Less than a month ago, I graduated summa cum laude from Whitman College. My time at Whitman has been among the best four years of my life thus far, not only academically and socially, but also craft-wise! In the last four years, I have improved immensely as a knitter. I have knitted six sweaters, 22 hats, three scarves, my first two pairs of socks, three headbands, and released fifteen original knitting patterns. Beyond knitting, I taught myself to crochet and completed four embroidery projects, four sewing projects, and two quilting projects. A casual scroll through the last four years on my blog shows how a part-time hobby can accomplish quite a bit without a particularly concerted effort.
So it's only appropriate that I end my collegiate career with one last craft project: a graduation dress! Last fall, I set a goal for myself to make one garment each semester during my senior year of college. Last semester, I made myself a green shirt, and as a crazy spring semester was wrapping up without a sewing project, so I leaped at the last chance. My housemate Kiana's sewing knowledge and in-house sewing machine was too good to pass up.
I started out sketching out my "dream dress" with the aid of Pinterest and browsing the Vogue and Simplicity online pattern catalogs. I finally came up with a design I was happy with, and then spent a bunch more time scouring all the pattern company catalogs for a depiction of the exact design I had dreamed up. Of course, that is not really how it works... what form of logic would suggest that my original design was also dreamed up by someone else? No form of logic, duh. (Was I really ready to graduate college with that mindset?!) Once I realized my error I searched around for a pattern that could accommodate the design I had concocted, and that worked a little better. But then the pattern that I decided on was not available in-store, and I had to wait a precious two weeks before the pattern came on the Wednesday before Sunday graduation. Nothing like some good ol' procrastination to close out college!
The pattern I ended up selecting was Simplicity 1651D5. When it finally arrived, I made a bee line to the fabric store, hoping to find a solid teal cotton blend. Alas, such a fabric was not available, but I ended up choosing two complementary cotton quilter's classic fabrics (on 75% sale!) The finished product is perhaps more retro than I originally intended, but I'm good with that.
The actual sewing took the better part of three or four days -- the first cutting out and preparing all the pattern pieces, the second and third days putting most of the pieces together, and the fourth (the morning of graduation!!) making the finishing touches like the hem, zipper, bra cups, and back straps. The open back was my main pattern modification, which was inspired by a random swimsuit back I found on Pinterest.
While the fit is not 100% perfect, it successfully stays on my body as a dress :) And the issue is that it is a little on the loose side, so that could always be fixed. Overall, I'm stoked about this dress! I think I solidified some major sewing techniques, like assembling interfacing and putting in a zipper, that will be much faster next time I tackle a garment project. While my parents may not have been impressed with my last-minute sewing project in the midst of packing to move out and graduate, I am personally quite pleased that I managed to turn three yards of fabric into a dress in such a quick time frame.
As for post-college plans, must you ask? I'm still figuring it out, but as I get my bearings, I have a bit more time for crafty pursuits. Stay tuned for future updates.
Happy summer, and