Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Wearing the Wonky Dress

 Or, How She Put a Brave Face On and Wore the Dress that Would have Auffed Her from Any Sewing Reality Show.

Unfortunately, I basically have no pictures.  I didn't carry my phone with me...we were, after all, paying a photographer to take GOOD pictures...but none of the pics snapped by friends and family really showed the dress.  The professional shots will be available in something like a month, lol.  All I have at the moment is this (snort) not so flattering shot, but it does prove I wore it...


First, the fabric...I probably should have ditched the project when I realized that I was going to have to cut it cross grain due to the direction of the print.  But I was foolishly brave...or bravely foolish...and thought by extra careful one-layer cutting I could Make It Work.  Ha ha and ha.  I am pretty sure it slid off grain as I was extra carefully moving it around...but even the center front, which was the first piece I cut on a fold that had been meticulously measured to be even, hung skewed.  The whole freaking dress twisted substantially...I kinda think it may not have been a square weave to begin with.  I mean, rayon crepe is notoriously unstable in all its ways anyway, but the consistency of the twist has me thinking that at least some of it was in the weave...because all the pieces had to be cut going the same direction (again, due to the directional print).  The bottom of the zipper...which was entirely superfluous, I could pull the dress over my head without touching it...was a good 3" to the right of my spine.   And...while the colors in the print were dead perfect for the day, they were also very superficial. The least little abrasion resulted in white pull lines  I used some brand-spanking-new tailor's chalk to try to mark the hem after My Sweet Babboo had pin-marked the level, and just marking along the wrong side with the chalk caused pulls in the fabric.  Whoa.  I ended up using an ink pen...I was cutting the line off anyway...but sheesh!

Fortunately it is a very busy print, with white twiggy things all over it anyway.

Then...the fit... I did do a muslin, but just from the waist up. And, being a bouncy cotton, it didn't reflect the drag that would happen with the full weight of the rayon pulling down.  I should have done a petite adjustment in the armsceye and upper chest.  The upper bit was just simply too big.  I looked in the mirror and was immediately reminded of the farm-wife dresses that my great-great-aunt Lena wore when I was a preschooler.  Not exactly the vintage-y look I was going for.

So, between the twisty skewed fabric and the oversized upper chest, I kinda looked like a cross between Aunt Lena and Quasimodo.  Again, not the look I was going for.

A bit before the rehearsal on the day before, the Flute Player wanted to make a quick run to the mall to seek out a dress for the rehearsal/ going away outfit, so with about 45 minutes to shop, we headed out.  I just wanted to see if I could find SOMETHING that would work better than the Wonky Dress.  We had time to hit exactly one department store and I wandered through the offerings in Better Dresses with increasing dismay.  It was a SEA OF POLYESTER.  Scuba knits, even (so the scuba dress in the finals of The Great British Sewing Bee wasn't as much of a ...stretch...for formal wear as I thought).    I found exactly TWO dresses in my size that were not polyester...a seersucker gingham and a rayon/linen sheath dress with ruffles going over the shoulders.  The seersucker had, as it turned out, oddly puffed sleeves that looked ridiculous once I put it on...nope.  The sheath dress didn't fit too badly, but the neckline plunged WAY farther than I was comfortable with.  I did have a scarf at home that I thought I could possibly use to fill in the gap, though, and since I was out of time I bought that dress...just in case I decided I just couldn't brave the Wonky Dress. If I did wear the Wonky Dress...I could return it.

We were nearly  half an hour late to the rehearsal...because, well, we had to stop by the newlywed's apartment to try and find a foundation garment for the bride amongst the stuff that had already been moved...that turned out to still be at the house.

After the dinner, we sat up visiting with the kids who were in town for the wedding and I hemmed the Wonky Dress.  Put it on one last time before I went to bed to see if it was still Wonky...it was...and then laid in bed trying to figure out what to do.  The scarf was a near dead-match for the sheath dress...

Pros of the sheath dress:  it was the right blue, it matched the scarf, it was a much slimmer silhouette.

Pros of the Wonky Dress:  it was still a light, floaty rayon fabric that would be about the coolest thing I could wear.  It had pockets.  It matched the accessories I planned.

Cons of the Wonky Dress:  Aunt Lena-Quasimodo

Cons of the sheath dress:   It really wasn't very dressy; I would have to fiddle with the silk scarf to get it to look right and that silk scarf, wrapped around my neck, would be HOT.  And...NO POCKETS.

Ultimately, comfort won out.  I wanted pockets for my lip gloss and a couple of tissues, just in case.  Maybe no one would notice the wonkiness if I just kept moving.

Y'all, I got compliments on that Wonky Dress.  I laughed every time someone commented on it looking nice; I couldn't help myself.  I knew that dress was A. Hot. Mess.  Of course, I didn't point out the issues, and I thanked the very nice people for complimenting the dress, but I still laughed.  I guess I moved enough.

Who knows what it will look like when we get the Official Wedding Pictures...but I was about as cool and comfy as I could've been.  

And the Flute Player was so gorgeous that I had to keep reminding myself it really was my jeans-and-tshirt-and-pigtails wearing youngest offspring...

Photo creds to my BIL David...
It all went well; the Wonky Dress didn't hurt a thing.  The sheath dress will be going back to the department store on Friday.


  1. Wow, you've had quite the ups and downs on this wedding with the dresses. I'm glad that the fabric that was your nemesis (cross wise print, shifty and hard to work with) was also the saving grace (comfort and busy print hiding flaws). I'd say all in all, you done good. Your daughter is lovely and so was her dress (yay - not strapless!)

  2. The bride looks beautiful and I’m certain you did as well. Such a wonderful day for two families to come together.

  3. The bride looks wonderful and I’m certain you did as well. What a wonderful day for two families to be united.

  4. Funny story...when we were at the bridal store, getting the hem of her dress marked and the bustle created (I could have hemmed it, but I didn't trust myself on the bustle. Worth the price to let someone else fiddle with it) another young lady came in to get her dress altered and..it was The Same Dress as the Flute Player's.