I know you are all anxiously awaiting our new fall/winter designs, but to fill in the gap until those are ready for public consumption, we have been thinking of all sorts of ways to work our Starling Dress into your back to school closets. The Starling is such a versatile dress, as you will hopefully see from all these new variations.First up is one I call the September Showers dress, taken from the pocket detail, which some of you may recognize as an embroidery pattern from the lovely Sarah Jane Studios (pattern for sale here)--more on that below. This version of the Starling is, perhaps, a little more casual look overall and is also great one to keep in mind if you find yourself itching to sew but no have zippers on hand. The body of the dress is made up in a cotton poplin. I left off the flat yoke piece at the neckline, which resulted in the perfect wide opening to add the elasticized neckband, which is a popular look these days in blogland. (One thing I didn't factor in, but will next time around, is that the dress is slightly shorter without the yoke.)
To encase the 1/4" elastic at the neckline, I made up some single folded bias tape (from 1.5" wide strips) in a contrasting fabric to sew to the right side of the garment, leaving a gap at the back of the neck in which to insert the elastic. (I hand sewed the gap closed once I had adjusted the length of the elastic.) After the bias strip was sewn on, it was easy to turn the seam allowances to the inside of the dress and press the strip flat. Thus far, there haven't been any instances of the band flipping over to the front, perhaps due to the elastic, and the neckline stretches sufficiently to easily pull over even the biggest of noggins.
Because cooler days are just around the corner, I opted for longer sleeves, which required a simple pattern modification. I extended the sides of the pattern sleeve to the length of my daughter's arm + 1/2 inch to accommodate sewing on the same bias strip at the wrist as used for the neckline. Again, I used 1/4" elastic.
The crocheted lace edging at the bottom of the dress is old pillowcase trim that I picked up at an antique store in Ann Arbor, Michigan a few weeks ago. Can you believe I paid just $5 for the trim from both pillowcases? Seemed quite the bargain to me!
So, for the pocket--I have been itching to try some hand embroidery, which is everywhere right now. This is my first real attempt and I thought it was a nice portable project (I completed this panel at the beach). I used to be a cross-stitcher years ago (like 20 years ago, how is that possible??), and luckily still have all my carefully organized embroidery thread.
My one real hesitation with hand embroidery is that I never quite know what to do with the end product, however lovely it may be. I am not the type of person to have embroidered tea towels or fancy linens lying about and, if ever I had a small hankering to hang something like this framed on the wall, my husband would have none of it. So incorporating it into sewn garments seems to be the perfect solution.
I ironed on Heat-N-Bond to the reverse side of the embroidery hoping that may stabilize the stitches, but of course, hand washing will probably be required (starting with, it turns out, right after the photo shoot which morphed into playtime in the dirt...) Happy Sewing! Erin