of white spray paint and paint that bathroom clean. Kid ya not. And it worked. So when he suggested I simply unzip the dress, create a v-neck line and stitch it in place, I thought, wow. This man is like a genius.
Which now brings me to the point in my post when I'm ready to share with you the Attack of the Food Processing Blade. Genius hubs was outta town and I decided to host a lil crafty get together. For which I got the grand idea to make hummus. Yeah. Even though you can buy it at the store for, oh, I dunno, 3 bucks? And I really got into it. I skinned a 30 ounce can of chick peas just for the occasion (yes, you read that correctly. It's actually kinda fun in a bubble-popping kind of way) threw 'em in the food processor with some lemon juice and tahini and, viola! Some seriously good hummus.
The day of the get together, I'm cleaning (which I only do when people are coming over...so it's like an all day event) and I drop that stupid food processing blade on my foot. It didn't even hurt and I didn't think much of it until I noticed my foot felt all warm and sticky. When I looked down, I almost fainted. There. Was. Blood. EVERYWHERE. It looked like an episode of Dexter. If Dexter was a complete idiot that dropped food processing blades on his feet. Now, I'm not a total dope, I did grab a cleanish towel, put my foot in the air and applied pressure. But it just wouldn't stop gushing blood. I convinced myself I was feeling faint decided to hobble all the way upstairs for a Band Aid. Because, in my deliriousness, I just knew that would fix it.
Oh look, an extra large photo of my veiny feet. Hawt.
In true Girl Scout Drop Out fashion, I couldn't find my first aid kit. Oh, who am I kidding, I don't even have a first aid kit. But I do have tampons. Which is what I applied to my foot before forcing my tampon'ed foot into a sock and shoe and zipping over to the walk in clinic. Thankfully, it turns out, I'd hit a vein, not an artery (which would have required surgery, what?!) and was good to go with two little stitches. Doc told me it'd leave a scar to which I replied, "What?! How will I continue my career as a foot model?!" At which point he looked from me to my foot several times before saying, "Really? No. Really?" 

"Um, my husband refers to them as 'troll feet', so what do you think?"

"No."

And that's why those doctors get paid the big ole bucks.

HOLY MOLY. This was the world's longest post. If you stuck around the for whole thing, give yourself a pat on the back. You've earned it. 

Until next time, stay away from food processors. They's cray cray.

39 comments:

  1. I know I shouldn't laught, but.... Oh to hell with it HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Someone once got me a gift of this bagel-slicer thing (which my husband immediately declared was a waste of counter space and to the rummage box it went), but anyhow, the gift-giver told me that bagel-slicing injuries comprise a huge percentage of emergency room visits. What!?? Maybe that's only here in NY state, land of the bagel?

    Anyhow. I'm seriously careful cutting bagels. But what I injured myself with was the ROTARY CUTTER! I don't. Think there's anything more dangerous in the house!

    Anyhow, I'm glad your injury wasn't too serious!

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    1. What's with husbands and their desire to have clutter-free-counters?! Seriously! I can't leave anything out. Oh, the nurse at the walk in said that the majority of accidents are either kitchen/cooking related or exercising. She and I both agreed that the safest thing a person could do was sit on the couch, don't move, maybe watch tv and eat bonbons.

      BTW, those bagel slicers look finger guillotines, stay away!

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  2. Yikes that sounds painful! What a way to start summer!

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    1. I know, right? The nurse was like, "wow, you know how to party, dontcha?!"

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  3. X-acto knife crafting incident was my worse self-inflicted injury... I grabbed my cut thumb with my finger so fast it never bled, but after holding it up in the air I had to call someone and ask what the heck I was supposed to do next. But you'll appreciate this one: when I was a baby, my dad cut himself badly on a saw and used a diaper like a really crazy big tampon. That one always makes me giggle a bit. ;)

    Love the v-neck solution!

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    1. I tried calling everyone I knew, including my mom who's a nurse, to ask what I should do as well. But I couldn't reach anyone (damn caller ID, no one EVER takes my calls!)...and I just knew I was gonna faint on the way to the walk in. Which, in Tennessee, was like an SNL episode of Appalachian ER what with the girl who'd been hit on the head with a board and the mom who'd been bitten by her pet ferret who she thought might have rabies. Suddenly, I felt totally normal with my food processing foot cut ;)

      Thanks...I know it's like a true sewers nightmare to just tack down the back and be done with it...but thankfully, I fall into the hack sewer category ;)

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  4. I haven't laughed that much in a long time. Woke up the chihuahuas.

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    1. I'm so glad you find my pain and trauma amusing ;) I know my nurse mom did when I told her the story!

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  5. Anonymous6/13/2013

    Yep pretty creepy smile, but I was busy admiring the flowery planters so not unduly disturbed.

    Glad the tampax came to the rescue!

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    1. They always do ;) Sent a little goodness your way TODAY! Hopefully you'll get it soonish :)

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  6. So I had to come back and add a really funny visual to your saga. My hubs, who is prone to severe bloody noses and freaks out at the sight of blood, once ended up at the emergency clinic when his nose wouldn't stop bleeding. I SWEAR, he came home with a tampon in his nose, and the string dangling out. THEY SENT HIM HOME THAT WAY! I just about peed the couch; I couldn't look at him without laughing hysterically. I don't know why, but he didn't understand the humor. Of course we ARE talking about a man who passed out when his wife (me), 16 weeks pregnant at the time, was having an amniocentesis. I mean, it was ME who had what looked like an 8' needle protruding from my bloated abdomen, but the doc had to shove a chair quickly under HIM as he went down! I was laughing then, too.

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    1. Okay, that's just the best story EVER. I'm DYING to know...did they use those new fangled plastic applicators?! Okay, that was inappropriate, but that was seriously what I first thought b/c those cardboard aps would hurt! Okay, I'll stop. My mental picture of him with a string dangling out of his nose has me rolling, thank you!

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    2. Hahahaha. Actually I believe it was the kind with no applicator - not the long skinny tampax sort but the more bullet shaped sort. Though I'll admit, I never asked. He was a wee bit sensitive about my laughter...

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  7. My mom is fond of using pads when someone cuts themselves in a glorious fashion. She figures they're cheap, sanitary, and made to soak up blood anyway. I can only imagine you holding a tampon to your cut foot! Glad it wasn't too bad :)

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    1. A friend just told me that they keep pads in their first aid kit FOR THAT REASON! So your mom is like a super genius! But I just knew if I used the ones with the adhesive strip I'd end up with 'em stuck all over me ;)

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  8. You are so funny! Glad the injury wasn't too bad. The dress turned out really cute! Oh, and I have SERIOUS fabric hoarding problems too and am 12. You are not alone.

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  9. The tampon story is my favorite story, it just barely beats out the one about your stained... deck :) Ha!!

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  10. You crack me up! (And cute dress too!!) :D

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  11. Girl, your creativity never ceases to amaze me! Glad you're okay and glad to know I'm not the only one who leaves a failed craft project (without putting it away) to immediately start another one.

    (Trader Joe sells some pretty good hummus.)

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    1. Kay, I am a notorious craft-ditcher! I believe that's the whole reason God invented doors ;) And, yes, I think I'll be investing in some TJ hummus!

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  12. Honey, us Kiwi's know how to say 'deck'. You all just hear it wrong. ;-)

    I've just spent the last couple of minutes trying to figure out how you crammed a foot with a tampon on it into a shoe.... And cracking up laughing at the imagined expression on the doctors face when you told him you were a foot model - classic! :-D

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    1. Aw, I knew there had to be one Kiwi in the hay-ouse! You're right. It's my ears. All they hear is "dick dick dick" (I cannot believe I just wrote that. It's all your fault, really).

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  13. I think you should look into a gig as a stand up comic!

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    1. Haha!! You are too kind. And you really shouldn't give me any ideas ;)

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  14. I LOVE THIS FABRIC!!!! and the shape of this dress! would you say this is a pattern for beginners, intermediates or pros like my Mother in Law... would love to make a bunch of these with funky fabric for school... but being an elem art teacher, I never know if a dress is going to be the best thing for me in the my art room... love it!!!
    Keep them coming AND I am a huge fan of wedges soooo am stealing your wedge DIY idea... love it!!!!
    THANKS for sharing Cassie!
    Christy (Manning) Schuler

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    1. Hi Christy! Well, this was one of the very first dress patterns I ever learned to sew with...so, yes, I think this is great for a beginner. Especially if your mom in law can lend you a hand. To find this particular vintage pattern, you could google it...and more than likely find it on either ebay or etsy. I think this makes a GREAT art teacher get up! Cassie

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  15. Anonymous7/16/2013

    I would like to know who would give someone a gift and then proceed to tell them how dangerous it is. Is this a friend or enemyfriend?

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  16. Marie Danneels12/22/2013

    You are sooooo beautifull in that dress. Make some more of these, you look perfect in it !!!
    Have a nice Christmas.
    Marie
    Belgium

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  17. New Zealanders and their Deck

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bg586-wl38

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  18. Anonymous7/01/2015

    Do you know of any other current patterns that are similar to the vintage pattern? I cannot find that one in my size anywhere!

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  19. The dress looks gorgeous on you! The dress makes you look a lot younger. Very sweet style!

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  20. I just stumbled across your blog via pinterest and I have to say this is the most hilarious blog entry I've ever read. Need to check out the rest of your blog now!

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  21. Thank you so much for posting such a very funny blog and I absolutely love your dress! Do you know where I can get a free pattern for it? For a first time dress with a zipper it came out wonderful. I am also so glad that I am not the only one that has DIY disasters! I love your writing style and your sense of humor put me right there with you while you were telling your story.

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  23. I had a question about the dress pattern. I found your blog and loved this vintage dress pattern so much, so I found it on etsy and bought my fabric. However, I am beginner sew-er and I don't know what type of interfacing to buy. Do you have any suggestions?

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    1. Hi Stephanie! I always purchase the thinnest of interfacing...I think it's called shirting? It has an iron-on adhesive which I like as it holds itself in place. If you go too stiff, it's not fun to work with. Ask at your fabric store, they'll know which is best. :)

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    2. Thanks!! I was thinking something light or medium light would probably be best, but I wasn't sure.

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