Linen Tunic Dress by Sonya Philip
If you haven’t met Sonya Philip of 100 Acts of Sewing, here’s your chance. She’ll be teaching our very first Pop-up Britex on March 14 where she’ll demonstrate all the skills necessary for making an a-line tunic dress. Here’s a peek into her creative process using two pieces of linen from the our online selection.
Why did you choose these fabrics for your project?
I adore linen. It is wonderful to work with and has a beautiful hand. Living in San Francisco, I find I can wear linen almost year-round. I chose the main fabric (Golden Wheat Linen/Silk Blend) primarily for the color–mustard and curry yellows just really speak to me right now. I wanted a strong contrast color and was taken by the richness of the Two-tone Raspberry Linen.
My design process is largely intuitive, in this case the fabric itself played a large role. I was so taken by the dark selvedge of the Golden Wheat Linen, I incorporated it in an exposed seam up the back of the dress. I knew I wanted to make large pockets and decided to pull in some brown. I made piping to frame the pockets, using the same brown linen as the bias facing in the neck and armholes. Many of the dresses I make are simple, but love to include hidden details.
I learned to sew in middle school and while adept, I always found myself frustrated. I began knitting in my 20s and as an artist, have incorporated knitting, felting, and other crafts in my work. I took a pattern making class at the beginning of 2012 with the wonderful Cal Patch. Within a week, I designed and sewed four dresses, then decided I would set a challenge to make one hundred. I created a tumblr site called 100 Acts of Sewing, where I uploaded a photo of each dress as it was made. Along the way, a social element evolved, engaging the public through teaching and a dialog about clothing manufacturing. The project now has its own website, www.100actsofsewing.com with information on upcoming exhibits and workshops.
Even though I finished 100 dresses, I felt like I had almost just started and made the decision to carry on with a second year. I’m excited to participate in Pop-up Britex on March 14th and at the end of the month I’ll be traveling to Chicago for an exhibit of the project at the Lillstreet Art Center.