Sunday, 10 April 2011


Three times a lady

pink velveteen sis boom full

I know, all these dress revisions are getting tedious. If it's any consolation, it's tedious for me too.

pink velveteen sis boom skirt

Skirt has been increased from the half circle of the zebra dress to a three-quarter circle. It's gigantic. It is very bulk-inducing at the back, but that's probably partially the fault of the fabric being velveteen.

pink velveteen sis boom back

But we're not going to dwell on that because, 'Look, Mom!! No bra strap!!' Finally.

pink velveteen sis boom bodice

One of the things that bugged me about the zebra dress was the elastication at the neckline. I've no beef with elastic necklines in general, but I'm wanting a formal dress at the end of this whole ordeal and I think the elastic made it less so. More changes were made to the bodice front piece (including unplanned changes after I thought it was done- that'll teach me not to fit as I go along) to eliminate the elastic. As you can see by my serving wench bosom, I lowered the neckline to the borderline disgraceful. If I make another one, it's coming back up a smidge.

pink velveteen sis boom semi-side

As Angie and Pickled Weasel suggested, I increased the height of the waistband an inch and a half to counter the (entirely true) assertion that I looked short waisted. I 'formalised' the waistband and shoulder straps with more regular pleats than the random 'smooshing' that the original pattern called for. I don't even know why I'm pretending that this dress even bears any resemblence to the pattern anymore.

pink velveteen sis boom jamie
Even Jamie doesn't know what I should do.

There we go then. Other than a couple of small changes, I've tamed all the original fitting problems that bothered me and I think I've gotten to the point where I could move on to a final version. But I can't decide if I want to.... Something just looks 'meh' to me.

Potential reasons for meh:
  • Just the fabric (again- stashbusting). For Final!Dress I want to use crisp silk dupion. Will this make everything better? Does such fabric lend itself to half skirt or three quarter circle?
  • Long-standing resentment towards under bust gathers: do these always make boobs look dumpy?
  • Strap angst: should I change them just to normal ones? do they start too high up?
  • Proximity to armpit: awfully close to armpit vs showing bra at armpit. Discuss.
  • My monkey: as explained yesterday.
Do I soldier on or should I just bask in the fact I have learned a lot about fit adjustments?


  1. So, you've done amazing things with this dress and I think it is pretty darn fabulous, but it sounds like you are really not happy with the idea of it. Is it time to cut your losses and move on? Maybe...
    Disclaimer: I am totally incapable of this and will beat a project into the ground, so I may not be the best advisor.

  2. I saw the first picture and said aloud, "Ooh, pretty!", so I think that ought to tell you something. I think the straps look really pretty (and the waistband does too).

  3. If you have the stomach I would try once more in a better fabric. I like the dress a lot, but am not loving the fabric in these pictures.

    And yeah, you can totally make any pattern your b* now!!

  4. Yeah, I'm not loving it this time, and I did enjoy the others more. It could definitely just be the fabric, the gathers at the bust are very... um... I can't even think of something descriptive, so we'll go with 'not awesome looking' but that is probably the fabric right there. Something more drapey would probably be fine. I think I tend to like bust gathers for formal-ish dresses more when they're done as pleats, I've done a dress that way, then again it was a surplice top, like the wrap look. Which I think actually might look great with the rest of the alterations you've made, but then you'd definitely have to stop pretending it is the same dress! ;) On the bright side then you can say, "Oh, this? I drafted the pattern myself. No big deal."

  5. I love it. I think it looks great and if you are using a lighter weight fabric for the final dress it will not look all that "pooffy" The neckline is still modest. I like the gathers on the straps and you did an awesome job on the belt/under the bust gathers and transition.
    I bow to your talent altering the original dress for something that fits you gazillion times better :)

  6. I have to tell you, I have been totally fascinated by this entire process. Mostly because your monkey has a timeshare at my place-- while not overly blessed in the bust, I'm 6'2" and if my clothes aren't very fitted and feminine I start to kind of... hulk. People have also made the thin comment to me (which, seriously??). All of which has made me afraid to try making anything for myself. I can't decide if watching you work through this process ha made me more or less afraid, but thanks either way for such fascinating posts.

    All that said (sorry! Too long!!), this dress is pretty but I think you are right. It's still kind of meh. Please don't hate me but for this much effort it feels like it should be more fun for you to wear. You don't seem even close to having fun, which is the whole point, after all.

  7. I really love what you did with the first glance I was like "how did she do that", but I read your post and now I see. I love that you can't see your bra strap.

    I think out of the 3 dresses, the zebra one was my favorite. I'm not sure if it was the fabrics, the design, or a little bit of both.

    I am making 2 more of your hoodies right now for my kids for was a last-night-at-4am decision. :-)

  8. Can you change the gathers under the bust into bust darts? Other than that I love the dress... though in silk dupion since as you say the fabric is a bit Meh... The silk Dupion will add that extra something as it shimmers...

  9. You've put so much work into this dress, it'd be a shame to let it all go. Although, I do agree that this version is definitely 'meh'. Part of it is the fabric, definitely. A silk dupioni would look amazing, I think. The zebra print was awesome too!

    The other problem is the top. The scoop neck with the new straps just looks too casual to me. I know you were planning to do it anyway, but I would raise the neckline a bit, and change the shape to something either much shallower or more dramatic.

    Looking back at the first picture again, the dress is fantastic from the ribcage down. You know what would look awesome? A V-shaped top, like the white halter dress Marilyn Monroe so famously wore.

    I'll stop talking now. Good luck!

  10. I think what makes the dress look so great on you is the trim fit/height of the waistband in contrast to the circle skirt and the bodice. I love the taller waistband and how you've structured it a bit more. I think one of the reasons the zebra dress looks so great though is the contrast between the waistband and the rest of the dress. Can you use a contrasting fabric in her silk, or does it have a design to it that could be used in a contrasting way? To me that's what the pink dress, though lovely, is missing!

  11. Here's my two cents. I like the longer waistband and for a formal dress, I like the pleats. I love the lower neckline, couldn't be mistaken for matronly.
    Here's what I thing about saggy boobs. I think they are given the illusion of being that way by the distance from where the strap attaches to the bodice down to the fullest part of your (ahem) cups. if the straps connected lower on the bodice, that long line of solid fabric wouldn't be there on each side.
    Same principle that I can't wear a one-piece swimsuit with a back that falls 3/4 down my back, because, all of a sudden, my butt looks like it extends all the way up to my lower back.
    Of course, I could be totally wrong...

  12. I have no opinion, but two comments: 1. Big boobs and under bust gathering always looks like you've specially made little bags for the boobs to go into.
    2. Your dress doesn't seem to have that amount of under bust gathering. Looks pretty.

  13. hmm I hate to say it but I agree with the meh description, it just isn't right. I think it is the bust line, it is a little matronly and 80's, and in not a hip retro way.

    You have a lovely figure and it doesn't really do you justice. Could you change the top half so that it has a wrap over style top, sorry I can't explain this well so I will point you to what I mean (see Gershwin dress and Tilsden dress by Hobbs, but without sleeves - although I think that shape dress would look great on your figure). However, as you can tell by reference to shop bought clothes I am no dressmaker so am clueless as to how hard that might be to make! However, I do believe that if you make something for a special occasion you should feel fabulous wearing it and I get the impression you won't as it currently stands.

    Goodness what a long comment - you will regret your post on sneakyness now that it has encouraged to post :0)

  14. I thought the bust gathers worked on this one!
    The waist is much better, very well executed. The neckline isn't disgraceful at all, it's perfectly moderate. I think the fabric is weighing it all down a bit, it needs a bit more floofiness to it. But I don't really know what silk dupion is, so I don't know if it will have added floof...
    Maybe the pleats are making it look a bit heavy too? Smooshing can be formal in the right fabric. And I think if you shorten the skirt a bit it would look better.
    I think you need to make the final version just to conquer it and put it to bed, but like KID MD said, you don't sound overly enamoured with it even after all the tweaks.

  15. To back up what Stresshead Red said, I think you'd look great in something like this:
    (only not in that blue, maybe in red or coral instead?)

  16. For evidence of how gorgeous ladies with a good set of bangers can look in a wrap style top, google 'tadashi shoji christina hendricks aubergine' and look at the first picture. Va va voom!
    Sorry, I'll shut up now, because you're probably going ahead with the final version of your original dress and it's waaaay too late to change patterns and it'll all turn out fabulous anyway because you're a sewing Godess.

    And I find it hilarious that the word verification for my comment is 'unbust' :D

  17. I think it's beautiful - you look wonderful. The fit is perfect and I wholeheartedly disagree that you look 'matronly' - I don't think that you actually could, but if we're assuming that you do have the ability to look that way then this dress is not working that look...thank goodness! x