I thought I’d do a little update on the restyled dress project while I ponder where to go with it.
The original plan was to recut and restyle this dress so that it fit me–it was at least a couple of sizes too big–and had a better shape.
Here’s the before:
This was a Pavelka pattern, but it seems to have fallen down the memory hole, as I can’t find a picture or mention of it anywhere. It was a straight jumper that was meant to be reversible, with a placket down one of the sides; the placket edges are sewn together for most of the way, but are free at the bottom, creating a vent for walking ease.
The unfortunate thing about it, though, was that the fit was just terrible–it made the wearer look like an egg, as the dress widened over the hips, then curved in below. My sister made it, then passed it on to me when she discovered the egg problem. It doesn’t help that my sister and I are both big women, and sorta kinda egg-shaped already.
I was going to use the Butterick pattern above, but quickly realized there wasn’t enough fabric for sleeves. And the bodice of the dress was different enough from the pattern that I couldn’t have used it for the pattern. So I decided to use the skirt from Butterick 6760 and the bodice of Butterick 3569.
The cutting was challenging enough, but then I basted it together and voila!
THE SAME FUCKING PROBLEM.
I’ve taken in the bodice a couple of times, used the darts in the pattern, and added more darts to get it to a semi-fitted state. I’ve tinkered with the seam allowances on the skirt–taking it in at the top and reducing the seam allowance below the hip area–but the bottom line is that there just isn’t enough width in the skirt to make for a better shape. And there isn’t any more fabric to be had, as my sister used the rest to make some pillows, and this fabric is long gone from stores.
I don’t want to give up on the fabric, though. Seriously, look at this:
So I’m kicking around an idea of ripping out the side seams on the skirt, doing a narrow hem on the raw edges, then adding an underskirt. I have some drapey black polyester-blend fabric that I was going to use to line the bodice and I could also use it to make an underskirt that would extend past the hem of the overskirt, as another problem I’m having with this is that it’s a few inches shorter than I would like. I have heavy legs that also tend to swell, so mid-calf to lower-calf is where I usually like skirts to end.
(It is relevant here that I have been watching “Fiddler on the Roof” while I use the exercise bike and I am totally in love with those costumes. So a long, full skirt worn over boots seems like an even better idea than usual right now. I’m hating myself a little for getting distracted from the pathos of the movie by wondering if a middle-aged American woman could get away with wearing a Cossack tunic in public.)
So I’m thinking right now that I might set this project aside to let it cook in my head for a bit; I’m a slow thinker. I’m not at all sure I want to put more time and fabric into this thing, and I’m not at all sure the idea I have would even work. How would the black poly work with the shirt-weight cotton the egg is made from? Is black a good color for this? It’s really my only fabric option, but before all this eggy business, I had wanted to make a tunic with the black poly. If I do the underskirt thing, I’m probably going to have to draft my own pattern for it, which doesn’t make me super happy.
I do my best thinking while I’m exercising, so I think I’ll lay the egg dress, the black poly, and the patterns out where I can see them, and put in an exercise DVD. We’ll see if any bright ideas come to me.