A strange thing has happened when I moved to Hawaii. I began to think about the word timeless a lot. It, in general it is a good thing. When you think about a piece of art standing the test of time, or an article of clothing being wearable year after year, say a simple black slip dress… the badge of ’timeless’ is always donned with pride. In fact I aspire to sew timeless pieces that can be worn and loved for years.
But in Hawaii, as I woke up each day to the same beautiful weather I felt like I was caught in a time-less machine that seemed to make me stand still while the rest of the world hurled by. I felt like I was watching Dahli’s clocks melting on the beach. I’d wake up each morning in a late time zone and the rest of the world had already lived most of their their day. I couldn’t tell if it was February or July. This seasonal distortion was a weird phenomenon that made it surprisingly difficult to set goals.
To many, perpetual amazing weather seems like a good thing to have, but for me I lost all ability to feel the passage of time and stopped appreciating what was spectacular about this insanely cool, beautiful paradise I was living in. I missed Autumn, Winter and Spring and their absence weighed on me.
Not feeling time is ok when things are good, there are those moments that you wish you could live in forever. But I had had a bad few years, it seemed like every few months something deeply tragic or catastrophic would happen. I am almost certain this distain for beautiful weather was merely symbolic of what was going on in my life. The seasonal record was stuck on repeat as was the rhythm I was living in.
To celebrate stepping out of that vortex, reclaiming timeless as a good thing, and getting to a point in life where I miss Hawaii deeply, I wanted to make a dress that would stand the next test of time. For most of my time in Hawaii I religiously wore an Ogden Cami slip dress hack. I wore this dress alone, under sheer dresses, tucked into pants, tucked into a ball gown skirt for a concert….. It’s a pretty popular hack, I’ll make a separate post to pair with this one. I wanted something in that direction.
- a slip dress pattern that upped my sewing skills
- sustainable fabric choice
- addition of my own detail
And, voila! I settled on the Claudia dress from Tessuti Fabrics made from black tencel twill fabric and a tencel embroidered belt. I’ve been wanting to make a pattern from Tessuti for awhile and happy that I finally did.
*I swear the straps are sewn on straight, I didn’t realize one was twisted when I took ALL of the pictures.*
The construction of this dress was straight forward. One of the reasons why I chose it was the large amount of top stitching. For me, top stitching is one of those elements of sewing that reminds you to slow down and focus.
I think that biggest challenge might be the pockets. I had to really take my time to get the edges folded under properly. I carefully used my iron instead of finger pressing. The more pins the better! (you’ll see if you sew it) The instructions were perfect, and I thought the photos were extremely helpful and clear. There was not one point where I was scratching me head and confused about a step.
Since it was a pretty loose fitting slip dress I didn’t make a muslin, and new to this pattern company, I followed the instructions and went with my bust measurements. At the end of the day I wish I would have sized down a size because without the belt I get a little lost in the dress.
I’d like to have a shrine dedicated to this fabric. It’s opaque, it has a drape, it’s sustainable and feels amazing. It was easy to sew with, though it does fray on the faster side. It’s the first fabric I have ever wanted to but a bolt of and I think there will be a lot of tencel twill in my future.
For the belt, I cut a very long 3 inch wide strip of tencel and made a fabric belt. There are a lot of simple ways to do this and a lot of tutorials. I wanted to add some color to this dress, I chose three different shades of green to use. I used one of the decorative stitches on my machine and sewed a bunch of randomly placed lines along the belt. I really like it a lot.
The end result of this is a really well constructed dress, in a great fabric that I know will see a lot of wear.
Designer: Tessuti Patterns