Maine, United States

Making No. 6 / Black & White / Array Shirt Dress Hack
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Making No. 6 / Black & White / Array Shirt Dress Hack

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The Oak trees where I live are the most earthy color green imaginable, very muted, and soft. I'm not sure if there even is such a thing as one version of the color green being more earthy than another. Perhaps, it's because the green of the oak trees is the type that's most prominent upon the land where I live, a place I consider very earthy. The dry golden hills here are scattered with oaks, little clusters popping up here and there. My home is situated at the edge of a small and lovely canyon in Southern California. When we first moved here, it felt like we were so far away, and at night it was very dark. Even though I didn't grow up in the city, it still felt like we were living in the country, and it took some time for me to adjust. These days, I'm so grateful for the place where we live because of how it's connected me to the land and the natural world. There are hawks that float across the sky, tarantulas we help cross the street,  sweet brown cows grazing outside our kitchen window, and an innumerable amount of trees.

Did you know that there are over twenty species of oak trees native to Californa? That's a fun fact I just learned, and my guess is that there are several different types here in the canyon where I live. But there is one friendly old oak I know with certainty is a Coast Live Oak because of its unique and sharp leaves that litter the ground beneath it. Oak Tress are evergreens, but they still do shed leaves and, of course, drop acorns. 

Each day, Olive (my dog) and I take our usual walk down a hill to a dirt trail that winds its way through the wild landscape behind the neighborhood. We usually stop at our favorite oak tree, the great Coast Live Oak, for a moment before we turn around and head home. This oak tree is beautiful and one I consider to be very friendly because there is a picnic table that sits beneath it. Above its trunk reaching out into the sky is a web of arms that make up its branches. Even in the afternoon under the intense sun, only a few gleaming droplets of light make their way through its leafy crown to the dirt below. 

I've always been inspired by nature, and love to incorporate it into the things I sew and create. Nature has a calming presence, and it reminds me to take note of the important things in life, especially the small ones. Nature also grounds me and makes me grateful to take up space in this beautiful world. 

One of my favorite ways to incorporate nature into the things I make is through the fabric I use. Texture, and color, especially, are some of my favorite things to look for and highlight in a material. Sometimes the texture of a fabric can look like the rumpled bark of a tree, or smooth and soft like water. Sometimes it's the color pattern on a fabric that helps me make a connection. And sometimes it's just the simplicity of a solid color, as is the case with this dress; it reminds me of oak trees. 

 The fabric I used for this dress is Mojito Slub in the color Olive. It has a very light, cool, and airy feeling. I had initially planned to use it for the Starry Sky Skirt but decided to use another instead, saving this one for something else. As the temperatures started to warm and summer arrived, I imagined making this breezy fabric into a dress and couldn't get the thought out of my mind. I wanted something simple, so I decided to hack the Array Shirt pattern by Sonya Philip from Making No. 6 / Black & White into a simple dress. For this dress hack, I made four changes. First, I eliminated the center front seam so that the front of the dress was all one piece. Second, I lengthened it to transform it from a top and into a dress. Third, I added the pockets from the Emerald Dress pattern by Rae Hoekstra in Making No. 7 / Desert. Fourth, and lastly, I used the fabric selvage at the hem for some added detail and texture. In the next post, I'll be sharing all the details for hacking the Array Shirt into a dress!

This dress turned out just as I had hoped, don't you love it when that happens? I can see it transitioning into fall beautifully, worn with jeans and a cozy sweater or scarf. And each time I wear it, I'll think about the friendly, earthy green oak trees.