Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Caftans and Cocktails: Cris Wood Sews Envelope Dress

Woohoo! My first new Caftans and Cocktails project!

This is the Cris Wood Sews Envelope Dress pattern... I was immediately smitten with this dress when it first came out, but at the time it was a "one size fits all" situation which I knew wouldn't work for me, so I dismissed it.

I keep my eyes on the hashtag, though, because it was so cute. Eventually I noticed a couple other fat sewists had successfully made the pattern, so I checked back in and it appeared to have been updated to include a "draft to your measurements" option. Alright, let's do this.

The Envelope Dress pattern is not really a pattern in the sense that there is anything to print or trace, but more like a zero-waste, patternless tutorial based on measurements. There is a set "one-size" option with the calculations done for you, or another option where you use your own measurements and input them into a (super simple) formula. That's what I opted for.

Most of the versions of the Envelope Dress I'd been inspired by were in earth-toned linen, double-gauze or cottons... beautiful. And yet, searching through my stash for option, I couldn't get the idea out of my head of making the Envelope Dress with this piece of eye-searing pink floral rayon challis I bought in Vietnam several years back.

The piece was  inches wide by about 70 inches in length. Looking at the tutorial, I figured I could get a maxi-length version of the dress with that width (the width of your fabric is the length of your dress), and a bit of an oversized, caftan look with the length I had (the length of your fabric determines the width of your dress).

I didn't follow the instructions exactly. The pattern starts with a hip measurement and then you add a certain amount to get the intended look/ease. I did that, plus the extra 10 inches I had in my length of fabric so I was using the whole piece (i.e. if I followed the instructions, I would have used a piece of fabric 60 inches in length, but I used one that was 70 inches). As a result mine is slightly larger than intended by the pattern, width-wise, but exactly what I wanted for a floaty caftan!

The only other changes I made were to add a teeny bit (1 inch) to the armholes (suggested by the pattern based on my bicep measurements), and to add side slits from the knee down, to ensure I could walk.

I am just delighted with my Envelope Dress!! Incredibly easy to puzzle through and sew, and such a cool, dramatic result. It's neat how pleats sort of form at the neckline, and the whole thing takes on a somewhat of a cocoon shape.

I showed my mom and sister right after I finished it; they were smitten. My husband was a little wary- he joked, "Where are you going to wear that?! Are you going to a Miami pool party?"  My answers were: everywhere and yes, if I so choose. Perfect for sipping a cocktail on the lanai Saturdays this summer; see you there!

By the way, have you been checking out the Caftans and Cocktails hashtag? Lots of inspiration!

I'm really excited about the contributors who have volunteered to join us over the summer and share their caftans, but more importantly, their anti-racist resources. Our first contributor, Ambika, posted this past Saturday and had really thoughtful advice about donating to or volunteering with BIPOC-lead local organizations that provide access or promote inclusion in all of those activities near and dear to our hearts that we are privileged to enjoy, whether that be sewing, gardening, outdoors activities, etc. Please read Ambika's caption and consider how you might implement this strategy in your own life:

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Disclaimer: I am not a giving advisor. I am not *your* giving advisor. I do not speak on behalf of any organization. The content below represents my views alone. That said, let's talk about: GIVING! . If you've read any of Robin DiAngelo's work (and if you haven't read White Fragility yet, you really really should), you'll know she pushes for accountability to undo the damage that systemic racism visits upon BIPOC every day. The #1 item she lists as a *basic* of accountability is donating a % of your income to racial justice organizations led by BIPOC. . . In the wake of the latest protests, there was a lot of rightful noise about giving to bail funds, legal defense funds, & advocacy organizations working to push through not only reforms, but radically rethinking policing as a practice. Those organizations are still worth giving to. . .. But I also want to encourage folks to think bigger...or, in some instances, smaller. Going by my feed, I know this #sewing community includes a diversity of passions & interests: gardeners & bakers, hikers & adventurers, book lovers & avid travelers. I would bet that for every pastime that exists, there is a BIPOC-led organization working to provide access and/or advocate for BIPOC who might otherwise fail to experience all of the wonderful privileges you and I may take for granted. Tying your giving to that work is a good thing in and of itself. Period. But if that isn't enough, it can also drive home the impact for you in a way that's more personal and perhaps meaningful. Here's just a few examples: For outdoor enthusiasts: @wecoloroutside & @nativewomenswilderness & @greeningyouth For gardeners & farmers: @greenplatespecial & @soulfirefarm For those passionate about education & learning: @rainierscholars & @thefreeblackwomenslibrary For the art lovers: @artistic_noise & @arthoecollective And dance: @dancetheatreofharlem If you care about food & food security: @theokraproject & @rainiervalleyfb ....continued in comments...
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