A pattern I made: the backwards dress


the pattern: 

I made this pattern, here’s the story: 

One time I went to New York City and had drinks with a friend who was wearing this great dress. It was kind of vintage looking, in black. Very plain, sheath-type dress from the front, until she turned around, and then the back had this dramatic, generously open, collar surprise. 

Almost like she had her dress on backwards. I really liked it. So I went home and draped it up from memory and made this pattern, and then a dress. 

I don’t remember what year that was, and I didn’t put a date on my pattern. Let’s say 2006? Ten years ago? Maybe? 

Anyway, the dress is now too small. 

Hey, your dress is too small! Hey, yours too!

I mean, if I stand like this it’s fine:


But I can’t stand like that all day. 

Here’s the back.


I can’t remember if my friend’s dress had buttons, but mine sure does. I should have made them silver, then I could’ve called this my Miss Mary Mack dress. 

The dress has lots of seam allowance, so I could let it out, but I’m over it. Partly because of this: 


If you zoom in to the bust area in the photo above (wheeee!), you can see how I kept messing with this dress, practically like it was a muslin, way after it was done and I should’ve left it alone. It started out with french darts to shape the bust, then I added a sort of a princess dart, which I transferred to my pattern in green, then I added a curved under-bust seam that took up some excess at the midriff and then disappeared to nothing at the side seam where it met up with the French darts. 

Too much business. It’s so overworked that it bothers me. I don’t want to wear it now, let alone alter it and then wear it. Although I did like it and wear it back in 2006 or whenever it was that I made it. And I still think it’s cute.

So I offered it to my sister. She gets First Refusal when I get rid things I’ve made.


That’s our real text exchange. 

So, yay, happy ending, now it belongs to her! 

She’s cute, huh! The dress is cute with the belt too. Maybe I should’ve thought of that. Oh well, TOO LATE NOW! 

Sew It or Throw It:

Throw It. I’m over it. Pattern has got too many issues. Not least of which is the collar, which, while fun, should be more subtle and elegant. Maybe the collar could roll out more gradually from some kind of interesting center front detail. Or roll into the center back in a more voluptuous way. Less flat. Something.

Could be fun to keep the pattern, just in case I ever come across the original pattern that inspired my friends dress which inspired this dress. But then again, if that ever happened, and what would be the chances, I would most likely just compare photos rather than unfolding and comparing patterns. 

I made it once, I could make it again. So, Throw. 

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7 thoughts on “A pattern I made: the backwards dress

  1. It is a cute idea, but sometimes one just has to move on. I don’t want to insult your dress but I could see this in a much longer length in taffeta for bridesmaids! It would b kind of cute in backwards photos. I’m with you, there is a rare elegance possible in patternmaking and I’m sure your present self would finesse the pattern beautifully. Pushmepullyou?

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    1. Good point with the bridesmaids. Wonder why there isn’t more back interest in bridesmaids gowns. I guess they stand sideways to the audience pretty often, maybe more side bows and bustles and lacings and loop de doops… sorry what were we talking about? Hard to talk sewing today, never felt so personally repulsed and scared by a politician. I don’t want to listen to his ugly voice for four years, let alone be governed. WTactualFuck, America.
      I’m going to go make some coffee and maybe zone out in front of the sewing machine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Improving community spirit is the way forward. Getting to know our neighbours will surely lessen the xenophobia. Here in Oz we’re gobsmacked. But I’m afraid it confirms the world’s general perception of the US pre Obama, just when we were all getting cosy with you guys. I cannot believe Trump represents the majority but the proof is right there in blue and red. Worldwide politics are getting more right wing, our PM is moderate but the vociferous right are applying pressure. Let’s resist together and embrace our neighbours, I blame isolationist computers! We read more than we experience and that’s just not real. Mwah x

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