My name is Dani, and I’m a recovering perfectionist.
I can thank sewing for the “recovering” part. Most of us who sew can spot our mistakes from a mile away, even if they’re barely noticeable (or downright invisible) to others. Learning to embrace the imperfections in my work has been a struggle at times. But I’d much rather wear an imperfect garment than throw something in the UFO pile to die a sad, slow death.
Sewing has taught me to let go. Be zen. Choose my battles. So the neckband is a little wonky. So the fabric pools a bit at the back. Is it comfortable? Is it wearable? Then it’s perfectly fine.
It’s exactly this attitude that led me to make an important decision…
2016 was not a good year for celebrities or U.S. democracy. I’m not going to beat a dead horse about that one. The year 2016 was, however, a pretty productive year for me. I’ll get to my favorite sewing projects of the last year in a bit.
It’s not about making every single piece of your costume. It’s about putting in the effort. It’s about giving a damn. And boy do I give a damn when it comes to Halloween! Here’s how I put together my version of the matriarch of the century, Marge Simpson.
I’ve been obsessed with Halloween since I can remember. There’s the candy (specifically, Reese’s pumpkins), the movies (Nightmare Before Christmas and Hocus Pocus on repeat), and then the absolute best part: costumes.
Some sewing projects are a labor of love. Maybe you take extra care cutting a slippery fabric (rayon spandex: I’m lookin’ at you), or maybe you take the time to hand sew an invisible hem. For me, button-up shirts and silly, time-consuming Halloweencostumes fall into the Labor of Love category. If you’re Morgan from Crab & Bee, your sister’s insanely gorgeous wedding dress falls into that category. If there’s an award for Sewing Goddess of the Year, Morgan deserves it. I don’t even want to know how many hours she put into conceptualizing, pattern hacking, and sewing that two-piece gown. All I know is that It. Paid. Off.
But, life is full of ebbs and flows. Sometimes literally: This week, my apartment flooded during a flash flood, but then I got a haircut I really like. See?! For every action there’s a reaction. Yin and Yang. Fire and Water. Easy and Hard. For every painstaking sewing project we put ourselves through, there is another satisfying, easy-peasy one waiting in the wings.
And that’s where the Inari Tee Dress dress comes in. I spotted this loose-fitting dress over on Heather’s blog and immediately fell in love. I’d been meaning to try a Named Patterns garment for awhile now, and their take on the tee dress is just so chic. It’s got a cocoon silhouette that just skims the body, a split hem (cue googly eyes) that’s slightly longer in back, and sleeves with a permanently rolled up effect. Basically, this thing is crying out for Madewell-style knockoffs from the sewing world. (It’s our DUTY, people.)
The Inari Tee Dress, which is a 2-for-1 pattern that also includes a crop tee option, calls for woven fabric or knit fabric with “slight stretch.” Since I wanted to do a test version before I cut into my precious tencel denim, I decided to do some serious stash-busting. The gray fabric is leftover from my Sallie romper, and the blue knit is leftover from a tank top I made for Marc and a knit Scout. It definitely has more than some “slight” stretch. To accommodate for this, I sewed the US size 8 with 1″ side seam allowances (grading to 1/2″ at the armhole) instead of the prescribed 3/8″. Anything more fitted might be venturing into bodycon, which would not be in keeping with the pattern’s slouchy, effortless style.
Even now, the material clings a LOT, especially when you’re in the midst of a wind gust. Despite its clinginess, I love this dress and have already worn it a few times. The drafting of the knit neckband is pretty spot on (no gaping to speak of!) and construction was a breeze. I used my walking foot, a lightning bolt stitch, and ballpoint needle to sew everything together. To hem the bottom, I just used a simple zigzag stitch, flipping to a longer straight stitch at the side vents. Next time, I’ll understitch the rolled-up accent on the sleeve to keep the seam on the inside, and I’ll probably use a facing instead of a knit neckband when I sew this up in a woven.