Sewing for Me: District 12 Dress

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I’m a little bit obsessed with the Hunger Games these days. I mentioned in passing that I went to see Catching Fire last weekend, and lamented not having the time to create a Katniss-inspired outfit for K. It so happens, as I worked on my own dress, I realized that it sports a rather District 12 vibe. The more I think about it, the more I’m certain I belong in that fictional dystopian world — at least sartorially. Give me some drab, downtrodden colors and I’m in my element.

I made a knit dress that’s pretty much an elongated long-sleeved tee. It’s awesome. The fit is very good (size 12) though it’s a bit snug in the bust area — not too noticeable, I hope, and my fault for accidentally cutting the fabric cross-grain, so the navy portion isn’t stretching as much. This is a Cynthia Rowley pattern (Simplicity 2054). Instead of the elbow cut-outs, I color-blocked using navy and brown ponte (?) knit. The color-blocking was out of necessity since I didn’t have enough of either color and oh, I LOVE this dress.

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Maybe it’s all in my head, but I think it’s a flattering cut, and the navy/brown combo gives it an oxymoronic retro and futuristic feel. In keeping with the color palette and stylistic theme of District 12, I serged the sleeves and hem to give it a subtle “edge” and un-doneness (okay, I was too lazy to hem it properly). And talk about comfort! Yes, I contemplated wearing some spanx for the photoshoot, but really, the thicker knit doesn’t cling too much and all I had to do was delete the photos that highlighted some unsightly rolls.

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And for days that require some midriff coverage, I can always throw on a short-sleeved sweater that is vaguely reminiscent of the cowl/shrug from the movie I’ve been blathering on about to anyone who’ll listen.

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I’m sure you’re appreciating the extra effort I went through to sort of braid my hair a la Katniss, and had I been able to find a bow and arrow, you better believe I would have used them as props. Above, I’m sucking in my stomach as though my life depended upon it.

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The more I sew for myself, the more I understand that what I truly love are simple clothes. No bells or whistles, perhaps an interesting detail or two, but wholly uncomplicated. Comfort is crucial. This pattern and dress fulfill all of that for me and this pattern will get used a lot.

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38 thoughts on “Sewing for Me: District 12 Dress

  1. I love, love, love the dress. Totally flattering and comfy looking at the same time. I also love all of your boots you pair up with your outfits. It’s probably just my love for your blog, but I always envision a story behind those as well.

    1. Ah, my boots addiction…actually, I only own one pair of boots with a good story, and all the others were purchased because a) they were cheap and cute or b) they were not cheap, but were on sale and hence I could justify the purchase due to their cuteness πŸ™‚

        1. Hi Ariana, if I’m reading the curlicue font correctly, it looks like “Naughty Monkey” – I got it at a little shop in Queen Anne, Seattle when it was having a close-out sale a few years ago…

  2. Oh, Miss Everdeen, you are fabulous! I am swooning over here! You really need to make that cowl! The dress is perfect; the color combination, the style, how you finished it. I suddenly feel like abandoning the archer (at least the name sounds like a piece of clothing from district 12!) shirt on my sewing table and making a dress exactly like this! And you do have a talent for finding the “magic spots” – first for the right tunic length and now for the spot for the color blocking. It is all about the right proportions and you nailed it!

    1. Thanks Ute, I totally need to make that cowl – or maybe I can ask my mom to make it! You’ll have to let me know how the Archer goes – it’s on my “to-sew-one-day” list. Such a stylish pattern! I’m glad the proportions look right – as I was stitching the dress together I wondered if I should have lengthened the navy part, but I do like the end result πŸ™‚

  3. it looks great! which is perplexing, because a long, boxy tee should be flattering on precisely no one, but this looks awesome on you! i know what you mean about the simple clothing…i sometimes feel lazy that i don’t challenge myself with more difficult patterns…but i don’t really ever wear gowns with corseted bodices and layered skirts. i’ll take a solid tee pattern any day!

    1. Hmmmm, now that you mention it, I guess a long, boxy tee would be tricky to pull off without looking like you’ve stumbled out of bed. I think the snugness of the bodice (which was inadvertent, of course) helps avoid the bedhead look. Recently I’ve met a couple of people who design costumes professionally, and man, I’m full of respect. Corsets are serious work.

  4. What a great dress on you! I only wish I could wear something like is! Oh and that cowl/shrug caught my eye right away too! Kept wondering how they made it! It’s fantastic.

    1. Thank you, Fiona! Great minds, and all that – the cowl/shrug is causing quite the sensation according to my quick internet research.

  5. You nailed it, Sanae! This is just about the perfect dress: great colors, color blocking, and knit fabric (which, as we all know, is synonymous with comfort!). I’m a huge fan of color blocking and you improved the pattern and took it to a whole new level (inspired perhaps my renegade Katniss?). And of course with leggings and boots, it is the perfect all-day dress as it’s comfy to wear at home but also transitions well to errands and going out. Well done!

    1. Thanks, Lucinda! It’s SO comfy, I love it. The best part is that this is really as easy as making a t-shirt. πŸ™‚

  6. love it! I drafted myself a similar pattern and I love it too. I haven’t tried the color blocking. Perhaps that would be a way to use up a couple of pieces I bought that aren’t enough for the dress/shirt I imagined at the time. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Kristi! I find that most of my color-blocking projects are a result of not having enough fabric, and I’m usually happy with the outcome πŸ™‚

    1. Ah, thanks so much Mie! It occurred to me that I could have angled the front to give an optical illusion of having a waist, but que sera sera!

  7. I love it and I couldn’t agree more about the clean lines and simple nature of the clothes you like. I think it’s totally flattering and love the color-blocking even if it was out of necessity. It’s being able to see how the item will turn out that makes you so talented, great eye!

    1. You flatter me, Alana! Thank you for being so kind, and yes clean, simple lines are my thing. I would be in the Calvin Klein camp of design, I believe.

    1. I really love the color combo too – to tell you the truth, the lighting wasn’t so good in my sewing area and I thought the navy was a charcoal grey. I was surprised when it turned out to be different color but loved the combination even more! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Marisa! Color-blocking is one of those tricky designs – it can look chic and minimalist-cool or it could look too zany or mismatched. I’m so happy you like my version!

    1. Thank you, Asmita! The two colors are slightly different in weight and drape so I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I’m thrilled that it did πŸ™‚

    1. Oh, thanks for the validation, Morgan! Sometimes when I stare at something for a while, I start to question my judgment πŸ™‚

  8. This dress is so flattering! I love it. I think this may be my favorite of what you have sewed for your self. Well, it might be a tie between this dress and the turkey day tunic.

    1. Thank you, Claudette! This one is definitely high on my fave list too — I haven’t even put away the pattern yet because I already want to make another. πŸ™‚

  9. This is such a cool dress! I like the no bells and whistles- the color blocking gives just the right amount of edge. Really great, Sanae!

  10. Hmmm, this is a dress that I would actually abandon my jeans for. Love the colour block matching at the sleeves! It reminds me a bit of those fashion plate rubbings that you could mix & match. You make simple look so cool!

  11. I’m obsessed with those books and movies too and this dress! I love your clothing style and writing style. Sorry for the mass comments. πŸ™‚

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