A Vegetarian Dress


Many years ago, my niece referred to the sorts of clothing that vegans might wear as "vegetarian clothing". Normally I don't wear vegetarian duds. However, it's really hot and sticky out. It's too hot to wear the knit dresses that I usually wear.

I purchased the fabric for this dress at the African market on 116Th Street several weeks back. The women I bought the fabric from, seemed shocked that I would be making the dress myself. Many of the printed African fabrics come with a really heavy dose of sizing. I think the fabrics work better for head wraps in their stiff unwashed state. Although I find the shiny sizing glaze on the fabric to be attractive, I really did want the dress I was planning to make to actually have a bit more drape.

I washed the fabric and it has the weight and hand of a coarse quilting cotton. That's still just fine for a summer dress.

Next, I had to decide what the dress would look like. Last seek I purchased "Design -It -Yourself Clothes" by Cal Patch. It's just a good book. As the title says, it is basically a recipe book for drafting clothing. the directions are clear and easy to follow.

I would say that this dress is inspired by her book rather than being drafted directly from her book. In my first iteration of the dress I made a really full skirt. It looked awful on me. So I removed the skirt and turned it into a modified A-line. Many pattern drafting books are really dreary. This book is not. This book has much of the look of  many of the sewing/refashioning books that have been put out in the last couple of years but with one big difference. The directions are well written and easy to follow. Unlike so many of the books put out recently, the photographs are instructive rather than simply being beautiful.

The garments in this book tend to work better for younger bodies ( or bodies that don't need much shaping for the garments that clothe them). I need a trimmer fit than most of what she shows, but this is actually the book that I have been looking for for the past while.
This isn't the most flattering dress I have ever made, but it works fine for heat wave wear. In a 1930's dress making book, this would be called a wash dress, meaning a dress one could wash easily, with out too much fuss.

My daughter tells me that that the dress looks really vegetarian, but will look less so in a quieter fabric. Coming from New England though, I am a big believer in blindingly bright summer clothes.

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