Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finished, but Not Done

I've been working on a dress for the past few weeks and finally got it hemmed and done this evening. It's a copy of a ready-to-wear dress I've had for a long time that I bought from the J. Peterman catalog.

Here's the RTW dress:

The bodice and sleeves are cut as one; there's an overarm seam and a waist dart. The fabric is a lovely corduroy, with covered buttons and a sash belt to match.

I really love this dress, even though the waist is just a bit too high. I decided to try and copy it with PatternMaster Boutique.

Here's the finished version. It's not done, though: I actually ran out of fabric for the belt, so I've been trying to find either a matching corduroy (it's been aging in my stash for a few years), or come up with a contrasting belt.

Front view:
I added two inches of blousing (the original dress had no blousing, which made it bind a bit), but without the belt, it means the waistline sits too low.

Back view:
Again, the waist sits too low. I should have used less blousing; the next iteration will certainly have less.

The dress has in-seam pockets, just like the RTW version.

I love dresses with pockets, and always kick myself when I forget to include them in a garment.

The dress has a shawl collar; the back neck was actually raised by a quarter inch.

I've got a few minor issues with the dress, other than the fit. The first is the corduroy! I hadn't done much with corduroy previously, and I had no idea the stuff wrinkled as much as it does. And it's a bear to press!! I tried to get a nice crisp edge on the collar, but was afraid I would totally flatten the nap. Same thing for the hem. Maybe the wrinkles will come out in the wash; we'll have to see.

Also, I'm wondering about the length. The original dress is longer than the copy; I'd love to get some feedback over which length is actually more suitable. I've got about 4" in the hem, so it could be let down.

I'm going to make this again, with a few tweaks, and use some non-napped fabric (like a soft denim), so it can be a summer dress.


  1. Great job! I think I like the longer length. The shorter length splits your body in half but not quite. The longer length follows that golden mean rule (is it 3/5?) I think a belt will definitely help with the blousing issue. I see you are wearing black shoes -- would a black belt work? I'm sure you will be taking this to Puyallup!

  2. I think you should keep the length how it is now, it looks good - the longer length looks frumpy. Maybe you could ditch the shoes with straps going across your foot, they seem to make your leg line look shorter.

  3. I like the longer've done a wonderful copy of the original!

  4. I would go with shorter...the longer length makes you look like one of the wives in a Mormon multiple marriage cult.

    I'm seeing really short hemlines these days...not suggesting that you go mid thigh...but the mid calf looks dated at the moment.

  5. I'm glad that you mentioned the length. I think that the shorter length is much less "aging" as my patternmaking teacher would say. I vote younger/shorter. =)

  6. Another vote for the shorter version. I wore the longer length all through the '90s; now it seems dated to me.

    It looks like such a wearable dress, good for lots of occasions. Nice job!

  7. I like the shorter length better on you. I think it makes you look taller, and the circle skirt has a "New Look" vibe to it. Just add a belt and you're good. The shoes are really cute with it too.


I would love to hear your thoughts... Please share!