one-piece wardrobe

Cali Faye – Valley Blouse

Can I gush about one of my multi-talented lady friends for a moment? I met Lindsey Marla Lynch several years ago as a producer on one of my hand modeling gigs. When I first met her, we immediately clicked, and every time we saw each other for the following years, we made promises to get together soon. Well, “soon” turned into three years, but we finally did it a few weeks ago. And she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite people, and for good reason; she’s one of the most loving, supportive, and enthusiastic people I have ever met. Her energy is infectious, and she genuinely makes you feel like you’re doing right by your own creative vision.

Lindsey started her career as a photographer, eventually working her way through the industry to become a producer in shoots for Starbucks, Google, Lululemon, and Adidas. She’s currently working as a freelance producer and reinventing herself, yet again, as a ceramicist with her independent line, rabbit rabbit ceramics , while unsurprisingly hitting it completely out of the ballpark. I still swoon over her hand turned salt cellars, and I’m pretty sure I have John drinking the rabbit rabbit kool-aid, too. After he saw the photos we took, he voluntarily texted me about how we should definitely have one of her pieces for our home. I cannot heart-eyes enough over her work.

Why am I raving about Lindsey right now? Well… if you hadn’t noticed how incredible these photos are, you might now. She’s the talent behind these beautiful, dreamy, editorial, Alice-in-Wonderland-esque shots taken of my Cali Faye Valley Blouse dress hack. And I’ve already told her I’m going to make her live in my guest bedroom in Germany so I can have her take my blog photos forever. That’s totally legal right? Lindsey, you on board?

The Pattern: Cali Faye Valley Blouse
The Fabric: Red abstract Milly Cotton/Silk blend voile + white cotton/silk blend voile, both from Mill End
The Size: XS

Let’s talk about this fabric first. It’s a lightweight and breezy cotton-silk blend, in a color way I would normally never entertain, but the slightly geometric, slightly abstract print sold me. It’s dated 2012 on the selvedge and labeled Milly, a designer I had never heard of. The woman who helped me at Mill End gushed over her designs though, and with a mere nudge, generously tootled me around the entire store to show me where all of the individual bolts of Milly lived. I’ve tried to do some light googling on this designer, but I can only come up with the actual clothing designer Milly, even going as far as scanning through her Spring/Summer and Resort collections from 2011-2014 to confirm that this fabric came from her, without luck. I can only assume it’s the same person. It also seems there are very few vendors who actually carry her fabric (1, 2) and at a much higher price point than I paid at Mill End, so I guess, for once, the internet has kind of let me down. However, if you do come across some of her fabric, I recommend you snatch it up. This is one of the finer fabrics I’ve had the pleasure to work with, both in quality of weave/print and ease of sewing.

As per usual, I hacked this pattern quite a bit. I think the Swiss Dot sample on Cali Faye’s website is swell, and I would have probably happily worn it as is. In fact, I went to Mill End specifically because, for the last several years, they carried a fabric with alternating red and turquoise Swiss Dots on a cream backdrop. Pairing that as the yoke with a plain cream Swiss Dot for the bodice of the blouse was my active plan for several months, until I actually went to go buy this fabric from Mill End and realized they had sold out. Folks, this is why I have a stash. If I had bought that fabric years ago when I first encountered it, I could have moved forward with my crazy multi-colored Swiss Dot on Swiss Dot plan.

But let’s be real. I’m also pretty pleased that Mill End had sold out of the multi-colored Swiss Dot, because I would have never chosen this red and white print if they hadn’t. My problem was that I just couldn’t mentally erase this blouse in a Swiss Dot and I was having difficulty seeing it as anything else. It’s also the midst of summer and we’re coming upon a string of 108 degrees days, so those sleeves were not something I had any desire to drape over my body. I decided to take the bare bones of the pattern, a yoke that ends at the high bust with a gathered blouse, and work from there.

As hard as it may be to see the correlation, the inspiration for this dress actually landed somewhere in between those adorable Mexican dresses with the embroidered yokes and the Tessuti Alice top. I dropped the sleeves on the Valley Blouse and instead added two easy ruffles cut on the bias. The ruffle pattern pieces were inspired by the pattern pieces for the Pendrell Blouse by Sewaholic, which are in essence a very elongated eye-shape folded in half hot dog style and gathered along the long, curved edge. I guess in many ways, I could have just gone ahead and used the Alice top pattern and had a straight-shot to the look I was going for, but then I wouldn’t have been fulfilling the #SewMyStyle pattern requirement this month.

On the inside, I ditched the back neckline facing and instead sewed up an all-in-one facing for a clean finish. I sewed the all-in-one facing using a modified burrito method, and affixed the bottom edge to the skirt via hand-sewn slipstitches.

I was actually kind of dreading sewing up this pattern because of my Pocket Skirt experience. And, to be quite frank, I wasn’t too impressed with the pattern or the instructions on this one either. Additionally, the silhouette is not something that’s generally very flattering on me, with the gathers hitting the high bust. I might even excuse myself from making Cali Faye’s Hampshire Trousers come the October #SewMyStyle garment, because I’m not quite sure if I want to risk another garment with her patterns, and trousers are the least forgiving of the bunch. But I have to say, I surprisingly like how this dress came out. It’s got a sweetness to it, with it’s ruffled sleeves and contrasting yoke, and it also has a bit of an edge, with the sheerness of the silk blend voile.

This dress does, clearly, require a slip, and I have a whole slew of Ogden slip dress hacks in the queue, made from silks I rescued from the Remnant Bin at Mill End. Aside from that, I can see myself wearing this dress quite a bit. In fact, I even wore it today, and if it weren’t going to get increasingly warmer in the coming days, I’d also wear it again tomorrow. That’s not excessive, right?

How did you guys feel about this month’s #SewMyStyle Garment? I’ve been seeing them around the blogosphere and they do look quite beautiful.

Next month is going to get a little crazy for me; I’m heading to Burning Man for the first time, and within a couple days of returning to reality, I’ll be flying out for Frankfurt again. I’ll be focusing on getting as many garments completed and photographed as I can while I’ve got the mega-talented Lindsey at my fingertips, but I can make no promises they’ll be blogged in real time. I’m so excited for what we’ve got planned in future collaborative shoots, though, so stay tuned! I can only imagine this is just the beginning of a beautiful and heavily inspired friendship.

4 Comment

  1. I can just imagine the pleasure of wearing that fabric and the floatiness on hot days. Instead of a slip, what about jockey snapshots? Look into those. I’m glad you went for the red.

    1. Oh, it’s really wonderful on a hot day! I gave Jockey Snapshots a google but didn’t come up with anything, so I’ll have to get more info from you next time I see you. In these photos, I wore a nude leotard underneath, and if it weren’t so “risque” to leave so much to the imagination, I’d be totally comfortable wearing it like that in public as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *