The City Nymph Dress

dress - Version 3screenshotAfter a lot of fiddling around with the side seams, the dress finally fits–right in time to be too heavy for the weather! I’ve been hauling stuff at work and pushing a heavy cart around, and this, coupled with the 40 minute walking leg of my daily commute, has resulted in rippling muscles and the slow decline of my winter padding.

I present…THE DRESS:

100_0911The inspiration was Duchess Catherine’s fabulous McQ Alexander McQueen ensemble from 2013. Her super-flare skirt looks good, but I wanted something closer to a kilt’s pleating for my skirt. I figured out (with help from The Google) that her tartan is of Scotland’s 3rd Battalion Regiment, the Black Watch; mine is…Black-Watch-inspired, maybe.

I managed to match the pattern pretty well–I am finding that plaids are the easiest patterns to work with. Once more complex shapes start popping up on fabric I start getting lazy and pretend that it doesn’t matter. It always matters, though. Always–I need to work on discipline.

4fc57d8cfc7f94406803f2b69829608b I remember making this dress vividly. It was a stressful time of year, in the springtime of 2014–I was finishing my Honours thesis, trying to maintain a social life, and restlessly sampling a lot of creative projects. The first time I wore the dress was at a performance night thingy that the student association had organized; poems and short stories were given to performers who had to interpret them into a performance piece. I had volunteered to perform, and was supplied with a very outrageous poem to turn into a song. Not my usual subject matter, but I was determined to BE ARTSY. My hands shook majorly as I tried to accompany myself on my guitar…

But hot dog, did I look good!


I don’t know what style or era this dress really fits, but I went for a Alphonse Mucha-inspired look for the photos. Whenever I fit into this dress, it makes me feel a little otherworldly and theatrical to wear it–it has influences from so many eras and looks that it’s a little anachronistic in any time. I always want to look like a Pre-Raphaelite painting: a throwback to the romance of a different time, but interpreted for modern tastes.

Time to complete: two to three movies
Pattern: original pattern, unoriginal design
Fabric: cheap tartan from a sewing shop on St. Laurent in Montreal
New skill: kilt-making
Hidden stuff: a line of big snaps keep the fronts attached to each other; I was considering big buttons, but like the clean look of the plain front
Failed skill: one sleeve is puffier than the other at the top.


One thought on “The City Nymph Dress

  1. I love this dress! It looks fantastic on you / you look fantastic in it. (But you’re wrong about the guitar performance; it was a real hit. You got a lot of laughs for your funny lyrics, and everyone enjoyed hearing you. “Mediocre”? No way. It was shiny and chrome.)


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