I love that my first sewing post on this blog in about a year and a half is one that really encapsulates what I’ve been focusing on in my time away. I won’t bore you with a dissertation on why I have been away for so long, but in short, it was a mixture of mild pandemic depression and a self-imposed urgency to get ahead of the curve and move the sharing of my ideas and projects soley over to social media. I thought that was where the future of blogging would be. And that might be true. But that doesn’t mean it has to be *my* truth, haha. I found out over the past year or so that the more I involve social media in my day-to-day existence, the more grayscale my life becomes. I deleted facebook years ago, quit twitter last year, and even maintained a much healthier relationship to both IG and tik tok recently. It was SO awesome! In releasing myself from the firm grip that social media had over me, I started to get excited about blogging again, having ample space to talk about process and inspiration and thoughts about making in general. I got a nice new makeover for my website and starting writing drafts of all the projects I wanted to share in the future. But then Me Made May came around and I wanted to participate in some way and I ended up sliding back into my old IG and TT habits with a mighty vengeance. My plan is to see MMM through to the end and then I’ll hopefully be able to navigate better boundaries again.
I made this Cris Woods Envelope dress design earlier this year after buying the prettiest, most luxurious silk velvet at Promenade Fabrics in NOLA (one of my favorite brick and mortar fabric shops). This wasn’t my first rodeo with silk and I knew what a pain in the ass it was gonna be to work with so I wanted something really simple and easy, with as few seams and fiddly bits as possible. I’d saved the Envelope pattern a while back because it seemed like one of those quick TNT patterns you keep in your stash in case you need to make something for yourself or someone else with very little notice. I hoped that making this dress in such a dramatic fabric would help elevate it’s simple silhouette and I was absolutely right! I have seen lots of fun, unique versions of this dress online, but it goes from casual to exquisite pretty quickly in something shimmery and textured like velvet.
The appeal of the Envelope dress is that it’s considered a no-waste pattern, meaning you only need to use a few rectangles of fabric to create the dress, the sizes of which are based on your own measurements (chest or hips, whichever is wider + length you want the dress to be). So technically it’s a completely size inclusive pattern which we love to see!
My version of the dress sewed up well in silk velvet, if not slowly; the only issue I ran into was how to create the cinch belt (a free pattern in the Cris Woods shop that pairs well with the Envelope dress) with my fabric. With ordinary fabric you are instructed to stiffen it up with interfacing on both insides of the belt face, but I couldn’t iron my velvet to attach the interfacing and I knew it would need something additional to beef up the middle and make it more stable. I decided to use a piece of shoe insert/bra foam that I cut out to the same dimensions of the belt’s face, and after a little wrangling I squeezed it in there successfully.
Months later I knew it would be the perfect introductory garment for Cyndi and Quinn to sew for themselves and we had such a good time making them over a period of several months (we sew at a slow pace to maximize the fun and quality time lol). Cyndi loves cotton gauze and Quinn picked out the color (can you tell? lol)! Although the fabric was not quite as troublesome as my silk velvet, we still had a lot of learning successes with it because omg it gets so crinkly on the edges! I’ve only ever worked with double gauze which is a much stabler, less wrinkly fabric.
This pattern was super fun to make and very beginner friendly. The instructions, though a bit different from traditional sewing patterns, are easy to follow and the math used to figure out how much fabric you need for your dress was also easy to understand (and easy adapt to the young person of smaller stature in our group). It’s really only sewing the seams, pressing them open, top stitching them, then finishing the hems for the neck, armholes and bottom of the dress. That’s it! So little work for such a cute finished product! This dress looks great with or without the cinch belt, looks cute dressed up in heels or dressed down in flats- it’s truly a thoughtful and versatile pattern that fits a range of styles. And it was a delight to use it to share the joy of sewing with my friends. If you don’t already have it, it’s a great one to bookmark!