Sewing for Me: Reddish Knit Dress

First, a little history. About 10 years ago, a good friend of mine invited me to her wedding, so M and I flew from Seattle to New York for the festivities. The ceremony and reception were both held at a swanky country club in Long Island, and I oohed and aahed at how my friend infused her Indian heritage into the whole event. She was gorgeous in a gold and green sari, and the groom (who was not Indian) looked striking in his kurta-inspired top. For the wedding cake moment, caterers wheeled in at least 10 huge carts loaded with every imaginable dessert, including many traditional Indian ones. It was phenomenal.

I myself wore a tight red dress, and M thought I looked hot. With my heightened self-consciousness, it’s pretty laughable that I even owned a dress like that. I blame it on youth. Perhaps it was the intoxicating adulation from my then-boyfriend, or perhaps it was the two glasses of wine (I am a record-holding lightweight), but I tottered uncertainly off to the bathroom at some point and collapsed into a chair when I returned. I sat there for a few moments to regain my composure, tapping my foot to the snazzy tune. I talked to a few nice folks I hadn’t met yet. As I looked around for M, I dreamily thought, “Hmmmm, who are all these people wearing turbans?”

Yes. I had stumbled into someone else’s wedding. Apparently the country club was hosting multiple weddings that evening, and I was an unwelcome guest at a Sikh reception. Me, a wedding crasher! Braving a few confused looks from the bride and groom, I skidaddled out of there, but because of that incident, I am inexplicably fond of the red dress. It’s one of my favorite stories to tell.

What you see here is not that dress. For M’s birthday dinner last week, I dusted off the old red dress and painfully squeezed myself into it. Friends, a lot of things change after 10 years and a child. It wasn’t an altogether pretty sight and I couldn’t wait to take it off (M still loves it).

In all bluntness, the old red dress sits firmly in the hoochie-mama category, and I can imagine myself in a tawdry bar somewhere in all that skin-hugging-and-baring crimson. However, M keeps telling me red is my color, which is why I made this infinitely more comfortable and less risque knit dress in a somewhat similar color palette. This print has quite a bit of orange and brown and fuschia, but it reads very red in person.

I got this knit from JoAnn’s years ago, and I always thought I would make a maxi dress with it. And to be honest, I wish I had stuck with my gut. I can’t explain why, but I think this dress looks a little dowdy on me in this print/shape combo and I get the feeling it would be something I would find at the TJ Maxx clearance rack. Ultimately, just like the hoochie-mama dress, this style doesn’t seemย me.

It also doesn’t help that I can’t find my nude wedges that might up the hipness factor, and the only shoes I unearthed that looked semi-okay were these matchy-matchy ones. I don’t like matchy-matchy. And why is my hair so frizzy despite all the product I used? Anyway. Back to the drawing board.

The pattern is M6744 from which I’ve now made several things like this maxiย and this lace-detailedย top. The belt is from Anthropologie and I was trying to do a little pattern mixing. The good news is that I’m making some headway with altering the Washi…maybe I’ll have something to show next week!

27 thoughts on “Sewing for Me: Reddish Knit Dress

  1. I’m torn between commenting first on how you yet again share the best. story. ever. and between requesting a photo of that infamous red dress:) Love, love your stories and this one is just hilarious!
    And I think your dress looks lovely on you! That print is really fun – definitely a great g0-to summer dress . . . think “date night with hubby”. And to my uneducated fashion eye, I think the shoes look great with it:)

    1. The crazy part is that things like this happen to me all the time!! I actually meant to include the photo of the infamous dress, but on the hanger, it looks deceptively modest and doesn’t look like it would be such a tight, cleavage-enhancing number. But, oh, it is. Thanks for the sweet comment about the dress – it might grow on me under a cardi…:-)

  2. Ooo… a hoochie-mama wedding crasher… my kind of gal!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Honestly, you look gorgeous in the dress, but I totally understand about gut feeling though. I think with your nude wedges (when you find them) and a cute blazer, it’ll give it a new look. Yes… red is your color!

    1. Haha! It was something that belonged in that movie “Bridesmaids”! A blazer is a great idea – and must find those wedges (there’s a whole big basket of shoes that I can’t seem to locate…)

  3. I think sewing for yourself takes some time to develop… There’s the sewing for your shape, and familiarizing yourself with the standard deviations between your body and sewing patterns (I had to subtract 3 inches from the straps on this pattern…the curse of the AA), and also how to create garments that you would actually…well…buy. I agree that this would have been a fun, bold maxi, but it’s cute as this version, too. Love the print!

    1. It really does take a long time to get the fit right! With K, I’m eager to try new patterns to acquire different techniques, but I feel like I’m going to be making the same patterns over and over for myself until I get them to look okay…

  4. Red looks great on you! I loved the dress when I first saw it, but when you likened it to something you’d find at TJ Max, I was swayed into just a like. You are very persuasive. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I think the length is great on you, but then, I am one of the few people who doesn’t love the maxi dress. Looking forward to your next Washi!

    1. It does look like it could potentially be on a clearance rack, right?? I thing it’s going to be a LONG time before I get things just the way I like it. And I get it — maxi dresses aren’t for everyone, and in fact, I’m a fairly recent convert myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh thank you Bernadette! You have such great taste, it makes me feel better about my fabric choice. For some reason, I don’t have a lot of red clothes. Maybe it’s because it’s so bold and I’m very much a neutral gal…

  5. So I think the dress looks great. As for the frizzy hair (I’m a curly, frizzy girl myself) I have found this book, Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey to be a must read (I think I originally heard of it on the Melly Sews website) and then I use Suave sleek anti-frizz cream to tame the last of the frizzies when it’s dry. Works wonders. I’m really starting to love my curly hair. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks so much for the info on taming the frizz, Kristi! Must check that out – I’m lazy when it comes to my hair and usually air dry/stick it in a bun, but lately I’ve been noticing that the texture of my hair is changing…

      I hope you got your serger! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I totally think the red dress made you crash that wedding. And I agree with M, red is a great color on you! Do you think that shortening the hem just above the knee, or even a tunic length, might make it feel more you? Or maybe add a contrast band to make the maxi you were thinking of? The color and shape are just so lovely, definitely worth saving!

    1. Totally. Red dress + wine + unusually gushing compliments from BF = wedding crashing. I like the idea of making it into a tunic a lot! I’m a big fan of tunics – I need a lot of help hiding the post-baby blubber ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I think I would prefer a maxi dress, but is just because I hate my legs :P. I think the print is lovely and really suit you!. I had a wonderful laugh thinking in the crashing wedding situation.

    1. I’m a magnet for ridiculous situations! And maxis are so awesome in so many ways. Hmmm, maybe I’ll make this dress into a drapey tunic and make a black jersey maxi skirt…

    1. Ah! I love that word “tarty”! I dated a British guy a long time ago, and I remember him describing a scandalous woman in a novel that way, and I’ve loved that word since. Thanks for the kind comment!

  8. Hi Sanae,
    i like the look of the dress, and i must agree to your husband: you look great in reddish tones. Over all: a keeper! I imagine a delicate silver necklace or something, but i never see you wearing jewelry?! Or you can waer it with a biiiiigg hat, like the pattern sleeve suggested *againabiggrin*

    1. Oh, a silver necklace would be lovely. It’s funny about the jewelry – that’s another one of my quirks. I’ve never worn much jewelry, especially because metals tend to turn my skin green. It’s ironic because my uncle is a jewelry designer and I’ve gotten some nice stuff. Also, M used to get me a lot of jewelry until he noticed that I hardly ever wore them. I love to look at jewelry though, and I’d like to try to incorporate more in my style… A big hat, however, would be right up my alley!

  9. i love the wedding crasher story ๐Ÿ™‚ totally something that i would do on two glasses of wine. someday you and i can get giggly on 4 oz pours together. the colors look great on you!

    1. So funny – I’m guessing you’re a happy drunk too? Much to M’s chagrin, I get overly friendly with other people when I’ve had a little too much…good thing that I rarely drink!

    1. Thanks Caroline! The drape is definitely the best part of the fabric…I just noticed that the flower is suggestively placed on my right boob, which makes me all the more ambivalent about the dress…

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