My whole life is an experiment . . . sometimes I get surprising results. - C Erdmann

Sunday, November 17, 2013

what not to do when making a simple dress

 I just wanted a simple, comfy and cool dress to wear while working in my studio for when our hot temps start here in Qld. So.... 

I take a simple pattern for a comfy and cool dress cut on the bias, that had been bought many years ago.
...cleverly think I could cut it on the straight using some stretch knit fabric that I've had here for years, and hey why wouldn't that work?! Which it did in the end, really.

I lay out the lovely moss green stretch and then promptly cut out two fronts!!!! Grrr...
so...determined that I'll finish this dress (a change for me!) I take back pattern piece and lay it on one folded over front and merrily cut around it. that apart from the fabric being a wee bit narrower than the front but hey, this won't matter coz I have a narrow back, I'd laid it down the wrong way and had cut it out with the armholes for the neck edge and neck edge for the armholes!!! Which of course is NOT going to work, at all!!!
Now I stop and contemplate how long I've actually been sewing and making clothes for myself, esp using paper patterns!!! Longer than I want to think about. sigh.... my answer to this is to grab an old but very lovely stretch lace top that hasn't fitted around me for quite some time, but that I hadn't the heart to throw out 'just in case', and tell it that it's time in the sun has come! 

Then I cut it apart and use it to create a new shoulder and neck section. Phew!
You can see how much narrower the back is than it's supposed to be in the pic above.
....which should have alerted me to the next error in the line up.
After sewing up side seams and a quick try on just to make sure it fitted ok, I remembered that I had cut this pattern out all those years ago when I was a much smaller 8!!! Do you see where I'm going with this? I'm now a size 10-12, and quite often 12 esp around the bust and waist these days! Double grrr....sigh.....grooaaannn
what to do, what to do!

....of course! Take the sleeves and let them into the side seams! Ingenious, yes?!!  :D the sleeves which are/were peaked down on the inside seam, are duly cut to size and shape to fit nicely enough into side seam to allow a bit more maneuverability for the expanded waistline! You know what I mean Jody!! :)  
Not bad really. Will do for a house dress and anyhoo I quite like 'outside the box a bit'.

I then use the stretch neck frill from the lacey top for the shoulder straps.

The end result

A nice little lot of recycling, re-purposing, up-cycling, altered couture and of course fudging like you wouldn't believe!! ;D
Oh yes last little error, sort of, is the fact that the lace is totally see through and the underwear stands out like a sore thumb! Huh!
I could always line the lace bits, but probably won't bother if I only wear it around the house.

 Me wearing it, but think it looks better on the mannequin! :) I look a tad worried don't you think.
Suppose it's something you either like or think looks odd and wouldn't touch. But I have to say I'm loving the comfort, coolness and lightness of my new dress, and it all turned out ok in the end.

In the end one has to satisfy oneself not the audience hey?

Happy sewing, my lovelies.  ♥♥♥


  1. Well I'm having a good chuckle here on this wet and quiet Sunday ( still at mums) and I think you did an amazing job, I love love lime green, and I'm thinking a noice lime green "G" string could be the way to go......whatch think ? hmmmm. xoxoxo

  2. BTW it's meeee Chris Fenwick,( fairall) kinda going a little undercover for several reasons xoxox

  3. I think I would have just given up after mistake number 2? Good on you for persisting Pam, it turned out fine in the end even if it is a little see through. :)

  4. Even though I'd heard the story, it's still funny. More like something I would do though. Persistence pays off eh?

  5. Hahaha been there done that!

    It's green and it's gorgeous Pam - don't fret the see-through lace just pop into Supre and grab a cotton sleeveless maxi dress [in every colour] and cut it to the length you need [don't have to hem] - I wear them all the time under everything, sucks stuff in and means no one sees what they shouldn't....although the G-string Chris suggest might work better in your climate. x

  6. That is an awesome reinvention.....hey i am off to Supre to make use of Jody's tip. xxx

  7. Lol, you're too funny Pam, and I'm in awe at how you kept on going despite the many grrr's. Love the result, it's a beautiful green! Thank you for your sweet visit, happy to meet you! Hugs and beautiful day, Wendy

  8. You did it! You worked it out! That is fab. We often quit too early. I am glad you stuck in. That is some nice fabric, and I can see it is light and comfy. So you were a success!
    Thank you so much for your very kind comments on my blog : )

  9. I love it! I've never attempted a dress even though I have a few patterns stashed away.

  10. Hi Pam
    How ingenious are you?You should be proud of your result in manipulating the pattern and the two lots of fabric inc. the lace to make it fit so beautifully! Never give up! It is worth it in the end.
    Thanks for your lovely comment. Would love to see some of your rusted metal work.

  11. Hi Pam, I think your dress turned out even prettier than the orginal pattern. Sometimes errors are a good thing. I've been there, lol.
    Thank you so much for leaving such a sweet comment!
    Have a Merry Christmas!


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~~"Dare to Dream"

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