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Big Fat Fail

2012 May 11
by elizabeth_admin

Butterick 5454


My mojo has started to percolate and I actually sewed last night.  Unfortunately for me and my mojo, it was a major fail.  I had cut out B5454 way before I went out West and it was just sitting on my sewing table ever since.  Last night, I thought, was the night it would be sewn into an awesome dress.  I used a solid forest green knit that I had in my stash to muslin the pattern.  My suspicion is that a combination of bad fabric and wrong size cut coupled with some pretty hideous “what were they thinking” pleats were the nails on this coffin of this dress.  *sigh*

The knit was a little on the thin side and it was a solid color.  Need I say more?  A solid thin knit is the death knell for showing any minor AND major foible with your body.  If you see a thin knit for an awesome price at the fabric store, I strongly encourage you to walk away.  Everything I have ever made with a thin knit has been a disaster.  At least dress-wise.

I cut inbetween a size 14 and 16 since I didn’t want to have to fool with an FBA.  I thought increasing the width a little and the wrap of the wrap dress would deal adequately with the girls.  Well, it did work, but a little too much.  It was too big.  The side seams were about 2 inches forward on my body rather than at my sides.  Note to Self: Don’t try to cheat an FBA.  It will come back to haunt you.  Please learn this lesson next time Self.  You have had too many chances to learn.  Enough already.

I had been warned by several reviews on Pattern Review that this pattern has pleats on the back skirt panel which were very unattractive.  Did I listen?  No.  Did I blithely go ahead and make the blasted pleats and then saw for myself how ginormous my ass looked with pleats gaping right over each buttock like they were too fat to contain and wanted to escape?  Why, yes, yes I did. 

As I was constructing the dress, I noticed that I had forgotten to cut out the ties for the wrap.  Did I bother cutting them or sewing them on last night after seeing how awful this dress looked on me?  No.  Will I ever finish this dress?  NO.  Do I feel guilty about that?  NO. 

Since most of this dress disaster was user error (poor fabric choice, no FBA/too large of a size, and ignoring the pleats warning), I won’t blame the dress pattern.  Well, at least not to its face.  But I gotta tell you, those back pleats are hideous.  I think I had nightmares about them last night. 

Is there photographic evidence of this dress?  NO!!!  Do you think I’m nuts?  I don’t want photos of me in that dress on the interwebs.  I have my pride you know.  As a matter of fact, I took that dress off and put on my V8379 dress right away to reassure myself that I didn’t look as fat as the B5454 dress made me look and feel.  And boy was I relieved that I looked like my normal self.  Phew! 

So my lessons learned (hopefully) are:

  • Fit is everything.  EVERYTHING.
  • Don’t skimp on FBAs to avoid altering a pattern
  • Don’t pick the wrong size
  • Heed those who have gone before you
  • And pick the right fabric dammit!

Once I get over this debacle, if I were to attempt this dress again, I would make the following changes:

  • Get rid of those damn pleats and just gather the skirt into the bodice.
  • Try the sz 12 with a proper FBA
  • Make the skirt longer by about 1 inch.  It fell just where I liked it without hemming, at the knee.

What I did like about this pattern?  I loved:

  • The pleats on the bodice that fell from the shoulder seam
  • The extra wide left front and right front wrap, plenty of coverage there
  • The straight skirt which is great for border prints which I just adore.

Even though this project was a fail in the end, it was still a learning opportunity.  But best of all, I was doing something I love to do.  Sew.  It felt so good to be creating again. 

Happy sewing everyone!  Whether you make a winner or not, you’re still creating and that’s a win in and of itself.


12 Responses leave one →
  1. May 11, 2012

    Goodness gracious, it looks like an ordinary DVF-type wrap dress. Can’t speak for the pleats but a sturdier knit (maybe a double knit?) would probably work better than thin and (perhaps) too stretchy. C’est la vie — Funny post!

  2. May 11, 2012

    Oh, rats! I bet the larger size would’ve worked if you did it only in the front… or, maybe not. What a pain! On to bigger and better things, I suppose…

  3. Shams permalink
    May 11, 2012

    Yes, it sounds like you are in the same boat as I. I always always always have to do an FBA. Mostly. 😉 It can be a drag, but fit IS everything. I have had good luck using a thin knit for a top, but, yes, I can imagine it would be not so good for a dress. Consider is a muslin! 🙂

  4. May 11, 2012

    Escaping buttocks. LOL.

  5. May 11, 2012

    Ah, well. I had a similar dress fail a little while ago. My fabric was too thin, and my brain knew the style was going to be bad, but a large number of favorable Pattern Reviews convinced me otherwise. I should listen to my brain. It knows things.

    Anyway, sorry the dress didn’t work out, but at least now you are free to move on to other things! It always feels good to be sewing again after a long pause, so I am excited to see what you end up making!

  6. May 11, 2012

    I hear you on the thin knits! Funnily, your post showed on my reader right after Sabine’s post who made this very dress, and it looks really pretty (although she also says she has to make a full slip before wearing it!). I’d guess she speaks English although the post is in German, have a look:

  7. May 11, 2012

    Oh, I had a traumatic thin and solid knit experience in the fall. Sometimes all you can do is put the fabric down and slowly back away from the sewing machine. Sounds like bailing on this project was a really good decision!

  8. May 12, 2012

    I think the pattern has a problem because Erica Penton made it twice and she criticizes the skirt pleats too. Interestingly enough, Erica made a green version just this week:

  9. May 12, 2012

    You have convinced me of something I already knew – if I am going to sew anything that looks properly nice on my top half, I need to learn how to FBA! I always cut too big and then try and pull in the waist and hips…thanks for beefing up my sewing resolutions for this year! I often learn or realise something reading your blog 🙂

  10. Pascale permalink
    May 13, 2012

    check out Peggy Saggers DVF wrap dress pattern

  11. May 16, 2012

    Every time I am seduced by the great print or color on a thin knit it ends in tears. I don’t know why they even manufacture that garbage. I really like this pattern–I hope you can get it to work for you!

  12. May 20, 2012

    Those thin knits are meant to be linings (for that Spanx effect under other knitwear) but they’re rarely listed (or priced) as such XD

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