I made this rayon Bettine at the end of July, and it’s sat unblogged since then. In my world, that’s not a good sign! I did wear it in Montreal, and I felt cute and comfortable all day… but I dug it out to photograph the other day, and the (literally) harsh light of day made me really question it. I think it all comes down to three factors: fabric, pattern, and photography, all of which I was experimenting with outside my comfort zone. That makes it not a winner, but not a fail either, because I can learn from my experiments!
My beloved rayon jersey – except this time in a solid. It was only $3/m, and I love the colour. I don’t buy solids often, because as I mentioned in my Pros and Cons of Rayon Knits post, solids tend to show every lump and bump. Maybe a higher quality fabric would have hid more sins?
Case in point:
Le sigh. Yes, this is what Spanx were invented for, but who wants to wear a compression garment under a casual summer dress?
I was inspired by a couple of dresses I’d pinned, particularly the black dress with the green clutch. So elegant and effortless and chic! I’d had this dress in mind before I even sewed my ponte Bettine, but I decided to sew the pattern as-is before changing it drastically.
After wearing both Bettine dresses, I have to say the pattern is not for me. The front and back bodice are identical except for neckline, and the front and back skirt are identical too. Just think about that – no room for bust or bootie. In ponte, the skirt pulls back and up, pulling the front waist low and the side seams all wonky. I wore it once, and I won’t wear it again! In this more drapey rayon, the fabric stretches more to compensate, but the result is a lot of wrinkles and pull lines as I move. I think that a pattern with space for my curves would have given a much more elegant effect.
(As an aside, I’m not sure the off-the-shoulder looks is for me, but I’m glad I experimented!)
Finally, 3. Photography.
On a whim, I took these pics mid-afternoon while running errands. The sun was bright with harsh shadows, so I tramped around the park looking for deep shade. Not shady enough though! If you go back and look at my inspiration collage, see how the dresses I’d pinned look like dark pools of fabric, whereas my pics have sharp shadows and highlights on every fold and crease? I think if I’d waited a few more hours, I might have pictures that convinces me to like the dress (like these ones did) instead of pics that make me feel self-conscious about wearing it!
To prove my point, here are some pics I took in a more shaded area:
Much better, right? I still see the drape but it’s less in-my-face, and I notice the colour and overall shape of the dress more.
So, what did I learn from this dress?
- I like prints for a reason. I swear everything is more flattering in a print!
- Patterns with no shaping will struggle to fit my body, especially with a fitted skirt. Better to start with a design that knows my front is not the same as my back! (Oddly, I’m not so bothered by the Jalie leopard dress that I made to wear backwards – between fabric and alterations, it actually fits just fine in reverse.)
- Pictures really affect how I feel about a garment, so it’s worth putting thought into taking good pictures! For better and for worse, an unflattering picture or an amazing shot can change how I feel in a garment forever… and I think if you don’t feel confident, then you won’t look as great.
- All hail cheap fabric! I’m not in love with the dress, nor do I hate it, but I’m happy I made it. For $6, I learned a lot!
I almost didn’t blog about the dress… but I figured that it’s nice to be upfront that not everything is a winner. I”m moving on now to making work-appropriate fall clothes… time for longer hems, longer sleeves, and high necklines!
And maybe, just maybe, I should stop sewing jersey dresses and make some more pants. (The next post is also a jersey dress!)
Do pictures influence how you feel about a garment? Or, do you trust your mirror or your loved ones’ reaction more? I did ask Jamie what he thought of the dress after I’d worn it, and he said, “I remember your accessories more than the dress, and that didn’t seem like you.” Clever man!