Spring Preview

Today it is supposed to be over 50° (15°C) for perhaps the first time this winter. I feel personally responsible for this heat wave, since I have just finished the springiest of spring dresses. It is green. It is linen. It has short sleeves. It even has a bit of purple. If it were any springier, it would be a daffodil.

The fabric is some thick linen that I have had in my stash for a couple of years. I made this jacket, this tea towel, and this tea towel with it. I have enough for a couple more tea towels. I dyed the fabric green using Dylon dyes. The belt is the same fabric, dyed purple.

I combined 2 patterns for the desired effect. They are both from Michiko Kayaki books. From the chest up,the dress is Dress 2 from the book Home Couture. From the chest down, it is Dress 4 from the book Simple Chic. I added the button placket myself, rather than the facing that the Home Couture dress has. I find that I go back to these books again and again for basic patterns that I can use to make pretty much anything. The size range is fairly limited, though.

One thing that bugs me about shirtdresses is that the lower buttons keep coming undone. I have attempted to solve that problem by eliminating the lower buttons entirely and ending the placket at hip level. I hope this is not one of those solutions that causes more problems than it solves. The proof of the dress is in the wearing.

A style blogger that I like posted a photo of a pearl beaded collar, which made me scream and jump up and down demanding a beaded collar of my own. OK, maybe it only made me go to my local bead shop and courteously request the materials for a beaded collar of my own. I’m glad I have a local bead shop, because I had to go back twice for more beads. I don’t do a lot of beading, so I should not be surprised that I completed the collar then tore it apart at least three times before getting it right. I kept putting the beads too close together, so they looked like a crowded jumble instead of lacey, airy arrangement. It was frustrating to keep thinking that I was done, then realizing that it still was not right. I had to continually remind myself that I would not go naked if I failed to complete the dress by a certain time. The collar snaps off for washing.

The belt came out OK. But, if you consider that it is my first attempt at a belt, and I made it entirely out of things I already had around (well, I did buy some purple fabric dye for it, but really the dye was for this project. That’s my story and I am sticking with it.), I think I did pretty well. I would not try to sell it or anything, but if you don’t look too closely, it is fine. I interfaced it with ban-roll, and backed it with grosgrain. The buckle is a plastic buckle that I had in my collection of random sewing things. I have no idea where it came from. I was not sure how to cover the buckle, and I ended up covering it with purple fabric held in place with double-sided tape, then took some threads from the purple fabric and wrapped them around to hold the fabric in place. Like I said, it won’t really stand up to close inspection.

I have been working on my photography, with a view to improving my Etsy shop. I think my photos are getting better.



closeup of belt


The inside, with Hong Kong seams, silk crepe underlining, and snaps under the collar.


Collar off the dress, and underside of the belt.


Dress without beaded collar


Back View


My photography assistant, who is nearly five years old, thought it would be fun to get a pic of me with the dress.



  1. Posted February 14, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    I love the collar. It is soooo cute. The belt looks great in the photo. I am sure it will stand up!

  2. Posted February 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love the pintucks at the wasit, and springy colors. I also relly like the idea of a shirtdress, where the button placket ends higher up. But I especially like the shot of you in that bee dress you made recently- its even better on you then on the hanger!

  3. Posted February 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow, I am totally besotted with the beaded collar on your dress. As always, beautifully made and creatively styled.

  4. Posted February 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    PS – Could you post a tutorial on how to make a petersham belt?

    • Posted February 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hmm, maybe next time. I did not take any in-progress photos, and a text-only tutorial won’t make much sense.

  5. Posted February 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Everything you create is just divine.

  6. Marie-Christine
    Posted February 15, 2011 at 4:52 am | Permalink | Reply

    Utterly spring-like :-). Good idea to buy linen in such quantities too, especially if you dye different bits of it to suit your purposes. But this is definitely spring only, too bad you underlined so made it unsuitable for summer too.

    • Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink | Reply

      What an odd comment. I cannot imagine why I would not want to wear this during a New Jersey summer.

  7. Posted February 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Spring! Colors! Ooooh, I am just dying to start Spring sewing.

  8. Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a kewl dress! I love, love, love the beaded collar and that it’s removable. As always, creative and visually stunning!

  9. Posted February 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If it is you causing the warmer weather, please keep making those spring dresses. I am so tired of cold. It is a lovely dress. I have always lined linen garments, but now wonder if underlining them as you did might prevent wrinkles and saggies better than lining. I will need to try it out. Great collar. Definitely not a beginner beading project. It works perfectly to accessorize the dress in a unique way.

  10. Posted February 21, 2011 at 4:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    Those spring-y colours are perfectly divine, I look forward to seeing you in this dress! Are you taking part in MMM’11?? Because we are at the end of our summer in Australia now, I will actually be wearing warm weather things this time round…!

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