A usual knitter with no space to sew and who hasn't sewn a garment for myself in years, what business did I have saying that I would sew a dress to attend an upcoming wedding? Turns out, I had ALL the business in the world to say it. Customization isn't new to us knitters, but should we think about it in other forms to? Absolutely!
While I was very excited to attend my cousin's wedding, the thought of going to the mall on a weekday and standing in poorly lit dressing rooms in my socks was not appealing. I knew the procedure pretty well. Pick the mall because statistically I have a better chance of finding something...anything. Search through the racks of patterns or color palates that are not my style, but a style imposed on us for the year. Touching fabrics that make my inner fiber snob stick my nose up and huff disapprovingly while my skin crawls at the thought of an afternoon being in this fabric. The situation looked bleak.
But then Kristin Voolenvine posted a picture of her lovely Anna dress and I fell in love...with the dress, not her. While she is a lovely person and beautiful in a way I could only hope for in my next life, I have to stay realistic here. No dress can make me look THAT good. But it could possibly make me look like the best version of myself.
I quickly Googled the Anna dress images from By Hand London to see what all sizes looked like in the dress. A true test of a dress' flatter potential is to see how many body types and sizes it works on. While I am on the smaller size, my waistline has been growing. Now I am not very hung up on the idea of sizes, but when your shape starts to change, suddenly the silhouettes that were flattering are pointing out the very thing you are feeling self conscious about. A fit a flare dress can compliment nearly everyone.
The ability to customize a knitted sweater is one of my favorite things. I can pick my colors, how fitted I want the waist and sleeves, the placement of the waist, and length of the sweater. I can't buy sweaters in the store like that. I can never love a store bought sweater the way I love my hand knit sweaters. So sewing a dress should be the same, right? Assuming I could pull off sewing this dress in three weeks, and assuming that I could fit it in a flattering way, I should have a dress that I was more happy with than a dress I bought from the mall. But that is a lot of assuming.
I picked a fabric color and pattern that I thought would be relatively easy to sew. I decided to fully line the dress to make sure it wasn't too thin. I also thought that pockets would be a great addition because....well, because pockets (duh). As I waited for my fabric to come in the mail, I poured over blog posts about modifications, troubles they ran into, and tips for a custom fit. I bookmarked them all and read over my pattern so I would know what to expect.
While I haven't sewn myself a garment in a very long time, the sewalong tutorials (did you know seamstresses had SALs like we have KALs? The joy!) made is very easy to follow along if any of the pattern instructions were unfamiliar to me. I was walked through every step of the way. These blogs and SAL tutorials make sewing so much easier than it used to be.
I love that I have a dress that I adore sewn by my own hands. I didn't think it possible only a few weeks before. But why should I be surprised? Making your own clothes, be it knitted or sewn, leaves you feeling empowered in your ability to create and more confident in your own skin. As we create these clothes ourselves, we are reminded that the clothes should be made to fit our body; our bodies were not intended to fit someone else's clothes.