I did the unthinkable. I swore I’d never do it again. But I did: I sewed a pattern that I already sewed three years ago and failed miserably at. The reason? It fit terribly and I hated how I looked and felt wearing it.
So why in the world did I try it again? This was the right fabric for it this time around.
1) The Fabric
I mean come on, this is a pretty funky fabric. And I felt that the print was so crazy-wild, it would distract from any fit issues I had around my stomach. I loved that the pattern layout created a bias across the bodice and then caused the print to straighten out at the skirt – this was a design element of the pattern that would be missed if I decided to use another plain knit this go-around. The weight of the fabric was perfect for this dress too; it was lightweight but draped well and had the right amount of stretch to it.
I’ve learned over the years of sewing how my body is proportioned and what works and doesn’t work. Learning from what I did before on this pattern, I didn’t cut a straight 12 – I cut a 10 for the top, guessed where the waist was (it’s really not clear on the pattern where the waist is located because of the side gathers…the left side is super long), and graded it out to a 12 to where I believed the hip started. It worked much better this time and I ended up being a lot happier with the fit.
The directions were straightforward and I think I referred to them once or twice, but pretty much did things based on instinct. I opted to use clear elastic at the shoulder seams and at the left gathered side seam instead of seam tape – much more RTW looking. No zipper used either since this fabric is so stretchy it’s not necessary. And thank you to whoever invented the twin stretch needle because for those of us who don’t own a serger, it’s a miracle. I used it to hem the bottom of the dress and sleeves as well as the neckline, and it looks so much more professional than a regular straight stitch.
4) Proper Undergarments
Don’t get me wrong: this is still a really tight dress and I have to remember to not slouch when I’m wearing it. But I found that wearing something underneath, like my DKNY Smoothies Leggings, really helped to smooth out my stomach and prevent bumps from my underwear from showing (I told you, it was a lightweight knit fabric!). I wore them the first day I wore this dress, which was to give a presentation at Ignite Craft Boston, and it helped to control everything all day and I felt good.
Now that I’ve finally conquered this pattern, I’m looking forward to tackling that top again.
Updated: I’ve mentioned this particular pattern in a new blog post about Vogue’s “Figure Flattery” guidelines here.