Friday, July 30, 2021

All dressed up and (still) nowhere to go

I posted a photo of the thrifted rayon print I used for this dress in 2015, so it has been marinating for a while in my stash. I had a lot of it - enough to cut out the massive lower skirt piece in this dress pattern on the fold and leave leftovers. It's the Carole Dress from Fibre Mood. 

Why did I buy this pattern from a formerly unknown-to-me online outfit from Belgium?  

Because I looked at Carolyn's blog in early 2020 and she was waxing poetic about Fibre Mood patterns, and this dress in particular which she had made a couple of times. 

I was also inspired by her blog to buy their patterns for the paper bag pants and the Faye dress. Have I printed them yet? erm no.

Carolyn blogged about this pattern twice. In her second post she sort of suggested that she had had to make some adjustments to the pattern for fit, but didn't describe them. As for me, I found I had to make some to get this dress to something I would be willing to wear. 

There were two major things wrong with this pattern, IMHO. 

First, as you can see in the line drawing, there were no darts or other shaping incorporated into the waist area and this left an enormous amount of excess fabric in the middle of my back. 

While I'm not averse to a dress that blouses attractively above a waist belt, this dress did not seem to me to call for it. The waist tie is extremely narrow (about 1cm) and I thought one of the nice features of the dress, as Carolyn had made it, was the semi-fitted back silhouette. By contrast, the line drawing shows a blobby unattractiveness at the waist. I was dubious about this as I progressed through the sewing steps, following the instructions faithfully. I figured I could whang some fisheye darts in there once I could see how bad it was going to be.

It was bad enough that the back darts are a good 3cm each at their widest point. I eyeballed what was necessary by pinning out as much fabric as was needed with the dress on my trusty dressform. 

Can you see the darts? I didn't think so. 

Second, once I got it attached, I realized that the skirt was waaaaaay too long in back for an ordinary human. I did not adjust the front for length but the back is at least 15cm shorter as a result of my adjustments and is still plenty long enough.

The fix was to rip out the seam between the skirt yoke and lower skirt and take out a massive curved wedge, tapering to nothing somewhere in the front. I do not actually trust the accuracy of the line drawing but maybe the skirt seam was as curved down as it shows. It's much more horizontal in my finished dress, not that you can see it. 

Luckily the instructions had induced me to sew the seam that attaches the lower skirt to the upper skirt last so I didn't have to mess with changing the side seams. 

The enormity of figuring out how exactly I was going to increase the depth of the concave curve in the lower skirt while also decreasing the depth of the convex curve in the skirt yoke and the impossibility of imagining where or for what I would wear the dress during the early part of the pandemic meant that the partially completed dress sat on my form literally for most of a year. In the end, it wasn't that hard because rayon is incredibly shifty and therefore forgiving. And nobody can see that seam!

I have worn this dress once (working from home, for a lark) but am hopeful I can actually wear it out in actual company when I attend a family event that is hopefully going to take place in early September. 


  1. Your dress makes that pattern shine.

  2. I fell in love with this pattern as well. I love your version and thanks for sharing your fixes. Hope you have occasion to wear it often in the future, you will steal the show!

  3. It's really pretty and thanks for sharing those technical issues with the pattern. Not enough of that happening anymore!