Failed Attempts at Sewing Solids

This Christmas, I decided maybe my new style would be analogous colour schemes: outfits combining solid garments in pink, purple and red, for example, or lime, green and teal. I pinned a bunch of pictures, bought some solid fabric and got sewing. So far so good… except that was a month ago and I haven’t chosen to wear either garment since!

Up first is the Style Arc Adeline. I made this pattern in cherry red for my sister last year, and always liked how it had looked on me… so when I was trying to justify buying some cool textured purple fabric, I decided to make myself one.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this dress. It came together easily, fits properly, and I like the colour. I’m just not excited to wear it!

(Side note though – I wanted to show you the continued evolution of this raspberry boiled wool coat, which I sewed in 2016! It’s the Lisette pattern that everyone loved. It swamped me at first, so I put darts in the back.. then over the years I’ve trimmed fabric off the draped collar, and last year I shortened the sleeves. This year I cut the length from knee length to hip height, and think it’s finally perfect!)

Here’s a better look at the texture. This is a woven with slight stretch. I used to have a cardigan in this colour that I loved, and I’ve tried several times over the years to add this colour to my wardrobe palette, but it never quite seems to stick. I’m giving this dress to my sister, and I hope she enjoys it!

On to dress number two, which has bigger problems.

Standing straight, it is fine. In normal life and movement, it’s tight.

And by bigger, I mean: Turns out my waist is bigger than I thought, and it doesn’t fit!

This is the Jalie Nicole shift dress, which appealed to me because I love Jalie and I’d never noticed this pattern actually has darts. “Perfect!” I thought. “Let’s go buy fabric and sew it up!” I’d been lusting after the colour and slight texture on this rayon/poly/nylon blend ponte at my local Fabricland, so when I saw it was half off the $45/m price tag, I splurged and bought it. This was a classic case of “there’s nothing else I really want and that’s good enough” though – if there been a killer print I would never have spent so much on this dress!

My unpopular opinion is that I dislike ponte. Sure, it is easy to sew, but I swear it is the least flattering fabric on me! It always highlights every lump and rides up awkwardly because it is stiff. This particular ponte is really high quality, and it’s excellent ability to spring back into position makes this dress snugger than a low quality fabric would. (This would make amazing workout leggings because it would hold you in.) As is, I went up a size from my velvet Jalie Rachel dress sewn the same week, and it’s still too tight at the shoulders, sleeves, bust, waist and hips, aka. everywhere. If I ever make this dress again, I’ll need an full bust and full butt adjustment.

Basically, I spent about $50 making a dress that looks cute when I try to channel my mom in the 60’s, and will be too short, too tight, and too revealing of my undergarments when I sit or bend! I almost spent another $20 last night buying fabric to try to fix it with a panel, and then I decided to stop throwing good money after bad.

Here’s the one fun part though – I used some vintage metallic lace from a friend on the shoulders, and I think that it looks cool.

So there we have it. I guess I’m not destined to #DressLikeACrayon. I’ll stick to dressing like a box of crayons instead! I don’t regret trying something new though – I think experimentation keeps things fresh, and I learned that my normal style of large bold prints is much more me.


29 thoughts on “Failed Attempts at Sewing Solids

  1. I think they are both lovely! Ponte is a funny one that’s for sure. The colours are beautiful and the lace is gorgeous. I have a pile of Fabricland winter jersey and I was not planning on making a dress with it and I think that is a good thing! Lovely pictures. Now get back to print! πŸ˜‰

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  2. I think you look beautiful and I love the colour. If you are not keen on it try a chunky necklace or brightly coloured tights to add a pop of colour.

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  3. I love the purple and pink together! Would adding a multi-coloured knit shawl or a floral scarf make it feel more you? Or just more fussy? I have a silk scarf that might just do the trick, if your shawl/scarf collection doesn’t have the right thing… Or, I’ll selflessly volunteer to take either or both dresses off your hands! πŸ˜‰

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  4. I am glad to hear that you dislike ponte. I have tried it multiple times. It is so heavy I keep taking in the seams just so it stays on and then it reveals things I would rather not reveal. My holy grail is heavyweight jersey like Lands’ End uses to make their mens jersey pants and shorts.

    I love that you want to dress like a box of crayons. Your outfits always seem so happy!!

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  5. I am with you on the ponte! It’s really never worked for me either. I feel like it’s too stiff, and yet sort of drapey enough to show off the lumps and bumps in a not-enjoyable way.

    It is so interesting what we all gravitate to… when I wear solids I feel β€œright” but I’m not at home in prints unless they’re an accessory, like a scarf or sweater! So I can appreciate your connection with prints, and using solids as the accessory part.

    That teal blue is so lovely on you, as a colour – it does seem to give a sort of glow-from-within look against your skin!

    I’m so glad you are willing to share what works, and especially what doesn’t – I find your site very inspiring and also love your writing style, Gillian. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us!

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    1. Thank you so much! ❀ I gave the teal dress to a friend today who is a few sizes smaller than me and I'm so happy it will have a good life – but not with me! πŸ˜›

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  6. I totally agree about ponte! I have had one with a very high rayon/ viscose content that was a bit more drapey but mostly they are just too thick/unweilding. Like wearing rubberised cardboard.

    I do like the blue dress on you, but i think that is because it is short and looks cute because of the length. The other one, whilst being a lovely color, there’s just too much of it. You know your own style, and you do always look great in prints!
    Also, there’s only a need to have a solid colour if you are wearing separates (for versatility with the rest of your wardrobe) if it’s a dress then go for a print every time!

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  7. I am so sorry the blue didn’t work out because that color is sooo good on you. No way to salvage some for maybe some color blocking?

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  8. You look fabulous in both of them! I understand your not liking them — if the fit is uncomfortable, well then it’s uncomfortable. And if you’re not used to seeing yourself in solids and don’t particularly like it, you certainly don’t need to fight that (people tell me I look good in skirts but I’m uncomfortable in them and life’s too short so I’m not going to wear them). But you do look great in both styles and in those colors! And the metallic lace is a really nice touch.

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    1. Yesssss- you get me! If it doesn’t feel right, then I’ll never chose to wear it. I’ve given both away now and I’m happy to see them walk out the door on someone else! πŸ˜‰

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  9. I agree the colours are lovely on you – especially the pink and purple combo! But it’s how you feel in it that counts.

    I do like the lace on the blue dress. It reminds me of a favourite glamorous TV costume – it was a long bright blue dress with metallic decoration. Gorgeous.

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  10. They are both lovely – I understand you might feel a little snug in parts in the second one – it doesn’t look bad though. Plains are great to wear sometimes, depends on mood swings in my house (or what’s not in the laundry, or how much weight I have gained, or how confident I am feeling, etc, you get the picture!)

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  11. Ahhhhh! They both look so amazing on you!

    I know the feeling though. Perfectly fine garment…not a garment you want to wear. Hopefully someone can have them because your work is great on them and they are beautiful!

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  12. OMG – I think I hate ponte too! I don’t want to. I’ve been bamboozled into thinking it’s stretch fabric perfection. But every time I make something with it, it’s either to stiff to drape or strangely boxy. And I have a zillion metres in my stash (OK, prob more like 10, but that’s almost a zillion based on the size of my stash cupboard).

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  13. I feel you there. At some point I read something derogatory about a seamstress’ characteristic “overprinty” wardrobe and thought, oh that is me! So I tried more solids. Well.. The upshot is that I decided that it might generally be better if I wore less prints -together-. And settled on making mostly print shirts, so I could see them better and they could make me happier. But solids head to toe is just too boring.

    That said one of my best-beloved ever cardigans was from what very much looks like that purple fabric (in black, but never mind that). What is it, where did you get it? I’d kill for more, in better colors..

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  14. Dressing like a box of crayons is so much more fun anyways πŸ˜πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ’ƒπŸ½ but for real, solids are so hard to make when there’s so many fabric pretties in all the fabulous prints and colours 😍

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  15. Haha, “dress like a box of crayons”. Your bright print style is so strong that I did have to look twice when I saw these dresses and wonder what was different about it πŸ˜‰ Well, you tried and if you don’t like it then that’s that! PS – I’m with you on mostly disliking ponte – it just doesn’t drape. Rethinking my plan for a black ponte LB pullover now (fabric gifted from someone’s stash), maybe sweatpants instead…

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