Monday, 4 April 2011


Pretty (awkward) in Pink

Despite the fact I am generally terrible at sew-alongs, I committed to one last week as it's less than three weeks until the wedding and I still don't have a dress to wear. Admittedly, I wasn't in love with the picture of the Sis Boom Jamie dress on the pattern envelope but I was won over by the sew-along organiser's mega-cute rendition:

How awesome is that? Heaps. So pattern was duly purchased, printed, assembled, cut, replicated in fabric form and sewn together:

Sis Boom Jamie dress full
Apologies for pic quality, the lighting situation in Edinburgh today is officially atrocious

The idea was a wearable muslin so that I could learn from any fitting issues before making a fancy one out of posh fabric.

Sis Boom Jamie dress side

I made the skirt massively full because for my swanky final version I was thinking of a fairly sturdy silk shatung with a pettiskirt underneath.

Sis Boom Jamie dress back

The back has the problem of not covering my bra straps but I think I could fix that fairly easily.

Sis Boom Jamie dress bodice

As per usual, the majority of the fitting issues are bust-related. My bra shows along the neckline at the right and left so I'd have to give the bodice piece more height there. The main problem, however, is the eight inches of extra fabric pooling between my breasts. I pressed the folds with the iron for at least an hour and a half but it only marginally improved the situation. This extra fabric also droops down, as the slack is not taken up by travelling up and over a boob.

So the question is this: do I persist with this pattern or hunt for a different one? You can also pass judgement on the changes (I think) I need to make and/or want to make:
  • Transfer the straps from current arrangement where they come horizontally out of a channel to ones that come vertically out of the bodice. Also, shorten straps.
  • More coverage to back sides at armhole.
  • I really like the waistband, but I don't like waistbands that are only at the front. Party at the back too, please.
  • I think the skirt would be more flattering as a circle skirt rather than the extreme gathering at the waist.
  • Tame the bodice. More height at sides, less height at centre front. Way less fabric at centre front. Concentrate gathers under bust, not at centre front.
So... worth persisting or should I start fresh?


  1. I don't know enough about sewing to advise, but it's a very pretty dress that suits you, so I'd say go ahead with it. :)

  2. I agree it looks fab on you! I have similar issues with just t-shirts where the fabric is slack between the boobs. My solution has always been to wear a tube type top underneath. I don't know if that helps at all but I definitely say you should go for it. It looks heaps better on you than the cover model for the pattern.

  3. I like it a lot! I agree with wanting a party at the back too though. Make the changes and it will be fab!

  4. Definitely a circle or 3/4 circle skirt rather than the gathering. I never like gathering at a waistline like that, but that may just be me.

    Also definitely adjust the gathering a bit, so that there's less in the middle and more out to the sides. The gathers seem to be pulled sideways by your (most admirable) rack, so there's enough fabric but it's in the wrong places. I do find a small amount of sag is inevitable in that style of bodice, though, if you have anything bigger than a B cup.

    Otherwise, the waistband is lovely and you look marvellous. Have you chosen fabric for the real thing yet?

    Oh, and try Gertie's horsehair hem thingie to get a dramatic swirl on your circle skirt. It'll look awesome.

  5. Done already?! Wow you're fast!! Oh my gosh! It's so cute on you!!! It looks fabulous on your body! I know what you mean about the waistband, on my third attempt I actually put the waistband part (not ruched though) on the back too. I think I like it better that way and will probably do that on my next one too.

    For the bra strap dilemma, I thought of purchasing that "Strap Perfect" gadget...not sure if they have those in the UK?

    Overall, are you happy that you did this? I think the skirt looks great on you, but I do remember you saying that you wanted to make it with the circle skirt.

    Do you mind if I put this on my blog for inspiration? Put it on the flickr group! And don't forget to come back in a few weeks for the linky party/prizes :-)

  6. I love it, particularly as you're intending the final thing to have a pettiskirt - I've seen so many of that glamourous style of dress around lately and love it. Also, while wearing it you would be able to sing the following playground song that my daughter & her friends frequently warble at one another whilst doing handstands:

    Handstander 1: I am the champion!
    Handstander 2: Oh no, you're not, not for the longest time. Under, over, petticoats over, heeeerrrreeee we go! (at which point you up-end yourself in a handstand and the imaginary petticoat whizzes over your head).

    Imagine being able to do that for real! I know this alone may be all the encouragement needed to inspire you to forge ahead with this pattern - I really like it and think that once the bra strap issues are addressed it will be a winner.

    You may wish you'd never tempted lurkers out with the sneaky animals post when they end up leaving comments as long as this. Sorry. x

  7. I love it! I also agree with your planned changes, particularly the circle skirt and gather redistribution. That said, it looks quite good in it's unaltered state.

  8. Don't know enough about sewing clothes to suggest anything sensible... but think you should stick with it because it really suits you. (and love your shoes).

  9. BRA STRAP - just buy the special bra strap gadget (essentially a safety pin/poppa on a fabric strip which you attach inside the dress and wrap around the bra strap - it yanks the bra strap over so it does not show.

    Adapt the bodice top to gather just to left and right of centre front and not in centre?

    Think that the dress looks SUPER on you - can't wait to see the full skirt/pettiskirt version!

  10. I can't comment on the technical aspect since this is SO far beyond my current sewing skills.

    So I'll comment as a fellow busty traveler. I think moving the gathers under the bust is a good idea. Looking at the model you posted it looks like the basic pattern with center gathers is intended to drape a little, a look I don't think you'll achieve past a B/C cup. A little more fitted on the top part of the bust with off-center gathers underneath will look very flattering.

    It's pretty as is, too! Just need to throw that out there.

  11. You ARE fast!! I just got to work on the bodice today, so it's been helpful to see yours.
    I might add the waistband to the back, totally agree with that one. Changing the gathering to a circle skirt would be fab too! It looks great as is, so probably just a few tweaks (and the bra-contraption) would make it perfect!

  12. Luverly!
    Agree with all the changes, especially the circle skirt and re-arranging of bust gathers.

  13. I think it looks adorable. I didn't notice the slack between the boobs until you pointed it out. I've had that problem before (and will probably have it with my version of this too). Sound like you know a lot more about dress construction than I do! I wouldn't know how to make any of those adjustments! But I'd love if you post some pics of what you do if you adjust it.

  14. I second the comments that say you look super cute. Way to go getting it done so quickly! The fabric is a great pattern and color on you. Such a shame about the bra issues as one of the things I liked the most about the pattern is that it should be able to hide bra straps. I hope you do manage to sort this pattern out so you can try it again. I'm planning to get started on mine this week but since I'm nowhere near as well-endowed as you I hope I won't have all of the same problems.

  15. I'm in the sew-a-long too. so, questions--did you use the fuller cut on the pattern for the bust and did you go up a size on the bodice and waistband as Sara recommended?
    p.s.I'll repeat these questions on flickr

  16. I know it probably doesn't matter, because it wouldn't matter to me if I was bugged about something, but the "pooling" doesn't look bad at all. As far as the waistband, I haven't seen a pic from the back where I was able to tell if it went all the way around. Since I haven't sewn mine yet, I'm definitely going to try to add a band in the back.