Posted in sewing

Pattern Review: Vogue 1086, Tracy Reese Dress in Ghanaian Wax Print

I have to make a disclaimer here and say that I sew very infrequently from the Big 4 Patterns. I’m so used to the skeletal directions provided by Burda that I find myself almost confused when sewing from Big 4 patterns. So many words! So many markings on the pattern!

I pretty much buy every Tracy Reese pattern from Vogue that comes out. I love that she’s a young African American designer and I think if I want to keep seeing more from her, than I need to financially support her too. Luckily, her designs are worth every penny.

I decided to make a dress for my East Coast to Far East capsule because I have four days of business meetings and two banquets in Xiamen. Plus, I have a nice dinner planned for Saturday night in Shanghai.  A dress is perfect for these situations. There was some talk of business attire. I snorted. I *refuse* to take a business suit with me.

Alterations: I just raised the neckline up by 1.5 to 2 inches. I didn’t do a swayback and I didn’t make a FBA. I do find the top very roomy (I made a size 14) but suspect that’s partly the look of the dress. If I had thought about it, I would have piped the waistband as it gets a bit lost on this dress with my fabric.

For interfacing, I used a woven from Sew Exciting. It adds a wonderful crispness to the wax print. I used straight of grain interfacing on the neckline of the dress to stabilise it.

I planned to line the entire dress, but couldn’t figure out how to do the bodice. Well, I could figure it out, but I didn’t have time so just the skirt was done. I thought for like three seconds about trying to match up my print to cut out. But, I didn’t bother. It’s not a huge scale and I made sure to avoid having big flowers on my bust apex.

As I was sewing this dress, I was a little worried that it would be too ethnic looking. Not that it’s bad. But, I wanted the fabric to stand on its on and not look like I was misappropriating a traditional cultural print. The busy print of the fabric makes the details of dress hard to see. But, there is some lovely gathering in the shoulders and waist.

The fabric was purchased three years ago when I went to Ghana. I bought an OBSCENE amount of material. I salivated at the beautiful colors and tradition. I definitely purchased far more than I should have in retrospect. I have one last piece left and am still waiting for the perfect project.

So, in my last post I said I should rent a Kindle. Well, I went to the bookstore to get a guide book for Shanghai and made a TOTAL impulse purchase and bought the Nook. I loves it. I’m still taking my netbook with a few movies loaded. Thanks for the tips regarding iTunes. It sounds like the rented movies should work since I don’t have to login to the internet to watch them on my netbook.

And, now that I have a remote control for my camera, I take an OBSCENE amount of photos. And, you can think I’m vain, but I’m going to post them because I LOVE THIS DRESS. I feel fun and cute and skinny.

This is my Trena picture. Because I’m wearing my lime glasses, LOL. Totally retro, right?

Posted in sewing

Another Ghana Print in the Mix

Well, I spoke too soon. Last summer when the PR Mods came to Baltimore for a visit, I gifted another piece of Ghana print to Pyrose. I wasn’t sure what to do with it and she had admired my maxi dress. Well, she really made it in to something and posted it yesterday!

Trying not to be mad I gave it away because I think she really used an amazing pattern. Of course, it’s a Burda 🙂

Posted in sewing, Travel

Speaking of Ghana

President Obama is on the African continent (have you ever tried to list all the African countries you can? I torture my interns every year and make them try. For the record, I can only do around 20 out of near 60 myself). I thought it might be fun to recount the fabric I got in Ghana two years ago and what has happened to it. I bought about six pieces. Which, in retrospect, is more fabric than I’ll ever buy on a trip again. But, I couldn’t contain myself 🙂

Here’s a slideshow of some of the garments I saw on the Ghanaian women.

I made this dress for a fashion show that the model ended up buying, BWOF 8-2002-11

First, I made this maxi dress

Then this green dress

I gifted one piece to Trena

And a second piece to Christina (photo courtesy of

The rest, remain in the stash

While in Ghana I also made my own wax print

I got my hair braided there, but this is sadly the only photo I have 😦 But, was so excited to find those earrings after two years missing.

And, my favorite photo from the trip

The sewing room. Nothing has been done. Nothing. But, I’m definitely not painting the knotty pine

As for the ‘dating life’ question. Thank you for the feedback on both sides.  I have new great responses and recognize why I get asked. Obviously not all people mind it nor think it’s rude. Which I’ll remember the next time I’m asked.  *I* don’t like being asked because if there isn’t anything going on, it’s generally not a topic I want to touch. And, I’m such a blabbermouth, that if something is going on, I’m like the town crier.