a patchwork dress – Handmade by Carolyn

Oh my goodness, I can't believe I haven't blogged about this dress yet…this post (without any text, ahem) has been in my drafts for over a year now! I feel so neglectful about this thing…despite the fact that it's something I'm very proud of!

A few years ago now, I bought a lot of lovely linens from Tessuti Fabrics in Melbourne, while visiting there with Mum and Cassie. Aren’t the colors beautiful?!

I always planned a quilt thing pretty much exactly as it ended up turning out…! So lucky!

I cut a whole bunch of squares; those closest to the top of the dress are a quarter the size of the middle squares, which themselves are a quarter the size of the larger squares around the hem. Putting them together so that the colors were arranged randomly was a minor challenge but very enjoyable.

I originally posted the above photo on Instagram, to which someone (kindly and with no ill intent) commented that shaping could be done in the seams while still maintaining the appearance of perfect squares throughout. And I knew right away that it was a task that bordered on the impossible. I am fully aware that this commenter had very good intentions, but the comment still left me totally paralyzed by the weight of expectation. I know, it's stupid; but I guess it's my fault for sharing photos of the progress of things I'm doing. One way or another, this often seems to lead to a similar result.

Anyway, as a result; the project spent the next few months in limbo. I finally picked it up, left it again, picked it up again, and finally managed to limp to the finish line, all the while painfully aware that I had failed to achieve the aforementioned shaping while keeping the squares perfectly square. I shouldn't have felt like a failure, but you know. You can't help that feeling sometimes…

But I'm very happy in the end, and I even wore it to Frocktails one year too. It was actually a freezing night and he had to be covered in a warm wool cardigan most of the night, which is even more of a shame!

The backless design with a rather intricate and ultra swishy skirt is mine, of course; custom fit to my mannequin Bessie. It even has pockets, which were actually kind of a nightmare in the patchwork side seams. It also has a side zip, to disrupt the patchwork as little as possible. The image above is the initial, unhemmed version, which looks pretty cool but was unfortunately impossible to fit in as it was too long. The final look is a good compromise between good length, and being able to walk without tripping. A nice balance!

Final take; I'm so proud of this dress, so I'm a little baffled by my complete failure to blog it before now. Well, at least I finally understood, the last step is also completed. It's a fun dress to wear, so beautifully stylish and comfortable, and it never fails to get lots of attention and compliments. So in conclusion; I couldn't be happier about it!


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