The Sadie Slip Dress: Five Ways!

When Michele of @winmichele announced that she and @faithstjules were hosting the Flashback Sewing Challenge on Instagram, I immediately knew which era of fashion I’d be honoring: The 90s!

Maybe it’s because I was coming-of-age in the 90s and early Aughts, but I love fashion of that era (and the music!). It holds so much nostalgia for me, taking me back to a time when—admittedly, driven primarily by my teenage hormones—everything felt important! And meaningful! And when it came to fashion, I often drooled over the outfits in magazines and T.V. shows and music videos (Friends or MTV Total Request Live, anyone?). The reality was, most of the fashion I longed for was slightly out of my reach as a young teen who’s wardrobe budget came from Mom. So as an adult, I find myself drawn to the style, at a time when I can buy my own clothes, or even better…make them myself! BOO-YAH!

Enter: the Sadie Slip dress.

First of all, I feel the responsibility to make a PSA: Make yourself a bias cut dress!!! The drape and flow of this little number is really flattering, and I don’t think I have ever felt so comfy in a dress. Definitely an easy win of a project—it was simple to make and looks great on. I recommend letting it hang for about 24 hours before wearing to let the drape of it settle into the fabric.

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The Sadie Slip Dress embodies everything I love about 90s style…romantic, versatile, and effortlessly sexy. Yep, I said it. This dress is sexy! It is so timeless and definitely something that will be a staple in my wardrobe from here on out. I took on this project like a little 90s-inspired capsule wardrobe. There are so many ways to style a dress like this, and here’s my take on it!

Scroll to the bottom for sizing, fabric, and cost details.

Sweet + Casual

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For my first look, I paired the dress with a white “baby tee”. I actually made this tee from an XXL thrifted t-shirt (it looked like it was never even worn!) that I cut down to my size using the Nikko Top pattern from True Bias. I preserved the neck binding and sleeve hems, and sewed it up in less than 15 minutes!

The t-shirt underneath makes the dress bra-friendly, and I could totally wear this outfit with a pair of Birkenstocks (not shown) just about anywhere during my normal daily errand-running.

Coffee House Poetry Reading

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That’s, like, SO 90s! Snap, snap, snap…

I found this denim vest at the Community Finery vintage thrift store in Lansing, MI. I used to have a vest almost identical to this one and for some reason I got rid of it a couple of years ago. Bummer!

Again, this look lends a casual vibe to the dress and makes it easy to wear without feeling too exposed. I also love the worn, rough denim against the delicate, ditsy floral print of the fabric.

Sunday Brunch

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One can never have too many cardigans! Remember when tank top and cardigan sets were a THING? Maybe the was the early Aughts…but I love how sweet and sophisticated this dress looks with a simple cardigan. It feels very feminine, and I love that!

This cardigan was another score from Community Finery.

Alanis Morissette Concert

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While photographing these outfits, I put on the All Out 90s playlist on Spotify. Appropriately, You Oughta Know started playing…and you oughta know I belted it out, because I can’t resist a good fem-rock anthem.

The 90s brought us grunge, and I love the playful femininity of the dress paired with the rockstar vibe of black boots and sunglasses (sunglasses also thrifted from Community Finery—I love that place!). I made the little choker necklace with some velvet ribbon and jewelry findings from Joann.

Last but not least: Date Night!

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A dainty necklace, a slip dress, and some strappy sandals were all it took to complete this look. And that’s why I love this dress so much: it can be dressed up, or dressed way down. Either way you go, it just works!

And I made the little necklace with clearance jewelry bits, also found at Joann (I couldn’t believe my luck finding this little smiley charm on clearance for 97 cents! Perfect!).

Sizing, fabric, and cost

For the Sadie Slip Dress, my measurements put me in the Medium range in the bust, Small in the waist, and Large in the hips. I knew that since it was bias cut, it would probably be just fine to sew a straight size Medium or Large, but I really wanted to shape the silhouette and give the skirt a bit of “flounce”. So I ended up with a Medium Bust, Extra Small Waist (which I took in after the dress was finished), and I graded to the XLarge size in the skirt. I also shortened the skirt by about 13 inches after I had a chance to try it on, before hemming with a narrow hem. The result is exactly what I was hoping for, and the skirt has a flounce-y, flirty hemline that I love!

I bought my fabric from JS International Textiles on Etsy. The listing says that it is an organic rayon challis (but I am a little skeptical of the “organic” label, as I’m not absolutely positive that it is possible to have rayon with an Organic certification…just something to consider if that is important to you). The quality is great! I ordered 3 yards and still have a good bit left over for another project.

Total Cost for all looks:

  • Sadie Slip Dress PDF Pattern: $8.54 USD ($12 AUD)

  • Rayon Challis Floral Fabric, 3 yards (including shipping): $25.91

  • Denim Vest, Yellow Cardigan, and Sunglasses (plus tax): $22.26

  • Thrifted T-shirt (cut down and re-sewn into baby tee): $3.00

  • Choker necklace and Smiley Necklace supplies (with lots left over for other jewelry projects): $12.11

    GRAND TOTAL: $71.82

And that’s it! I’m outtie! :)

Anthropologie-Inspired Thrift Store Score Refashions (and some thoughts on creative passion and Me-Made May)

I’ve always been a fan of Anthropologie style. I pin wardrobe inspiration from their site constantly on my handmade wardrobe inspo Pinterest board, especially when I am looking for ideas for beautiful fabrics that I’m not sure what to use for.

That was certainly the case when I stumbled across these two “magic skirts” at a local thrift store (if you find yourself in Lansing, MI, be sure to stop by Community Finery, located in the REO Town Marketplace!). They each had two layers of what looked to be vintage screen printed silk fabric. Since I don’t really wear skirts, and since I really, really loved the fabrics (!!), I decided I would take them apart and make something new out of them.

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I already had the idea for a reversible Ogden Cami with tie straps (inspired by a Madewell tank I found a couple of weeks ago, but now can’t find a link to the listing—it might be sold out), and I had a vague concept of a loose and drapey oversized, lightweight cardigan. So off to the Anthropologie website I went! And found the following muses for my refashion:

LINK  to Madewell

LINK to Madewell

Then I started trying to find the right sewing pattern (I already had the Ogden Cami pattern). I searched around on some of the indie pattern designer sites first, looking for something that would work, or something that I could hack into what I wanted. After a little time, I decided that I didn’t want to risk ruining the fabric by getting too experimental, so I headed over to the Burda Style website. They almost ALWAYS have something that I am looking for—their catalog is enormous—and they have reasonably-priced PDF downloads, aka: instant gratification! The only caveat with most of the Burda patterns is that the instructions are not very in-depth and it takes a little sewing know-how to follow along since they don’t usually have images to accompany the instructions.

Anyhow! I found this knot front blouse on the Burda website and snatched it right up!

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But first, I made my reversible Ogden Cami:

I’ve made several of this pattern and my only beef with it is that the straps don’t hide my bra straps. But that’s an easy fix! I addressed it here by creating an extension on the bodice for the straps (using the Ogden strap length as a guide—I made each strap about 10” long so that I could tie them, and I tapered the ends). Instead of cutting the lining to stop below the bust, I just cut two of each bodice piece—one of each fabric for the front and back. After sewing the side seams of the bodice for the exterior and lining separately, I then sewed the exterior and lining pieces together around the arm holes, straps, and neckline in one continuous seam (right sides together) and then turned it all right side out and pressed. EASY!

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The little ties are SO CUTE and my bra straps are more concealed. I decided to forgo the understitching around the neckline because it never comes out neatly on fabrics like this for me. I think my machine is a little too rough for it! But I love the way this tank turned out, and IT’S REVERSIBLE! Two tanks in one, perfecto!

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And then, I made the cardigan…

This was one of those projects that made me feel pretty proud. I knew I wouldn’t have enough of one of the fabrics to make an entire cardigan, so I just embraced the floral-pattern-mixing glory of it all and went wild!

I only had a very little part of the navy blue floral fabric, and of course that one was my fave! So I spent the most time trying to position the front bodice pieces just so to have it be a feature on the blouse. It barely fit onto the pattern piece (and I also kept reminding myself to add seam allowance—most Burda patterns don’t have it included!).

After positioning the front, I worked my way through the pattern pieces, starting with the largest pieces first, and double checking that the pieces would fit in the fabrics I wanted for each piece. It was a measure-ten-times-cut-once sort of strategy!

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There were many “SQUEEE!” moments as I sewed it all together. And it came together very quickly. I used my serger for all of the exposed seams and my sewing machine for any seam that would be concealed.

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I’ll probably eventually make another version of this cardigan with more narrow and shorter ties and short sleeves. I can see so many possibilities for it and I’m happy to have it in my pattern library.

PROJECT COSTS:

  • Ogden Cami PDF Pattern: $10

  • Burda Style #109 Knot Front Blouse PDF Pattern: $5.99

  • Thrifted '“magic skirts”: $32 total

  • TOTAL COST (both garments): $47.99


Me-Made May sewing

This project was a continuation of my Me-Made May challenge of repurposing thrifted clothing and materials, and I just have to say I am so grateful for this challenge! When I first heard of #memademay, I wasn’t really sure how I could participate in a way that would be interesting enough to keep me engaged AND meaningful enough to share publicly (because, hell, I’ve been wearing me-mades nearly every single day since I started sewing my own wardrobe—I’m already obsessed!). But this challenge really upped my sewing game and has completely shifted the way I approach new projects. I just don’t think I could have made something so beautiful without the focus on making something old new again. I don’t think I could have even imagined mixing patterns like this, or sourced fabrics that would have looked so lovely together on my own (but now I think maybe I could, because my brain has expanded a little after making this!).

How sewing is changing my life: A monologue…

And it makes me love sewing even more. This hobby has given me so much confidence…creatively and about my body. This time last year, I felt very “meh” about sewing and my wardrobe. I was sewing constantly for my other handmade business (fulfilling wholesale orders). While I was so grateful to be busy, I was getting so burned out sewing the same things over and over again. And I was super conflicted about growing my business, which was finally gaining some traction. I almost didn’t sew my first wardrobe piece, because the thought of investing time into a project that required so much sewing made me worry that I’d find it unfulfilling and not finish it. But my experience was completely the opposite of that and I’m so glad I gave it a try! Because now I’ve tapped into something really special that I didn’t even realize was there.

A little over a year ago, I was feeling so…honestly? Enraged…that pursuing my creative business felt so hard. It was like pushing an enormous boulder up a mountain at times. I loved that boulder, that I could be my own boss and be creative and pursue work that I felt I was “good” at, and that I genuinely loved. But sharing it and promoting it and trying to sell it felt off. I knew I had something to offer, that I was a really hard worker, and wanted to do something meaningful SO BAD, but everything I had to offer back then felt…just off. There was a disconnect, personally, and I think that had mostly to do with the fact that I was trying to use my talent and creative passion to please others with products that I thought people would buy (so that I could grow a business, make a living, and continue being my own creative boss, all really valid things!).

Sewing my own wardrobe has ignited my passion and creativity in ways that feel so inherent to ME. I want to share this stuff. I want to tell anyone who will listen about these projects. And for the first time since I started sharing my creativity with the internet (circa 2011, y’all), I feel totally connected to my work and a community of creatives. It feels good and natural. I feel helpful and useful.

So why am I sharing this? I guess I want to mark this moment. This feeling. I have always been a searcher, a try-er. A let’s-just-see-what-happens-er. That can be really frustrating when the searching gets long and drawn out, and the trying seems to fall short of success. When let’s-just-see-what-happens starts to wear on my personal relationships and completely changes my relationship with money…and identity. Gah, that boulder gets big! I feel like I have two responsibilities: to unapologetically pursue creative passion and purpose, and simultaneously acknowledge the societal pressure to be successful in a more traditional sense (get a job, be financially secure and predictable, etc.). So I am constantly waffling between the elation of creative freedom and the guilt of not following a traditional path.

Okay, so I’m writing and writing and feelings are coming out and this is getting long-winded (it’s my blog, I don’t care! Okay, I care a little…). My point is, I tried something new that stuck and it’s changing my world in the best ways. I’ve tried a LOT of things that didn’t work to get to this point. And if I can offer anything at all to anyone that might read this and feel a sense of “ME TOO” to anything I just typed: please don’t stop trying. We need each other!

Ok fellow creatives and sewing enthusiasts! I love you, I see you, thank you from the bottom of my sewing-obsessed heart. Sibley, out.