Constructing: Indian Summer Shirtdress

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Coco Chanel said,
"If there is no copying, how are you going to have fashion?"

I have to say, when I first saw the Sugar-Coated Dress, I couldn't wait to own it...
but upon trying it on, I encountered one disappointment after another.
Aside from the fact that I'd hoped the colors would be a little more vibrant and was a bit confused about whether it was meant to have a peter pan or stand-up collar, I kept wondering,

How can such a beautiful dress fit me so poorly?

Granted, I do have a rather androgynous shape in...ahem...key places, but come on, work with me here! I even tried on several dresses in the same size, hoping it was just some kind of bodice malfunction. But no, it simply didn't work on me...sigh..

Then, one day, as I was ho-humming my way past 400 uninspiring aisles of GO COLTS! anti-pill fleece at Joann Fabric's, I spotted this fabric tucked demurly in an obscure corner...

My eyes bugged out so far, I may have actually suffered retinal detachment.
Sudden inspiriation!

The colors were brilliant, the fabric design, just short of whimsical, and shoot, I think it actually sang. No disappointment here.

And so, with $24 dollars and a few hours of my time and effort, the Indian Summer dress was born (and it fits perfectly).

Mission accomplished.

My initial sketch

A work in progress

And, of course, my very, very favorite aspect of this dress--
the KRISTINA J. label on the inside!!!

So, what do you think? Does it work as a nice alternative to the original, or not?
I guess it's gonna have to work for me, 'cuz she's all I've got!


  1. Oh, Kristina! That's amazing! =D I own the original and love it, but this is just as great. Wonderful work, lady!

  2. omg your sewing skills are so amazing. I love this dress and I like that it's brighter than the inspiration piece! Omg, how cool is it that you have your own labels!!?? :)

  3. Could you be any cuter??? Love the dress, love the pics, love the blog.

    So glad you visited my new blog so I could find YOU!!!

    It's lovely to "meet" you.

  4. Such a cute dress! Do you make stuff for other people? I would buy from you in a heartbeat!

  5. I already emailed you to tell you this, but I'm just blown away by your talent! I love this dress and am so impressed! You look amazing!
    I second Chrissy - if you make for others, I'd totally buy!

  6. Stop it!! You are too much - I love this dress!! What size are you? Can you use yourself for a model and make me one?? What do you charge? Seriously, you NEED an Etsy shop, like, yesterday! I like yours better than Anthros! You remind me so much of my MIL - she is 83 now, but in her day she just looked at a dress then went home and made it - no pattern or anything! This sounds like what you are doing.

  7. Gorgeous dress Kristina! I think i like this more than the Anthro one, and your one would work better for summer.
    You really need an ESTY store! You are such a talent!
    I also love the photos - the simplicity is there, but also has an old-world feel.

  8. Holy crap. No seriously, like, HOLY CRAP. This dress is a-MA-zing! *You* are amazing! I love the dress, and the photos are amazing! And is there anyplace I can sign up to buy one..?

  9. Kristina - can you email me when you have a minute? I don't see your email listed here. Thanks!!

  10. wow Kristina! i'm totally blown ahhhway! i tried on the sugar-coated shirtdress but had fit issues due to my "little girls" as well so i completely understand!! your dress is way better than the original...i would soo buy it! :) wish i could sew half as good as you...i would sign up for sewing lessons from you too! anyways just wanted to tell you i nominated you for the blog awards and hope your inspirational blog wins! have a great evening :0)

  11. You are crazy talented!!! I've had the sugar coated shirtdress on my wishlist and I've pushed closer to the top because I couldn't find an alternative that I liked better but this is amazing!!! I love it!

  12. Wow, you've got some mad sewing skills. I think I like yours better than your inspiration!

  13. AWESOME!!!!! OPEN a STORE!!!!!! Love the pics, Love the dress, Love your blog......Love YOU!!! ~JS

  14. Ladies, ladies...I'm completely bowled over by your enthusiastic response. I'm just over here doing the things my amazing mother taught me, so the kudos really go to her.

    In response to an Etsy store...YES! the ONLY reason I started this blog was to kinda sorta put myself and my work out there to see if there was a market for vintage inspired skirts and dresses. It was part of a very specific business strategy recommended to me by KATE TOWERS (look her up online...she's amazing). I'm currently a stay-at-home mom to three small children, so I've been designing freelance for weddings and other occasions, in my spare time.

    The plan is to open an Etsy store sometime next fall, (and you can plan on this design being one of the first listed), when my two oldest sons are both in school and I actually have the time to put into a business. I put a lot of love and time into everything I build. I'd love to make you ladies some clothes...just not sure how that'd work long distance, since I'm a HUGE stickler about fit and tailoring. From my point-of-view, those two things are what separate good design from the bad (especially with handmade clothes).
    However, I'm not opposed to trying anything. I'd just need a picture of what you want.

    Again, you are all extremely sweet...thanks for the support...
    and anonymous, I know who you are, you crazy, loveable person, YOU!

  15. Maybe I'm a tad biased since I know you, but I'm going with the opinion that yours is WAY better! ;-) LOVE IT!

  16. Do what they all said!!Do It! Open an Etsy store..and don't forget about us anonymous friends when you become famous:)
    Love you! You are awesome at this sewing thing(I mean, who else do I know who has such sewing skills?:)Literally.

    P.S. I still want a Kristina J. dress;)

  17. Did you line the dress? I'm so blown away, its PERFECT! I'd buy this in a heartbeat! Did you make this without a pattern even? You really deserve your own boutique, you would be a gazillionaire! ;o)

  18. Wow, you're amazing!! I definitely like your version better than the Anthro one! :-)

  19. LOVELY! BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL! now how can i get one??

  20. Vikki, I did line the dress--a dress just doesn't feel finished without one. I used a sloper for the bodice and just kinda cut out a square and pleated it for the skirt.

  21. Well, you are a master class designer/seamstress, I've never seen anyone this good! When you decide to share your gifts with us ladies, I will be first in line! We give you 5 stars!

  22. I stumbled across your site and I love what I see. My mom is such a great sewer but, unfortunately, I don't find it a relaxing hobby like she did. She's now 77 years old and has pretty much hung up her Singer. I have two teenage girls (definitely not the typical teen) who would *love* to wear your dresses and skirts. In fact, one of my daughters only wears skirts. Skirts every day, never pants.

    I look forward (very eagerly) to you opening an etsy shop, but if you are interested in making some skirts or dresses for some young girls before that, I am very interested.


    Just in case that is any chance, I can be contacted at karenf91 (at) verizon (dot) net.

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  24. Count me as interested in your dresses. My mom sews really well but she takes close to a year to finish anything or never finishes it at all. I have a hard time waiting that long and sometimes end up talking things to alterations instead. I understand what you mean about trying to get a perfect fit long distance. My mom has me try things on every step of the way. If someone knows how to take measurements they could send you them and you could set up a dress form. I was so happy when my mom bought one so I didn't have to run over to her house every time she wanted to check something. Getting a few dress forms might do the trick. My mom even bought one for herself in a plus size to use. Anyway, congrats on your dress. There are so many excited people including me. Good work and great photos! I have added your blog to my regular reads.

  25. amazing! i love your posts. i think your designs (especially this one and the school uniform one) are REFRESHING and you don't have to worry about showing too much skin! :) - alexis

  26. These pictures are amazing as well as your dress!

  27. Beyond Super Cute!! I heart your blog!

  28. Question: Did you create your own pattern for this dress? I can sew a copy of something I like but sketching what I have in my mind... no way. Go figure. I can sew it but I can't sketch it.???

  29. your designs are awesome...I wish you had patterns or tutorials for them!

  30. I love love love this!! It is SO cute!!! I love how all your dresses come below your knees! That is where my Daddy wants all mine to come! I might have to try and make some of your dresses!!



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