Friday, October 29, 2010

When Inspiriation Comes to the Artist

I think every artist can describe the feeling of new-found inspiration. Most of the time, it happens for me when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. After subscribing to countless magazines and searching through each one, tearing out the pictures I like and putting them in a design ideas folder, I think back on the day and what I did, what I could do better, and what I'll be working on tomorrow.

With the horror of pumpkin dress still fresh in my mind, I wanted to come back with a bang. I wanted a success story. Honestly, out of all the things I've made in the two years I've been sewing, there are only a handful of items I actually wear-- and I'm sick of that. I'm sick of the "learning process" where all I get out of my experiments are the ideas I'll try the next time, and the techniques I need to get down before my next project. I wanted something tangible to wear an show off for you and the rest of the world to see. I wanted something to really be proud of; basically, I wanted the perfect dress. And it had to be PERFECT. 

My top dresses that I wear all the time are my blue wool one that came out of a Vogue pattern and my leopard print knit dress that is a go-to outfit for Saturday errands. I love my wool dress because of the cut of the skirt-- perfect amount of volume while still being extremely slimming over my ba-donk-a-donk. After pumpkin skirt, I know now that no cut looks better on me than a slim skirt (yes, Anna, I hear ya).  

Slim skirt with some pleats in the front, NOT IN THE BACK. After my "kate dress" (which I totally hate now), with three giant pleats going over my butt, slim in the back is also best for me (and most women I assume). Check. 

This was a checklist that I started as I lay in bed not able to fall asleep. My mind runs like this at least once a night, tossing and turning and not dozing off until about 4 am, leading to a wake up time of about 11:30. Great. 

I tried to fall asleep, but I couldn't. The perfect dress was deep inside of my mind, and I had to get to it in some way. I deserve at least that-- the realization of my own imaginings and the benefit of a successful creation. I crave that. 
The top was next. I love the tops I made yesterday with their deep-enough necklines that minimize my ample chest and elbow-length sleeves. I have a waist in these tops, and I don't want to hide my best features by doing something balloon-y.

That's when it came to me. The knit top and the wool skirt came together in my mind and gave birth to a mustard yellow ponte knit dress with the same style as the skirt and knit top I had made before. That was it. And it was perfect. Not only that, but it could be accessorized and blinged-out in a billion different ways. And I could make it out of both knits and wovens. Peeerrffect. 

Cutting out. I did make the pattern for the skirt even though it was inspired by the Vogue pattern. I totally claim this skirt as my own, sorry.

These a-hah moments are fleeting the next day once I spend a gigantic amount of time making the pattern, cutting out, sewing together, trying it on and being horribly disappointed in the outcome. This happens at least every-other project for me (again, more frustration). But this afternoon that didn't happen. I put the dress on, and this happened:

 A total success!!! I couldn't believe it. I did have to take in the waist quite a bit from the pattern I made (about 4 inches total), but other than that, I love it! I can't believe how simple it is-- perfection can be simple! The low neck is perfect for my chest, the waist is great (I'll probably lower it a couple of inches for my next one), and the skirt is flattering. Why did I not think of this before?? WHY did it take forever to push away all the complicated stuff and just stick to the basics? This dress isn't even done yet. I have to make something for the neckline..but I'm not showing till Monday what I'm cookin up. But I promise it'll be great. 

I can't wait to make this out of a woven to see what it is like. That will have to wait, though. I'm dropping of my little baby to be serviced. 

I'll be sewing with knits till it comes back.


  1. I love the dress! It looks amazing on you!

  2. OHHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYYYYYY GOOOOOSHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!love it. love. it. best dress you have EVER made.

  3. Fancy pants. Love it. Also: if you hate the Kate dress so much now, I think you should rename it :)

  4. I think you are wayyyy too hard on yourself about the "pumpkin dress"! I love it and think it looks amazing on you!

  5. Love the new dress! It really is inspired. :D

  6. Super cute Ellen!! I love looking at your blog, you are SO talented!! P.s. I think that the Kate dress is super cute!!!