Holiday Party


My husband works at a big tech company, which takes holiday parties very seriously. When we lived in San Francisco that meant cocktails in interesting places, but in New York everyone really dresses up. Last year I saw a lot of sequined hems skimming the floor. Which is wonderful, because it gives me an excuse to bring out this dress, made from the most beautiful fabric I’ve ever sewn with. Like all silk charmeuse, this fabric was slippery and difficult to work with, but it’s so soft and has the loveliest drape.


I originally made this dress for my aunt’s wedding many years ago. It was one of the few times I have successfully followed a sewing pattern. I used a Vogue pattern, long since discontinued. I made a muslin out of a light blue poly satin with a similar weight and drape, which I gave to my sister (creating an awkward situation where we have two evening dresses that can’t be worn to the same event). Bias cut dresses like this are very forgiving, and I made no adjustments to the fit. My only change was to omit a zipper at the back. The stretch across the bias was more than enough to let me put on the dress, and I had not yet learned the secret of putting in flat zippers (baste carefully: stretching the fabric makes the zipper buckle).

I think this is my oldest project still in use. In part because it doesn’t get out much, so it’s still in good condition, but mostly because I made it around the time I really got the hang of sewing. The conceptually similar dress I made myself for prom in high school is stored at my mom’s house for sentimental reasons, but it was my first attempt at working with bias cut silk and while I sensibly designed it with very few seams, every seam it does have is slightly wobbly. There are things I like about my prom dress, but it also makes me cringe a little. On the other hand, this green dress is still one of my favorite creations, thanks to the wonderful fabric and the fact that, perhaps for the first time in my sewing career, nothing went wrong.



I had a brief moment of panic while getting dressed, when I remembered that I currently have pink hair, which doesn’t go with everything. But I’m content with the way it looks with this dress. And I knew this dress would be perfect to show off my eucalyptus leaf, even though the dress predates the tattoo by at least eight years. I got the tattoo in July, but I believe this is its first appearance here (although I’ve rejected other photos that show it).


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