The Dress That Wasn’t!

Generally speaking, I tend to wear dresses that are fit and flare as I think they flatter my shape more. Recently though I’ve been looking at clothes that are a bit more, well, shapeless I guess. It started last autumn with the dress I bought for my Nan’s funeral, it can best be described as a sack dress in a viscose-type fabric. Surprisingly it was fairly flattering and I’ve worn it a few times since.

Something New?

I began looking at some different sewing patterns that I wouldn’t normally have considered. The one that I keep on coming back to is the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts. I do like the look of this as a more casual kind of dress, and I’ve seen some lovely versions of it but I’ll admit I’m totally put off by the price.

That may not be a popular opinion, but I think for something so simple looking, it’s overpriced. But I’d say the same about many other indie patterns. Of course if you do have this pattern and can attest to it’s price-worthy awesomeness then please tell me all about it.

My search for a reasonably priced casual dress pattern continues, but in the meantime I decided to have a go at drafting something myself. (Spoiler alert: I failed!)

I Am No Pattern-Drafter

I wanted to have a go at using my black dress and tracing it off, adding in some pockets. Now, I have never in my life tried to recreate a piece of clothing. I also have no drafting experience, so really what happened next was a little inevitable!

First I folded my dress in half lengthways and traced around it, adding seam allowance. Maybe if I’d left it at that it might have worked, but no, I had to try to be clever and add some pockets. Insert face palm emoji here…

So I thought I needed to split the dress into a bodice and skirt, remembering seam allowance of course and then I drafted the pockets. At this point I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, I won’t lie. I thought I’d better do a muslin, so I grabbed some large red gingham check fabric that has been languishing in my fabric pile for over a year. It’s from Hobbycraft and I bought it to make a shirt dress but it was too thin and when I pre-washed it the red ran a little. Fine for a muslin though.

Maybe this wasn’t actually a total fail until I got to the last bit. I was so pleased with the pockets, like ridiculously proud of my top-stitching (thanks Juki!), it was so neat.

The skirt and bodice went together fine. The only real problem I had was that I should have drafted wider sleeves, they were a little tighter than I’d prefer.


Total Fail

Now it all went wrong. Now I was starting to see why I shouldn’t be such a cheapskate and why I should have bought the pattern. Sigh.

So, despite the sleeves being a little tight, the rest of the fit was ok. I was quite happy. But to avoid that I’m-actually-just-wearing-a-sack kind of look, especially with the gingham fabric obviously being stiffer than viscose, I decided in my infinite wisdom to add some elastic on the waist seam.

I first thought about adding a channel for the elastic, either on the inside or outside, but sadly laziness prevailed. Well laziness and children vying for my attention. Seriously, don’t sew with small people around. I added the elastic on the inside using a zig zag stitch, gathering up the garment as I went. Fail. I made such a mess of it, it looked SO bad from the outside.

At this point I considered unpicking it all and whatever. As the sleeves weren’t a great fit anyway I decided to just bin it recycle it.

Moral of the story: Just buy the damn pattern you wanted in the first place.


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