I’m mad at this dress.

It should have been a slam dunk.


Instead, this photo inspires me to come up with various mullet analogies. (Tall drink of water in front; shambles in the back.)

I was essentially replacing a dress that I’ve worn to pieces, using an updated/fitted version of the pattern. I was thoughtful about the materials, spending a bit more money on a brightly-colored woven fabric with better drape than a quilting cotton.

But sometimes, the closer you get to right, the more obvious your near-misses are. At least, that’s the lesson I think I’m learning from this. Instead of dramatically declaring that it’s useless to even TRY if your efforts to solve problems are obfuscated by NEW problems. Or, I don’t know, wishing for an entirely different body because THESE CURVES ARE IRRATIONAL. (Self talk: your body is strong and capable and beautiful and your curves are not something to be ashamed of.)

Okay, back to the DRESS, which is something that can be easily changed or discarded.

Looking through my archives, this is a pattern that has ALWAYS caused me to look at my backside and wonder what’s going on. And not in a positive way. Though, really, WHO IS LOOKING AT THEIR BACKSIDE ON A REGULAR BASIS? (Ha ha ha. You guys, I’m going to want to delete so much of this blog post, but I also want to be honest about both the difficulties of sewing things to fit your particular body AND the struggle to be body positive.)

But, I argued, this was one of the first things I sewed! There was room for improvement! This could be a major win! I made a winter version of this that was really charming. (Though, no photos of the backside.)

A few notes, in case I really want to continue down this rabbit hole. (Stubborn optimism leads me to believe IT WILL HAPPEN.)
-I took out the front seam of the skirt, wanting a cleaner line. But I forgot to reduce the pattern width when I cut it on the fold. I ended up adding two little pleats. The first time, they were facing in, and that was weird so I unpicked the waistband and adjusted them to face out. This is still wonky – it has the appearance of off-seam pockets without the delight of pockets. I’m tempted to unpick the waistband AGAIN to convert these to gathers, but that’s paying too much attention to the front of the skirt when the back is a problem.
-The zipper I used was too long. I realize that this isn’t helping with the line of the bodice. What is the best zipper length? Ending just before the curve at the bottom of the spine?

For reference, and to remind myself that these fit problems probably have more to do with the pattern than my skills, I’m including photos of the original dress as well.

Original version, without alterations:


Updated version, with lengthened and fitted bodice:

Untitled Untitled

Comparing these, I can see the improvements! There is still potential for this dress. I should be thankful that it’s helping me to see that I am OVERDUE to learn how to address fitting issues in the back of a dress. Honestly, I’m only a few years into learning how to fit my bust, so it makes sense that the rear would be next.

2 thoughts on “I’m mad at this dress.

  1. I think the back is going from snug to wide too quickly / maybe you could achieve a more gradual expanse in the back via darts in the princess seam areas? that would keep it fitted up in the bodice but give you a little extra where it hits the hips? just a thought!

  2. I think you will see what happened on the back fit when you take fitting lessons :). Still, the color looks great on you, and the dress as a whole looks good!
    I think the issue with the back folds is that the dress bodice is longer than yours. It can be adjusted on the paper pattern. Make a horizontal tuck in the back bodice while you’re wearing the dress – of course, you may need a friend’s help. When getting close to the side seam, the tuck should disappear. Measure the tuck and adjust the paper pattern accordingly. It’s better explained visually, but keep sewing and you’ll find all kinds of solutions to fit problems!

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