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Making Issue No. 7 / Emerald Dress
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Making Issue No. 7 / Emerald Dress

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The days are getting longer; the mornings and evenings are starting to warm and evoke a feeling that a change is coming. Close your eyes and look up. There isn't a cloud in the sky, and the warm sun is draping itself onto your shoulders and down your back, and you are enlivened by its dry warmth. Below your feet is the earth of the desert, cracked and thirsty, but also very much alive. Sprouting up from the dusty ground is the flora of this place in shades of soft greens, and tans, and browns. Though much of this land looks barren, it's fully alive, just the way you feel in this moment as the sun warms you. This is the season to soak it up, the sun, and to spend time outdoors. This is summertime, my favorite season, and now that it's almost here, I'm reaching for clothing that's designed for comfort and carelessness, for warmer temperatures, and for time outside, the easy linens, like the Emerald Dress.

Ever since we shot this dress for the Desert issue last fall in Joshua Tree, I've wanted to make it. I remember noticing it in the pile of samples. It caught my eye because I'm very drawn to the oceanic turquoise blue-green that's seen in the Pacific off the coast of California sometimes. This color comforts my soul, so you can imagine how excited I was to spend some time getting to wear it out in the desert.

The Emerald Dress was shot on the second day of my time with the Making team at the location where my grandma and I had stayed the night before; a darling little place called the 29 Palms Inn about 20 minutes away from Joshua Tree. The charm of this place is too great to express; around every corner, there was something that caught my eye and made me appreciate the wonder of this dry land. The desert is a special place, but it took some time for me to grow into loving it the way I do now. I have camped in it several times, both wonderful experiences, and the more time I spend in it, the more I've come to appreciate it for its unique beauty. I love the stars that make themselves visible only in the deepest of dark spaces, and I love the quiet and sense of stillness there. But the desert is also a harsh place of extremes, and at first, you may wonder what there is to see but rocks and cacti. In reality, the desert is a place abounding with life; sometimes, you just have to look a little deeper for it. For me, it's often the things I have to search for that become the ones I treasure most.

It was the morning of the second day of my time with the Making team when I put on the Emerald Dress. Not only had the dress been beautiful on the hanger, but it was even more lovely to wear as I felt the fabric drape itself around me. As we left the room to photograph the dress, we walked past a vintage Airstream, around and past a pond with turtles and ducks, past the garden that helps to feed guests in the restaurant, and over to a salmon pink colored building. The rooms at this resort are almost set up as separate spaces, and some of them actually are their own structure. Back to the far end of the property was one suite brightly painted with colors reflecting the soul of the desert and a window outlined in blue, this was our spot. I kicked off my shoes, felt the dirt beneath my feet, and reveled in the experience I was living there in the desert in this beautiful dress, a dream moment.

This dress is one of those pieces you'll want to reach for year after year, that will get more worn as time goes on, and continue molding into the shape of your body, loving you in this way. This is one of my favorite things about handmade clothes, their ability to make us feel more whole the more we wear them.

For the Emerald Dress picture here I chose a similar color to the sample in the magazine, a soft linen rayon blend in Sage from Fancy Tiger Crafts. I'm petite, so I made an adjustment to help with the fit, and I added some embroidery.The flowers on this dress were featured in Making Issue No. 5, Color, as part of the Wildflower Project Bag by Melissa Wastney; the instructions can be found on pages 22-25 of that issue. In the next few blog posts, I'll be discussing both of those topics. Instructions for the Emerald Dress by Rae Hoekstra can be found on pages 78-82 of Making Issue No. 7, Desert. - Emily