Style 1723: a sundress for a windy day

{I don’t believe in fabric regrets. I think it’s always better —when I’m sewing at home for my own entertainment— to use a fabric rather than hold it for some unknown future perfect use. But with this project, as soon as I’d finished and was editing photos I realized what the perfect use would’ve been. Now I have fabric regrets. 
So let’s play a fun game: as you read, think about what you would’ve made instead of what I made, and then let’s get together at the end of the post and see if our ideas match up.}


The Pattern:
Style 1723, Misses’ Dress and Jacket (or, Robes et Veste Jeune Femme) copyright 1990 Style Patterns. Ltd. 
I found this one at a thrift. What sold me was the View 1 illustration, the one where she’s facing front and the skirt is billowing billowing billowing. 
Also the photo reminds me of Daryl Hannah in Splash!, although when I went and did a search to confirm that Daryl Hannah was actually in Splash!, I saw that she didn’t look like this at all, instead of long soft hair, she had bangs and that amazing white-blonde crimped mermaid hair that inspired a world of unfortunate crimped copy-cattery.
Also, Splash! came out in 1984. What?! That is much much earlier than I would’ve guessed, and six years earlier than this pattern. 
Also let’s take a moment to laugh at that jacket. Hahahhahahahaha.Ok done. 


The Fabric:
It’s taffeta, in pink and tan plaid on a white background. It was an end-of-bolt sale remnant, and there was just enough (about 5 yards) of it to cut out this dress while avoiding the big fade stripes along the fold lines, which totally happened on my watch during the dozen or so years I’ve had this stuff. 
I washed it before cutting, to get that crinkly texture, and so that I could wash the eventual dress. 
Here below is the best part of the dress: the skirt is so full and the washed taffeta is so light, that it catches every breeze.


Here below is the worst bummer of the dress: it does not look good on me. 
It’s the waistline. I think if the waistline hit about three inches lower, and had a more dramatic curve up at the sides and down at the front and back, it would look about a million times better. As is, it’s chopping me at a bad place and makes everything look broad and childish yet frumpy. And the girly plaid isn’t helping. 


I tell ya what though: if you want to learn what lines look good on your figure, just take pictures. I’ve been wearing clothes most of my life, but have learned more in the past couple weeks about what I look good in, just from looking at the difference between how that red and purple Donna Karan looks and how this pink thing looks, than, like, ever. I mean, it’s the difference between hot damn and regular damn. 
So that’s good. 
Here’s the back. 

Ok no really, here’s the back. 

Hard to get a good photo of this dress, because of how fun the skirt is.  


Time and Changes:
6 hours. I skipped the center back zipper, and I cut the bodice on bias instead of straight, in (unfulfilled) hopes of a more slinky bias fit. 
Speaking of photos being helpful, I’m realizing that I should be giving myself more length in the upper bodice, front and back, like on all patterns across the board from now on. Like draw a horizontal line at mid-armsceye level and make a note to cut out the garment above the line, then drop the pattern piece maybe an inch, then cut from the line down. This would lower bust darts and give me more room in the armsceye, which are two things it seems like I’m always doing, especially the older the pattern. 
This is the kind of thing I can see on another person in a fitting room, but it’s taken over a year of blog photos to see it on myself. If only I’d heeded the advice of Cher Horowitz all those years ago: dress yourself with photos, not the mirror. 

The Regrets:
My fabric regret is this: I was looking at these photos and thinking how this is the weirdest fabric. It’s taffeta, so it’s all shiny rustle-y party-time, it’s pink, and pink and shiny equal princess overload, but it’s a small scale plaid, like you’d see in a hardworking daytime cotton, like…shirting. 
This fabric would’ve made a great shirtdress. Polished, lightweight, unassuming. Understated but fancy. Aaaaaaaaaaargh. After having this stupid fabric for years, the perfect idea came like two weeks too late. 
What would you have made out of this stuff? Shirtdress? It’s shirtdress right? Everyone saw it but me? 

Sew It or Throw it: 
Throw it. The pattern, because it’s not right for me, and the dress because it can’t be saved. Even the easy save of put-a-T-shirt-on-overtop isn’t working. It’s ok though, I am pretty happy at having finally made something with this fabric, it feels good to have produced something, even if I’m just producing it right outta my life. 

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16 thoughts on “Style 1723: a sundress for a windy day

  1. Oy! Don’t throw it – chop off the top, make a waistband (and adjust the skirt accordingly) and you’ll have *the* most amazing skirt. I really didn’t think shirtdress at all, which might be because I think this is a good idea. Personally I would probably have gone for a shirt, or a tunic length something, but that’s just me. It’s obvious from these photos that you love the skirt, so why not keep that? You could use some of your leftovers to add accents to shirts or tops to bing the two together, if you so wish.

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  2. I’m with the bun-skirt skirt skirt. I mean, I hate pink, wouldn’t touch gingham with a bargepole…but I really like the look of this fabric. And it’s taffeta, which is always good in my book. Skirt skirt skirt skirt skirt. skirt. Just do it already!

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  3. I am so grateful you put the throw it stuff on here too.

    There are things I love about this dress, but I think the colour is too wishy washy on you. Although a shirt dress may have suited your figure better I still think it is too pale and grey looking for you.

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    1. The Throw Its are fun, aren’t they.
      I always enjoy other people’s Throw Its too. Success is great, and I love seeing the people’s successes, but it’s just as (and sometimes more) interesting to hear someone talk through a perceived failure.
      It is a weird color for me, I’m glad you confirmed that.

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  4. Agree that unfortunately it does you no favours, there’s a lot of fabric in that skirt though, maybe enough for a shirt or like above make it in to a skirt by shortening and adding the waist band.

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  5. what a pity, I can see what you could do to potentially save it….. but I also know the feeling of having to remake something you have already well made, and whether its worth the feelings of double defeat….(I cut something out a few weeks ago and just as I started sewing, I got the feeling it would not work, so I shelved it and now its ‘mocking’ me)….If you like the fabric, I would store it before a throw it, as you could use it for something else – oodles in that skirt!, but then again, it could also be so meant for someone else! Love the shaping of the bodice,

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    1. The double defeat, yesssssssss, that is exactly what I’m not up for. For now, the dress is in my fabric scraps bag, cooling off so I can see it again later with clear eyes and renewed energy. I tend to let a to-be-donated bag slowly accumulate in my closet, which has the secondary effect of giving me time to reconsider. Or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great, you made the decision so I don’t need to leave an opinion. Although I would say, when you’re used to making for other people, the thrill is sometimes simply in making an unknown or new shape! I would have cut the skirt into something else, like the idea of a shirt, but maybe cropped with a tie front

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  7. Late to the commenting party but desperately trying to add my two cents ;-)

    Yes, a shirt dress. Not because I have great sartorial insight (I don’t) but because shirt dresses are a gift from the gods. Honestly, sometimes I get very upset that in sewing not all projects can be winners all the time. It can be difficult to value the learning experience when you don’t like what you see in the mirror. You really make the most of that skirt in the photos, though, and I love your choice of footwear.

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