Tree Sculpture Dress

This week’s Sew Weekly theme was Some Local Colour. The idea of the theme was to create something inspired by the place you live in. So many different possibilities! Where to start?!?! My first thought was to make something inspired by The Beehive. After all, doesn’t it just scream out to be a striped full skirt?! But then I decided it was a bit too obvious, really. While it’s definitely a recognisable symbol of Wellington, it’s just a bit too cliched. So, I looked around a bit further. The idea of doing something blue and green appealed, to symbolise the hills and the ocean. But when I went scanning for images of Wellington, one really caught my eye. The lovely tree sculptures outside the public library and around Civic Square. The way they flare out reminded me of a trumpet skirt. And the softly rounded base reminded me of slightly puffed sleeves. I’ve always loved those sculptures as well – they make me happy. :-) Clearly, I was going to make a Tree Sculpture Dress!

Here’s what I was inspired by (note: these aren’t my images, but I didn’t get a chance to go and take any this week):

Tree sculptures outside the library

Tree sculpture

And here’s what I came up with:

Tree Sculpture dress - standing in front of the old wharf at Shelley Bay at sunset

I used a soft grey crepe-like synthetic fabric that I had floating around in my stash, to mimic the soft metal of the sculptures. The dress is based on Simplicity 6145 from 1974, which I chose as I quite liked the v-shaped waistline in the front. I messed with the pattern a lot, though! I changed the skirt to an 8-gore skirt, and rounded the hem of each section, to reflect the top of the ferns on the sculpture. I also added a couple of gathers in the top of each sleeve, to make them a bit more rounded to reflect the base of the ferns. I also lowered the neckline, as the high round neck common in patterns from that era just doesn’t really suit me.

To add a bit more colour, I put piping around the seams on the bodice (front and back). I used a striped piping that I picked up in Auckland back in January – it has cream, blue, brown and orange stripes, and most of these colours are around the library and Civic Square where the tree sculptures are found, so I thought it ties in nicely. :-)

I must admit that this isn’t my favourite dress ever – I tend to wear a lot brighter or darker colours, and pale grey just isn’t really me. But I figure I can jazz it up a bit with coloured tights and a coloured cardigan in winter, and it’ll be all good!

The Facts

Fabric: Soft grey crepe-y synthetic from my stash. No idea what it is, where it came from, or how much it cost, so lets go for a random guess of $4 a metre! I would have used about 3.5 metres of it, so approx $14
Pattern: Simplicity 6145, with quite a few alterations. Purchased for around $5 second-hand off TradeMe
Year: 1974
Notions: Invisible zipper ~$6, hook and eye ~$0.10, approx 2 metres of piping ~$6
Time to complete: 5 hours
Will I wear it? Probably, with coloured tights and a bright cardigan in winter to combat the boringness of the grey.

Total cost: Approx $25

Standing in front of the old wharf at Shelley Bay at sunset

Piping detail on the front of the Tree Sculpture dress

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4 responses to “Tree Sculpture Dress

  1. Oh my gosh!! What a fantastic dress!! You’ve done a brilliant job recreating the sculptures! I really like the hem and the piping detail. Well done!

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