July 18, 2010

Ms Morticia walks again??

Nostalgia can be a good thing. Or a bad thing. From the moment I decided to use the pinstripe linen for (among other things) a partly bias-cut dress, this appeared in my mind's eye.
I've just added this technical drawing to show you why Dora's excellent suggestion of cutting off the flounce and making it a knee-length dress wouldn't work. It's no where near knee-length at the front.

I would have loved this SO much, somewhere between 5 and 10 years ago, when I was a bit of a goth. But I made it now, when I'm mostly into wearable shape-experiments and retro dressing...
There are undeniable good things about this dress. First of all, it was my first full body pattern for bias cut (I've done a skirt and a waist panel before, but with both of those, you avoid the hardest bits of fitting) and with some tweaks, I got it mostly right. I don't think it's visible in the pictures, but the stripes form perfect chevrons along the center front and back seams. I just couldn't get them to match along the sides as well. The waist-to-hip curves are too different.
I could improve on it a little bit by taking in the side seams at the very top by between 0.5 and 1 cm, but there was just no way I could see that before finishing the top edge. And to be honest, I don't feel like unpicking all of that (which I would have to do to make that alteration). It might even itself after laundry and pressing. By the way, I think that edge looks rather nice:

So, all in all not a bad effort. It just doesn't really feel like.. eh... me. Wearing this doesn't particularly make me feel happy or pretty. It doesn't exactly make feel ugly but you know, sometimes, if you're having a bad day, changing into a great, favorite dress can just make that little difference which makes you smile again... At least, I can have that. With this dress, I'm afraid it could be to opposite.
It has something to do with the colour but at least as much with the shape. I've got black summer clothes which I'm totally happy with, but this is just all over... and I'm really loving my full skirts... and maybe I just don't like long skirts so much anymore... certainly for summer...
It feels a bit like a waste of fabric. Which, by the way, is rather nice: a good weight and texture, presses well, doesn't crease so much... I might even buy more of it, so I can ignore the existance of this dress, which took about 1.5 m of each. And maybe I shouldn't. I'm just too good at expanding my stash.
I'm considering what to do with the dress. I might give it to a friend who stuck with that slightly goth style a bit more and has a fairly similar size. It's not bad, I just don't enjoy it.


  1. Hi! After reading this blog for a while I can totally see what you're saying -- this is a well-made dress and it would be great for some people but it looks nothing like your contemporary, elegant style. Have you considering removing the flouncy bottom part and making into a knee-length cocktail type dress? You'll have to do something with the bottom front part of the skirt, but you don't seem to lack ideas!

  2. It's a lovely dress and it would be totally wonderful in the awful heat and humidity we are having here in NY, but you don't look happy in it, so maybe you should put it in the closet and see if it's any better in a week or so. It's beautifully constructed and the fit is wonderful, so maybe make it up again in a brighter, more summery color?

  3. i think it would look neat without the big flounce and with the same bias tape treatment around the angled tulip hem. It would be plainer and more subtle, but still very nice.

  4. I'd love to see you use your creativity to experiment with the flounce. Instead of the ruffle, can you do something with a short pleat?

  5. The top part of this dress looks great. If you cut it off as a short knee length dress you could add a short bias flounce or ruffle to make it long enough for comfort but still nice and summery.

  6. Personally I love the dress on you. But if you want a more relaxed look, lose the heels. Put on some flat or wedge heel sandals and a long pale necklace - the Australian designer Dinosaur Designs has exactly the resin necklaces I'm thinking of.

  7. It looks lovely to me, but I'm probably still stuck in that slightly goth phase ;). I'd say stuff it in the closet for a bit, see if it grows on you, and if not, give it away or sell it. Someone out there will adore it just as is. :)

  8. I think the flounce really needs to go. I love the rest of the dress, but maybe a tulip hem or shorter bias ruffle is the answer?

  9. The flounce is not quite right. How about a diagonal application starting mid hip on one side, running down to the lower edge of the body, and then going all the way around. The flounce would pick up the curve in the line drawing you show, just extend diagonally upward. And vary the width of the flounce, don't want too much emphasis at the hip area. Don't know how drappy your fabric is, tho, so maybe that won't work.
    Or, try a one of those ruffles that is cut from a circle. Start up at waist/hip line, go down diagonally to pick up the diagonal hem at CF and then circle on around. That way you have the flounce, but no gather at the seam line so it minimizes horizontal lines.