So I have to admit, the last few weeks haven’t been easy. After my previous post about this dress, I decided on button placement, and put in all the buttonholes and buttonholes. The next day while I was slicing potatoes on a mandolin, my hand slipped and I sliced my pinky instead. Thanks to the help of an angel of a neighbor rushing in at my text message, dressing my kids, and taking us all to the doctor, it’s well on it’s way to healing.
I know it’s just a finger. But I didn’t realize how deeply this cut would hurt and affect my day to day life. I couldn’t move my hand much the first week without feeling like it was being pried back apart. I couldn’t stretch my arm without causing the muscles pain. I couldn’t get it wet, which meant limited showering with it wrapped in cellophane, teaching my kids to wash their own hair, no hand washing dishes, no cleaning my house with a rag or sponge, anything with water or where I could bump my hand. And no sewing or knitting.
I tried one day and remade a shirt from the library reading program into a dress for my daughter, as we’d accidentally been given an adult medium instead of the child size she needed (shown above laid underneath the shirt we’d gotten in the proper size for Gumball). But my hand hurt the next few days deep in the muscles from lifting my heavy iron, and I had to splint it to the next finger and sling it to remind myself not to try to use that hand. When a friend heard about my injury, she thought of how this would affect my work, calling it my “life’s blood,” which is so true. What I do, I do with my whole heart. This is how I express who I am and what I’m thinking and feeling to the world. I feel like part of me is literally missing when I don’t have a bag of knitting on the couch next to me, or three projects in various stages of cutting and making up on my sewing table. At a full and complete halt, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
So I planned. I looked at the fabric and yarn I have, the patterns I have, and went looking for new inspiration. I’m jumping in on my first Mystery Knit Along with Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits on her latest fade shawl, What the Fade?!, and am so excited to have something new and fresh to work on after the last year’s string of Un-Finished Objects. The first clue doesn’t drop until August 31, if anyone else feels like jumping on board.
And then one day last week, I didn’t have those sharp stinging needle pricks of pain or those deep muscle strains, and I got out my tripod and took pictures of the finished shirtwaist dress. It wasn’t as effortless as usual, and I wasn’t as graceful about hiding my remote clicker (or the giant bandage I was still sporting while the stitches were in), but it made me feel like me again.
I ended up doing buttons and buttonholes on top of the pink polka dots, so the buttons almost blend in. I added them all the way to the bottom of the dress for as much versatility as possible when wearing.
I adore how all the tiny sleeve pleats echo the pleats in the skirt. I debated taking out the pleat stitching in the skirt, as they were just supposed to be a baste to hold them in place, but I like the detail.
The collar stands so nicely and crisp, I’m crossing all my good fingers that it stays this way after a wash and press again.
And the sash! Just a simple tube with angled ends, no interfacing to keep it light, and topstitching to keep it crisp. And pockets, as always.
This is the dress I wish I’d had at the beginning of the summer for graduations and weddings and parties. Easy enough to wear, light enough in the heat, practical, and washable. Next year I’m sure it’ll be out on the town a lot more. Til then, I’m ready for knitting season. Bring it on.
Love from Wisconsin,
For more posts in this series: