unexpectedly romantic

I have a soft spot for the romantic looks from the 1990s. Less lacy than 1980s romantic, with way fewer jabots. (Here’s a handy Pinterest board.) It can all get definitely kitschy, but that’s kind of my point: it’s the kind of kitsch I tend to fall for. Maybe it’s better that that period happened in my life long before I learned to sew because the obsession didn’t go beyond a handful of Goth dresses — including one velvet dress — and two much loved oversize black sweaters hunted down in second-hand stores (well, and a sea of black tops and pants, but those were pretty neutral otherwise).

Sewing, however, is the power to bring those ghosts back and the appeal of minimalism may not be stronger than the siren call of velvet, dark florals, and lace trims.

Judging by the photo of my recent fabric purchases you might think this is just idle talk. But there was one more fabric that didn’t make it into the photo. At the store it called to me like Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula and I was helpless. Then the fabric demanded to be prewashed as soon as possible, and it quickly became a dress (the AC unit outage notwithstanding).



Yes, that is a lace hem. We’ll talk about that in a bit.

The pattern is Kenedy from Seamwork magazine, one of the two memorable patterns from an issue so memorable my post about it still keeps getting lots of views. As that post clearly shows, I’m a fan of Seamwork. But — and I invite you to insert your favorite curse word here — #$!*!%@!!, Seamwork, why is this dress so short?! That’s my one regret with this pattern — I wish I had been more suspicious about the length and added at least 3″.

I did instantly realize the neckline would need lowering or it would choke me. I scooped it out a good 2″.

There were other lessons learned: it was my first time sewing a rolled hem by hand and I enjoyed it. A slightly less optimistic but still useful lesson was learning that the trapeze dress sans belt is not the best shape on me: it’s more than slightly nightgown-y in my opinion. Then again, what did I expect making it up in a dainty floral and with a lace hem?

In defense of the hem, it adds at least a tiny bit of much needed length. As you can see, I skipped the ties.

The fabric was a dream to sew. It’s a stretch rayon poplin, if I remember correctly. Pretty breathable yet very stretchy, doesn’t wrinkle much. I only had 1.5m, but I squeezed it out, bias-cut sleeves included. (And I would have been able to squeeze out a slightly longer dress out of it, Seamwork team.)

Final thoughts: 

As much as I admire the consistent sewists among you who work on developing their personal style and on the discipline needed not to get distracted by shiny new things, I have to admit that I’m enjoying this unexpected dress. We’ll see if I end up standing by that claim. Well, it’s not Goth and not boss; I guess it’s fair to admit it’s twee. I should probably hate it but I don’t. It’s more of a lounging piece because of the length, so maybe everything has its place?

What do you think? More importantly, though, do you have a style or a fashion period you like so much you think you’ve lost objectivity about it?


Published by


I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

6 thoughts on “unexpectedly romantic”

    1. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. That whole “curated wardrobe” thing really gets into my head and I end up feeling like I should be relentlessly practical. But the truth is, I can only take it that far. I need an element of madness precisely to keep me sane. And to keep me wanting to sew. I really loved making this dress: it came together easily and it’s so different from my other makes I was really curious how it would turn out.


  1. I like it! I think it’s super cute and you look just adorable in it. I guess you could wear it as a nightgown if you get tired of it, but really it’s like the perfect little summer dress. 🙂


    1. Thanks! I’ve been wearing the dress a lot — it’s insanely hot here. I realize, rereading my post, that I should probably delay posting about new projects until I’ve worn them a bit. I am always very awkward about new makes. I spend a lot of time worrying about fit and possible mistakes, and it’s only with time that I grow to accept a new garment and even like it. Not really the pace of the sewing blog world, though, is it? 😉

      I still wish the dress was longer, but I actually like it nonetheless.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s