I have a new computer! This is my first non-mobile blog post since September, and man, does it feel good. I’ve only been able to use a physical computer at the library and my kids were so crazy I only attempted it once. So here I am, typing on my very own computer. yay! This will mean a return to more regular posting, which I have so dearly missed these past six months (the past year, really!)
It seems only right to venture into this brave new world with a new outfit, so today I’m showing you my brand spanking new Michelle, My Belle dress made with a pretty print from Liberty’s latest collection, Alpine Symphony.
Its been a few years since I made my last My Belle, probably right after Wallace was born, so I felt it was time to return to that pattern which ignited in me this great love of garment sewing for myself. I received this fabric on Tuesday, and by Wednesday afternoon, I had a fully finished dress. I even hand sewed the lining in around the zipper and waistline, which I almost always procrastinate doing.
Being intentional in what I buy and use has been a prominent theme in my sewing for many years, but its become of even greater importance, I would go so far as to say its part of my crafting identity since last year. Moving three times in the course of a single year really brought about a lot of evaluation over what I have and can practically use. I’ve parted with more than two-thirds of what I had this time last year, and I can’t tell you how freeing it is. I think one thing that’s been especially helpful to me is the refusal to stash almost anything. With this fabric, I purchased with a vision that I planned to execute straight away rather than leaving the fabric to languish on the shelf and I have a garment that I’ll wear and love for years to come at my immediate disposal.I can honestly say I hardly, if ever, purchase a single piece of fabric without a prior plan, but truly it does feel good to use a fabric before it even makes it to a shelf. I prefer to see it on a hanger in my closet. :)
More about the dress- if you have followed me for long, you’ll know the intense love I have for the Michelle, My Belle dress which is found in the Liberty Love book by Alexia Marcelle Abegg (one of, if not the most used book in my small crafty library). I have altered the pattern slightly to better fit my figure, but I’ll admit to letting this one out a little bit to incorporate my curvier post-four-pregnancy bod. working on that, ahem. The skirt is slightly fuller since most of my weight is in my thighs. Gosh, I hate writing that.
This version does have pockets. I have decided that henceforth and possibly forevermore, all skirted garments must contain pockets or there is just no point. They really do make all the difference.
As I always do, I lined this dress with Free Spirit solid voile in Toast. And since I have had many people ask me already what I’m going to do now that Free Spirit has discontinued that, then were no more, and now are bought… I don’t know. Truly I hoped I would never be without the world’s best lining, and I just hope I can talk someone at the new company into producing it again. Its just unparalleled in quality and cost, and I don’t want to compromise. I never buy “cheap” lining because it affects everything. So to answer the question- I suppose I’ll try out Cotton + Steel’s lawn. They don’t have the right color, but the quality is good. I just hate it beyond anything that their garment fabrics don’t come in standard 54″+ garment width. le sigh.
I’m sorry for whining. And yes. I’m really audibly whining about that. If you’ve used it as your lining, I know you understand where I’m coming from.
I’ve been working on some more pieces for my wardrobe. I’m excited to show those to you. I got the privilege of working with a new, exclusive Liberty lawn, so I’m stoked to show you next week!
If you’ve made it to the end, can we do a head count? I feel like its been ages since I’ve had good communication on here, which is almost entirely on me since its my little corner of the internet and I haven’t been as present as I’d like. But there is sometimes talk on Instagram about people missing blogging, and I quite love it. So I’d like to know who I’m chatting to these days! Tell me what you are making these days or what is inspiring you. I need to add some new projects on here, so if there is a technique you are looking to learn or a project you would like to see, please speak up! I’d like to know what you would like to see. :)
Your new dress is gorgeous! I’ve really taken a step back from fabric buying and even sewing the last 8 months. The sewing part makes me sad, but the fabric part has been so freeing! I feel weighed down by the fabrics that just sit on my shelf, because they either feel wasted, or they feel like a burden – a reminder of what I’m not accomplishing. I’m so excited to see you posting more!
Also, I think a big part of not sewing has to do with my post 2nd baby body. So, I totally get that! My belly is just not going anywhere, and it’s hard to want to make clothes for myself!
Thank you, Kaitlin. I’m glad you get where I’m coming from! Sometimes I feel crazy not getting more (or even wanting to) when it seems like all I see is stack upon stack of new fabric. And on that other note, it’s totally hard to make or even buy for a body that doesn’t feel like yours. I feel like such a stranger in my body and I have been having a huge mental struggle about it. I’m using my self loathing and channeling it so I have workout motivation. I’ve been doing Pilates to rebuild my core strength and I’ll go from there. One day at a time. It’s hard to do with kids, because when I do get a break all I want to do it sit and enjoy the silence.
I am in complete agreement re quality fabric! I refuse to sew with anything that’s not the best – my time is too valuable and the work that goes into each garment just deserves a level of respect that only the finest fabrics will garner :) Love your Liberty dress on you! I’m top heavy and there isn’t much of a difference between my waist and hips (I’m 63 :) ) so this style would definitely not suit me! I’m making up a couple of Ogden camis – getting ready for the hot summer! There is nothing cooler than light woven camis and shorts for around the house anyway ;) I’ll make up some sleeveless wovens next for wearing outside the house next. I’m working with a tie silk now for this cami and I have a big border panel in a light flowered cotton for possibly a couple more then I’m done with camis!
We are kindred spirits! I don’t go out of my way to tell people the cost of fabric unless they want me to make them something. And then they gasp and I explain that I’m not making Target clothes. I’m making quality clothes they would be hard pressed to find elsewhere for a lower price. Not worth my time if the quality isn’t great.
And oh, Ogden! I love that pattern. Your latest version sounds incredible. I bet it will feel wonderful!
I’m still here, Meredith! I love this dress on you— it looks amazing and you’ve got the fit nailed. The colors are fabulous on you, too. (Also, your hair looks so pretty curled like that!) I look forward to seeing what else you’ve been working on!
I’m so glad you are here, Teri! You are so inspiring to me. Have you ever made this pattern?
I love reading along. Your sewing and commitment to sewing the best is so inspiring to me. I hope one day the cost of things won’t deter me from buying the best. So glad I’m able to read along from my little Australian corner of the world. :)
Thank you for following along, Paula! I know fabric is so darn expensive in Australia and I will be thrilled when your prices can come down to a more affordable level so more folks can sew with a greater variety of fabrics!
I seen your dress pic on IG and had to come over and ck it out! So pretty! I am interested in making some new garments – tops, skirts, dresses for summer and work. It has been a long time since I made garmets and I am a bit older …ahem and plus size. Adjusting and fitting them so they look great/professional concern me. And sewing with knits and beautiful fabric like Liberty would be on my wish list.
Thank you, Ginny! If you are looking for plus size friendly patterns, I have heard that Cashmerette is wonderful. And do you know about Seamwork? Its a monthly online magazine I subscribe to that is put out by Colette. For only $7 a month you get two free patterns with every issue and each one comes with a misses fit and a plus size fit, which are pretty well tailored for each body type. Not all the patterns are winners, but for $7, I think its a worthwhile gamble. I’ll include a link to that. I think if I share it it’ll get you half off your first month, and then you can test it to see if its something that would be helpful to you. Click here!
I love reading about your garment sewing. I’m Kristie, a wife and mom who lives in the Atlanta area. I love sewing with Liberty fabrics as much as you do, and I also work part time at a wonderful fabric shop called Intown Quilters. Keep sewing and blogging and posting on Instagram!
Thank you, Kristie! Liberty is the best! I’ll have to look up your shop. I’m not in the Atlanta area very often, but I would love to stop in when I am.
Hi Meredith! I love seeing what you sew, you do such beautiful work and it is always an inspiration for me.
I am sewing up a few skirts for myself – I am optimistic that warm weather will eventually find its way here to the Midwest – and shorts for my kids. In between those things I’m trying to finish a time-consuming quilt for a friend in time for her birthday, but there are only so many hours in a day! I am also struggling with the buy new or use my stash battle. As for my figure… I feel like I added a few pounds around my middle a few years ago and they don’t want to budge. I’m trying to accept what I am, though, and sewing clothes that fit properly really does help. My latest make has been the Bryce Cargos from Hey June, they are fantastic!
Thank you for your kinds words, Emily! Spring is coming! I’m trusting that the weather will eventually decide to be consistent rather than this hot one day, cold the next thing that’s been going on. I also like to sew garments in between big quilting projects! I will either take a weekend break to sew up an outfit or two or use it as my pot of gold at the end of my quilting project. I find that motivates me to get through one thing and onto the next.
As for figure, I hear you! Its so hard to want to dress a body that’s not what we picture for ourselves. You are preaching to the choir. And though I’m trying to be more consistently active, I am also finding that I need to dress for the body I have. I’ll have to look up the Bryce Cargos. :)
I always read, Meredith! Congrats on your new computer. As far as lining fabrics go, maybe try Robert Kaufman lawn – it comes in good solids.
Hey Erin! :) I’m so glad you are here. I will look up the Kaufman lawn for sure. I haven’t ever used them and I didn’t realize they sold solid ones. Thank you!