6.18.2014

candy striper

DSC_0044

Do you guys remember that part in Sex and the City when Big is in New York for heart surgery and Carrie can't stop crying, and she goes to his hotel room where he's recuperating all dressed up like a sexy candy striper to keep him company, and they play games all night, and as they're falling asleep Big is like, "Kid, what are we doing?", and we're all like, "YES! Big finally gets it!", but then in the morning they wake up and he's all distant, and dick-ish, and kicks over the dominos, and we're like, "God dammit! Why do I even watch this show?!?" ?

Yeah... me too...

DSC_0037

This post has nothing to do with that. Except that anytime I see a fabric with thin red lines (especially if they're vertical) I inevitably think of the traditional candy striper uniform (and not necessarily the sexy kind!)

But enough of my free associating! I made a new dress! A simple, classic, easy breezy, knit dress - perfect for pulling on and feeling 'done' in a matter of seconds. I love it for work, I love it for the weekends, I love it for the swelteringly hot summer days we've been having, and for the many more that are yet to come! 

DSC_0051

This is my first, of (hopefully) many, Nettie hack dresses (and before you even ask, yes I am aware that my hem is uneven... more on that in a bit). Ever since making my black Nettie bodysuit I've been scheming up ways to work that pattern, because that little bodysuit has been getting a lot of wardrobe play! My favorite way to wear it is with fuller skirts, so when I was planning a Nettie hack it seemed like a no brainer to pair the top of the bodysuit with a full skirt. There are plenty of patterns out there to create a similar dress (Kitschy Coo's Lady Skater dress, and Colette's Moneta come to mind, but I'm sure there are others). However, this was such an easy pattern hack that it seems a bit silly to purchase another pattern. That Nettie is proving to be quite the versatile little pattern!

DSC_0018

To make this I simply tried on my Nettie bodysuit, made a mark where my natural waist fell, then took it off and transferred that mark to the flat pattern (for reference, on me, it was about 1 inch below the second 'lengthen/shorten' line). Then I drafted a half circle skirt using my actual waist measurement, which is 27.5 inches, and the length I wanted the skirt to be, 26 inches (my preferred midi length), and with the help of the BHL circle skirt app, was able to figure out the maths and draw it up. I cut two half circles and sewed them together at the side seams to make a full circle (of course this was my intention all along so I took that into account when figuring out the waist radius. If this is making your head hurt, don't worry, mine hurts way worse!)

DSC_0032

I suspect my less-than-accurate method of circle skirt drafting could use some work, because as you can see in some of these photos, the hem dips down in one area on both the back and the front. This would have been an easy thing to catch had I taken a second to try on the dress before I hemmed it, but I was in such a rush to wear the damn thing I went full speed ahead! It wasn't until I donned the finished dress and paraded out to the living room to show Nick that I discovered my error. It went a little something like this:

Me: Hey! How do you like my new dress!
Nick: (wolf whistles and other prerequisite admiring sounds) Looks great! I especially love the uneven hem!
Me: WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'UNEVEN HEM'????!!!!

Of course I could go back and fix the uneven areas, but let's be real, I'm not going to. I can live with a little hem dip if you can.

DSC_0046

The fabric is a cotton jersey with a "Persimmon Red Slub Stripe" from Girl Charlee. It has about 30% width wise stretch, and not much vertical stretch. It's slightly sheer, but I just couldn't bring myself to line it (re: swelteringly hot) so nude undergarments are a must! I love the slightly preppy look of stripes in summer dresses, and playing with stripe direction is always fun when planning a garment. I love the way the stripes change direction across the circle skirt - it makes this garment look much more complicated than it is!

DSC_0045

There's not too much to say regarding the actual construction of the dress. I used a long zig-zag stitch, and a walking foot, to baste all the seams before sewing them on the serger to ensure that all my stripes matched up. I used clear elastic to stabilize both the shoulder and the waist. For the waist, I cut my elastic to fit the un-stretched waist of the bodice (26 inches), then first basted my skirt to the elastic, stretching the elastic as I went to create an even gather at the skirt waist. Then I serged the bodice and skirt together. This creates a nice, straight, waistline. As you can see, I left off the sleeves to the Nettie and instead used the same flat-binding method that is used for the neckline to finish the armholes. The hem, predictably, took forever. I first serged the raw edge, then sewed a long gathering stitch along the edge, turned it up and eased in the fullness, pressed it and stitched it down with a twin needle. Besides the uneven-ness, the hem is quite pretty!

DSC_0041

And for the second non-sequitor of this post, let's talk real quick about bodies - somehow it just feels so tied up with sewing your own wardrobe, and this dress is a great example of how making my own clothes has changed the way I feel about my body. This past weekend I was getting caught up on some blog reading and I read this post from Sarai over at the Coletterie which really resonated with me. I agree with pretty much all her points, but the one that really stood out to me was "Body Attitudes Change". Not to completely reiterate Sarai's post, but, you guys, bodies change!! And what's even more, the way we feel about our body, and in our body, and what we put on our body changes too. Even just a year ago I would not have considered this silhouette particularly flattering on me, but now, I just can't get enough of it! For the record, while my body is healthy and strong and (I feel) beautiful, I am not at my thinnest, nor my most toned. I lead an active life, but I don't really exercise, and as I get older it shows. You would think I'd be more comfortable in the looser clothes I used to favor, or ones that don't highlight my wide(er) waist, and full(er) upper body. Don't get me wrong, I still love my loose, billowy styles, it's just these days I've been feeling prettier, and more like 'myself' in curve-hugging silhouettes. At times it's almost felt like an identity crisis! 

It's extremely interesting to think about the way your body evolves in relation to the way your tastes and style evolves. It doesn't always work the way you think. I can't say whether these styles, like the dress here, are 'technically flattering' for my body 'type' (whatever that means). But I do know that I feel good in them, and to my eye, I don't look too shabby either.

What about you guys, has your tastes or style evolved in relation to your body changes? Has it surprised you?

xx

42 comments:

  1. Do I know that episode? UHH yeah dude, maybe because I've watched that damned series approximately 89 times. So to see you all Carrie Bradshaw in candy stripes (you're just missing the giant lollipop) makes me very happy indeed. Love this Nettie hack, and am considering a similar one myself....



    You look great and I'm thrilled you're FEELING great - it shows, you know? I've put on some stress eating weight in the past few months but thanks to a body worshipping bf and the ability to make and wear stuff that makes me look good, I'm still feeling good, stress tummy not withstanding.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What boggles my mind is how body attitudes can change completely independently of our actual bodies changing. Most people talk about how their self-perception is slow to change as they gain or lose weight or change shapes, but as you mentioned, sometimes what we view as flattering on ourselves up and does a 180 on us. For example, when I was in middle school, I was an embarrassingly sloppy, lazy tomboy; when I hit high school, I evolved into a somewhat conservative dresser. In either case, no mini-skirts, high heels, or plunging necklines for me. Now that I'm in my mid-20s, I look back and see that my preference for conservative attire stemmed largely from the fact that I had conservatively dressed friends. And now, distanced from those friends, I find that I prefer more body conscious silhouettes because I think they're more flattering than a lot of what I wore back then, and I enjoy putting on something sexy from time to time. I've got the body for it, and I want to enjoy having that body while I can. Yet I still struggle sometimes picking the clothes I like, because lingering in the back of my mind is a bit of that conservative self that says, "You're really going to wear a bikini to the beach?" I have to keep reminding myself that neither my past conservative self nor my present, more liberal self is right or wrong--I wasn't a prude then and I'm not going out indecently now. They're both equally valid attitudes, and attitudes can change. I'm not only free to change my mind about what I like and feel comfortable in, but, as my husband often points out, I'm also allowed to be happy about whatever I choose. It's bad enough that so many people have misplaced shame about looking "bad;" I certainly don't need to invent misplaced shame for myself about looking good!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love a stripe circle skirt, and I love this dress. Perfect summer wear. And I agree you look great in this, but I think you look amazing in everything you make. I'm glad you feel happy about yourself.

    BTW what *is* a candy striper?

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is such a cute dress, great job morphing 2 patterns into a great dress. I am with you, if something is wrong with my garment, I usually can live with it just fine and really don't go back and fix it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You always look SO pretty - love the sweetness of this dress on you, and those shoes are pretty awesome too :)


    I think it's so healthy when we can find a balance between identifying our personal style, while being fluid enough to recognize that that style can and will change as we ourselves change. It would be sad if we didn't change and grow, so it's only natural that in different times and seasons of our lives different styles will just feel more right :)


    You have a very magnetic confidence that makes you beautiful ALWAYS, no matter what style you are embracing at the moment - and I love and admire you for that :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Helen! Candy stripers are hospital volunteers (in the U.S.) - traditionally teenage women - and the uniform was an apron or dress that had red and white vertical stripes, resembling a candy cane, which is how they earned the name 'candy striper'!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a pretty dress, and you look beautiful in it. I feel so strongly that we should enjoy what we are. Too much time and energy spent on criticising ourselves!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You look fab-u-lous. And clearly feel it too, which is even better. Saw this the other day and wondered if you'd ever seen/tried this technique for dyeing?

    http://www.handprinted.net/ramblings/2014/06/10/ice-dyeing/#.U6H-pbHKiYE

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love this dress! Red stripes rock. The style is perfect. I've been toying with making something a bit similar to that but hadn't thought of using a circle skirt. I love it. One canNOT have enough knit dresses in their wardrobe. It's a deficit I need to fix! And I love what you say about bodies too. Having kids certainly changed my thoughts on my body, and getting older (And healthy!). I didn't always have a healthy or realistic view of my body, but I do now and I can appreciate it for the things it can do (be healthy and strong and run and jump etc). I was so much more critical of myself when I was younger. I think when you can accept yourself and be happy in your skin, you can look at yourself a lot more objectively in fashion, and decide whether you like the look, rather than all those finicky little things about yourself that nobody sees but you anyway. I think you look absolutely fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  10. that's a lovely nettie hack (and you totally needed to accessorize it with a lollipop)! i'm thinking on a similar one, but as a maxi, and with less full skirt and really low back..
    and i'm totally noticing those 'body attitudes change' moments when it comes to my fashion choices in past year..my taste in fashion changed a lot, and i thought it canged because i got tired of vintagy silhouettes, but lately i'm thiking that the change of my body (i've been working out, and have lost more than 10 kgs) is the reason my taste in fashion changed, i now feel comfortable in clothes i would never considered wearing a year ago.. i used to wear lots of clothes that is fit at the bodice and waist, with full skirts.. now that silhouette kind of fliped upside down - all i wanna wear is huge tent like tops, with shorty shorts or leggings.. and mini dresses too (maybe im just going nuts, mini dress is an odd choice i guess, being 31 and all.. but, to hell with that, i never in my life wore a mini dress, and i soon might be too 'old' to pull that look off, so mini it is)

    ReplyDelete
  11. this is a perfect nettie hack! i love the circle skirt in striped fabric with the stripes changing direction. and it may be the fabric's stretch that is making the hem dip, and not your drafting skills. i hear ya on the body image thing, though i've been favoring the looser silhouettes and ditching the fitted bodices!

    ReplyDelete
  12. i'm way too far in my cups to speak coherently, but i loved every bit of this post. from our men catching our oops in our garments to ourselves catching our bods in the mirror. you rock, candy striper.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your dress !

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love the dress..it looks fab.
    Also loved that post by Sarai, I took part in Me Made May for the first time this year and it was an eye opener, it made me wear things that i had previously thought just for "special" and helped me out of my normal attire of jeans and tee, which was great.
    As I make more and more of my own wardrobe I find that I am happier with my body, whether it is because things fit better or just that I know I am dressing just for me in something I have toiled over I don't know, but it is liberating.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Such an interesting comment about body perception. Even though I haven't lost or gained any weight in the past 5 years, I think I look a lot skinnier. I come from a long lineage of thin women. My grandmother, a model for Life Magazine, had a 23 inch waist, and my mom was 5'9" and 115 lbs. You would think I would want to show it off - a lot of women want to be super skinny - but I don't. I have been drawn to clean, vintage inspired silhouettes that cover me up and blouses that kind of hide how small I am. I'm not ashamed, nor do I hate, my body, but my current headspace believes that's the best silhouette for me. A year ago, I would have slapped myself silly for thinking and wearing such a thing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. this dress is ridiculously awesome and you look great it in! i concur wholeheartedly about the body stuff. i also read that post on the coletterie, and recently, i decided to eff it! i made her new pattern, the mabel skirt, the hip-hugging aspect of which i would NEVER have considered wearing not so long ago. i have an ass, i've always had an ass, and dammit, i love my mabel skirt that hugs my big ass. yay!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I LOOOOVE this and definitely have to make one of my own! I've never done a circle skirt in a knit, but it sounds like an awesome idea.


    Also, I think you look amazing in this dress, and really happy. And as a fellow Texan (Austin!), this looks perfect for hot, hot, hot summer days.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think the more my body evolves the more my taste distance itself from it. lol! However, since I am a lazy and like comfort, I am able to manage.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The dress is super gorgeous and so are you! I really, really love it on you. It's easy but elegant! I also can never get over the tropical plantage that's always in your pics. So cool!

    I've definitely gone through so many different styles and comfort levels with different shapes, especially since I started sewing. I never (NEVER) would've worn a crop top before I started sewing! But I feel bolder and more relaxed at the same time. I spent years trying to hide my shape under oversized tees and boyfriend jeans, and now I'm kind of just OK with being who I am and trying new shapes. Or even wearing things that aren't the most flattering, but that just make me feel fun or happy. I think you always look really lovely and really well-dressed, but then again, you could wear a garbage bag and look hot! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks Sonja! I love how adventurous you are with your makes! I can't believe I tried a crop top this year, either! Truth be told, I might not ever wear that again, but I'm glad I gave it a try. And dressing for happiness is really key.


    Also, when we first moved here and I saw all the palm trees and palmettos I thought I had died and gone to tropical island heaven! I miss so much about East Coast cities, but the constant greenery here is definitely a plus!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ha! Girl, you always look good, who are you trying to kid?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hey there fellow Texan! Thanks!
    I really like how much drape and movement the knit gives circle skirts, it works really well! And knits are just soooo comfy!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Woohoo!! I'm the same way! It's funny, even when I put on or lose weight, my waistline doesn't change that much - I've always had a thick waist! And I think I'm also at that point where I'm just like... eff it! Congrats on embracing your big ass! I'm sure you look like a total knock out in that mabel!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks Jessica!
    I've never heard of that before, the the results look really cool! It could look so moody and modern if you did it in a monochromatic... Now you're giving me ideas!! It does look like you could only do small pieces of fabric though...

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hear hear!! Thanks Dottie!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh gosh!! Thank you Amanda! You totally made me blush! I guess a lot of it is tied up in just accepting change, period. In accepting that we as people are changing as we move though the world, both physically as we age and through our choices, but also emotionally and intellectually. As zen master as that might sound, I think that's definitely at the root of what I've been thinking about lately! Haha!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yep! Really, once everything is 'finished' and I've put it on, there's no going back! While the uneven hem is more obvious than, say, a wonky dart, I still think I'm the main person who notices!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Totally threw that reference in there for you, since it was your love for that show that made me go back and rewatch the whole thing!


    body worshipping men and making things to wear that fit YOU and make you happy are definitely great allies on the body acceptance journey! I've fought against my tummy my whole life! At some point it's just exhausting and you realize it's pretty cute anyway! I bet your stress tummy is adorable and driving G nuts!

    ReplyDelete
  29. That is so completely true! I think shame surrounding our bodies and looks in general needs to be abandoned! Because you're right, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' with this!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I always, every time, misread Candy Striper as Candy Stripper. ...that is so NOT what you look like, obviously. I just can't read lol! I love this dress on you (definitely did not notice an uneven hem) and OMG I know exactly what you mean by a clothing identity crisis. It's hitting me hard lately and it kinda sucks. ...a lot. But, it's not a big deal. You just have to keep sewing and keep trying new things until you find what feels like "you" again. It's comforting to know everyone goes through it. I suppose it only makes sense to go through those stages every so often. I thought I was out growing the "who am I?!" wardrobe moments I suffered through scrub-clad Vet Tech school but nope lol! It's even harder when you have a blog and you feel like you're known for certain looks, however, no one really cares what you're sewing or wearing as long as you feel awesome in it and keep sharing it with us ;) ;)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Clearly great minds think alike as I also thought monochromatic...perhaps two or three shades of the same colour. As for the size of the fabric perhaps you could scrunch it into a tube shape and coil it or wave it like a snake (does that actually make any sense?!) and put ice all along it?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ha! You are not alone on that one! I had to look up 'Candy Striper' to make sure I was spelling it right because in my head I kept thinking 'stripper' as well!


    This sewing/blogging community is just so SO supportive it makes these clothing identity crisis moments much easier. I agree, all we really want to see from each other is what you've been making, or thinking about, and that you're feeling good about it! This is such a labor of love, too, it would just suck if we felt like we HAD to adhere to a certain 'style' because that's what we're known for, despite the fact that it may no longer be what makes us feel good! I think you've been handling your clothing identity crisis with aplomb! Just go where your gut leads you!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I didn't even notice the hem, I couldn't get my eyes off that awesome dress! The fabric, the fit, the pattern mash up, all awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Others may have mentioned it - but is the front/back part of the skirt on the bias? If so it may well have stretched out like bias is wont to do. The process of making the skirt does sound mind boggling - why not just put your measurements into the app and choose "full circle skirt"??

    I always think curvier bodies (no matter how big or small) generally look better in fitted garments, at least at the waist - I know I feel pretty frumpy when I wear loose styles. My mother has also recently come around to this - she tends to wear looser styles and was amazed at the amount of compliments she got when she wore a fitted sheath dress to my brothers wedding!

    ReplyDelete
  35. A Stitching OdysseyJune 21, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    What a very pretty dress Sallie, great hack!!! Love stripes on a circle skirt, cause as you point out, it makes the skirt look so much for interesting/complex! As for attitudes to our bodies, you/Sarai are spot on! Things I thought I liked a couple years ago, I won't go near now, but things I never thought I could wear I now love. For the record, you're ALWAYS a total babe. I kinda hope I never get to meet you in real life as I'd get all shy and giggly...then I'd probably bow down at your feet and ask you to swap bodies/faces with me ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Sallie, you are amazing! I've recently started learning some dressmaking because like you, my preference now is for more fitted clothing and the shops seem to be awash with big, loose fitting, boxy tops and dresses. I'm fairly slim (admittedly not as toned as I'd like but hey!) and these styles just make me look and feel huge. I'm much more comfortable in something with a fitted waist. I admire your style and look forward to reading all your upcoming posts :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. This dress looks so chique! I'm never a big fan of jersey dresses, but this one is so much fun with the stripes! The uneven hem probabaly comes from it being a circle skirt? The fabric stretches out more on the bias, even in a knit. Gravity stuff. (Not only responsible for parts of our bodies going down, also bias skirts!) :-)
    I think you look beautiful in this dress. I also feel that my style is evolving along with how I feel about my body and that changes daily (or hourly sometimes). I'm currently sporting a short jumpsuit and that's something I wouldn't have done a couple years ago. It all comes down to how you feel in your body.
    I've been having body accepting issues since I was a teen and now I feel like I'm growing into my body (finally). Probably, that's where the good feeling is coming from.
    Enought ranting, you look amazing! I'll probably steal your pattern hack idea!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love this dress! I just bought some jersey fabrics and wasn't really sure what to do with them. You've given me some inspiration! How did you find working with Jersey?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hey Georgia! I really enjoy working with jersey - though I'm still a bit of a 'novice' with it!! I use both my standard sewing machine (equipped with a zig zag stitch and a walking foot - both a 'must', I find, for working with jersey) and my serger.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This dress is gorgeous!! I totally remember that episode of SATC. I was just watching the movie this last weekend on tv. :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks for the advice! I don't think I have a walking foot so. I may need to invest in one. Georgia :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Lovely dress! I just bought the Nettie pattern and am almost finished with my first bodysuit. I'm so excited to try the dress! It's interesting that you wrote about body attitudes changing; I feel as I'm getting older that I'm actually starting to like my body more. Even though objectively I think I looked better when I was younger, I'm starting to just feel comfortable in my skin. Especially with my face, I've started liking it more than I used to. Part of the reason might be that I sew and blog. Sewing makes me recognize my body's strengths and play them up. And blogging and photographing myself make me recognize my facial strengths, best angles, etc.

    ReplyDelete