While the major and difficult parts of my treatments for breast cancer are over, I still need to get Herceptin infusions every three weeks until late October. Today I’ll focus on what I want to wear to treatments. This is a dress based on my basic knit sloper. Sorry, I don’t have a pattern number for you for this exact dress, but Burda 6496 is close. I have a Power Port that is used to administer the treatments. The nurses say that they can work with pretty much any neckline except for a turtleneck, but I want to avoid having my neckline stretched out. So, one of the first considerations for a top to wear to treatment is that there is some opening that allows access. I used an Alabama Chanin idea and attached snaps to close up the front instead of trying to make button holes.
Another consideration for me is a dress that I can sit in and not have lap wrinkles when I stand up. For this dress with a straight skirt, I made a faux wrap front. The skirt is attached to the bodice with a empire seam. The bottom panel of the skirt goes a little more than 3/4 of the way across the front. The top part of the skirt goes 3/4 of the way across the front, and it ends about where a princess seam line would be. This amount of overlap has done a good job of keeping me covered when I’m sitting or walking, even in a windy situation. (As an aside, I noticed that the sleeve cap had too much fabric when I reviewed these photos, and I just stitched out the excess by taking an additional 1/4″ seam allowance.)
The next consideration was a personal challenge, not related to treatment. In the past, I wore lots of solid fabrics, and I’ve decided to work on adding a creative element to my makes. In this case, I added stenciling by using a fabric pen (Pentel gel roller for fabric, but I think they are discontinued. Boo.) to trace around an Alabama Chanin Stencil, Magdelana. This is a pretty and intricate pattern. Each skirt panel took me about an hour, and the bodice parts also took about an hour. I have a lot of time invested in this project!
I’ve taken several Alabama Chanin workshops, and one of the things that Natalie Chanin shared was that she works on making designs that are interesting to view from a distance, from middle ground and from close up. I think her designs are wonderful, and I’m sure it would take me hours and hours to design something with these design principles. That’s why I’m willing to pay for her stencils and use them.
The final reason I made this dress was because my favorite infusion nurse, Margo, challenged me to it! We were talking one day about sewing, and she said, “The next time I see you in here, I want to see you in a dress you made.” The way I figure it, if someone is coming at your chest with a needle and has a reasonable request, you should try to oblige. I’ll be wearing this make to my next appointment. : )