I know that just about every time I sew a new dress I go on about how it’s my favorite. And I totally recognize that the sillier the fabric I use for the dress is, the more I rave about how it’s going to be a wardrobe staple (e.g. my Farm Animals dress, Southwest Eyeblinder dress, or Baseball Staple dress). And, recognizing my behavior patterns, I’m going to repeat them. Because OMG look at this dress! It’s my new favorite thing and I’m going to wear it all the time!! For serious!
So where do I find all this amazing/ridiculous/awesome fabric? The thrift store. All of those amazing/ridiculous/awesome dresses were sewn from fabric I bought at the thrift store, most from Granny’s Attic, the thrift store on my island. When I lived in San Francisco I didn’t have nearly such good luck finding awesome fabrics at thrift stores because everything was always so picked over (although I did occasionally make awesome scores for my kitchen). But I end up buying fabric at Granny’s waaay more often than I should given that I’m kinda pretending to try shrinking my fabric stash instead of growing it :)
The only problem with buying fabric at the thrift store is that you have to be careful your fabric doesn’t have mustiness or stains – or at least you need to know that you can get them out when you get the fabric home. method laundry detergent has naturally derived cleaning power proven to remove tough dirt + stains, which, lets face it, is exactly what a girl wants and what a girl needs when she’s sewing with fabric from the thrift store. (Did anyone else just start humming Christina Aguilera? No? Just me then). I was sent a bottle of method laundry detergent and I’m happy with how well it got out a few stains that were on this amazing fabric so that it was all useable to become this amazing dress! The 4x concentrated formula is actually pretty handy because you can use also use it undiluted as a stain remover (especially handy because we are still unpacking and I don’t know where any of my laundry supplies are at the moment!).
The dress is from the Kat pattern by Grainline Studios (currently out of print). I made a version last summer and absolutely adored it as I think it’s a very flattering cut on me. To make this version, I combined the top contrast panel with the main fabric bodice piece, I dramatically lengthened the skirt (keeping the same width at the bottom so that it would fit on my fabric) and combined and lengthened the two contrast pieces at the bottom of the skirt). All were simple changes but it makes for a pretty different dress, which is always fun!
I seem to have settled on the name Happy Hippo dress because it’s the hippo on this print that made me fall in love with it, even though there are plenty of other adorable animals as well. I didn’t really have any leeway in cutting my fabric if I wanted the dress to be a maxi, so it was a pretty great coincidence that the Happy Hippo (does he remind anyone else of a hungry hungry hippo?) ended up front and center. I did fussy cut the toucan onto the bodice since he was the only animal small enough to feature there and I was careful to focus the small bodice panels on flowers so that I didn’t end up with any partial animal butts in awkward places.
If you want to snag some method laundry detergent for yourself, use the code THREEFORME for $3 off your online purchase. If you are the sort of person that isn’t quite as sewing obsessed as I and you actually buy some of your own clothes (no shame in that!), check out the collaboration between ASOS and method of clothes that are all machine washable.