Susan Sews a Sundress

 Susan Sews a Sundress

Of cool lemon, hot orange, and some batik to tie it all together.

While the rest of North America is still trying to shake off the winter chills and gray weather, it is heating up in La Paz in Baja California Sur (southern Baja).

It looks like a hot summer ahead. We are already folding away the long pants and taking out the shorts, tank tops and sundresses.

I have been on a weight loss regimen, and want to have some new clothes, and of course sewing daily is what I do now.

When it warms up, I like loose , lightweight and cool clothing, but I love hot colors. Linen works well for that. The yellow linen is thin, and my belly button shows through  but I have a fix(read below). The orange is crisp, perfect for the jacket. And the Batik will be the turnout facings and upper collar.

Here are the patterns I chose:
 Yes they are both simple See and Sew, but I like the lines of the dress and they compliment my hourglass shape. The jacket has princess lines is short and adds a lot of punch to a dress that could become too sweet for me. And I watch How to Look Good Naked and What Not to Wear and I am learning about my shape. No more trying to be stick thin…it will never work for me.

I have made this dress several times. And like labor pains, you forget them between births. Well so I hear. I have had only one child. Anyway. I zipped through the construction. Found out the pattern alterations I noted on the envelope were too much. I had to taper, and taper again. No complaining here. But the little item I so conveniently forgot? The shoulder straps. They are wide ( good) they are curved (also good), but they just don’t work. After many tries with my sweet beloved helping me with the back placement. ( and he stabbing himself over and over a again) I gave up on those straps.

I made some long straight straps, decided to cross them in the back so they would not slip off my round shoulders. He pinned and yelped ( did not bleed on the dress). I basted them on they looked good. “I’ll go with these” I said.

I sewed on the facings and the straps looked awful. And the fabric is a thin linen, the facings hit at an awkward angle on my bust. “Ok, said I, I’ll line the bodice”. So I did. And that gave the dress nice body, and a nice smooth line. The straps were still awful.

Well it is Semana Santa here in La Paz ( Holy Week) everyone is on vacation. We had plans to enjoy some grilled veggies and t-bones at Mary & Rogelio’s . So we went to lunch, had a wonderful meal, a few copas de vino and came home just in time for siesta.

All during my nap my mind raced with ideas about how to fix this dress.

I got up , went back the original straps. They looked good, but now the dress was tight and would not zip.

I could not have gained weight at lunch, somehow the dress did not fit right after lunch. Could the bulk of the inetrfaced facings and the lining have changed the fit? Or did one and a half glasses of Chilean Merlot?

So I ripped out the tiny underarm darts I had sewn to take away some gap in that area. Re-cut the facings, installed the old straps and voila! It fits! Do not ask my why I had to suffer with a day of fits and starts and pin jabs to be back where I started.

Here is miss priss yellow dress waiting to be hemmed and pressed…and embellished:

I ripped and stitched and ripped the front area so many times the fabric looked used and abused.

So I went to my button stash and did this ( I now have to sew them all on):

I HATE hand sewing, but I think the buttons add interest, and cover the mess.

We have to drive to Cabo San Lucas tomorrow to visit the American Consul and renew our passports. I would like to wear this outfit.

Let’s hope there are no issues with the jacket. I have wonderful, lush Latin ( Italian) upper arms and sleeves are often an issue. I changed sleeve patterns, and altered them, I know the pattern gods will work with me. Right?

This little dress that should have been done Saturday afternoon for the pool party at Ann and Fernando’s  has taken too much time. I’ll keep you posted.
Here is a version of the dress from last summer. I had  just a little bit of fabric, so I added wide bias tape to the hem, and made a tuxedo bow at the top of the zipper:

Oh, and please make comments. It’s lonely in the blogosphere.

And a beach foto for you:

This beach is a 5 minute walk from my house. I live on the beach, but this foto is so romantic.


  • drudge

    Reply Reply March 30, 2010

    The dress and jacket are beautiful. Keep up the good work. DDDD

  • Kim

    Reply Reply March 30, 2010

    Susan, love the sundress! I like the button trim as a fix to cover up unstitching. Anxious to see the jacket that goes with. Also like last year's sundress.

  • hmfoster

    Reply Reply March 30, 2010

    What a nice surprise and lovely read; wish I was there, I would do all the hand sewing for you. Hey, I think I recognize that piece of batik! Your colors are so cool and the photos express their vividness. The dress looks swell, but we must be allowed to see you modeling it.

  • Susan Fogel

    Reply Reply March 30, 2010

    Thank you al for your comments, anyone who like to hand sew is welcome. Especialy you Ms. Helen!
    I will model it when it is complete.

  • Kristy James

    Reply Reply March 31, 2010

    I love the dress,especially your plans with the buttons. I wish I could sew garmets…
    I love your beach pictures. I live in WV where it has been chilly so far this Spring.

    Good luck with the blog. I enjoy reading about everyone's adventures.

  • Melissa

    Reply Reply March 31, 2010

    Like you, we are "refuges" from Silicon Valley. I worked in high tech for almost twenty years. DH decided he wanted to retire to Kauai. Love you new dress (as well as last year's dress!). I am now inspired to try some garments – as soon as I finish some quilts, more bags, and who knows what else is in my cabinet waiting for a turn at the sewing machine!
    Keep up the wonderful job!
    Mahalo nui loa,
    Koloa, Kauai, HI

  • Melissa

    Reply Reply March 31, 2010

    PS Have you tried sewing on the buttons with your sewing machine? I do that all the time – it is such a time-saver!

  • Susan Fogel

    Reply Reply April 1, 2010

    Melissa! Kauai! wow, bleieve it or not I have never been to Hawaii.
    Maybe we can doa trade Baja for Kauai?
    Well the dress and jacket are complete, just need the hemming which I will do later, it is a gorgeous day and DH and doggie want to go walk on the malecon ( boardwalk) and have an ice cream.

    I thought about using the machine for the buttons after the last one was done…I was traumatized by our trip to Sin City, er, Cabo San Lucas.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field