Kitschy Heart

Posted Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Hello everyone,

I hope that you all had a lovely Easter. Personally, I had to work Easter Saturday and Sunday, but at least I had Good Friday off! We went to a morning service and then on to the Telegraph Station, which is a beautiful nature reserve outside of Alice Springs.

My cute little "Gilberta Galah" Erstwilder brooch. She gets a bit lost in the flowers but that would be a real galah's dream!

The Telegraph Station has walking tracks, bike trails, and beautiful open spaces amongst the gums for a picnic. It was settled in 1871 and is regarded as the birthplace of what is now the Alice Springs township. That’s not to say that there weren’t people in Central Australia before! The Arrente people are the traditional owners of Central Australia, including Mparntwe (Alice Springs). 

As I write all of this, I’m actually thinking that it might be worthwhile going down to the Telegraph Station for photos for my next post – I love it down there and I’d like to be able to share a bit about the unique history of where I live. Do comment below if that’s something you’d like to read about as well, I truly appreciate every comment received more than I can say.

Anyway, the café there was open and we got the sweetest Easter-themed cupcakes! A morning well spent, I’d say! I’m the worst millennial ever though as I gobbled up the cupcake before I could take a picture! So basically, it may as well have not even happened (!!!)

On to sewing. I’m back with another make from Indie Stitches. This time it’s the Celeste Dress by I AM Patterns.

The dress itself was sewn up in a beautiful magnolia-print cotton sateen that my mum bought for me from Spotlight over a year ago, which they still have in stock! It presses so nicely and feeds through the machine easily, whilst lending a nice amount of structure and crinkle-resistance to the garment. Just be aware that cotton sateen can also stretch with sewing wash and wear. It shouldn’t be too dramatic, but with a fitted garment I would suggest sewing up your regular size and then increasing the seam allowance to accommodate any give.

A design detail I want to highlight is the angled side seams. The hem gently dips and I think that it a) looks lovely and b) adds to the movement of the dress’ general swishiness.

All that being said, due to my pregnancy measurements I didn't follow my own advice and I initially cut the wrong size. My pieces were too big and I shaved excess fabric off, retraced key pattern pieces and continued on. For a more fitted garment my regular (i.e. non-maternity) size plus an FBA would have been my best course of action, but I was quite relaxed with Celeste as she’s an easy-fit, easy-sew kind of pattern. Quite satisfying.

For those who want to try Celeste as well (please do as I haven’t seen other versions in the wild!) I have some sewing notes:

This is the bottom apecx of the heart yoke. The left side is my basting stitches and the right side has them folded and pressed under.

  • The only tricky part would be inserting the heart piece for the back yoke. It looks straightforward and the instructions are very helpful. I would say that you just need to pay attention and my number one tip would be to do some basting stiches along the seamline (as pictured). This gives you a guide for pressing as you must first shape the heart by ironing the raw edges in place. Basting is much easier than faffing with a seam gauge!
  • My second little tip for those who don’t feel like hand sewing is to stitch in the ditch instead. Go slowly and for me, the effect was the same!
  • This pattern is printed on a lovely thick paper and there aren’t many pattern pieces. The only catch is that you MUST trace the pattern as the pieces    overlap. You cannot get scissor-happy and cut this pattern directly.

Let’s talk about the back yoke – this is the detail that sets Celeste apart from other swing dresses for me. (If you look closely you can see that this detail is mirrored in the shaping of the front piece). On the envelope the heart is showcased on the dress version with a contrasting fabric. I didn’t have any contrasting fabric to hand that I was happy with, but I did have the tiniest amount of ric-rac left in my sewing box in the right shade of pink. I was worried that the effect would be more “kitschy” than “retro-sweet and wearable” but thankfully I think that it says both! I do admire ric-rac but I use it with caution. Throw it on every project and it doesn’t say “kitschy cool” at all. But a bit of judiciously placed trim can go a long way! That's just my take though. Any ric-rac devotees out there? What's your approach?

So there she is! A bit of a chatty blog post but I hope that most people got to the end and enjoyed it. I love reading/hearing about the goings-on of other people, where they (and their garments) go and the life they lead, so I wanted to share a little too.