Scruffy Badger Time’s New Look 6000 Fest – My contribution
Now, I’ll admit that this dress is not my usual style. I have never bought a ready-made dress like this, which is surprising because in my time I’ve bought literally hundreds of dresses. But there’s a very good reason why I’ve never bought a dress like this – my hips and bum are just too damn big. From previous experience, the bodice of a shop size 12 dress in this style would fit but the skirt wouldn’t, and a 14 would be too big on the bodice, and maybe ok on the hips or maybe still too tight. This has led to a bit of a paranoia about the size of my ‘bottom half’, and is probably why my wardrobe consists of about 99% dresses – I try to hide it. My preferred style of dress fits the bust and skims over the rest, so it will be A-line at the very least (hence why I love the Colette Parfait and Chantilly dresses so much). And in the past year or so, it isn’t just my hips and bum I’ve been trying to hide – my stomach has put in a bit of an appearance too. I never made much of an effort after childbirth to get rid of it, and admittedly I eat too much cake. But that’s life.
When I first started sewing I made a one-piece sheath dress. I’ve worn it a few times but always been a bit self-conscious about the clinginess. I’m all for celebrating the female figure, but I prefer to flatter my figure by accentuating my assets (boobs, waist) and minimising the bits I feel self-conscious about (tum, bum, thighs). For me, it is not flattering to put it all on show, and seeing someone wear a dress practically busting at the seams, stretched tight over the hips, riding up over the belly…well, that is my worst nightmare. In fact, I frequently over-compensate for this fear and the clothes I sew for myself sometimes end up too big!
BUT…when I read about the New Look 6000 fest over on scruffybadgertime, I couldn’t resist getting involved as I have been trying to sew more winter-appropriate dresses recently. I had 2m of leftover cotton from my second Chantilly dress, and although I had other ideas for this dress (pea-green gabardine!), I wanted to put the leftover fabric to good use and road-test the dress before splashing out on my desired fabric.
I cut my dress in a size 16 – the largest size on the pattern tissue! I think this would be equivalent to a shop-bought 14 in the UK. I sewed it up to find it was too big on the midriff and bust, but fine across the bum and hips (only just!!). Like Jane, I thought the bust darts were stupidly low down, but by the time I’d lengthened my waist darts and taken in at the side seams, the bust darts were ok to leave untouched. I transferred my alterations to the pattern so that next time I can get the fit right straight away.
For the sleeves, I wanted to use up some of the vintage buttons my Great Aunt donated – check out my button stash! She used to sew in the 50s and 60s, and a few months ago she gave me a load of notions and haberdashery.
I chose these gorgeous sparkly crystal shank buttons, and sewed one to each side of the cuffs.
I was very pleased with my lapped zipper – maybe the best one I’ve ever done!
This dress stayed on Delilah (my dummy) for eleven days before I decided to wear it – partly because I needed Mr Tweedie to take my photo in daylight, and partly because I was worried I would look awful in it, even though I knew I had got the fit right. But it got its first outing last weekend. As you can see, it isn’t too clingy, but it is very fitted.
I’m not quite sure what I’m doing with my posture in this one…
Then I decided to try it with pink tights and black shoes rather than black tights and pink shoes (I know, I’m SO rad…). Now, just before this photo I walked up and down the stairs, and changed my tights and shoes and that is all – but have you seen that creasing?!?!
This was the wrong fabric for this dress. Here it is after an entire day of wear:
I won’t even show you the back.
Anyway. The dress was comfortable to wear for the whole day, getting in and out of the car, wandering round, picking up Little Tweedie, sitting down etc (and my husband doesn’t think that the clinginess is a bad thing!). I enjoyed wearing it, but I think what I need to make this dress more practical is to sew it up in a double knit like Jane did. I think the thickness of a double knit would lessen all those creases, it’d give it a bit more stretch, it would be warmer and cosier and I wouldn’t have to even bother inserting a zip.
So, another version is in the pipeline – I just have to decide on the colour, as I can’t find green!