This dress has been a regular visitor to my sewing basket for over a year now. I bought the material on a whim simply because I like the colour and the softness of it. I brought it home and promptly pleated it up – the same time as this dress actually. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, what pattern to use, what smocking design to stitch. But I did love the colour: smile.
The fabric is so light and flimsy that is was not easy to smock. So I shelved it many times, deciding to forget the whole process. But the colour kept calling me back and I would attempt smocking once again: smile. We moved house and it nearly didn’t get packed, in fact is was in the ‘throw out’ pile, but somehow it moved itself – that colour, I tell you…..
Then the year was getting later, December had arrived and our hot, Australian summer was in full swing and I decided it was now or never. I had to either make this up or forget it for good – after all this girl of mine was growing and it wouldn’t fit her forever. A week long holiday by the beach was just what I needed. This dress has memories of waves, sand, beach, pool and family holiday fun smocked into each stitch.
I made up the smocking design as I went. Doing all that green, lattice smocking without any real idea of what I would do next to brighten it up, but thinking of Susan O’Connor’s beautiful designs all the time. In my basket was a selection of bright, flower garden coloured, threads which I kept looking at, trying to get inspiration on just how to use them. But after several attempts I couldn’t get my ideas to work. The flimsy fabric limited what I could do (lots of bullion loops covering the bodice just wasn’t going to hold). After so many attempts, I’m finally very happy with the outcome.
But I still had to decide on a pattern and make it up. Light, green, summer, flowy fabric just needed a summer, sundress. Digging through my rather large (almost complete), collection of Australian Smocking and Embroidery Magazines I spotted the sundress here. Decided.
Then Christmas Eve I was totally organised for going away, bags packed, cooking done, children all occupied and still about 4 hours till my husband would be home from work and we were to leave. So I sewed it up. Such a quick and easy pattern to sew, no sleeves to fit, no bodices to line etc. I even had plenty of time to hand stitch the hem and do a (very quick) photo shoot and still be well and truly ready to go visiting our families. And Holly had a new, cool, sundress to wear on Christmas Day.
Ahhh….. That’s the way I like a sewing project like this to end.