Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hazel of the Maasai Mara

While I was making my first Hazel dress, I was already planning the second.  I knew I had to try the pattern out with a stripe to take advantage of the interesting bodice design.  So I got onto the Hawthorn Threads website and started scrolling through all the striped fabrics they had.  I found a lot of fabrics I liked, but I absolutely fell in love with one - a faux ikat stripe in blue, green and white.

Now, I'm a lover of ikat fabrics from way back.  When I was in graduate school in the late '80s, I acquired a number of garments made of Guatemalan ikat, including but not limited to:  a bucket hat; a reversible bomber-type jacket with double ikat on one side and single ikat on the other; a couple of fanny packs; and last but most definitely not least, double ikat Hammer Pants.  What can I say?   My fashion choices have, at times, been questionable.

All this is to say that I'm glad ikat is a trend at the moment, even if a lot of what we're seeing is ikat-like prints and not true ikat fabric.  And apparently I've been living under a rock, because it took me until now to discover the Dear Stella Maasai Mara collection, from which my Hazel fabric hails.  This collection was from spring 2012 - now I'm worried I won't be able to get all the prints I want!  And I'm not sure what any of them have to do with a Kenyan game preserve, but they're lovely nonetheless.


Because the background of the fabric is white, I chose to underline this dress as well to keep the seam allowances from showing through.  The bodice is underlined in cotton batiste, but I used a lightweight muslin on the skirt because I wanted something a little more substantial.  I'll admit though that the finished dress is a little on the heavy side.  But the good news is that I don't have to wear a slip if I choose not to.


This time, in order to reduce the bulk a little, I finished my seam allowances with a three-thread overlock instead of my usual four.  I'm really happy with how that worked out and will try to remember to do it that way in the future.  And because my underlining was white and my thread was also white, everything is very clean and neat on the inside, even though it's just serged.  I also really love how easy it is to catch-stitch the hem to the underlining so that it's completely invisible on the outside.


Because I already had all my fitting issues worked out and had just made this pattern less than two weeks ago, it felt like a very easy project.  Still, I worked on it slowly, doing a little bit each day over the span of a week.  Well, actually that's not accurate - there were a couple days when I didn't work on it at all, so let's say five days.  I did add the 2" in length I felt was lacking from the skirt before - something to keep in mind if you make this pattern and you don't want your skirt too short.  I'm only 5'4".

And now here's the good stuff:  I had a lot of fun playing off this Maasai Mara theme.  What does one do in the Maasai Mara?  Go on safari, of course!

Look at that lion!!

Yes.  We have a pith helmet in our home.

Here's a better look at the bodice and the angles the stripes made.  I'm very happy with how this one turned out!


And minus the binoculars, here are the accessories for this fun photo-shoot:


Fake leopard sandals.  Real pith helmet.  And I didn't have time to actually do my nails, but I was planning on using this polish from the China Glaze On Safari collection from last fall - how perfect is that?  Both the name and the color!  Incidentally, this is probably my favorite blue polish.

As much as I love both my Hazel dresses, I think I'm done with the pattern for now.   But expect to see some projects using other fabrics from this Dear Stella line soon!

49 comments:

  1. I LOVE your Hazel!! It's beautiful! had to laugh at the ikat Hammer pants ~ it was the 80's! What a cool time for anything!

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! Well, we certainly thought we were cool back then, LOL!

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  2. Another gorgeous dress Gail! Love the shoes too.

    I think we all made some questionable fashion choices in the 80's - I know I did!

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    1. Thanks, Sam! Ah yes, the '80s - so glad they're over!

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  3. Great dress. I love how the diagonal stripes flatter the waist. As for the hammer pants, you could probably still rock those! In a hipster, ironic way ;)

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    1. Thanks! As for the Hammer pants - those and all the other items were sent on to Goodwill long ago! EXCEPT for the fanny packs, which Hubby wanted to keep to hold his iPod while walking on the treadmill!

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  4. I love your dress - the stripes are a perfect choice to make the bodice design really stand out. I also love that you have a pith helmet, I bet it comes in handy for fancy dress parties!

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    1. Thank you! I really love this print, and I'm glad I did a Hazel with the stripes.

      And I believe this is the first time the pith helmet has been worn! Hubby bought it in a garage sale - not sure why!

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    2. I would certainly buy a pith helmet at a garage sale (if the price was right and the helmet not too funky). I love to stockpile unusual items like that. "Always be prepared for Halloween", that's my motto.
      -- stashdragon

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  5. haha love the safari theme! that fabric is awesome, and i love how you placed the stripes. and surely you have a pic of you in these hammer pants... ;-)

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    1. I was pretty excited to pull out all these safari-related things, LOL!

      You know, I probably do have a pic or two of those pants. If I come across it, I promise to post :-) But our old photos aren't very easily accessible at the moment, so I'm not going to go digging for it!

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  6. Really, really cute! I love how the stripes look in that bodice! And the "Man Hunt" nail polish! Too funny!

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    1. Thank you! Honestly, it didn't turn out the way I was picturing it in my mind, but I really, really like it!

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  7. So cute! I love your lion-spotting picture. The stripe placement on that dress is so flattering!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! I had a lot of fun with these goofy pictures! And I know that's what you all want from me!

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  8. Love the ikat dress - and your safari photostyling!

    Why do people always diss what they wore back in the day, anyway? It was cool at the time, and that's what counts! I know I loved what I wore in the '80s, and the '70s and '60s too. Today's fashions will make future generations laugh in their turn - that's part of the fun of old photos!
    -- stashdragon

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    1. You know what? You're right! I'm going to stop dissing myself!

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  9. Another beautiful Hazel! I'm in love with how the Hazel bodice looks when made with striped fabric.

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    1. Thanks! Me too - I'm really glad I did a striped one.

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  10. lovely! the fabric really sings. I also love underlining for being able to catch stitch to it!!

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    1. Thank you! I was intimidated by underlining for the longest time, but it's really not that big a deal!

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  11. So pretty! And I love your safari photos. . Why don't i have a pith helmet? So jealous lol! But mainly of your amazing dress :)

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    1. Hehehe - why DO I have a pith helmet?!?! We have a gazillion hats around here (mostly mine) but this one is by far the most unusual!

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  12. Super cute! BTW, the only lions that are anywhere near you are sitting on the stairs of the Art Institute. Hope they haven't started walking around!!

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    1. Hahaha! I did go see them a couple weeks ago when they had their Blackhawks helmets on - did you see them? They looked even angrier than usual, LOL!

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  13. The stripes are perfect for the lines of the dress and I always love blue and green together. I think the pith helmet really completes the outfit! (love the shoes too).

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    1. Thank you! I love these shoes too, but don't get much occasion to wear them. And having those wooden soles, they're very clompy!

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  14. Absolutely gorgeous! You are amazing, making perfect new clothes with such a speed. I love both your Hazel dresses, but the stripes really show off the bodice.

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    1. Thank you! I agree - I really like my eyelet Hazel, but you really can't see the style lines on that one. Maybe someday I'll find a good border print and make another one with it!

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  15. I love it! The bodice is great, I love the effect the stripes create. Underlining was a great idea too.

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    1. Thanks! Honestly, I would have preferred not to underline this one because the quilting cotton I used is on the heavier side to begin with. But show-through seam allowances really bother me!

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  16. Super dress, the Hazel works perfectly with your fabric. Your photo shoot is hilarious! I think it was compulsory to own some questionable clothing in the 80s - I loved my ra-ra skirts and wore some very 'interesting' coloured/patterned tights with my outfits!

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    1. Yes, the '80s, coupled with being young, equals some crazy get-ups. I remember sewing a few things back then that were pretty out there!

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  17. I love your maasai theme! Hilarious. Your dress looks lovely. I've always loved this dress with stripey fabric and this one looks fantastic.

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  18. The dress fits so so well. You're facing your fitting challenges head on and it's working!

    So now I want some of those fabrics as well. They are so vibrant and pretty. Must. Stop. Buying.

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    1. Well, I conquered this one anyway! LOL!

      Aren't those fabrics great? I got one more print that I'm planning on using for a Lonsdale dress, but that's all I'm saying at the moment!

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  19. Oh this one turned out awesome too! Naturally a perfect pattern for stripes, but this one works even better than most, such a visually interesting result. And I love that blue polish!

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    1. Thanks! I love the dress. Now I need an occasion to wear it!

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  20. Super cute ... you can really rock a pith helmet too. Make me want one.

    I wouldn't say that ikat has a strong pull on me, but those fabrics are quite appealing. I think the one you chose may be the best of all!

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    1. Thanks, Andrea! I think part of the appeal for me with ikat is that I know what a labor-intensive process it is. As a weaver, I find it laborious enough to just warp the loom - but then to space dye the warp into patterns on top of that! Crazy!

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  21. That dress looks so perfect for summer. I was never in love with this pattern, but I keep seeing these cute versions pop up. I think it's all about the fabric choice, and this one is excellent!

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  22. Terrific job, Gail. It fits you wonderfully and looks perfect for warm days.

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  23. I've been thinking of trying this pattern soon. I love everything about your version. The fabric is beautiful and your fit is spot on. So inspiring! :)

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  24. If only I had Internet access while I was away - we could have had so much fun with safari themed photos! Your dress is lovely btw... You'll have to go to the Mara now to show it off!

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    1. I think you had better things to do than hang out on the internet, LOL!

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