Friday, August 20, 2010

Revisting the Past

Remember the urban caftan? Don't worry if it's slipped your mind.

It's that Built-by-Wendy shift dress sloper I modified with a boat neck. You may recall I was traumatized by the invisible zipper (which turned out to be unnecessary because the thing was such a sack) and the construction process. Also, the boat neck fit all wonky.

Well, despite this I've worn the dress on a few occasions. I mean, there are nice things about it and, if I applied my standards of perfection to all my hand-made items, I'd never wear anything. Really, what would be the point in that?

Besides, people have told me on numerous occasions it's very chic.

A few days ago, one of my work colleagues asked me if I'd made it. Turns out she's been sewing since grade 7 (she's now nearing retirement) and, while she was friendly, made it clear that the dress needed some fitting finesse.

In 10 minutes of pinching fabric and studying my frame, thank you life-time experience!, she managed to advise me (using pictures on sticky notes) exactly how to fix it with minimal effort.

Don't misunderstand. It still took an hour. But I darted the back by 1 inch on either side of the centre seam and shortened the boat neck by 1/2 inch on either side - without undoing a single seam. Note: I've never done either of these things before... Turns out I don't look bad in boat necks after all. As long as they're really narrow (like my shoulders).

Is it perfection on the inside? Um, no. But it's way less bad than I thought it would be (which is what stopped me from trying), it was easy to do (without looking at a single book) and it's made the dress look SO MUCH BETTER.

Like now, I am totally going to wear it all the time.

So, maybe I should revisit my fitting "failures" more often? I think I am learning.


  1. I've made those kinds of changes before, to RTW as well. And yes, pretty insides are nice, but no one sees them so they don't really matter, but a dress that fits well on the outside and makes you happy, that is really something.

    I still remember how amazed I was that one could just pinch and grab and fix without it being an impossibly complicated process. Liberating.

  2. Good for you! And how fortunate to have expert help right at hand!!

  3. Just drop to say thank you for your lovely supportive note on my blog. That means a lot. You're right, this has been a tough year.

    Hope you'll have a fantastic weekend, dear



  4. Nice to get some helpful advice like that!

  5. You see darting makes all the difference! x

  6. Mardel: It is SO liberating.

    Miss C: Very helpful indeed.

    Seeker: Be well!

    Wendy: Sometimes I even take it :-)

    Kate: You were right!