I have a small mountain of finished projects to photograph and blog about, which is a good thing, of course, but still slightly daunting! Still, every mountain starts with foothills, so, one photoshoot and blog post at a time, I will make it to the top.
Today I’m aiming for Mt Olympus with a chiton-y, goddess-y frock.
I made this simple frock all the way back in November. I keep coming back to the 1920 Vionnet Chiton dress in my sewing, and finding more ways to play with the basic concept. It’s such a clever dress idea, and it really works.
This dress is a great example of how incredibly, and unexpectedly, flattering a dress made from a simple rectangle of fabric can be, especially with some helpful pattern placement.
It’s doing all the right things for me: emphasising the curves of bust and hip, creating the illusion of a really small waist, lengthening, and hiding a bit of tummy squidge. I’m currently battling the squidge, which has slowly been creeping in for the last few years, so looking this good is definitely a happiness (judging by friend’s reactions, it’s pretty impressive in person too, though Mr D asked, rather suspiciously, “What culture was that inspired by?” the first time I wore it, which is his way of saying “I think you look weird”. He got given the “please reformulate your opinions on my dress” look. And he has. Smart man.).
My only tiny quibble with the flattery factor of the dress is the length. I wish it was just three inches longer, so it covered my knees. But it couldn’t be, because there wasn’t any fabric, because the fabric is also a happiness.
The fabric is a very lightweight wool twill. It showed up at The Fabric Store last winter, and I saw it and loved it, but it was very expensive, and I wasn’t sure the colours were good on me, and couldn’t think what I would make with it. Then a student brought some into class, and I love it even more. Then I had an inspiration of what to make with it (this), and rushed off to TFS to buy some…and it had all sold!
Oh, wailey wailey!
Then my student, who’d heard that I hadn’t managed to buy any, brought her fabric back to class and offered to trade it for a class fee, as she’d decided that while she loved the fabric, she’d never make anything with it.
As I didn’t get to choose the length to buy, and only got what my student had, I used the full length of the fabric in making the dress. Providentially (that’s another happiness!) it was possible to make both the horizontal and vertical stripes fall right where I wanted them: right down one bust and leg, and across my low hip. On the back of the dress the horizontal band runs across my upper back, so if I wore the dress backwards it would be on my high bust.
There was a long length of extra width, which I turned into a scarf: perfect for wearing with a 1920s wool crepe dress and long cardigan on an autumn day. Using every bit of fabric in a project is definitely a happiness!
So is a successful photoshoot. Late this evening, after we’d both been working like mad all day, Mr D announced that he needed to go to the hardware store to pick up a bunch of DIY stuff before it closed. Would I come along and advise on the right sort of nails and sandpaper etc. to get? Mumble, mumble grumble. OK, I’d come, but only if he’d do a photoshoot after. A favour for a favour. Fair enough. So I rushed to get dressed and do my hair.
The hardware store is really near one of my favourite beaches, definite photoshoot material, but on the way to the store I noticed a cool wall cover with billstickers with poetry all over them. So we stopped there for photos. And then wandered into a tiny skate-park nearby, and found some cool fences and and a bit of wall, and ended up with a very successful set of images. And even Mr D admitted he’d had fun!
And for the final small happiness, because I like a good bit of serendipity; I’d originally intended to name the frock after the ancient Greek goddess of happiness: Eutychia. But Eutychia really is a dreadful name. It was only after I’d named the dress and written most of the post that I remembered that the Roman equivalent of Eutychia is (of course) Felicitas. And if Felicitas is the goddess of happiness, than a small happiness must be…Felicity!