Hello hello, my friends! Lots of things to say today! And it’s my birthdayyyy!
I don’t usually go three weeks between posts, but I’ve been extraordinarily busy lately. We were already having a very full early spring and then about the same time as our friends who moved to Wales have been in and out visiting for the last couple of weeks, I’ve also been unusually swamped at work, which has meant I’ve had very little time for pretty much anything but work and seeing friends! Very fun (well the socializing part), but exhausting having weeks where I’m burning the candle at both ends. I know things will slow back down to a more normal pace soon.
So I want to say thank you all for the lovely comments on my Cascade duffle coat… about as soon as that was done was when I went into warp speed and I never got a chance to individually thank you all. ♥ And I have photos for an outfit post and my back neck facing embroidery… I’ll have time to share more soon!
With all this going on, I knew the odds were slim that I’d keep up my mini tradition of sewing myself a birthday dress. “Mini tradition” as I’ve done it twice before: last year’s balloon dress and the previous year’s vintage wrap dress. And I kind of liked the idea of keeping it up as a tradition, even though I haven’t really much been in the mood to sew dresses for awhile. But as the day grew closer, I was fretting about getting the chance to squeeze in a dress. And suddenly it was Wednesday night this week and I was determined to get a dress done, even though I hadn’t touched my sewing machine in weeks!
But I pulled it off with minimal seam ripping (gah, there’s always some isn’t there) and no tears shed. So here’s this year’s birthday dress, my Victory Gardening dress!
This is actually a dress I planned last summer but didn’t start to work on until fall. And by the time I had the skirt pieces cut and the bodice traced (another hacked Emery bodice with cut-on sleeves and this time a big scooped neckline), it cooled down… and so did my interest in such a warm-weather dress. Rarely do I put down a sewing project that I do intend to finish (as opposed to bailing on a crap project), but this was one of those times. So it worked out perfectly when I needed a fast dress project.
The only problem in hindsight is that I’d traced and altered the bodice pieces from a previous bodice (my Eat Your Veggies dress), only to later decide I actually took that one in a tad more than I really wanted, so the fit was a bit tight at the waist. But I didn’t come to that realization until after I’d traced these bodice pieces last fall, and it being many months later when I picked them up to use, I didn’t remember any of this until after I was wearing the finished slightly-too-tight-at-the-waist dress. Whoops! Still plenty wearable though.
The bottom is a fantastic vintage border print from my stash, featuring gardening items in light blue, hot pink and bright green, on a green checked print. Isn’t it amazing?! I had exactly enough to eek out a relatively full skirt, cut on the cross-grain with a narrow folded hem. That green rick rack is part of the print, by the way!
I used a matching green Kona cotton on top. Because I was going plain for the top of the dress, I felt like it needed a little something to tie in with the skirt. Either a green patch pocket on the skirt, or a checked pocket on the bodice. I went for the slightly less obtrusive bodice pocket, in part because hey, cute tiny pocket! I love tiny things. But also because the vintage fabric is a bit lighter weight than the Kona, so I didn’t want a patch pocket on the skirt to end up looking too stiff.
In my head it absolutely needed a pointed bottom for some reason, so that’s what I did.
I think it’s just the right touch!
(By the way, the painting propped up against the Miss L Fire box is one Mel did and is giving to our friends from the UK, this is the guest bedroom so they’re taking it back with them when they go back home. File this under “hmmm what’s different about this same corner you often stand in?”)
Now, some of you follow me on Instagram and saw that a few weeks ago, I bought a Bernina! And… this dress wasn’t sewn on it. Ha! Honestly, I’ve been so busy I haven’t even threaded her. Gasp. I know! And stressed out and trying to meet my own sewing deadline was not going to be the time to learn how to use a new machine that I planned to buy for at least a year and finally did. So I figured hey, one last good project for my old machine, to remind me how awesome the Bernina is…when I finally get to use her. (I named her Betty, in case you’re wondering.)
Anyway, on Said Old Sewing Machine I did a side lapped zipper since I had to close this up the side and not the back to conserve skirt fabric, and I added an inseam pocket on the other side with the Kona cotton. Pretty normal doings for me. I like the peek of green in the pocket!
Can’t believe I managed to sew a birthday dress after all, but I’m tickled I did! Granted it’s not exactly gardening-themed dress season yet, but hey, it’s coming. And tonight we have lovely birthday plans with friends, and tomorrow more of the same!
I’m 38 today and that’s sure alright by me. I’ve only grown happier, more confident, smarter, and comfortable in who I am the older I’ve gotten. No less willing to be silly and ludicrous, wear loud, kitschy or sometimes “young” styles, speak my mind, splash in puddles, climb hills, travel, swear like a truck driver, or learn about and try new things. I only expect that trend to continue.
I wish the same joy in growing older, happier and wiser to all of you! xx
dress: made by me
earrings: Desperate Beatnik
shoes: courtesy of Sven Clogs
Bakelite bangles: misc.
hair flower: misc.
Juliana @ Urban Simplicity says
That is an amazingly cute dress! I really like the green and the border print is wonderful!! I think I need to make some more diagonal-cut kimono sleeves like that again–I’ve been in the habit of making them cut-on style, which have a bit more coverage of my upper arms (yes!) but don’t have that cute flare at the shoulders like diagonal kimonos do. (They are a bit more fiddly to finish, as I can finish the cut-on style with bias tape, but I’m sure there is a way to finish this style with bias too–I just need to experiment)
Happy birthday! You’ve inspired me yet again (and I may have to make a birthday dress for myself this year; having a summer birthday makes it easy to contemplate) 🙂
Thanks Juliana! I have a really simple way of finishing the sleeves, easier than my vintage patterns have ever tried to instruct me using bias tape although I concocted this way using a vintage pattern as a guide:
Say the seam allowance is 5/8″. I cut the side seam of the bodice so that the sleeve extends 5/8″ further than the edge of the rest of the bodice (making a little right angle at the base of the sleeve). Then effectively, where you start sewing down the side seam is 5/8″ + 5/8″ in from the outer edge of the sleeve, and you sew down to the waist. Press the seam open and finish it, but don’t press the sleeve part just yet or finish it. Then for the sleeve part, fold back the seam allowance twice, and either top stitch (I often do) or slip stitch (I sometimes do).
There are other ways to do this obviously, but this one makes things fairly tidy inside, which is something I could never get trying to use bias tape. It always looked like a donkey’s behind at the base of the sleeve, somehow! 😉
Yaaay, so pretty! You did a really really great job and the print is fantastic, too. Nagyon boldog szülinapot ( =happy birthday in hungarian)! Thank you for blogging (you inspire me a lot!) and have a lovely day. Hugs <3
Well, happy birthday! It’s so fun that you have your mini tradition of making yourself a dress – I have a very similar but rather more expensive tradition of buying myself a dress for my birthday, which only works out because people seem to want to give me so much free food and liquor around the same time.
I love the cheerful color and the pretty print, very fun and summery indeed. I am constantly in awe of how fast you can whip out a cute dress, it’s reallly incredible. I’m loving the accessories with this as well: those earrings and shoes just add another great touch of sparkle and fun.
I hope you enjoy your birthday!
Gorgeous dress!! We share April 10th as our birthday, I hope you enjoy your day as much as I’m enjoying mine !! Yay Aries girls!
happy birthday to you… You look fab in that dress… Love that green it’s so zingy and springy – I want to get my sewing machine out right away and run up a dress too – love reading your tweets and blog, thank you
Hi, I’m new here, but I still wanted to wish you Happy Birthday! I am trying not to let you inspire me because I have so much on my plate already, but I think it’s happening already, lol. A birthday dress tradition sounds like intriguing idea.
sew little time says
lovely dress! that border print fabric is amazing!
i’m probably being a bit slow – how does having a side closure rather than a back closure save fabric? i can’t get my head around it!
enjoy your new machine!
Happy happy happy birthday to you!!!!!!!
Love this dress! That novelty print is super cute and this was a great way to use it. Also, happy birthday!
Retro rover says
i love your dress. I don’t sew but find your style very inspirational. I just turned 37 and feel the same way. Happy birthday
That fabric is sooo cute, I can’t believe the ric-rac border is actually part of the print. It’s a lovely birthday dress, I think the solid green bodice really balances the mad gardening equipment on the skirt! And happy, happy birthday dear Tasha! What you said in your final paragraph made me beam! Hope you’re having the loveliest of days. xx
Happy Birthday! I absolutely love your birthday dress, I love skirts with a border and green is my very favourite colour so I’m completely in love with this one! Well done for getting it finished when you had so much other stuff going on too. xxx
Your dress is amazing, I love the colour and the border print skirt is exceptionally pretty, a fantastic little birthday dress, perfect for Spring.
Happy Birthday, Tasha
This is so cute!! The color is marvelous, especially on you! And yay for no tears being shed during the process!
Love this dress!! The rick-rack as part of the print is so adorable. You really are an inspiration! I always marvel at how many creative projects you take on AND actually COMPLETE!! The amazing part is you are, like so many of us, busy with work, home, family, and friends. I think you march ahead with perseverance, dedication, and a love of homegrown creativity!! Keep up the good work and a belated Happy Birthday!!
Love the dress!!!! Happy Birthday. There is nothing wrong with turning 38. I, myself, turned 39 last month and got a sewing machine from my in-laws!!!! So I think I got a great gift (I did shed a tear)! I’m new to sewing since I haven’t looked at a machine since I was 16 and was able to make a circle skirt on Easter Sunday! I knew where I made mistakes, so the next one will look even better. I’m so glad I found you and your wonderful talent! Thank you for the inspiration!!!! 😀
What a fabulous dress, I love the print on the skirt! You’re the same age as I am now and I have reached the opinion that if I want to wear bright colours and kitschy dresses and dance in the rain then I damn well will! I’ve worked with teenagers and young adults for the last 14 years and the older I get the more glad I am about being comfortable enough in my own skin to thumb my nose at the work.
Have a fantastic birthday
Fabulous dress and happy birthday! I have 10 years on you and still wear crazy prints and bright colours 🙂
Such a cute look!
Happy, Happy Birthday Tasha! I think a gardening dress in April is perfect, even in the midwest this year. Happy for all the green we are starting to get, and that includes frocks.
Many happy returns. What a fun dress it put a smile on my face. I love the border print and apple green of the bodice.
Happy birthday my dear! You are looking mighty fineee 🙂 🙂 Loveeeeeee that green ensemble!
Miss Midnight says
I love your dress! Happy birthday!
Happy Happy Birthday! That colour on you looks amazing!
Three cheers for for enjoying life at any age. I’m 47 and spent an evening walk the other night puddle jumping with my granddaughter. I came in with wet feet so you know we had a good time.
Kacy Burchfie,d says
What a great dress! It looks lovely with your darker hair. A very happy birthday to you lovely!
Super dress! The color is very good on you. Happy (belated) birthday!
Good to read there was very very minimal tears on this sewing project! You look absolutely adorable in your dress. Happy Birthday belated! <333
Megan Maude says
This dress is too adorable. I’m in love with the wee pocket on the bodice, and your accessorizing is on point. I can’t believe you’re 38! Admittedly, I haven’t been following your blog for that long, but for whatever reason, I thought you were more like 33. Happy birthday!
So cute! The wee little pocket is perfect. Happy birthday!
Jessica Cangiano says
This dress is soooo splendidly cute + fun + cheerful + awesome + charming. What a perfect outfit for your special day. I hope it was an amazing one for you, dear Tasha. Happy coming year of your life!
Elena Knits says
Belated happy birthday! This is a beautiful dress! I hope things calm down a bit and you can find time to share more garments with us 🙂
Happy birthday, lady! Hope you had a wonderful day! But how could you not with such a fun dress to wear on your big day?! 😉
Rochelle New says
Weeeee!! I’ve been waiting to see this dress all finished and it sure turned out beautifully!! I hope you had the most excellent birthday ever, and tell Mel that little cat painting is AMAZING. p.s. I remember when I got my new machine there was definitely a few days of “this sucks/why did I even waste the money/what the hell was I thinking/how can I feel like a worse sewer on a better sewing machine” kind of thing going on haha! I think it was wise to have one last hoorah on the old machine while on a deadline 😉 I bet you’ll loooooooovvveeeeee the new Bernina, though!
I think this is my all time favorite dress you’ve made. Love the green, the style and the vintage fabric on the skirt! 🙂
I’m with you – getting older rock! Each year I learn new skills, meet more people and just get to enjoy more experiences! I might even get slightly less stupid – but only slightly.
I once asked my Mum how old you have to be to stop doing stupid things. She said “You don’t stop doing stupid things, you just don’t care about it”.
Veronica Darling says
Happy Birthday and hope you’ve had some lovely days since! A beautiful birthday dress, that skirt!
And wonderful news on your new machine, I’m soooooo interested in how you’re finding it from your normal machine! Yay!
Sandra Gilbert says
Belated Happy birthday, your dress is adorable xx
How cute! I found a cute print at an estate sale, now I know what to do with it. We share a birthday, hope yours was great!
Oh my goodness, this is adorbs! I love your mini birthday tradition Tasha, glad you were able to complete this dress in time again this year :o)