Sunday, April 24, 2011

Almost a WADDER

Even though I've been sewing almost 50 years I still have my share of "wadders" (sewing language for a garment that is so bad it is WADDED up and thrown away), but they are usually about the wrong fabric/pattern selection or something that I knew was an experiment anyway.  Rarely do I have a problem with fitting but that changed bigtime yesterday!

It all started with this poly/spandex fabric I got on my trip to Jo-Mar in Philly with some fellow sewing bloggers:

This is a scrap that has been cut down the middle but the large pink circles go down each side. It's pretty splashy but since I'm quite tall I usually like a big print.  I did know that I'd have to pick a pattern carefully as I wanted something that didn't cut up the design very much. Also I wanted something asymmetric, with the pink running down just one side and NOT in the middle.

When I saw my friend Carolyn's blog post on the new Vogue Donna Karan dress 1250 I knew that's what I wanted to use.C's blog  It was a simple design but an unusual pattern with just 2 odd shaped unusual pieces.                                                                       

Carolyn always explains just how she adjusts the pattern and her final garment looked great so I cut mine out and started sewing.  Though the size 20 should have fit me fine I even added some at the back seam since my fabric didn't have quite as much stretch as the pattern called for  (note to self---This MATTERS!)

As she and others on Pattern Review had reported it was super easy to sew up, which I quickly did. There was really no intermediate point to try it on so I finished all the main seams before putting it on.  What a NIGHTMARE!  It was way too tight from the middle hip down. The cowl dropped down over my flattish bust making my waist appear to be the biggest  point of my body.   Since there were NO seams to take out through the skirt and I knew I'd never wear something this tight, it almost became the dreaded WADDER at this point. ( Guess I should have taken a "before" picture at this time but I couldn't stand to even wear it.)

After calming down, I decided it would be a great challenge to make it wearable so went back to the cutting table.  I cut completely open the left side below the armhole and added a long godet---starting with about 4 inches at the bottom and tapering to nothing under the arm. (I had enough of the brown background fabric and the godet seams are barely detectable)  This made a GREAT difference in the fit of the dress and I began to have hope.  I also added bands to the capped sleeves, giving a little more width through the shoulders and covering more flabby upper arm.

Here's the result which I'm actually quite pleased with.  I'm showing 3 ways of wearing the dress, both belted and not and with the cowl collar hanging loose and then secured on the side.   Which do you like best?

Belted with cowl hanging down naturally which gives that horizontal fold just above the waist

                       No belt (hem pinned higher), cowl neck pulled over and secured on my right

                            Belted, cowl secured on my right side------------does it still need to be shorter?
I'd appreciate any comments and opinions you might have about belt, cowl and dress length----thanks!


  1. Lovely dress! I like all three configurations, it looks great with or without the belt. I think if you're going to wear the belt, you could go shorter on the hem, right at the knee if you're comfortable with that. Great job saving the dress! Tammy

  2. My favourite version is the last one. The smoother front looks nicer, but I'm not a big fan of draping. :) Honestly, all three versions look good!

  3. WOW, what a GREAT use of this bold print! OK, based on those three pics, which are small, I agree that the third pic is the most flattering. But it is hard to really tell. :)

  4. Fabulous dress any way you wear it, Peg. You look great in it. Thanks for sharing your construction process. You have great style!

  5. I like the last version... and I like the longer length, just because it keeps that last pink circle intact. I knew I liked this pattern, but your version is superb.

  6. Ohhh, nice job with the print, Peggy! I like the belted version best, and think you could go with either neckline. I'd like to see it shorter -- maybe mid-knee, as Izzie suggested?

    Interesting pattern -- as with Carolyn's version, it looks so much better on you than it does on the model, who just doesn't have the body to carry the dress.

    Love your verve!

  7. I like the last version, but the first iteration is by far my favorite. I like the softened cowl on you.This lookss great.

    Karen aka Karendee

  8. vous êtes incroyable !
    vos idées sont originales, j'aime !