dress #21: mixy monroe!
it’s with a surprisingly heavy heart i present you with the final dress of the first round of 21✩21. i saved one of my favorites for last though with mixy monroe! this adorable little sundress is a remix of five t-shirts. it has a full twirl skirt and sweet sash that ties at the waist. i cut the backs of four black t-shirts to make the skirt. then i used this awesome threadless...
dress #20: sailor june
with a comfortable knit top and sturdy skirt, this little sundress is ready for adventure. it’s actually a combo of a top that got very little play and a heavy striped fabric with some sheen to it. one plus one equals dress! it was the fastest of all the 21 dresses, coming together in under an hour. (hooray!) this is an example of my playing god sewing sin. the top already tied...
dress #19: mia sparrow
slim and scandalous yet down-to-earth, like miss farrow this dress may cause a scene. rosemary meets peter pan in a body-hugging silhouette topped off with a cowl neck and dreamy sparrow appliques. this is one of the dresses that began as a pillowcase. i used my dress form to figure out the draping of the neckline then attached satin neck ties. on two different shades of green satin, i...
dress #18: half-past neptune
this simple knock-around dress is comfortable enough to throw off all sense of time and space. everything about it is made for kicking back, including dolman sleeves, drapey jersey, elastic waist and a simple split-bodice. if you want shape or to dress it up, just add a belt. here’s the pattern i used. it promised “easy 2 hour” and it delivered on that. (hooray!) the...
dress #17: pollyanna post-grad
today’s sundress is all daisies and dreams with a touch of sophistication. ideal for unassuming shmoozing at company picnics. “i’d like cotton candy and a raise please.” white cotton overgrown with embroidered flowers has this dress bursting with optimism. meanwhile the frayed black-and-white herringbone trim keeps it realistic. this darling was part of the triple...
meet the photographer: trevor shorey
introducing the man behind the camera in front of the dresses. in front of every great dress is a great photographer. mine is trevor shorey. he’s an advertising art director by trade but a photographer at heart. everywhere he goes he sees patterns, moments and moods to capture. here’s a sampling of his work beyond fashion photography: for comments or queries, give...
dress #16: ginger snapped
spicy and poised for the summer heat, this earthy cotton dress gets some sass with a cascade of asymmetrical pleats. it was inspired by gilligan’s island bombshell: when i first made it, it turned out way too basic. it’s the same pattern as chocolate-n-bubble gum, but the fabric seemed flat. so i started pleating. i made them random to give it an edge. since it’s cotton...
dress #15: green tea
this hot little granny get-up is demure yet streetwise. perfect for silver fox hunting, tea time and green tie events. the antique-olive jersey features tuxedo ruffles and smoldering gray trim at the neck with a matching tie in back. here’s my original sketch: this is actually a do-over of a tunic top i made last year and never wore. it was granny too, but dowdy-homebound-granny. ...
dress #14: dewey decimal dress
nerd alert! today’s shift dress defines geek chic with textured checks and two tones of 70s avocado. like a sultry librarian, there’s a bit of mystique with the distressed satin and random topstitching at the hem, sleeves and neckline. larger-than-life buttons top it all off. green is my favorite color and i love combining multiple shades and textures of it in the same piece....
dress #13: penelope james
well how do you do #13? penelope james is the sleekest of the 21, doing more with one ruffle and sleeve than most dresses do in a lifetime. this cool blue wonderdress has a secret past though. uncover the truth in pillow talk. the slim fit, cascading ruffle and single shoulder is spot-on for impossible missions or girls night out. the name’s james. penelope james. ♥ thanks to...
dress #12: mix tape
nothing expresses a person’s many facets better than a mix tape. same for this little dress. rock out to “mr. roboto” and “99 luftballoons” in the same twirl! the top is slim fitting and stretchy with a drop waist that gives way to a full cotton skirt. great for mixing metaphors, messages and drinks! this was made in a little over an hour after a dress...
dress #11: soda jerk
this sweet bubbly halter dress serves up a stretch lace empire waist, raw-edged satin applique and saucy satin ties. before it was a refreshing sundress, it was actually an unloved top i had and a jersey sheet purchased in fabric desperation. i cut off the bottom from the lace down and replaced it with chocolate jersey for the skirt. then i snipped out a flower from the satin, added...
confession: secrets of getting 21 done
forgive me friends for i have sinned. when the clock strikes 2:00 a.m. (again) and your goal is slipping away, you better get crafty. i mean that less in the respectable diy way and more in the shady way. i’m still new so i attempted dresses that took twice as long as expected. to make up time, i begged, borrowed and stole—figuratively speaking. now it’s time to come clean....
dress #10: firecracker!
crisp cotton americana. if ever there was a dress destined for parades and picnics, this is it. this little charmer was made in the same batch as dress #6 betty blue. it’s a lightweight cherry cotton with contrast stitching and vanilla twill tape for the belt and ties. read more about it in factory girl. it has a thin elastic band inside to add some shape. i almost left that out on...
dress #9: harold and mod
meet the dress formerly known as frankenmod. two shirts. one fabulous mod dress. it turned out way too cute to be named after the living dead. i stole my husband’s shirt (harold) and paired it with a babydoll shirt (maude). snip snip snip. off with the neck band and sleeves. stitch stitch stitch. the body of the babydoll became the skirt and the turtleneck became the scarf. here was...
Crème de la Crème by vividcolors on Etsy →
featherweight’s “don’t mind if i do” wedding dress is part of the creme de la creme treasury on etsy!
dress #8: vacay day
flouncy. ferny. flirty. this lightweight mini rocks flutter sleeves, a loose fit and a thick satin sash. i pounced on a decadent roll of green satin ribbon on impulse one day not too long ago. then when i saw this filmy fabric at a thrift store, shazzam! a shirt pattern was the base as i wanted to learn to make these fluttery sleeves. turns out they were weirdly complicated, leaving me...
dress #7: chocolate-n-bubblegum
what a tasty little party dress this turned out to be. the bodice is supported with boning so you can dance all night. shiny taffeta and embroidered bubbles make you look good doing it. sweetness aside, this was a challenge. i was crazy about this fabric and knew i wanted to do something with it. it’s a home decor taffeta with quilted vertical stripes. the challenge came in making the...
dress #6: betty blue
i love this bright, super lightweight cotton. the tie and belt are made from scraps left over from a sewing machine cover i made. and the belt has a magnetic closure. i know…pretty fancy. as i tackled the 21 days, i quickly came to terms with the fact that i wasn’t going to be able to finish them all if each was completely different. so on about day 17 i grabbed a stack of fabric,...
dress #5: sunny & 60s
this happy-go-lucky minidress has an elasticized bodice, flirty flowers and ties in the back. i found this adorable 60s-style flowered curtain at a thrift shop and couldn’t wait to use it. this neutral plaid was the perfect backdrop to make it pop. i sewed it on the bias….diamonds are more interesting than squares! with a shirt pattern as a base, i added length and a corsage of...
today is the 21st day. 21 dresses hang in the closet! whew. trading bobbins for baseballs, i’m off to celebrate and relax at a brewers game. hope I can keep from imagining the players in spaghetti straps!
dress #4: gray garden
this dove gray little dress seems out of another time. it started with a mens shirt, cut out the dress shape, arm holes and bands for the ruffle and flowers. i love the potential of dad’s shirts for little dresses. here’s one i did last summer for emma grace carroll with her dad’s shirt. alright so back to gray garden. after i cut out the shape and sewed it back...
dress #3: rusty sunday
this was the first dress i made in this series. the level of detail shows that i hadn’t yet stayed up sewing till 2:30 a.m. or developed the twitch as you may notice in later creations. : ) the cotton fabric has shabby polka-dot nubs with the subtle sass of thin, silver pinstripes. i took a basic sundress pattern, added double straps, a raw-edged ruffle and reverse pleats...
death of a sewing machine
with 3.75 dresses left to make, my singer precision of 2 years just bit it mid-stitch. it was my first. i did get it at target on a whim though so…yeah. anyway, it’s in a better place now, and i just got back from joann’s with a shiny new singer confidence. i’m nervous to break in a new machine in the middle of this, but i see martha stewart’s face smiling at me...
dress #2: unicorn spotted
this sweet little number has a comfy t-shirt body with a cotton flounce and satin ribbon tie. it’s upcycled from a threadless t-shirt my husband shrunk. love this shirt. finally we know what happened to all the unicorns! the ruffle material is left from a photobooth backdrop we did for a baby shower. (meet april starr daniel and ethan pre-delivery.) i cut the sleeves and neck off,...
dress #1: sugar cage
here’s the first dress! this fun little halter maxi has embroidery and an applique. i absolutely love the colors. it’s pure sunshine. it started with rich golden cotton. i used a pattern as a base then customized it with an applique i made by cutting a bird motif from remnants of novelty fabric. then i added random contrasting embroidery. the stitch is on my machine and worked...
i woke up sunday morning with a wild hair and a great idea. mass manufacturing. maybe the reason i fell behind was that i was making completely different dresses every time. some streamlining was in order. i came up with a quick shape for a dress, grabbed three different fabrics and layered them. on the top piece i drew the pattern with a sharpie. then i cut them out and downed a red bull....
halfway--jazz, bloopers & sketches
7 dresses down. 14 to go. only 10 days left. while i’ll post the dresses may 12 - june 1, i’m actually making them april 25 - may 15. so we’re halfway through the 21 days, but I’ve only finished 1/3 of the dresses. i’m no mathlete, but….gulp. can fabric smell fear? all i can do is keep acting the sewing fool. eat, sleep, work, make. after work, i fire up the...
hello, my name is...
featherweight. on may 12 when i start posting the 21 dresses, i’ll make most of them available on here. i named the line featherweight because i’m a sewing lightweight with no lust for fashion grandeur. it’s not about runways or devastating hipness. forget drama and cat fights. life is serious enough. i just want to make original clothes with a sense of charm—a bit of...
craftily ever after
on march 27, i got married on a jamaican beach in my dream dress. the idea for it started in austria, when my husband proposed. if you can feel bliss at the sight of a ring, i did. it’s the palest aquamarine surrounded by sweet diamond leaves. delicate, whimsical and happy. that set the tone for the dress. next up were shoes that cost more than the whole dress—melissa dragon lady...
rusty sunday & the featherweight models
dress concept #1 = rusty sunday. this will be made of lightweight cotton that contrasts shabby polka-dot nubs with the subtle sass of thin, silver pinstripes. the double straps, lined bodice and fitted waist give it structure while the raw-edged ruffle and flowy skirt keep it fun. perfect for sunday brunch on a patio. because i can’t design, sew, write about and model all 21 dresses,...
melissa caringer is sketchy
here are the first sketches and my new assistant. i’m self-taught so having techniques at hand will be a must. the 21 dresses sketched here include several day dresses, a few cocktail numbers and a couple dresses for little girls. the sketches are pretty basic. at a glance, it’s clear i have a thing for wide-open necklines and the retro bend is obvious. these shapes will get a...
it's official. may 12-june 1 is the maiden voyage.
i’m a longtime fan of threadbanger.com, whipup.net and burdastyle.com, but never into fashion magazines…until now. in planning 21/21, i’m trying to expose myself to a broader sense of style. i’m comfortable with cute-retro goodness, but here’s my chance to dabble a bit. so, while i’ve spent the last few days pouring over my usual craft-blog haunts as well as...
the first 21 day series starts soon
my first series of sewing stunts is in the planning/design phase. i’ll be sewing 21 dresses in 21 days. the idea started as a scheme to fill my etsy site, but now I’m excited about having a deadline too. as an advertising copywriter, hours are often long. sewing is my go-to daydream, but staying motivated to create afterhours wanes sometimes…thus 21/21 was born! so, come back for...
one sewer’s nerdy little habit
here’s a slideshow of a few pics from my march 27 elopement in jamaica. i made the dress. actually i made two so i could trash one in the ocean and pool. more dirt on the dress soon.
visit my etsy shop →
handmade. vintage-style. charm. featherweight is lighthearted fashion for you.