Sunday, October 11, 2020

a stay-in-bed dress

Recently, one of my most  faithful readers send me a message, to ask where I'd been. And I thought, 'Ah, yes, my blog, I knew I had forgotten about something…

So, how have I, Joost, and our miscellaneous pets been? Well, we've.. 

Brewed some tea above camp fires..

We build a kitchen ( at least, Joost and I did, the cats' lack of opposable thumbs really let them down in this one)

been taking napping to a higher level..

And we stared at a Musk Ox. 

 Furthermore, Ive been sweating at the last pieces of my PhD (wew!) , got a new job as an assistant professor (yay!) Life's been quite good for us. And, as is the case for most of us: quite weird as well, living with the pandemic, working from home (again, only Joost and me, our cats have terrible CV's), abandoning our social lives, and refining the art of wearing face masks.

But let's go to something completely different: a refashion (of sorts!) 
It had been a while since I had picked up my sewing machine, but after watching three entire seasons in one day some episodes of the great British Sewing Bee, I realized that it was time to start again. 

So, one morning, I masked up, and went to the thrift shop, to stock up! However, instead of my usual haul of cute dresses and skirts, my score consisted of this...

pretty, eh? or.. oh well. 

What to say.. It's not just the fact that it is a duvet cover. It's not just the fact that it's beige.. It's the fact that it is both of those things, and in the ugliest beige possible. I don't hate beige; beige can be quite a sophisticated colour. This beige, however, was the colour of hate. It was as if someone had taken normal beige, and dipped it a a bucket of radioactive urine. It was wrong on all levels. I actively resented it. 

But it had one, important thing going for it: it was pure cotton, and as all refashioners will know: If it's cotton, you can dye it. 

Ironically, that pink colour is also one of my least favourite colours, but I hoped the two wrongs would cancel each other out. 

In the washing machine it went! And the result of these two terrible colours was.. actually not too bad! It is pink but not in a girly way, trendwatchers would probably call it 'nude' or something like that. 

While the washing  machine was merrily whizzing away, I quickly made a sketch of what I wanted.
let's just pretend I always make my sketches in English, and not only when I need to write a blog..

And because I'm not confident enough yet to make my own sleeve patterns yet, I browsed through a pattern magazine, to find something that I could use to adapt.

Not exactly what I'm looking for, but at least I can borrow the armholes, sleeves and bust darts!

I copied the pattern ( I'd later make adaptations to lower the neckline, add under-bust darts 
and lengthen the bodice for a slightly dropped waistline)

And cutting! ( I'm most ardently in love with my rotary cutter, even though I'm quite confident it should be classified as a murder weapon)

The bodice was constructed super quick, because it was a very simple pattern (And I skipped the process of hemming the neck by adding a facing.) 
facing, the lazy seamstress' best friend!

I drew a quick skirt by drawing two rectangles that were approx. 15 cm wider than the bodice, and attached then with two pleats...

And voila, the first fitting session! I bullied Joost into taking pictures, even though he was adamant that 'my face was weird'. 

I had meant the fit to be loose (a necessity in these endless times of video-conferencing from your couch), but this was taking it to circus-tent proportions. I looked like a giant cotton candy.

So, some extra taking in from the sides ensued, and I added a zipper under the arm just to be sure (because although I could get out of it without one, I was quite sure that that would just lead to me being careless and busting a seam)

Some final hemming on the skirt and sleeves ( I went for a 'rolled up' look for the sleeves 

And done! 

simple, but I do like it! (and my clay-statue next to me is but better at modelling than I am)

chilling on the countertop, like you do..  

'why aren't you feeding me, hooman!' 

I especially enjoy the sleeves!

I have so many pretty dresses, with tight skirts, cinched in waists and intricate sleeves that I used to wear to work, but that have been sitting in my closet unworn over the last few months. Because my new life; working from home, with video-calls, sitting crossed legged on the couch with a laptop, requires something different from the way I dress. And I think that's fine, I think it's okay to -literally- give ourselves some breathing room while dressing professional, without resorting to pyjama's and yoga-pants all the time.  And sometimes, that quite literally involves wearing bedsheets ;)



  1. Your dress turned out beautiful! The design is perfect for something simple or you can make is dressier with a belt or scarf.

    Your so clever and I admire you much. I'm inspired.

    Hugs from Texas,
    Tambra Nicole

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for your comments, and for pushing me to start blogging again!
      hugs from the Netherlands!

    2. With so much on your plate with school and everything it's understandable you'd be exhausted and feel like blogging. However, I'm thrilled you're back. I've missed you!

      Tambra Nicole

  2. Lovely. And cool to see how smoothly you adapt different pieces together into a unified dress that makes sense together.

    Also, thanks for sharing your musk ox sighting! Such mesmerizing creatures with their swaying walk. Reminds me of a striking description from author Barry Lopez: "[Musk oxen] were so intensely good at being precisely what they were. The longer you watched, the more intricately they seemed a part of where they were living."

    Congrats on professorship!


    1. Oh, I love that quote abut the musk ox, it really suits them! I was absolutely amazed by them, although my poetic inspiration didn't go much further than some incoherent thoughts such as: "ooh, I wish I had a better camera, they are like massive walkin carpets!"