Advice please!

This week I have been plugging away on two distinct projects.  One is going to turn out well and the other may well be destined for the trash can.

On Saturday, after making a successful muslin of Simplicity 2363 , I cut my fabric. A pink cotton chambray and a precious 1/2 yard of Liberty of London fabric .  The reviews of this dress have been pretty abysmal, but after seeing this dress by GenesisWinter I had hope that it could be made into a cute outfit. I was envisioning a more defined bib dress with shirring at the waist to add definition.

Let’s just say that the dress didn’t turn out like I was envisioning it.  I’m not destined to become a clothing designer.  Aside for the distinct mumu-like shape, the coloring is just awful.  I’m not sure that it can be saved.

Nothing gives an example quite like a picture– but I must admit that these pictures are a bit embarrassing.  How could I have gone so wrong with the fabric selection?  I’m a bit heartbroken that I wasted my first bit of Liberty of London fabric.


I thought that it looked better close-up.  So as I was sewing it, I (unfortunately) was only looking at it within a close range.  Once I put it on (above) it was a different story.  But for the record, here is the close-up shot.

Even though it looks like a mumu now, the shape does have potential.  As pictured, I have taken out about 1″ on either side of the dress.  However, the seams lend themselves to additional fittings- I have 6 “fitting opportunities” around the dress.  I have decided that I hate the gathering in the front and back panels too.  It makes two pouches in all of the wrong places.  I could take out the excess ease here- and use shirring to add definition.

Now onto the color.  I have extra of the pink chambray cotton fabric, so I could easily cut out the bodice again.  My question is- is it even worth it?  Is the dress worth saving?  I’ve had a friend say that it might be the wrong color for my skin tone.  Would it be worth trying to use RIT dye to change the color to a deep raspberry/violet?  And has anyone even used RIT dye successfully before? (How did you do it?)

The second issue is what to do with the Liberty of London fabric.  I carefully have ripped out the seams of the dress, and therefore have preserved the bit of fabric that I have.  However, it’s cut in the shape of the Simplicity 2363 bodice.  If I could adapt the pattern to a more-fitted, princess seamed top, would it be worth buying more Liberty of London fabric to make a fall top?  This is the shape that I was picturing.

Thanks for all of your advice!

I hope to have my second project finished tomorrow morning.  I’ll post my process later this weekend.

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7 Comments

Filed under Baby clothes, Dresses, Kids clothes, Summer Essentials SewAlong

7 responses to “Advice please!

  1. Hi! I saw the photo on the SESA flickr pool. Okay, so I’m not an expert seamstress… just learning, but other than needing a bit of shape I don’t think the dress is awful at all. In fact, I like the colour. I would try adding shape at the sides, and perhaps a belt (either store bought or in the Liberty print) and see how it goes. I would also hike up the hem a bit for a more playful look. If you still don’t like it after that, then I would try making it into a short sleeves peasant style top like you suggested. And if you still don’t like it after that, unstitch it and save the Liberty fabric for future use. At the end of the day, if you don’t like it you’ll never wear it. And you can always count this as an experience in leaning… that’s how I justify my many disasters in my own adventures in garment making. Best of luck!

    • Thank you so much Andrea! I appreciate your advice. I think that it is probably worth working on the shape. I will try to think of it as an “experience in learning!” If I get it into a presentable shape, I’ll be sure to post it.

  2. ali

    I suspect I’m a bit late, but I did want to offer my thoughts. I really don’t think it’s that bad. You’ve clearly done a good job sewing-wise — it’s a pretty bib on a dress that flows over your curves — it doesn’t look shapeless from my perspective, but I know I like a bit of waist definition, too. My first instinct is to say that there may be a mismatch of fabrics — the Liberty fabric is almost too vibrant for the light pink chambray, giving it a muumuu/70s look. I think your instinct to either dye the fabric (raspberry about be lovely!) to better match the bib, or to use all pink chambray for the dress and then save the Liberty for a tunic is spot on. They both seem to involve a bit of work — but it’s all what you’d feel most comfortable wearing! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing what you decide.

    • You certainly aren’t late ali. Thanks so much for your helpful comments. I think that you are correct with your assessment about the mismatch of fabrics. I don’t know what I was thinking or why I didn’t pick up on that when I initially picked out the fabrics. I ripped apart the bodice bib and dress last week (which took a while) and then started the process of re-basting the dress. I recut the bodice out of the remnants of the pink chambray. As of yesterday afternoon it had a bit of promise. I think that I’m ready to begin stitching it back together. I took out about .5″ from all of the skirt seams and eased the excess of the front and back skirt panels into the bodice to remove the “pouch.” I also think that I’m going to shirr around 3/4 of the waist to add definition- I’m picturing shirring a couple rows around the sides and back, but leaving the front bodice untouched.

      While I wish that the fabric was a deep raspberry color, I’m afraid to dye it. Both because I don’t want to ruin the fabric, but also because I’m afraid of ruining my washing machine. Have you ever used the Rit dye?

      I’ll post of picture of the project when I get it finished – regardless of whether or not it turns out well. Thank you again!!

      • Benedetta

        Please do not be so hard on yourself. As I read your post, I remembered feeling the exact same way about my some of my ‘creations’. Although some people have an inborn knack for such things, the rest of us have to learn by trial and error. And with persistance, you will, too. First, I would like to say that your dress really isn’t bad. It just seems that way to you becasue it didn’t work out the way you envisioned it. You are very fortunate to have extra pink chambray. As you sew up the dress with the new pink bodice, work out any fitting issues you may have. Andrea is right, a belt would help give that waist definition that Ali mentioned and would also offer an eye-catching design detail. (Not all designer details are sewn into the garment. Waht would a runway show look like without the shoes and accessories?) Once you are pleased, use this pink dress as a working muslin for a second dress or tunic using your Liberty fabric as an inspiration for a completely different look. You can make 2 or 3 versions of the same exact pattern but they look completely different because of a change in color/drape/texture/length and different designer elements. And you’ll save time because you’ll have the fit down perfectly for the second piece. I would recommend using a fabric that matches the background color of the Liberty fabric. Some people are great at using dye. I am chicken. I have had a bottom of Rit sitting on my favorite (but old) linen skirt for three years. Will it ruin my washing machine? Will the color continually bleed out with every sunsequent washing? I may never know. Good luck with your redo. And remember to treat yourself as your own child or your husband’s students. If they intended to draw a rabbit and it came out looking like a kangaroo, would you tell them to put down their pencil and never draw again? Of course not. You’d encourage them. “Now that you know how to make a great kangaroo, you can better see what to do to make a rabbit.” You know all learning involves challenges and even redos. None of it is wasted. It’s all part of the cost of learning. And you are learning. Good luck.

        PS. As I reread this, I laughed at myself. I need follow my own advice and tackle that bottle of Rit. I’ll let you know if I end up with a kangaroo or rabbit.

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