WEAR FROM: Dress – Michelle Pham | Heels – Calvin Klein
Hello friends + loved ones!
I finally completed my first sewing project in San Francisco! I’m aiming to complete a piece each week over the remainder of the year! I picked up this cloth at Britex Fabrics, the nest of luxury fabrics in San Francisco. When I first started sewing, I was based out of Maine, where stunning fabrics can be found at outrageously handsome prices. There’s an older population demographic out in New England and many people there still sew or quilt as a hobby. Out here in San Francisco, most people live a fairly fast-paced life outsourced to technology, so the stores are fewer and the selections are more limited. If you enjoy high-quality knits from Milan and the most divine printed silks, Britex is the place to go. You’ll find men and women shopping there with their personal tailors and women picking up embellishments or white fabrics for their wedding dresses. Frankly, almost everything I touched and was enamored with was on average $100/yard, but you can find some bargains on their uppermost floor where they sell remnants and clearance fabrics. Not to mention, their notions, ribbons, and embroidered accents are reasonably priced.
So, why did I choose this particular cloth? Since working at Google, I’ve been commuting and spending more time on a bus than I ever wanted to. Subsequently, I’ve been trying to buy and work with more comfortable, breathable materials that can stretch and allow for freedom of movement. I cannot hop on a Google bike and get to my next destination if my skirt is designed from a stiff fabric. One of the biggest issues that I have with my clothes is the lack of pockets. No one makes pockets for women’s business clothes. I find myself at a loss for where I am supposed to clip my ID badge and I am always leaving my phone behind in bike baskets because my dresses don’t have pockets and I don’t want to be encumbered by my oversized work purse. I’m not quite finished with this dress yet, but when I am, there will be pockets for me to slip my phone, pen and badge into.
The design process started with the fabric. I was immediately attracted to the simplicity of this material. The peachy-beige tones were muted and sophisticated allowing the yellow stripe to add a refreshing pop to the textile. This material was stretchy, intricately woven and so comfortable. Comfort = key. I knew I wanted this as soon as I picked it up. Shapeless dresses have been the new movement in women’s fashion as of this past little while. Otherwise known as the beloved potato sack dress, this shape is:
– Very forgiving! You do not need to worry about underwear lines or what bra you are wearing.
– So liberating! Feel free to kick a soccer ball or to go out to brunch in this dress because you are not going to be restrained in your movements.
– Easy to accessorize and style! Minimalist dresses can be worn as-is, appreciated for their lack of bows and ruffles. Alternatively, you can spruce things up with a statement necklace or a simple piece of jewelry.
In case you haven’t caught on, I’m all about being as efficient as I can with my morning dressing routine. It took me only two hours or so to complete this dress from start to finish. I used one of my favorite Marimekko shift dresses to build my pattern and I decided to go for very simple sleeves and a regular neckline. Originally, I wanted to sew roll-up sleeves, but that proved to be a little too much with the simplistic chicness of this dress. My unruly hair is covering some detail, but the collar has a hint of yellow on the edge because I thought it would be a rather cheeky touch.
The process of sewing for me is returning back to that very hands-on sentiment when humans used to be makers and creators. It’s absolutely therapeutic to work with my hands after sitting at a computer for 10-12 hours a day. Seeing that you were able to create something from scratch is an incredible feeling. I’d encourage anyone who was interested in a particular hobby to just dive into it. When I first started sewing, everything I made was imperfect, and to this day, it’s still not quite perfect, but there’s beauty in that slight imperfection and there’s always a lesson to be learned.