A New Handmade Dress For Me

I’ve been distracted ever since I got my hands on a copy of “Weekend Sewing” by Heather Ross. It’s a beautiful book (STC Craft, $27.50) featuring illustrations by Heather and great photography by John Gruen. According to the subtitle, the book is loaded with “more than 40 projects and ideas for inspirational sewing.” And I’m very happy to report that this subtitle lives up to its suggestion.

This book is completely inspiring. So much so, that I have to put it in the “intoxicating” category that I reserve for only the very best craft books, the ones that I just can’t stop thinking about.

After walking around with the book in my computer bag for days dreaming of when I’d actually have time to make dresses my daughters and me, slippers, and an “Everything Tote,” I finally found time to make the Trapeze Sundress on page 87. I love it in orange as pictured in the book, but I made mine out of blue cotton from my stash and I’m pleased with the results. It’s very comfortable and includes pockets. I love dresses with pockets.

I’ve never made myself a dress before, so this was a real kick. My box pleats aren’t perfect, but I bet my second attempt will go smoother.

(*Update: I took a closer look at the original pattern and illustrations with a more experienced seamstress, and it seems the pattern is missing the center box pleat as shown in the completed dress photo. Okay, so maybe my less-than-perfect pleats weren’t all my fault. Other beginners might get tripped up on this, too. Nevertheless, I still love this dress and plan to make more.

** Here’s an update to the update. Heather posted a Trapeze Dress explanation here. Sounds like she intended for two pleats in the front and one in the back.)

I’ll be doing a more formal review of Heather’s book and several other notable titles in an upcoming art and craft column, so stay tuned for that.

You can read today’s column about Vicki Jansma, an inspiring quilter and breast cancer survivor over on my newspaper blog. You might also be interested in another feature story I wrote about Refunction Junktion, a Hudsonville, Mich. business that shows people how to repurpose “junk” into one-of-a-kind treasures.

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