Dresses · Music

Floral viscose dress

There’s always something thrilling about finishing a project at the absolute last minute, which may be part of why I waited till the eleventh hour to start working on most of my high school (and, let’s be honest) college essays.  This dress was definitely that kind of project. And it shows… there are definitely many imperfections, but overall I’m happy with it!

Sewing is something I generally do in shorter increments of time these days, so luckily I had already cut and prepped a lot of the pieces a couple of weeks prior.  However,  most of the work on this dress was completed the day before I was planning on wearing it, for a performance at a local arts and wine festival.  I sang as a guest on a few songs with a fantastic band performing there.   They are seriously great musicians, and it was humbling to be on stage with them, particularly the vocalist Kenny Washington, who is as kind and generous as he is prodigiously talented.

This dress is actually made from the same pattern I used for an earlier make – which was in turn based off a dress I bought at Crossroads Thrift Store.  The differences in this one – I used a woven instead of a stretch woven, French seamed everything, and slashed/spread the sleeves and lengthened them so they were more fluttery than before.  Slowly but surely, I’m refining this pattern into something I can make multiple ways.  However, the idiosyncrasies that happen when you’re not a professional drafter have inspired me to learn more about drafting myself; it’s annoying when pieces don’t match and edges don’t meet up.

TIPS: I found this tutorial from Lladybird to be very helpful in finishing cap sleeves.

The fabric is a rayon/ viscose from Stone Mountain Daughter Fabrics, and thankfully I bought enough of it to make a tank top as well.  I don’t see it on their online store, but they do have some beautiful rayons in stock right now!

Thanks to James Jordan for the performance photos!


Blogs · Music

Music and fashion.

Photo taken by my good friend, James Jordan: http://www.jamesjordan.pictures

I have always loved to sing.  I just haven’t – and still don’t, completely – love singing in front of other people. To me, it has always seemed sort of an unwelcome aural assault when people are too free to start crooning at a moment’s notice.  And it’s often the case that the most confident are sometimes the most unskilled, as explained by The Dunning Kruger Effect.

I was shy growing up and never sought out musical theater, or chorus.  I would make fun of the girls my age who sang musical theater numbers at the local state fair, imitating their brassy tone and secretly wishing I was brave enough to get up there myself.  I was horribly self conscious in general as a kid, like many of us are, and never really sang except when I was sure no one else could hear me.   Some of my fondest memories growing up were riding my bike alone along a trail through the woods, singing loudly to myself.

I have played guitar since I was about 12, and was in a doom metal/sludge band in my early twenties, a fact I blame for the occasional ringing in my ears, but though I love a good sludgy distorted guitar riff, my love has always been for more traditional sorts of music, those songs with sung vocals, rather than screaming.  I was never quite in step with my peers in terms of modern music that was popular at the time, but I can find something to like within every genre of music.  I love it all, though jazz and blues are my favorites.

For the last 4 years I played in a garage band with a few friends, singing, playing bass and guitar and mandolin when needed: mostly covers, but some originals. I started writing songs when I was about 16 or so, but it has only been within the last 5 or 6 years that I have begun performing them. I’ve also worked up the courage to perform with friends who are far more accomplished musically than myself — the absolute best way to learn.

singing at a friend’s wedding in 2012, with my wonderful friend Sarah, an accomplished singer, in a dress I made for the event.

Because I am naturally reserved and not known for my electrifying stage presence — and I love to research, I have enjoyed looking at photos of some of my favorite female musicians since I started getting up on stage.  A sense of style helps define performers and gives them confidence, just like all good clothing should.  I loved reading that Patsy Cline’s mother made many of her outfits.

From left: Dinah Washington, Linda Ronstadt, Karen Carpenter, Patsy Cline.

Here is a video that my friend James and I made last summer, from an original song of mine.  It’s far from perfect.  But if sewing has taught me anything, it’s patience – and also, just MAKE it already, who cares! The journey is always more fun than the final product, and I’m proud of this song nonetheless. Just like a sewing pattern, I look forward to re-working it soon to make it better.