I made a dress this weekend, and it was actually wearable! In public! In fact, I wore it all day yesterday. No one asked if I made it (another success), and I kind of got compliments on it. But, before I show it to you, I thought it’d be funny to review my dress failures.

1 - This one never got finished. It was too ugly. I cut it apart, and vowed to not try the pattern again (not only was the fabric a poor choice, but the dress is unflatteringly shapeless, has exterior pockets, a neckline that is too high and too tight, and sleeves that are too small).

2 - The finishing techniques I used on this dress are beautiful. The bodice was hand-sewed down, all the seams are French, and I used my narrow hem foot for the hem (which looks spectacular). I even got those pleats right in the front. Unfortunately, this dress is actually a muumuu. Yeah, I know. It's ankle-length, and shapeless, and, well, no good.

1/2 - I'm only counting this as a half failure, because I did, indeed, wear this one in public (twice, in fact). It was my "muslin" from a vintage pattern, and I learned what curved side darts do. Can you see in the picture? There's a poof of fabric at my belly. It's just empty fabric. Totally unflattering.

3 - I am so in love with this fabric, it hurts that this turned out so terribly. I made up version B (the yellow dress in the picture). It's not finished yet, because I ran into the problem of it being about 6 sizes too big. Really. It's ridiculous. I even tried adding many rows of shirring at the waist (a first for me, using elastic thread in my machine), but it didn't help (or it didn't help enough). Before I deconstruct it, I'll take a picture of me in it, so we can all laugh together. The pattern is cute, so I'm wondering if making it in a cotton instead of a knit would make a difference. And making a significantly smaller size.

4 - You remember this one. I talked about it last week. Total bummer that it makes me look 6 months pregnant. It is finished, however, including a great hem and hand-stitching on the inner bodice, and will be gifted to a friend.

So, you understand why, when I asked what my chances of success were for my next attempt, he voted for failure. I mean, 4 1/2 out of 5 failures? I seem doomed. [Editor’s note: it seems like this curse is solely limited to dresses. I’ve made some fantastic skirts in the meantime, and some other projects that I haven’t exactly finished yet (hello, trouser pants with the weird bunching under the zipper). And my quilting projects have overwhelmingly been a success. That’s comforting, right?]

Woo-hoo! Success! (It seems I am incapable of posing and smiling nicely for the camera. I don't know what my problem is.)

I had a feeling this might be a success, however. Let’s break it down so you can see why.

Here's the entirety of the pattern pieces cut out. 2 pieces. Love! (3 pieces if you want to make the sleeves.) Do you see the success here? There's shaping at the waist, on both the front and back pieces! It seems I might be getting wiser (or at least smarter).

Here's the detailing of the scrunch under the bust. There's supposed to be a casing on the inside with elastic on it, but a bunch of people on Pattern Review said it looked bad, and I agreed. Most people chose to make their own scrunch somehow, and this is what I ended up with. Simple but effective.

One of my secrets to success? I used my twin needle to hem the neckline, "sleeves" and hem. I think that's one of the reasons no one asked if I made it. Doesn't it look nice?

I absolutely love this fabric, too. It’s a “stretch luxe jersey” something from (that’s no longer available), and I’m glad that I have a couple of yards in cream. It has great drape, and is just a bit slinky (as in, must wear smoothing undergarments). The only problem with it is that it doesn’t breathe. At all. Never again will I wear this dress for a lunchtime walk in 85* weather. Yuck. But overall, it’s great fabric. I think I’m going to use what’s leftover to make a tank top, if I have enough.

Coincidentally, I'd already made up jewelry to match. I made these up a few months ago, and I don't really wear much navy, so I'm not sure what I was thinking. (As a child, I wore a lot of navy, due to being a redhead, and so have since eschewed navy clothing.)

I’m so happy it all worked out! Is the curse lifted? We’ll see. Monday night, I tried to pick out another dress to make, and could not match up any fabric with a pattern (though I have ample amounts of both). I’m still a bit gun shy, I suppose. So, I spent the evening doing a tiny bit of cleaning in my sewing room, and finishing up two projects (that olive linen dress? hemmed, and I hemmed the lining of a store-bought dress that needed a small modification to be wearable).

My next step is to pick out a dress pattern that will look good made out of cotton, because that’s the majority of my stash. If you have recommendations (knee-length, fitted at the waist please), let me know.

4 Replies to “Success!”

  1. Hi Kelly!
    Jane just share your blog address with me–love the dress!! It looks wonderful!

  2. I have a whole bunch of failures too (including the same armhole issue you encountered with the first dress).
    I’m considering this pattern for a piece of knit I have and am wondering how you made the gathering — it looks great and I want to copy you. 🙂

    1. Thanks! For the gathering, I just made even stitches, by hand, and then pulled it tight, and reinforced it by repeating it several times. This fabric was very fluid, so that helped a lot, and it was very forgiving. The other thing is to put on the dress and figure out exactly where that gather should be – don’t go by where the pattern tells you to put it, but put it where it looks best on your body.

      I don’t know if you’re on Pattern Review or not, but here’s my review, as well as several others on the pattern (which is where I got the idea to do the gathering).

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