Well, hello Vogue 8787. Aren’t you lovely? Can you tell I’m (overly) pleased with this dress? It’s just so dang fitted that I feel like a million bucks wearing it. I stalk around the office like a diva and make excuses to go out when I wear it. Even in humble navy poly, this dress just begs to be taken out and shown off. It’s super slimming as well (because it hugs the curve of the back, I guess?).
I can’t take much credit for it, though; there’s a bit of backstory. This dress was started at the last minute for my grandmother’s memorial service. In her later years, my gram *always* wore navy blue, and I couldn’t imagine wearing any other color to honor her.
Of course, I don’t own any navy clothes, so in a panic, I raided my fabric stash and came up with a huge piece of meh-quality poly, likely picked up on clearance 15 years ago.
Oh, well. I was going to make this navy dress happen. I had to. I mean, there’s never any navy in the stores, right? I was backed into a corner with no other options than to sew something myself.
Enter Vogue 8787.
My lovely mom agreed to help me (we both process grief by tackling projects), and we spent a day in her sewing room with me cutting and her pinning, me stitching darts while she pressed seams. The bodice went together so beautifully, and we couldn’t stop talking about how amazed we were that the dress was coming together so quickly and easily.
It was a wonderful day, and I think we both got a lot of satisfaction out of pouring our grief into creating something. And then I tried the damn thing on. I originally planned on the version with three-quarter length sleeves, since it was the middle of winter. But this dress is, like, 1950s-level fitted. (I mean, shoulder darts! What the what?) It looked great when I stood still, but I couldn’t get my arms far enough around for a hug, and this was before the zipper went in.
Being stubborn, I decided I didn’t care about any of those things. I needed this navy dress. Grief is weird. I took it back home, put the zipper in (quite terribly, I might add) and tried it on. Peeps, I could barely breathe. I couldn’t move my arms above shoulder height. It was not good. I decided to throw in the towel. It was more important to be focused on the memorial than worrying about clothes.
I went to Ross and–wouldn’t you know it?– there were, like, a dozen dresses in navy and they all fit me. Problem solved. Crisis averted. I was so frustrated with this dress, though, that my mom offered to take it off my hands and fix it later.
She took out the sleeves and let out the side seams, which is not that easy due to the order of construction. (The waistband is sewn together and then attached to the bodice, rather than the dress being stitched all the way up the side seams.)
She took out the zipper and all the hand-tacking I did on the lining (navy with white polka dots–so perfect) and redid it all in her precise, perfect way.
She even hemmed it for me. In our family, we aren’t very effusive about saying we love each other, but we are experts at showing it. This dress is pure love for me, three generations’ worth. No wonder it makes me feel so special. And if you (random person I don’t know) were curious as to what I actually wore to the service:
Yeah, my sister and I wore pretty much the exact same thing to honor our navy-and-red-loving grandmother, completely unplanned. See what I mean about my family?