My husband and I recently went on a short trip – a babymoon, if you will – to Alaska. We were on the hunt for aurora. We chose a long weekend as close to a new moon and the equinox as our schedules would allow, two criteria we’d heard improve one’s chances of seeing the aurora borealis. Sadly, though we stayed up into the wee hours of the night with our camera at the ready, the weather and the aurora never cooperated. At one point we got tired of waiting and tried our hand at taking one of those star track photos, the ones where all of the stars spin around the north star. And, when we looked through the resulting photos, we found that maybe, just maybe, our camera was able to capture a hint of green aurora off to the north behind the trees. We were excited to realize it really was out there. But, it just wasn’t in the mood to be caught, I guess!
Okay, so what does all of this aurora talk have to do with sewing?! Before we left for the vacation, I got it into my head that I wanted to make an aurora dress in honor of the occasion. At that point though, it hadn’t quite sunk in that we might not see the aurora on our trip! I’d found this radiant cotton voile at FineFabrics.com that was cross dyed emerald and purple. I loved that the two colors together shown just like I imagined the aurora would across the dark night sky. I’d even earmarked the Project Runway-inspired Simplicity 2145 as the pattern frontrunner since I thought that its empire waistline and full skirt – sans pleats, of course – would work for maternity, while I could easily come back in later and add the waistline details for a dress that would fit and flatter in the many more non-maternity years to come.
Of course, I didn’t have time to make the dress before our trip, which was probably a good thing since I would have been a wee bit chilly running around Alaska in a voile dress! So, I’m making it now, as a promise to myself and my husband that we’ll go aurora hunting some time again in the future.
I’m starting with a muslin of Simplicity 2145, which means I don’t have anything to show for this project just yet. But, I couldn’t help but pause in my sewing to write a bit about the fabric. This voile is super interesting! Untreated, it’s stiff and has a bright green cast to it that really catches the light. After pre-washing though, it softens up, and the purple threads come into their own and mix really nicely with the emerald, creating a darker yet more dynamic hue. The weave of the fabric even seems to get tighter after pre-washing. In the image below, the pre-washed fabric is on the left while the untreated fabric is on the right. Can you see the looser weave and brighter green on the right?
It’s hard to capture on camera! How about now?
What if I come a little closer?
I think the color comes through a bit better than the difference in texture. Again, the pre-washed fabric is on your left, and the untreated fabric is on your right.
One last try to capture the difference in softness between the two. Maybe if I drape them over my hand?
Maybe? No? You’ll just have to take my word on it then!
I’m really excited to work with this fabric. Have you ever worked with a voile like this? If so, share your take on it and your finished project if possible. If not but if you’re curious to try, it also comes in hot pink and yellow cross dye and an aqua blue gray. Now to get back to that muslin…
UPDATE: I should also say that we had a wonderful time in Alaska, aurora or no!
- Pattern: Simplicity 2145
- Fabric: FineFabrics.com Emerald and Purple Cross-Dyed Voile