Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blue Birds of Happiness

This is a dress I made for Hope a few months ago called Bluebirds of Happiness from Kari Mecca of Kari Me Away. This was a ton of work. I'm not sure I want to tackle such a large project again for a long time. But it did turn out pretty! I love the angled seams in the dress and sleeves. You could make it a little more casual--maybe gingham with some rick rack trim, or a cute pique print. You certainly don't have to gather 9 yards of lace (ack!) to make this dress look really cute.

I decided that the buttons on the dress should probably not be cheap plastic, but I didn't have the time or inclination at that point to go hunting for the perfect buttons. So I embroidered covered buttons instead. I love covered buttons! They really give the dress a little delicate little "wow" detail. And embroidery adds a whole new dimension to an otherwise plain button. Maybe some other time I'll post some ideas on all the things you can do with covered buttons. Too much fun! Oh, and please don't mind the missing button. The second time Hope wore the dress, I was dismayed to find that the button had fallen apart. That was more than a little frustrating! I was so done with this dress that I haven't even bothered to fix this yet.

The insertion on the sleeves was also handmade. It is very expensive to buy, so I decided to go out on a limb and make it myself. I used a sort of parisian stitch with a wing needle. Then I added a little flower stitch I also have on my machine. There are several stitches that would work. I don't have the fanciest of machines as far as stitches go, but I've learned to be creative and try out different needles with different stitches. You get some neat effects if you're willing to play around. The wing needle has become one of my best friends. A little scary at first, as you are essentially punching holes in your fabric. But it all turns out really pretty in the end (if you practice first!).

I love hand embroidery, which drew me to this dress in the first place. The bluebirds are made with the bullion stitch. I got plenty of practice with that stitch making this dress! It's really not a difficult stitch, but oh-so-interesting; you can do so much with it.

I can't wait to try some of Kari Mecca's other designs, specifically some of the projects in Sewing With Whimsy. I'm thinking another Easter dress...

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