I bought a dress for myself but quickly learned that it looked far better on my tall, slender husband than it did on my short stocky peasant body. The only problem? Its bright greens and pinks did not suit him one bit. I set out to copy the dress in a more subdued and Ed-appropriate black-with-red-accents color scheme.
The fabric I chose was, like the original dress, a very soft and slightly stretchy woven cotton. The red has a slightly shinier sheen than the black. I found the fabric at (you guessed it) Stone Mountain and Daughter.
Ed in his natural habitat. Photo by Morley.
This was by far the most ambitious sewing project I’ve undertaken, even more so than Hairy Larvae. Though it looked obvious how the dress had been constructed, once I started drafting a pattern from it it became quickly evident that there was a lot going on! Sewing the pieces together was no small feat, either. There were a lot of curved seams, most onerous of which were the curved godets in the skirt. I have since learned the correct way to sew a curved seam (stay-stitching, notching) thanks to Alice over at heteronormative lovefest, but at the time it drove me crazy trying to get everything lined up without bunching.
Details in the neckline. Photo by Joachim Pedersen, some rights reserved
In the end, it was worth it. Ed gets a ton of compliments whenever he wears the dress, and I think it looks fabulous on him.
Ed and me. Photo by Neil Girling, some rights reserved
I came up with a terrible Burning Man pun and decided to turn it into a costume. For those non-burners, one of the original founders of Burning Man is named Larry Harvey. “Hairy Larvae” is a spoonerism of his name.
Ok. This is admittedly really stupid, and probably not even original, but how could I possibly resist?! 😀
Hairy Larvae is made out of grey polarfleece and absurdly soft orange fun fur, both acquired at Stone Mountain and Daughter. This was the first time I worked with fun fur and I was struck by how cutting it felt like butchering a muppet! Hairy also has big buttons for eyes and a bright orange zipper. I used an comfy hoodie I had on hand as a pattern, simply extending the length to make it go to my knees. Unfortunately it turned out just a little tighter than I’d like in the hips, and it would’ve been nicer if I’d lined it… Still, the final product is so ridiculously cozy that I ended up living in it at night on the playa. Hilarious AND practical: the perfect playa clothing.
I have a lot of weird hangups regarding clothes. I don’t like wearing skirts, even though I love the way they look, because my legs rub together and it’s uncomfortable. I don’t like wearing synthetic fabrics. I can’t stand it when clothes ride up and otherwise don’t stay in place. And I really loathe clothes that aren’t comfortable.
At Burning Man, all of these things are amplified by the sun, the heat, and the dust. While most people are out there wearing the zaniest, prettiest garments they can dream up, I dread the act of clothing myself. I can’t stand sunscreen so skimpy clothes are right out, but heavy clothes are also untenable due to the unrelenting heat. Anything itchy or synthetic is a terrible idea, as are things that are tight and un-stretchy (heat rash!). Garments more delicate than a typical cotton t-shirt are going to get destroyed (or at least relegated to playa-only wear). But of course, wearing typical street clothes is BO-RING. What’s a picky gal like me to do?
I aimed to make some pants that were super comfy and protected me from the sun but still looked reasonably good. I used some fold-top pajama pants that I had on hand as a pattern. The fabric is most divine: a wonderfully drapey organic bamboo jersey that I found at Stone Mountain and Daughter. Stone Mountain, by the way, is an amazing sewing resource in Berkeley. Even thought I live in San Francisco, I still make regular pilgrimages across the bay for my Stone Mountain fix.
Ultimately, I’m not sure I like the way they turned out. They are absolutely the most comfortable pants I’ve ever worn, and are great for wearing in the desert weather… but they are pretty “blah” in terms of the way they look. Turns out when you make a pattern from pajama pants, the result looks like pajama pants! I also don’t feel the final product does the fabric justice.
Maybe if I add some more interesting details – embroidery? appliques? – and some shaping, and if I finish the bottom hem in a reasonable fashion, they’ll look better. In the meantime they’ve been relegated to wearing on the couch at home while watching movies.