The hydrangea is my favourite flower, which strikes people as odd when they hear that I don’t happen to own any myself. I tried to grow one from a very small clipping (obviously too small) and it failed, so I haven’t tried since. One day, I would like to grow some on my windowsill, but until then, I lay in wait for one that’s the perfect shade. I love the purpley-pink ones the best (but that’s unsurpring considering that magenta is my favourite colour). I could get one of any colour and gently manipulate it to the shade I want, but I kind of want the hard work done for me, I’m not the best gardener.
Did you know that the color of many hydrangea blooms acts as a natural pH indicator for the soil in which the plant grows? It’s a very strange and fascinating plant, indeed. It changes colour in accordance to the soil’s acidity, which means gardeners can manipulate the colour by adding various acids and metals to the ground where they’re planted. Basic soil yields red blooms, while acidity turns the flowers blue. Accordingly, I estimate the purple flowers in my dress to be somewhere smack-bang in the middle of the spectrum between basic and acidic, which makes it odd that they’re growing among blue ones too. (I know, it’s a fabric print, stop taking things literally, Demi.)
It’s strange to say, but hydrangeas are a very human plant, picking up cues and gaining characteristics from their surroundings. I always feel like my circumstances affect my mental well-being far more than they probably should. A poisonous environment gives me a prickly demeanor, and a pleasant one puts me at ease, but that’s probably not unique to me. It takes time, though, and I’m only just recently starting to feel like the good days outnumber the bad. The future looks strange and different, but hopefully it’ll enable me to bloom brighter when I reach it.
At least I can see a lot of sewing on the horizon. I’m out of room when it comes to fabric though (have you seen my Instagram lately?) so hopefully more sewing and less hoarding.
I bought this fabric from AliExpress quite a while ago. It was $16 per metre, which is more than I prefer to spend for fabric, but come on, it’s hydrangea print, I couldn’t just not buy it. So because I couldn’t buy a half-metre, I just bought 1 metre. Thought I’d make a nice little box pleated skirt or something similar.
Then it arrived and… dammit, turns out I actually wanted a dress. Luckily the width was 150cm. I put aside 120cm for the skirt (130cm would have been a better length for me, but I couldn’t afford to be generous with the length) and did some modifications to one of my favourite patterns, Butterick 6453. I definitely couldn’t afford a darted back, so I created princess seams instead and massively cut down the back’s shape to what you see before you.
The straps were created from some satin bias tape that I have been looking for a way to use (I have far too much of it, about 100 metres, in fact). In hindsight, this wasn’t my brightest idea. They’re doubled over several times and stitched, which I thought would stabilise them enough, but, they’re still bias tape straps, and when you think of things that are strong and steadfast, bias tape is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Surprisingly, it hasn’t stretched as much as I suspected it might, so at least the whole dress isn’t ruined from my shortsightedness.
Dress: B6453 (though technically only the front bodice pieces, haha)
Brooch: Vintage fair
As I was saying, Butterick 6453 is definitely a favourite pattern. It’s very versatile. I’ve done so many modifications to it now, though, that I’m not quite sure it’s the same pattern. I’ve done a full bust adjustment, a swayback adjustment (unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to shorten the whole bodice some more, though..), substituted the facings for a lining, and added a variation with entirely different back pieces.
I feel guilty saying I think I prefer this back, the lines feel a little cleaner. I’ve always felt weird about patterns with princess seams in the front and darts in the back, or vice versa. Doesn’t feel like it matches. I feel like that’s probably a “me” compulsion, though, and in reality, it looks fine. The straps are also obviously different from the packet and I added the piping at the waist to match. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of piping. You should see my craft drawers.
If you ever get the opportunity, you should definitely give this pattern a go! There are so many possibilities when a pattern has good lines that I can’t see this one being my last. Hope you’re not sick of it yet, because I probably still have a good two or three more variations up my sleeve.