Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Tropical Flower Dress-Simplicity 5496

I used to live in Hawaii when I was a toddler. I have a few memories...playing at the beach near the azure blue water...the sugar cane burning...the crowds at Waikiki...the hula dancers...and my mother's floral Hawaiian dress. It was burgundy, almost a sheath dress, and she wore a creamy colored lei. It was for a special anniversary date with my dad. He had a matching shirt. Those fancy dates didn't happen often because we were quite poor and Hawaii is quite expensive. I wanted a dress like that. I did get a shorter version, a simpler one for a little girl, from the same fabric. Mine had a floral trim between the bodice and skirt. I remember I used to wear cream colored costume jewelry with it a lot when I played. I think I was trying to look like my mom did on that date with the lei. I have always wanted a lei. Mom's was full and lush. I lived in Hawaii. Well we were poor. But this gal who loves flowers...maybe someday! =)   
I have  another memory of an emerald green sheath-like dress my mom wore. Again I remember her with flowers. Leis? My mom might laugh. My memory isn't always accurate. But both dresses I'm remembering were long and fitted instead of big and loose. Well, even if they have only existed in my imagination, wouldn't they be lovely? How I wanted a dress exactly like them.
Thus when I grew up my sewing list included a Hawaiian floral dress of some sort. When I lived in San Antonio I found this pattern at JoAnn Fabrics (copyright 2003). This definitely made it easy to  imagine a Hawaiian styled dress!


I also found a floral fabric at JoAnn that I loved! It has a lovely hand and drape. I think it's rayon.


It was so easy to put together.


There were no fitting issues, which was rare for me at this point in my life, after having 2 children and becoming pear shaped. I was about to give up sewing until I sewed this dress. No adjustments necessary. My kind of sewing!

It's hard to tell with the busy pattern, but this is the bow tie back and zipper enclosure. Even though I already knew how to hand pick a zipper (my preferred method which I had learned when I graduated from college) I machine sewed this zipper. I wish I had hand picked it even though my machine work did come out evenly for once and that definitely makes me happy! However I've come to enjoy not seeing all that thread.     



Inside work. (So, only 1 couture sewing journey points on this dress since I did not handpick the zipper. My one point is for finishing off my seams.)


Although I wore this quite often, I never had photos taken of me wearing it until I started blogging about my sewing. I wanted the perfect spot...which had to be near water. Hmmm, where to find water in Northern Virginia? Our anniversary was coming, we decided to try a new venue to celebrate. I suggested the National Harbor. We used to drive by all the time when we were house hunting and I determined to have a date there. Finally this was the moment! Photos at this link.

Then last year I participated in Me Made May so I had these shots taken when my daughter graduated from junior college. This was next to the Carrabbas where we celebrated.


My son took close-ups for me.

May 17 Graduation


I'm thinking about participating in Me Made May again this year, so I decided to catch up on all my sewing posts. I've never really developed the posts and I think it will make the participating more fun this year. Today I dug deeply into my closet (and my daughter's) to pull out everything I've ever sewn for daily wear. Wow! I was surprised at everything I found. I've already updated a few old posts.

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