Bianca of Thanks I Made Them is one of my favorite sewists.  I’m always inspired by her unique approach to textiles and her eye for detail.  Her dresses for The Day and Night Dress Challenge are great examples of both of those things!  Welcome Bianca!

The Day and Night Dress Challenge: Thanks I Made Them

Last year, I received an invitation to participate in The Day and Night Dress Challenge. I was happy to take part and loved the dresses I made then. When I received the invitation for the Coffee and Cocktails Challenge this year, it coincided with scheduled knee surgery. Recovery meant 8 or more weeks of rest, right knee immobilization and the use of a walker or crutches. I accepted the invitation, unsure how I would make it work with those discouraging restrictions, but I knew I wanted to try.

Coffee Dress(es!)

I enjoy the slow meditative process of hand-sewing.  In my new role as a Nature’s Fabric brand ambassador, I know they have a  wide range of regular and organic cotton jersey fabrics. I was excited to try them out and knew a slow-stitch project in this down time would be the perfect opportunity.

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I love the lines of Butterick 6241. I chose this pattern because the center panel was a perfect canvas for an embellished accent. The lines of the sleeves, bust, center back seam and pockets were perfect for top-stitch highlighting. I thought the zipper and collar would distract, so I omitted them.

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I used Graphite colored jersey for the exterior of the dress and Sun colored for the background. I love this color combination and happiness of this yellow. This organic cotton jersey is a dream to sew. The colors are strong and the weight has nice drape without being clingy. The combination of the two layers is firm without being rigid.

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I have been learning to use a laser cutter and making my own stencils. I used it to paint the motif using a light grey fabric paint before sewing the layers together with white button and craft thread. Once all sewn, I removed the middles to reveal the color beneath.

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I love the large pockets and accents of the top-stitching on the flat-felled seams.

 

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The fabric was a dream to sew and I loved how this dress turned out. I was so pleased with it, I made another!

 

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This Heather grey and graphite version is sewn with an applique technique with the same stencil and white fabric paint.

 

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With this technique, after stitching, the outside of the shapes are cut out leaving about 1/4 inch of the fabric beyond the paint. When washed, the raw edges will curl adding to the texture of the shapes.

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The neckline is finished with a folded bias band that is top-stitched down. The sleeves and hem are left raw and will curl when washed.

 

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How fun are these over-sized pockets?

 

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This dress is heavy in my rotation and as I make more stencils, I will be making many more.  If you would like to make an embellished garment like of my coffee date dresses, you can buy a laser cut stencil in my Etsy store. It includes a PDF with the step-by-step instructions for the applique and reverse applique techniques. Now until March 3, use code WAKANDA to save 20% on all of my Etsy stock.

Cocktail Dress

For my cocktail dress, I really wanted to make a fun and flirty dress in African Wax fabric (because WAKANDA FOREVER!). Given my physical limitations, I went with a simple dress that required little machine sewing.

 

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I love the paper bag neckline of the Jiffy Vintage Simplicity 8793 pattern. I paired it with a cranberry colored satin from my stash. I love the framing effect of the neckline and did not want the tie in the front. I cut the front on the fold and left an opening for the drawstring in the back. I made a contrast tie with an African Ankara fabric (because WAKANDA FOREVER!).

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If I have the rare impulse to be subtle…

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I also made a tie with the same cranberry satin.

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Not only has this challenge given me a chance to make three new dresses, it has done so much for my mental state while laid up. Keeping my mind and hands busy was a useful distraction from the pain. As I stitched, I was reminded of the therapeutic benefits of making.

Thanks Elizabeth for another fun challenge!

 

Keep watching here on Elizabeth Made This   and on YouTube between now and February 28th for more amazing dresses from this wonderful global crew of sewing bloggers and vloggers I’ve assembled!  

Want to join in the fun yourself?

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE?

      1. Sew some dresses!
      2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
      3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
      4. Post a picture of your day look (coffee) and your night look (cocktail) to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
      5. Grab a graphic and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:
      6. The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2018

 

9 Comments

  1. I love your creative and unique sewing! You look terrific in all your dresses! Your version of the day dress is way better then the envelope!

  2. Great job Bianca! Your attention to the details on your coffee dresses are amazing! Love the beautiful rich color of your cocktail dress… You look stunning in it!

  3. Beautiful work on all three dresses, especially your coffee dresses! You must have the patience of Job. However, I do understand the therapuetic aspect of it all. IT reminds me of when I was recuperating from surgery and I was told that I could not do anything, not even sew. That’s like telling a dog not to bark ( bad analogy, but you get the point). However, that Christmas, I had to sew something , so I handstitched three large stockings for my fireplace…extremely gratifying!!!

    • Thanks Alethia! 🙂 I am so impatient!!! They say never pray for patience because God will give you a trial. Planning these dresses helped me fight the maddeningly slow recovery time. I have cried more than I like in the past 6 weeks. Having this challenge has been VERY grounding and gratifying.

  4. I’m impressed that you were able to get so much sewing done during that kind of recovery! I’ve been wanting to try that embellishment technique for awhile, and yours came out so good. The cocktail dress is gorgeous, too!

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