Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Nani Iro Paint Spots Gabby

Before I get into this post, I just wanted to apologise for not yet having responded to the lovely comments on my last post. The school year started a couple of weeks ago here in Sydney, and my son started at a new school that's a lot less convenient for us than the school he attended last year. I had 10 days off work to sort out the transport options and a whole lot of other details ("did you say you thought you'd hire a euphonium from us?") and get new routines for both my children in place, but it still feels like we're flying by the seat of our pants (and I'm back at work now).  Being organised just doesn't come naturally to me, even with lots of helpful grandparents around! First world problems strike again, but for the moment this little blog is suffering...

Anyway, speaking of suffering - what do you get when you mix a cute pattern with a cute fabric?  

[Sound of children laughing] 

Well, of course you get a perfectly sweet child's dress - with splotches that look just like charming painting accidents :). Oh, careful with that paintbrush, darling!

[Spooky music] 

Or DO you?

[China teapot drops on tiles, and a young child bursts into tears] 

Oh dear. Oops. I'm sorry, darling, was this YOUR dress? 


[Sound Effects Department, deprived of tea, walks out on strike]


There's nothing wrong with the fabric (I LOVE it - it's a glorious sturdy cotton/linen Nani Iro print, with a sparkly background under the paint splodges - and why should kids get all the fun?), and nothing wrong with the pattern (it's one of my faves, the Gabby dress by Tessuti Patterns).

The dress is very raw looking - selvedge colours show on the sleeve edges, and there's contrast overlocking everywhere instead of neat hems - but that's utterly intentional, and it's not what bothers me about this dress.

I think my problem is that the dress looks way too young for me.

Does that sound ageist? Generally I'm all for people wearing what they feel like, to hell with the dictates of "what to wear when you're age X" (for example, I love the wardrobes of Vivienne Westwood and Anna Maria Dell Russo), but the naive look of this fabric paired with the simple A-line shape just jars for me when I look at these photos.

Anyway, I sewed this Gabby dress pattern in a size S if I remember correctly, with about 10cm added to the length, and with the upper "bodice" cut separately as I did with my Boardwalk dress to save  fabric.  I had only about 1.5 metres of this Nani Iro fabric (from Tessuti Fabrics last year, where it now looks to be sold out, though it looks like The Drapery in Adelaide still has some in stock), so I also ended up cutting the dress a lot narrower in the skirt than indicated by the pattern - about 10cm narrower on each bottom hem side piece, so all up about 40cm narrower over the lower skirt circumference. Because the sleeves and neckline aren't hemmed, the sleeves are slightly longer than usual and the neckline slightly smaller than usual with this pattern. 

Oh and here's a photo comparing the Nani Iro Paint Spots and the Picnic Dress Gabby dimensions - lengths and widths differ, as do sleeve lengths and neckline depths: 

So who wants to help me make a cubby house with sheets on the trampoline before I hand this dress back to its proper owner? 

See you soon

- Gabrielle xx


  1. Fabric Epiphanies11 February 2015 at 05:40

    Ohh I have had that feeling before! Other people I think can carry it off just not me! I love your post though, very funny and I wouldn't have said it was child like at all if you hadn't made the comparison.

  2. I think your dress is lovely and yes - very cute. If you feel it is too cute why not cut it shorter and make a fun top that can be worn with jeans for a less all over spot look? Personally I think it is lovely how it is.

  3. Sorry, trouble logging in, I hope this doesn't appear twice... anyhow I wanted to say I love that dress on you! Of course you have to feel comfortable so I totally understand but I think it's gorgeous, and it's not like it's covered in frills or anything. Do give it a chance! (Thanks for linking to The Drapery - I am co-owner and yes we did re-stock that fabric because it's so beautiful!)

  4. Your dress looks great on you, try some large colourful beads with it and see if that changes it for you. Otherwise as beajay has suggested it would make a great top and maybe what is left over can work out for a top for the proper owner.

  5. Not childish. Whimsical and cute though! And very funny blog post!

  6. Thank you Beajay, that is such a sensible idea - it hadn't even crossed my mind that I could turn it into a top! I think I'll need to give it some time just hanging out in the wardrobe while I decide whether or not I'm going to wear it as is - actually, I'll be able to tell if it gets worn, won't I !! (D'oh!!)

  7. Thanks Elle, whimsical is a great take on it, thank you (adjusts thinking....). I'm glad you were amused :).

  8. Oh more great ideas, thank you so much Sharon! Yes, I'll dig out some big beads and see how that works :).

  9. Sew, Jean Margaret12 February 2015 at 16:59

    Very cute dress...not at all too childlike.

  10. I love it and it looks fantastic on you. I would wear it to the beach, on picnics to the park etc - i think its great!

  11. Hi Gabrielle. Cute is good in this case. I love the fabric and the pattern. Not too childish together AT ALL

  12. Thanks Andrea, you know what I mean, don't you!

    Ha, I let my natural silliness have an outing in this post, glad you enjoyed it :)

    As I get older I'm starting to worry that my tastes are sometimes incompatible with what looks reasonable on a woman my age - I will try this dress again in some other combinations, but I'm going to have to start being more analytical before j

  13. Don't worry, your comment only showed up once :).

    Thanks Jane, I'm really enjoying seeing the dress in my wardrobe so I will definitely be giving it a few more chances before doing anything drastic - I love the fabric and I WANT to be happy to wear this dress!

    You're welcome, I thought people might be interested in a stockist of the fabric. Your shop looks lovely!

  14. I understand your issues as I often think this when making and wearing clothes - am I too old for this? I think it he length of this dress is good and makes it very wearable. I also think the lack of frills and other fussiness means that is doesn't look childish. Perhaps wear it with a chunky necklace or a light longline drape cardigan or denim jacket would change the look again. Have fun or just chop it off as a top!

  15. Thank you, I will have to think about it some more and see if I can come to terms with wearing it!

  16. Thanks Emma, I can actually imagine it on you :). I nearly wore it today but ended up wearing the picnic version - I'll keep trying!

  17. Thank you Merche, maybe it just needs different shoes or something... I will have to give it another go!

  18. Thanks Lizzy, and I always imagine you being very sure of what you make; it always looks absolutely appropriate for you! I'm glad to hear this dress doesn't look childish to you - I've found some chunky beads to try it with and I'll think about different shoes too. It deserves another go I guess!

  19. It's very cute but I know what you mean - sometimes crossing the line into twee is not ideal! I agree with beajay - if you don't end up wearing it much then lop it into a top!


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