Fab or Flop?

One of my friends commented on this post from earlier this summer that I reminded her of a fairy in the woods… Ha! So when I made another loose fitting white dress, I had to go back to the woods to show you.

This one is also mind bender to put together, with interesting geometry. I used lining fabric for the top half of the ‘underdress’ to keep it light.


There are some fun design details, especially on the upper back.


I like the front. And the asymmetry of the hemline.


The lower skirt is attached to the underdress – or in this case to the lining. So it hangs freely. In theory that’s great…


But I’m not so sure about the profile and the back view. Kind of like maternity wear Jane Jetson might have worn. I think the problem is the upper skirt portion on the back. The curve in it makes it stand out – even with the tiniest hem possible. Not so bad on a dress form…


But when worn on an actual human with actual hips… not so flattering! In the interest of full disclosure and as a service to my fellow dressmakers — I’ll show you!


Maybe if I just keep moving… Maybe if I cut it shorter. Wear a big hat and get a bunch of cats?


The pattern recommended linen, which is what I used. A medium weight – in fact the same one that worked well on the other Katherine Tilton pattern I just made. But really, I think it should have said very lightweight linen. And even then, there’s always a crispness to linen (flax), so I’m not sure.

This one may be a flop, but I do like the concept. I may try it again using fabric with a softer drape. There’s some fun silk, chiffon and gauze in my stash… Or maybe I’ll save the fabric and my time and make something else!







11 thoughts on “Fab or Flop?

  1. I love your posts. I see your email regarding a new post and I get excited to see what is Laura up to today! I have been sewing for years and love dresses. I mostly sew shift dresses and princess seam dresses. I have such a stash of fabric that your inspiration of sewing new patterns and fabrics light that fire in me to get going to sewing dresses, dresses, and more dresses. Great job on your newest creation. Keep up the good work and I wait in anticipation for your next post. : )

    1. Wow Nancy, thank you so much for the encouragement! This is what blogging is about to me – sharing the successes and failures and encouraging each other. I read a lot of blogs to learn and get ideas and inspiration… There are so many people out there with more skill and creativity than me… I’d love to see what you make! Do you blog about it? What patterns do you like? Are there particular shift patterns that work well for you? I love them but I struggle to find patterns that fit me well.

  2. The shift pattern that first interested me is McCall’s 2311. The changes I have learned to make include a front bodice dart, lowered and shortened the bust dart, raised the side seam one half inch under the arm, flair the bottom to make it more a-line and raised the front rounded neckline. This took many trials because back then the internet was not like it is today. I found a couple of books to help me in fitting patterns and finally found pattern paper at Nancy’s Notions. With my changing body, I have tweaked the pattern a few more times. Finding blogs such as yours and others, I have learned so much about changing patterns and fitting them to my unique shape. I have a straight shape and look best in shift and princess seam dresses. I have also found that the bottom width is the best at about 56 inches wide. Reading the Emery dress sew along regarding darts help me fine tune them. Also, adding interfacing to the back for the invisible zipper installation was a great help. I use shape flex and with Zipit on Etsy can purchase YKK zippers in bulk at a great price.

    The princess seam dress pattern I have used for years is Simplicity 5451. Changes made include lowering the bust line, lowering the neck line just a bit and not including the slit in the front. Otherwise, this pattern has been my favorite. What got me started with shift dresses is I love Hawaiian print fabrics. With the internet I found Hawaiian Fabric Mart, hawaiifabricmart.com, and their 100% cotton poplin fabric. With the border prints (and others) the shift dress is just perfect. Recently I made my shift dress with border prints from Robert Kaufman’s Effervescence fabric and Michael Miller fabric Lagoon Paradise Island. Another princess seam pattern I recently tried and like is McCall’s 6920 round neckline and flair version. This was a little more flair for me; however, it worked great with a Kaufman Lawn fabric and a Hoffman batik.

    I do not have blog; therefore, no pictures to showcase them. May I recommend a shift dress pattern McCall’s 6355, by Palmer and Pletsch. They show many ways to fine tune the pattern. I plan to make this pattern and see if I can fine tune my original pattern even more. This pattern does not have facings; however, I plan on making some instead of bias binding.

    Thank you for what you do Laura. I really enjoy your posts.


  3. You might enjoy blogging, Nancy! I started because I was enjoying reading others’ ideas and experiences and wanted to join the conversation. Thanks for the tips! I will definitely check out those patterns. I’m not very experienced at fine tuning the fit and get easily frustrated. This summer though, I’m enjoying having my dresses fit very loosely so it’s not as much of a problem! I started a shift this weekend because it was the only dress I could squeeze out of one yard of the fabric I felt like wearing next. I’ve already made so many changes I might just call it self drafted! We’ll see… BTW I’ve got some good princess style dresses for you – Vogue 8828 and New Look 0180. I’ve made them both and love them. Actually I don’t think I ever blogged about them but they’re on my What To Wear page – the bonjour dress and the favorite color dress.

    1. Exactly, Linda! I’ve been wondering if I could change the back somehow but I’d still have to put my hips in it, so IMHO this one’s a flop. I posted it as a cautionary tale! I’m moving on now to a maxi in jersey. Something that makes me look longer rather than wider!

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