When we rang in 2020, I dubbed it: The Year I Finish all the $#*t I’ve Started. I wrote a list of all the crafting projects that have been initiated to some degree, and told myself I wouldn’t purchase anything new until these were done. Whether it was a project I only acquired the materials for, one I began working on (and abandoned), or something I technically completed but needed to ‘finish’ for it to be wearable/displayable/useful, they all went on the list.
I knew it would take some time to get through this backlog of UFOs, but in the end I would end up with a clean craft slate. I hoped that it would 1) absolve the guilt I feel when I see half knit sweaters crammed in a corner and my fabric stash literally busting my furniture at the seams, and 2) help me zone into what projects I actually really enjoyed doing, and not what I felt like I “had” to do, or simply liked the idea of.
By forcing myself to complete what I started, perhaps I could diagnose what caused me to abandon them in the first place. Maybe I just like pretty, fluffy yarn instead of knitting? Or maybe I just need less distraction from faster projects to get into the stitches? Maybe I love looking at tailored garments on the internet, but only really have the time for making comfy, one-day stretch clothes. Maybe by helping Rory finish his sewing project, I could unlock the gift of self-less sewing! Really, it was going to be a craft revolution.
Then, lo, we found ourselves in the midst of some pretty unprecedented times. I was laid off my job pretty early on, and in what should have been the gift of ALL THIS FREE TIME to get crackin’ on the list… I was feeling more in the how-’bout-we-don’t territory. I guess it’s hard to feel motivated when the world comes to a screeching halt.
(The fact that Animal Crossing came out at the end of March had NOTHING to do with it…)
Then, we have the practical side of things. Getting dressed each morning knowing full well that you aren’t going anywhere presents a bit of a problem. Yes, putting on normal people clothes like its a normal day is supposed to be good for your sense of routine, but if I’m mostly gonna be curled up on the couch reading books, playing games or crafting, I wanna be comfy. No jeans or frilly dresses happening here, folks. And after a week of the same pair of yoga pants pulled from the floor each day, I realized my lack of options in the “comfy but not painting clothes” milieu. Think pajamas, but presentable (to whom, I am not sure, but roll with it).
Plus, as the snow melted and the sunshine came through, I needed some warm weather options as well. Y’know, for all those picnics with myself.
Hmm, better look at that list… hey! A Kielo wrap dress! This pattern from Named is one that caught my eye long ago. I was always intrigued by it, but worried it was too weird? Would the flying squirrel wraps work in daily life? Then I remembered to take my own dang advice and embrace what I find attractive in clothing and just run with it. I purchased the pattern last spring, with plans for a breezy summer make, but never got around to it while it was still warm.
The fabric is a viscose linen slub I bought from Blackbird Fabrics. The wonderfully cheerful chartreuse tone is what did me in. I actually bought this in person, during a jeans making workshop with Lauren I attended in Vancouver last April. It feels like a million years ago that something like that was even possible. (I did make some jeans, and they are awesome, but I have another pair cut out with some tweaks and I want to compare before blogging ’em. And yes they may have been cut for a year. Yes, that’s on the list!)
The sewing of this dress comes along actually fairly quickly. The biggest thing is having the space for all that fabric to be cut and pressed. Thank goodness for the floor.
I found the Named instructions/diagrams to be a little sparse, so I recommend reading them over twice before going in, but there’s nothing in the actual construction that a beginner couldn’t handle.
The only change I made was in drafting an all-in-one facing for the neck and arms, as I didn’t want top-stitching along the neckline. Also, I waaayy prefer facing finishes… bias tape and I don’t get along on curves. The tutorial on the Named blog was super useful and I just burrito-ed away. I did tack the facing down at the underarm seam to keep them flipping out, and also re-enforced the seam there with a few extra stitches.
In terms of cool, but comfy clothes to loft around in, I’d say mission accomplished. It feels like a chic, modern house dress. Now as the sun shines I can swan around my apartment wrapped in a big linen hug. Ah hugs… those were the days (how long do we need to keep acknowledging the *thing* in all our writing, btw?).
There’s something simplistic, yet complex about the shape that just takes it from being just any other maxi dress. I also enjoy the versatility of wearing it with the ties wrapped either way, but I much prefer the drama of the cocoon front. While the linen screams summer, I cannot WAIT to wear this in the fall, layered with a dark turtleneck for super cozy vibes.
Will I get more of my “list” done this summer? Only time will tell. Now that I’ve accepted the new normal, I feel my creative juices creeping back in. I have a few more comfy house clothes that unceremoniously jumped the line with a fast pass out of necessity, but I think this is a good motivation to keep moving forward and keep the days from feeling repetitive. Hope you are all doing alright out there, and can enjoy the sunshine.