28 December 2015

Doomed Dress Two ... despite Prada stilts and Wisteria

This'll have to be quick, otherwise my pride and vanity will get the upper hand and it won't get published at all. 

This blog fermented for quite a while before actually being fledged so although we're now in December, from the wisteria blooming in the photographs it's clear that they were taken around March (2015).

Because in recent blog photos there is slightly less of me than you see here, I'd like to explain. Around August 2015 I struck upon an effective formula which targeted and reduced my post-menopausal bazoomers and backfat by 5kg. It involved consuming bananas, magic porridge and 14% alcohol red wine! I call it the WIN-WIN-WINE DIET. More details on the WWW in a future post!!! 

So, after a 20 year break, I was on a renewed sewing journey, but I found myself in modern, alien territory as I knew nothing about sewing stretch fabrics. I adopted a full-onslaught approach which involved sewing up various "stretch" items in fast succession and, if they were failures, I would excuse them as "wearable toiles". 

Infused with hope and optimism I made out-of-print pattern Vogue 7519 view C. 

OOP Vogue 7519

Goodness knows why I loved this pattern so much when I bought it back in the early 90s. I suppose the overall silhouette is pleasing, but to be fair to the novice sewest (that's me) it has some nasty design flaws.

The bodice is lined with a compatible stretch fabric. This means that the upper and lower centre seams and the lower bodice seams are all brought to meet at a point in the centre. This creates a great wadge of fabric which bulks out the dress around the central midriff area.

Note the unflattering bulky fabric wadge at the centre midriff

This is something even the most sylphlike amongst us, strive to avoid. Then again, WHY stabilize the neckline?  Isn't it a dress designed for stretch fabric? I obeyed .... of course I did! Well, I didn't know any better did I? And the result is a dress that would love to drape from the neckline down, if it were only unfettered by excessive use of Stay Tape (and an excessive amount of me)

Don't know what I've got to look so pleased about!!
The pattern was size 8-10-12, so I developed it up to a size 14 as that had more or less worked with my first-blogged Lagerfeld dress  

I made it in a mystery mid-weight, crepey, stretch  fabric which had seemed attractive on the bolt. I'd liked the prettiness of the flowers with the contrasting black stripes, but it was ill-adapted to become this dress. When I was placing the pattern pieces, I tried to manipulate the stripes in order to create an optical illusion of slenderness about my person once the dress was made up. Utter failure!!! and I'm ashamed to add too that in placing certain pieces, I even gave in to the temptation of straying off-grain (oooh, what lengths vanity will push a sewest to!!!) 

Nope, the "slimming" placement of those black lines just isn't working, is it?

Pose all you like Sal ... you're not fooling anyone
Will you just look at how I laboured to match up those stripes on the skirt?

"These stilts weren't made for walking"

Oh, ridiculous stilts, why do I love you so? You're far more "slip-downs" than sling-backs!

My Prada stilts also suffer from design flaws

I wore this dress with my lovingly preserved Prada platform sandals and far too much bling. I bought them back in 2003 when La BombaRossa (see the "I'm Sally" page) 
was attempting a brief stand against the soon to dominate Mrs. Blobby.
On that occasion La BombaRossa's supremacy was short-lived ... as was this dress. I can't tell you how much I disliked it. Soon after this I took my fabulous Kai shears to it and now I have (the possibility of)  a skirt - and a uselessly miniscule bolero. I'm not promising that either will ever win a place in my wardrobe.

Ah, but despite everything .....

..... the wisteria was lovely

This Blog is pro-autism,
Thank you, Sallyxx


  1. Hahaha! The wisteria IS lovely. I have to say I like(d) the dress, although I laughed at all you went through to make it. I can't believe you lined up those stripes! I'm curious to see if you wear the skirt and mini bolero. Ah, the things we do... Love the Prada stilts too. Great post.

    1. OOOh, careful what you wish for Melanie! :D
      I don't think this dress' deserves any more of my time dedicated to it to prolong its existence. In truth, the sandals don't either, but I've already been passionate about them for 12 years now, and I'm old-fashionedly faithful so I'll probably be buried in them.
      Thanks as usual, for your lovely comments,
      Baci Sxx

  2. Sally this is another lovely post. I'm impressed with your tenacity re this pattern. I'm a bit of a novice sew-er (sewer is surely not correct - and it's very smelly too), but my teacher lets us alter and fathom rather than stick to what the pattern says. The dress looks fine from the photos thanks to some clever posing perhaps, but at least it did get an airing on the blog! The shoes cleary are just posing ones and I have a several pairs of these which will be carried until I need them and then carried home again. I've seen other bloggers do this so it must be legit. I'm posting a very non-fashionista feature tomorrow and hope I can rely on you not to slam the door (will make better sense when/if you read it!) Happy New Year to you too x
    Anna's Island Style

    1. Thanks Anna for your encouragement. (Of course I've read and commented on your FANTASTIC 2016 post http://www.annasislandstyle.com/2016/01/end-of-year-review.html )
      I can be boringly tenacious, but I wanted to soldier on with this, following the instructions as closely as possible, as it was part of an important, self-imposed learning experience for me. I think it's true to say I attempted all these first projects for what they could teach me about handling stretch fabrics, never really expecting them to produce beautiful clothes; (though I was sometimes pleasantly surprised at how much I liked what I made - projects still to be posted!!!).
      Yes; silly, silly shoes. I actually can walk in them but very slowly as the sling-back just doesn't stay put - but they do lend "loft"!
      Looking forward to your next post,
      Baci Sxx

  3. Oh my goodness, I think the dress is lovely, I'm so impressed that you are tackling stretch fabric after so many years away from your sewing machine. I have made a few dresses for my 10 year old daughter but I've never been brave enough to touch stretchy stuff! And all your efforts to line up the stripes - my goodness you have such tenacity. And then alas - you do not like it. Maybe up close it is not so good as it looks in the photos, but I think it is a brilliant pattern and a marvellous bit of construction - and yes the Wisteria is gorgeous too, what a lovely garden you have. :-)

    1. Thank you for such lovely compliments Anne. My posts are all a bit chronologically mixed up because I was sewing and photographing way before the blog was fledged, and, having done the work there was no way I was going to bin post "material" simply because I'd outgrown it. I have a few more of my Stretch-Fabric-Sewing-Journey makes to post-datedly publish, but in reality I'm over the fear now.
      If I can offer any advice it would be to give it a try. An overlocker is useful but not essential (unless you're sewing very fine, stretchy fabric). I often find a normal straight stitch works well, as long as you get the tension right, and stretch the fabric gently as you run it under the needle. You could begin with ponte or scuba because they're both very forgiving. I just saw this post on Closet Case Files which you might enjoy too http://closetcasefiles.com/just-make-it-already-how-to-boost-your-sewing-confidance/

      Have Fun,
      Baci Sxx

      ps I want to thank you too for your inspiration. I loved seeing your children sewing up teddys together, and reading descriptions of your girly-time with your daughter. I will be following suit with my son Umberto because I'm sure he could handle a darning needle; I just need to find the right project to keep him focused - something involving Thomas the Tank Engine perhaps :)


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