Thursday, June 18, 2009

This 250 Square Foot Mini-Kaftan? I Made It Myself, Thank You.

I mentioned in the last installment of Blogback Mountain (see two posts down) that I've been taking sewing lessons with my great aunt. Our projects so far have included turning a pair of baggy old man pants into baggy old man shorts (a summer staple for me), embroidering a chili pepper decal from the 80s onto a dish rag from the 50s, and me getting her sewing machine thread so tangled that she said I was the worst student she'd ever had and told me to leave. We have fun.

So, about a month ago I came across a Moroccan kaftan at Goodwill. It was floor-length, and huge--approximately 500 square feet of fabric--but I absolutely loved the color and the embroidery around the neckline and sleeves, plus it was $5, so I decided to buy it and attempt, with the help of my moody yet talented teacher, to turn it into a summer dress.

A few torn hems, a broken sewing machine, and some possibly purposeful pin-pricks to my legs later, I had a new, 250 square foot summer dress:

I'm obviously not advanced enough to take it in or create darts, so we pretty much just hacked off a few feet of fabric, hemmed it, and added the white ribbon along the bottom.

Here I demonstrate how my new dress can make me look like a rhombus, which is kind of upsetting.

But on the bright side, it's comfy, breezy, and perfect for bike rides around town or to throw on over my swimsuit. Perhaps most importantly, whenever I wear it I get to brag that I made it myself, thank you, and that makes me the happiest rhombus in town.


Kate said...

OMG you look SO cute!!

Sara said...

Oh wow! I always do that, I buy things with the intent of altering them yet never do. Good on you, you look super cute! Aw and the Summer and the sunshine, and blue totally suits you! Very pretty! I think your post just motivated me to take sewing lessons.

Claire said...

Skills!! My dad always says (it's one of those stock Dad phrases) that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. IE don't give up, things start small and can lead to bigger things!!!

I've not used a sewing machine in years, so I bow to your superior skill. And to be fair, you're wearing what could be seen as a King's robe, so maybe I should be bowing anyway...

Tara said...

Aw lovely photos my dear! I don't know what a rhombus is, but you are the finest one I have seen! (So please don't hate me if that is hugely insulting!)

daddylikeyblog said...

That was totally the story of my life before I started learning to sew, and I still have a giant pile of things waiting to be altered in the back of my closet!

Awww thank you for the encouragement! And yes, you should be bowing right now. Thnx.

Hahaha a rhombus is a geometric shape, like a kinda crooked square, but of course I'll take that as a compliment. :)

Sandy said...

Love love love it, girl!

Poochie said...

Pretty color... and your hair looks so great!

Amanda said...

If those are the pics the bf took, he did an awesome job! Oh yeah, the dress rocks too!

Unknown said...

That is an adorable dress!

VERONICA said...

As someone who feels that driving to a tailor is still too much work, I am duly impressed. You look adorable!

Megan said...

You did a much better job than me, which would have meant just hacking it to a shorter hem and telling everybody that "fray was in."

And the bf did a good job with the photos. Yay, bf!

Susan B said...

Good for you! Clever to add the white ribbon trim. Before you know it you'll be fending off requests from friends to make their Halloween costumes.

Katy said...

Nice! The neckline really is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

SO impressed. And blue really is your color, doll. You are the cutest rhombus in town, in addition to being the happiest.

echidna girl said...

Lovely caftan, newly bright beribboned

Lace and fabric flutter sweetly, bluely

Oh, the patience Aunt has surely shown ;-)

For you, in iambic pentameter. It's a slow news day.

Lesley Myrick said...

Awww, look at that adorable little rhombus with mad wicked sewing skills!

Jill said...

Love it!

FutureLint said...

Good work!! I have a similar (but bright coral) caftan I am doing the same thing to! Ha! Geometry jokes!

WendyB said...

You look so adorable and you can shelter people from the rain in your top! How nice of you!

Siru said...

As you might have noticed sewing is much more easier than most people think. Getting it in is quite simple. Wear it inside out, use some pins and sew. Or that's the easiest solution at least.
Welcome to the sewing world.

juliet xxx

Darla: Retro Ways said...

You have such a great sense of humor! You had to start somewhere and I think it looks great. ♥

ambika said...

That blue is amazing on you and I love the collar! Buy your aunt some fun fabric and I bet she'll never stick you again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the comment on my blog! You look fab as well!

fritha louise said...

So cute! I am so going on the hunt for oversized kaftans now!

Birdie! said...

It looks amazing!!

Darts aren't *too* hard, by the way. (I just found this out...)

Lindsay said...

When you gave the original size I thought of a boat sail.. Which means when I saw the finished project I was like "ZOMG!!!!"

I can't sew, so I'm ver impressed. It's really a gorgeous color.

Tad hard to look anywhere but at your hands. The way their folded reminded me of the song "Baby Bumblebee" from Kindergarten.

Did you pick up a baby bumblebee?

Claire said...

very cute, the blue is absolutly perfect. Just so you know, it's impossible to be the worst sewing student ever until you run a finger through the machine and bleed on the fabric. Not saying I've ever done that or anything...

Marie said...

Hahaha 250 square foot! That's awesome though! I like the blue with the white detail! And I don't know how to sew for shit so I commend you for learning!!!

Lisa said...

I love the yoke neckline and bright blue colour. Kudos to you for learning how to sew! Oh, and you're the most endearing, adorable rhombus I've ever had the privilege of knowing. ;-)

Brittney said...

Oh YAY! You did do something with the kaftan! That's so cute, and you're seriously the cutest rhombus ever.

Good for you! I have no sewing talent, so I'm totes jealous.
Also... are we going to learn how to crochet?

Joanna Goddard said...

you are ADORABLE!!!!!!!!

Whit said...

Love it! Well done! You can totally do darts, although I think it works without them too. You've got me itching now to dust off the old machine.

Rosie Unknown said...

That looks awesome! Congrats on successfully altering something form hmm... to Aha!

Apocalypstick said...

Now you have to come back to DC and wear your Moroccan finery for Jouad at the City Cafe! He will bestow free falafels upon you, I am sure.

Rebecca, A Clothes Horse said...

That has the prettiest detail and I love the color. You did a good job of cutting it down to size.

Anonymous said...

Woohoo! You look fabulous. The colors on that are great.

I really wish I could sew. I tried to make myself a skirt a few years ago, and it turned out pretty lopsided.

Death Wears Diamond Jewellery said...

holy crap i am in love with your blog. ive just spent the past hour browsing old posts and laughing so loudly that my cat thinks im possessed. awesome.

Kwana said...

It's adorable. You look fab!

emily said...

you look adorable!! it looks like it was made that way.

Sales Rack Raider said...

It looks great, and you look awesome! I love the color and the lace trim.

You put me to shame--I need to go alter a couple of Goodwill hauls. I can only hide the poofs under a cardigan so many times before people start catching on.

Catherine said...

That dress is so pretty and beautiful on you I can hardly stand it. Thanks for posting pictures!

Also, I am loving your long bangs.


LallaLydia said...

pretty! Good job, you;ll be a seamstress yet (maybe on broadway) - and it would go well with pink hair...

Katie said...

i'm impressed! you look beautiful, the color is gorgeous on you.

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