I saw a dress in a store window a few months ago, and immediately started planning my own sewn version of it. It was a sweater knit swing dress with a huge cowl neck that looked comfortable and cool. I stopped by my local fabric store and picked up a beautiful olive ponte knit to get the weight and drape I was after and started poring through my pattern collection for a match. The very next day I saw Heather Lou's Ebony Dress on Instagram, exactly what I was looking for! I just needed to draft my own cowl.
I am pretty new to drafting anything myself, but adding a cowl to this pattern was easy. I chose the scoop neckline so the cowl would be loose, rather than a turtleneck. Once I had sewn together the shoulder seams I measured the circumference of the neck opening. I also measured the height of a favorite cowl on a ready to wear tunic. Then I cut a rectangle - the circumference wide x twice the height (with seam allowances). Then I folded the height in half, sewed it into a tube and attached the tube to my neckline.
I really love how this dress turned out - it swings wonderfully when I move and makes me feel cool. This is the sort of dress I never would have bought in a store before I started making, because it "isn't flattering" to my figure. But my wardrobe priorities have shifted as I make my own clothes. I bought clothes based on "the rules" of to mask my flaws and highlight the parts of me that were acceptable. Now making something that I enjoy the look of, that feels good on my body, and is enjoyable to make feels more important than dressing to look as thin as possible. It does a better job of making me feel good in my clothes. Every time I wear this dress I think about Erin McKean's well-known blog post You Don't Have To Be Pretty, which now 10 years later I am finally starting to believe.
Do you make different clothes than you would buy? Has making changed your wardrobe priorities? Let me know in the comments below!