Today is the opening day of the farmer’s market in my little community. I don’t know if that makes it the number-one happiest day of the year, but it’s certainly in the top ten. Not only does this mean that we’re maybe safe from winter weather (maybe – it does snow in May sometimes, but only sometimes), but it also means the beginning of good summer meals. I mean, the difference between a summer tomato from the farmers market and a winter tomato from the grocery store — are these even the same vegetable? And how about a peach that ripened on the tree versus one from the grocery store that crunches like an apple when you bite into it. Ugh. That crunchy hard peach is an insult to real peaches everywhere.
So today it was slim pickings — asparagus, mushrooms, eggs, but I arrived too late for rhubarb, sob. Next week! My favorite farmer from Michigan assures me he’ll have early strawberries next week, too, and told me to get there early. I remember last year, the first week he had strawberries, they were completely sold out by 10:00 a.m. So I’ll be setting my alarm for sure. This same farmer has the best eggs, too, and so tonight’s dinner will be an egg white omelet with asparagus and a bit of porcini mushroom. Yum. I already can’t wait for dinner.
I do most of my grocery shopping at the area farmers markets, to the point that the farmers know me and remember to point out things they know I’ll like. That makes it extra fun. I know it’s almost like a cliche to rave about farmers markets, but I’ve been a proud addict for decades, since back when I practiced law in Indianapolis and they started a weekday market in the little street next to the city-county building. I still remember (with incredible longing) these tiny plums we used to get there, about the size of grapes with very small stones. Best. Plums. Ever. I used to gorge on them while reciting the William Carlos Williams poem, “This Is Just to Say” —
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Because really, if ever there were plums that deserved a poetic tribute, it was those tiny plums from the farmers market in Indianapolis.
Anyway. Forgive me. I tend to get a little overwrought on the first farmers market day of the year. *ggg* It’s no coincidence that I finished this sundress in time for the opening. I cut it out a couple weeks ago with this happy, anticipatory image of walking around the park with a summer breeze catching the hem, towing my little red wagon behind me. (This one with, yes, the drink carrier for my coffee cup — this little wagon has proved to be a most worthy investment.)
This dress is very loose and billowy, a trapeze shape with a mullet hem. It’s very simple, just a center front seam, center back seam, side seams, and bust darts. Sometimes the simplest shapes are the ones that require the most fitting, though. I labored over this one. I think the key to a good fit with a shape like this is in the shoulders and upper bust. If you nail the fit there, the rest of the dress can be loose but it won’t appear oversized. So I tinkered quite a lot with the shaping in that area, and I ended up taking it in about 2″ in the shoulders and 3″ in the upper bust.
I wanted something loose and breezy because I’ve been dealing with medication changes since about October, and each change causes a change in weight. I’m up, I’m down, and it’s driving me a little crazy. So I thought a dress like this might help me cope while we get things stable again. Right now, I’m probably up about 16 or 17 pounds from where I was when we started with all this tinkering (but last week, I was only up 11 — really, the fluctuations are frustrating), and as we all know, every stone (14 pounds) is a size. But I know my shoulders won’t change shape much, so a dress that’s fitted well through the shoulders and loose everywhere else might still be wearable after I’m out of this phase.
Here’s a view of the side to show off the hem shaping.
As I was snapping some side views, I started thinking about how I might tinker with that waistline after things are stable again. The pattern, Simplicity 1621, has a tank top version of this same piece with elastic at the high waist, and I might add some elastic later.
I originally purchased this pattern to make the jacket from some black silk organza. It was pure coincidence that I was thinking about this black and gold batik from The Needle Shop and spotted this mullet dress — and just like that, my planned black and gold batik kimono became a sundress.
The sizing on this pattern is S, M, L, etc., instead of numbered sizes. I normally expect a Medium to be the equivalent of a 12-14, which is just where I am now — 12 on a normal day, 14 when I’m puffy. But this one is a little different, and the medium is a 14-16. That’s why it required so much tinkering in the shoulder shaping. It was definitely as broad as a loose 16 should be, but I wanted more of a 12 in that area.
The only other adjustment was my standard FBA. I didn’t even shorten them length. If I make this one again — and I might, in a smaller size out of a knit fabric instead of a woven — I might narrow the shoulder straps a bit. I don’t think they’re too wide, necessarily, but I think they would look fresher and more modern if they were just a bit narrower.
There’s something almost tiger-like about that print, don’t you think? Here’s a better view of the print.
It’s batik, black over a sort of marbled gold and brown in a pattern of circles and lines, but from a distance, it almost has an animal print vibe. I like animal prints, so I’m good with that. I don’t ordinarily wear these autumnal gold and brown shades — and looking through the photos, I realized that my standard silver jewelry looks wrong with this, so I’ll probably wear some black onyx earrings with it next time. And I think there’s enough black in the print that the golden tones don’t wash me out, but maybe that’s wishful thinking. I’ll wear the dress in either case!
What’s your favorite thing from the farmers market?