Thursday, 18 June 2015

Something's not right here...!

Here's a little update on my mailorder sundress I was teasing you with many weeks ago!

Remember this?

The dress is actually in a state of finished, hemmed and all. However, upon fitting and "testdrive" I just felt it was all kinds of wrong. What in my mind would be an awesome polka-dotted swishy flared sundress, turned out to be a rather dull frumpy thing.

This is my un-impressed face.
I realize I am not helping on the frump-factor.

The front buttoning extends too far up the bodice, and is way too modest. WAY.
The only way to wear it is with the top button open, which leaves me with a collar/lapel with a button hole in it. Pfft. I also have issues with the bodice. It is not in any way fitted. With my glasses on, I CAN see from the cover drawing that it is indeed "blousy" but I always get distracted by the tiny waists on those drawings, and my brain goes "-Yup, fitted!". And to make matters even worse, I added "some" in the waist 'cause the pattern said 34" bust, and that usually means 28" waist. Which I don't have.

Where's my swishy skirt, then??!

I also envisioned a fuller skirt. On the envelope it looks wonderfully-full, but in real life it's just a slightly wide (?) A-line. I can live with that, but still... *sob*
Maybe I could wear a petticoat (that I *still* need to make), that could give it a little lift. Doubt it.

Right. Let's see, what else? Oh, yes, the buttons. I thought upon buying these grey fabric covered ones, that it was a small miracle to find some in a matching grey! Probably was, but it doesn't change the fact that they are boring. They just disappear. This dress calls for something with a bit more presence.

Here you can just see the hot pink pocket lining.

And finally, the collar.
When cutting my fabric pieces, I had the remnants from my shockingly pink shirt fabric up on the table. I decided to line my pockets with it, and aaaaaalmost went for a pink collar too. Should've just dunnit. The collar now, is the same story as the buttons. It just blends into the boring-ness. Actually, I saw Mrs. Ooobop's new dress today, and was smacked in the face by her contrasting collar! Have a look! It's just what my dress lacks (that, and fabulous shoes, fuller skirt, petticoat, hot city night etc.etc.) What reason did I have for deciding against the pink? Well, I didn't "want to limit the styling options by putting a color onto that neutral base". Really!? (I deserve this boring dress, for that thought alone!)

The backside is actually the most favourable bit...

In any event, I have decided not to hate on The Frump, but just improve it! Yes, I will try to refashion it, and see if I can make it a little closer to its imaginary cousin in my head :) Also, I now regret fully lining the thing.  But it should be doable, non?
If you have any ideas, tips, tricks or other creative input, you are most welcome to share!

Right. Onwards!


  1. Funny, I have a burda shirt sitting on a hanger in my sewing room that I am having very similar problems with - it is grey with white polka dots like your dress! It has a mandarin collar that goes straight up to my neck, doesn't sit apart - very modest (might have to iron back and stitch down. It's too big in the sides and shoulders (only bust darts, no waist darting), might have to take both sleeves off and take some width off at the armscyes and sides. I even made one sleeve placket on the wrong side, might have to remake one sleeve. And I could not find any grey or white buttons I liked with it from my stash......Can you put any darting in your bodice? I think a pink collar and pink buttons would be excellent. That dress from oobop was fabulous. ps - are you on instagram?

    1. Ah, we're in the same canoe then! I don't know about you, but it feels a bit like a chore altering something. Especially if you have to take the whole thing apart. Yes, the buttons and collar will definitely have to be replaced. I thought about using a photo program and just play with it to see how different colors will look before I slaughter the dress:) I think I will put some more darts in the bodice, can't hurt!
      With regards to Instagram, I am apparently a dinosaur. Just this old blog and FB for me :)

  2. Oh I also expected a wider skirt when I look at the pattern illustration. How does it look with a cardigan?

    I always trying the garment on during the sewing process to see if I'm happy with the fit, so changes can easily be made.

    Good luck!

    1. Actually, I don't think the sleeves on this one pairs very well with cardis. I think there will be too much bunching aound the armpit and shoulder... I did try it on several times during construction, I instantly felt the "not loving it-bit". I figured it would be ok enough. Only it wasn't :) Oh well.. You can't love them all, right?

  3. Aw that is too bad. It does look like a much fuller skirt on the pattern. I hate when I have all these grand expectations and then my finished item falls short. :( Major buzz kill. Maybe you can add a bright belt and change the buttons out to something bright too? I'm not sure. Sorry it is so blah.

    1. Yes, you're right about the belt and buttons. I just threw this one one, it looks aweful. I hate to invest time and fabric on something that end up nothing like what you wanted. Oh well, such is sewing :)

  4. In my opinion, which doesn't count for much, it really isn't all that bad. I would start by changing the belt, and see what you think. Maybe add a pretty pin on the collar. Then if that fails to do the trick, could you possibly hand stitch on a white cord around the collar and center front edge. It would look like piping, but you wouldn't need to open the seams. And one last thing, smile in the pictures!! You have such a pretty smile and that will make just about anything look absolutely beautiful :)

  5. Well, I guess I'm going to suggest something a bit extreme...I think the dress looks a bit frumpy because of the high neckline combined with the kimono sleeves. There's nothing wrong with it, but it looks slightly like a uniform. How about (gasp!) cutting off the top part and turning it into a sundress? Using pretty slightly wider sleeves like the ones on the "cambie" dress? Otherwise you could try to turn it into more of a halter-neckish dress - if you show more shoulders maybe the collar will feel less "modest"? And definitely change the buttons :-) lime green, pink or turquoise would look great with the grey:-)

  6. I agree that the collar and button are a little high but I think you could turn it into a another type of dress. In know the feeling since I have gotten suckered into the illusion of the sketch and after I made the dress it turned out completely different. Oh well!

  7. I agree, the collar is a tad too big. However, when I make a dress, I always (always!) place the buttons like I would like them to be, so I usually never run the risk of have a bodice that is buttoned up too high.
    On the other side, I don't think the dress is bad. It's a typical 1940s dress, and the pattern illustration may be a deceiving as many other pattern illustrations of the time. But still, with this type of bodice/sleeves cut you probably can't expect it to bee that much fitting as you wished. The idea of using a pink lining for the pockets is fabulous, but I also would add pink buttons and a pink belt. So about 50% of the "frumpyness" will disappear. :-)

    Really, it's not THAT bad. Please smile. :-)