Hello and good day! Autumn finally seems to have kicked things off properly in these parts since we last spoke and I am enjoying getting out in the woods as much as possible and drinking in the changing colours and trying to see how many toadstool names I remember by heart. The other day, while out in one of my favourite forest stomping grounds I spotted two red squirrels so enthusiastically and eagerly running around and squireling away acorns and chestnuts that they almost ran each other over…twice. Honestly, it’s how I imagine I look in the woods to the innocent passer by once my favourite season rolls around.
Today I wanted to show you this autumnal make of mine. It boast such formidable pockets to stash away rosehips, acorns, chestnuts, pretty leaves, mushrooms and other autumnal treasures in that it’s the perfect project to show you all now.
My green mood continues to hold sway over the land, one mere summer dress was not enough to satisfy it so it shan’t be a surprise that I consider the pine green forest colour the star of this dress. I’m partial to all shades of green but cooler tones of pine green, particularly the darker shades, are among those that really make my heart sing.
I like working with and wearing a whole range of colours, but should I ever find myself in a weird and cruel midnight crossroads situation where I have to commit to one colour only (please not, it sounds like a proper nightmare to this colourwork loving crafter) I think it might very well be this shade of green. It reminds me of cool misty autumn morning woodland walks and late evening twilight dashes to our bikes when we lingered in the forest too long and the dark starts to set in.
I made my first colourwork allover, the Windermere sweater, in this colour, my Yari jumpsuit, my nephews first stranded colourwork sweater, a couple of shawls, and it is my preferred dark shade to use in fair isle allovers. So it’s safe to say this dress joins the ranks of a formidable group of makes.
The pattern is the Isca Shirtdress by Marilla Walker. This is my second time having a go at this pattern. I made my first Isca dress in the spring of 2020, when we were at the beginning of what would become a world wide pandemic. At times if feels like ages have passed since that spring, and at other moments it feels like mere minutes ago when we were rearranging our apartment for the work from home order. What can I say? Time distortion is a thing in any given year but throw a pandemic, multiple lockdowns, natural disasters, rise of fascism and conspiracy theories and protest against said rise and whatnot and well…we don’t really stand a chance of keeping some feeling of time passing do we?
I loved my Dinosaur Isca so much that I knew I would turn to the pattern again in the future. As with my previous version I made view A, the shirt dress, and kept many construction details similar. The main bare bones difference is that where I made my Dinosaur Isca shorter I kept the length on this one longer, which I think works really well in this solid colour.
Visually the biggest difference is that I made this version in a solid colour which make the style lines of the dress stand out and come into it’s own much better. This dress packs a lot of features that make it stand just a bit above your average shirt dress. Most noticeable details are the deep yoke pockets, the collar and stand, reinforced shoulders and the lapped seams on the front bodice. I appreciated these details in in my dinosaur Isca but I think they, particularly the shoulder and bodice detail, are even more effective in a solid fabric without a busy print to distract from and hide them.
The fabric is a 100% linen that was really pleasant to work with. I’ve used it once before and it is a beautiful quality linen, probably the best I’ve ever worked with that takes and holds the colour brilliantly over time. It’s a mid weight linen so it still has a nice drape and feel to it, but is a bit more substantial than some of the lighter weight linen’s I’ve worked with before such as my yellow hinterland dress. It’s less heavy than the denim for my previous version. This being my second time sewing it went a lot smoother as well as faster. My sewing machine had a hard time sewing the heavy denim fabric of my previous version, but this fabric didn’t give me any trouble whatsoever.
As with the denim version I have quite a bit of fabric leftover which surprised me as this one is a lot longer. Because the colour and quality of the fabric is so beautiful I have already been brainstorming how to best use the leftover fabrics in a scrap project. I’ve not made definite decision yet but the fabric making me this excited to work with scraps is a good testimony to how nice this fabric is to work with.
I guess this is also a good time to mention the frumpy sleeves in the photos. I’m not bothered by it but I know there are people who are particular about this sort of thing so this is linen and that comes with the assorted wrinkles and folds when worn. This was after wearing it about for a full busy day and then quickly taking some snaps while on our walk later in the day. However if you like the look and feel of linen but really cannot stand the odd wrinkle here and there from wearing you might want to try a linen blend. The fabric I used for this Jacket is a cotton linen blend and has a similar feel but is not prone at all to showing folds and wrinkles from wearing.
In the blogpost about my dino Isca I talked about the collar construction that Marilla uses; a sort of a newer way to do it rather than the traditional method which I am more familiar with. Because the fabric there was giving me such a hard time with it I eventually abandoned it back then and just used the traditional method. For this dress I did follow the construction method of the pattern and it came together a lot easier (what a difference a fabric makes!). I will say though that I still prefer the traditional way, not so much in the way of struggling with construction but more so that if you make a mistake or need to mend something down the line the order in which it is constructed will give you a harder time to do those fixes and repairs. I’m glad I tried it though and also to have managed to conquer the technique in a more cooperative fabric (look at me making it sound like I’m some sort of 6th century knight on a heroic quest here).
In some of the pictures I wear the dress with my dark blue and golden Harvest Moon cardigan which I knit over the winter months two years ago. The other piece of knitting is my blue Brackett cabled hat which is also a household favourite. I imagine I’ll keep layering it with woollies over the colder months and see how far I can take a linen dress in the winter months in my climate. I wore it here with cooler toned colours but I think this colour pairs really nicely with warmer autumnal colours as well.
I’m really happy with this Isca and it has good chance of becoming a real wardrobe staple. I have a (years and years old) RTW dress in this colour that I wear all the time, but crucially doesn’t have pockets (sacrilege!). Stylewise this dress in this colour and fabric is perfect for me and it came out exactly as I envisioned it when I first conceived of the idea. With it I am a little closer to my forest gnome bog witch dream wardrobe to perfectly blend in among the wintergreen. I feel all I need is a a pointy moss green hat, some moody colourwork mittens and some hardy handknit socks…and well…that can be arranged can’t it?