Celebrity Dress Death

My daughter thinks that the woman on the pattern envelope for  Amy Butler ‘Lotus’ is a vampire.  I think it’s actually Amy Butler, laughing triumphantly at having got the whole world sewing again.  I first became aware of this company a few years ago when John Lewis began stocking their fabrics in an otherwise tired and drab haberdashery department.  Since then, this section of the store has enjoyed something of a revival and I always imagine that Butler’s inspiring fabrics and zingy marketing are to some extent to be thanked for that.  

Last year, a friend made a beautiful and flattering version of the Lotus dress and, thinking I’d get similarly lucky, I asked to try out her pattern.  It came with two warnings.  With the cold summer that we’d had in 2012, my friend said she hadn’t got to wear her dress that much.  Also, she warned that at the corners of the neckline, which are slightly less than 90°, the lining had a tendency to roll outwards.  With these in mind, I drafted longer sleeves and put corded piping along the neckline so that the piping keeps the lining hidden away (the idea for the latter came from one of the Lotus reviews by 3 Hours Past.) 

I found a very fine Liberty needlecord at Classic Textiles (44 Goldhawk Road, £5.50 a metre) and some matching lining which feels velvety, silky and cotton-like all at the same time but what it is I don’t know!  It came from Unique Fabrics (28 Goldhawk Road).  This dress was gonna be perfect for those days when it’s windy and cold but there are flowers everywhere (so it must be summer….)

The dress was easy and quick to make till I decided it needed a series of  nip’n’tucks at the princess and waist seams to make it more flattering.  I’m not sure all that adjustment has helped.  The header picture is the best of at least a hundred photos I had taken.  Some were so bad that after I downloaded them onto my laptop, it died.  “It’s the dress, it makes you look twice the weight you are!” my husband said.  I had to pause and think awhile, wondering if the comment was as insulting as I’d first thought!  I put the dress on over some jeans and Converse – the kind of practical, mummy way I’d intended to wear it – but DH’s slow head-shaking made me jump out of them PDQ!

So what went wrong?  Well, you tell me.  Did I draft the sleeves bad?  Is the fabric/lining too thick?  Is the trapezium-skirt shape a no-no on me?  Shall I wear it, dammit?! 

BTW, when a gust of wind knocked the dummy in the dress down, I actually smirked:

30 thoughts on “Celebrity Dress Death

  1. I give it a thumbs up! You most definitely do not look twice your weight. I must say though, I’m not a fan of dresses with jeans a la ‘the Vampire’, but as a dress it’s lovely. The neckline and piping are very flattering. Now pick up that poor dummy and wear that pretty dress with a cute bag and colourful necklace!

  2. First of all, wearing a dress with jeans makes everybody look fat (and silly imho).. I like the head picture, the fabric is gorgeous, all these pastel delicate flowers and matching piping – just lovely, and it is so neatly done..
    I would prefer shorter sleeves probably.. Anyway, it’s a shame to throw away such a beauty, I would definitely wear it!

  3. I have made this dress, the same sleeves, contrast shoulders, etc. as the pattern but definitely to wear as a dress not tunic. I actually found it to be very slimming! I love your fabric but maybe it has made the dress a bit bulkier and, like the comment above, I think the sleeves should be shorter. In the first photograph you are holding your arms out a little and this instantly makes you look slimmer than the later photo where you have your arms against your sides, so I’m blaming the sleeves. Beautiful job with the neckline by the way.

  4. Honestly it is not that bad but little cap sleeves might look better.
    p.s The model’s pose on the pattern envelope does look like she is about to bite somebody lol

  5. Hey, if the Khalesi can rock the ‘dress over jeans’ jeans look back in 2000BC (or whatever time period GoT is supposed to be set in) so can you. Just-not in this dress.
    Sorry it didn’t work out lady but I’m with your hubby on this one. It doesn’t make you look awful it just doesn’t flatter you in any way-and you
    deserve to be flattered.
    On the plus side, you can harvest the material to make a sweater vest type thing of the top and a different skirt out of the bottom. Or just put it up on Etsy.
    That neckline really doesn’t work in heavy fabrics (I’ve used a light voile on something similar and it only just about worked..=S) and the style of the pattern is too clunky for your narrow/delicate silhouette. When I saw the image on the pattern cover I assumed it was an apron…=S
    Chin up. Solder on. You’re fit enough to rock lighter, more fitted silhouettes so at least you don’t have to worry about not having other options with more flattering results 😉

    • Hi Perfect,
      Don’t know why WordPress decided to file your comment under ‘pending’! I think it’s very helpful, positive and entertaining, as well as totally coherent. I shall hit WordPress on the back of the head and send it flying so that it knows not to do it again.

      Yes, I know what you mean by the apron. I don’t know why the apron look attracts me so much. Maybe ’cause the kids keep wiping their hands on me?

  6. I like what you were trying to do with this, but I think I understand what has happened here. It’s a combination of the type of fabric together with the cotton lining making it bulkier and the fact that the sleeves stick out on the dummy show that there is not a tremendous amount of drape. It looks like it might be able to stand on its own? I also think that under-bust to waist could be narrower and would give a more fitted shape and a less – sorry but – matronly appearance. The neckline is lovely, the colour- way of the fabric is beautiful and suits you so well. I would not throw this out. I would adjust the sleeves make it into a pinafore, put two patch pockets on the front wear over a long sleeve t-shirt with my wellies a-la Linda McCartney circa 1975. Next time tho you should make in a drapey fabric to show off your neat figure.

    • Annie, thanks so much. Seam ripper’s out already!

      I always learn from you! I was talking to a friend today about the look of the inside of garments and I mentioned your “treats”. She liked 🙂

  7. I don’t think you look heavy in the photo, but you say it was hard to get one which was flattering? Corduroy, even needle cord, does tend to add inches, especially in a light colour.

    • Well, that must be it!

      I’ve had a dress as well as a cowboy-style shirt in needlecord and both were amazingly flattering…. but now you mention it, they were black!

  8. Just found your blog…wanted to say I love the keyhole dress on your avatar picture and this new dress you made. When comparing the two dresses on the mannequin it looks like your version has more of an A-line shape…which makes me wonder whether the fabric is too heave so sticks out. Also in the last picture your arms are attached to the body which may be giving the impression you are larger than you realistically are (see top picture). I have come to the conclusion that the camera sometimes lies!

  9. For what it’s worth, it looks very pretty from here (although I know photos on a screen don’t tell the whole story). The fabric is lovely as is the pretty neckline.

  10. Love the neckline but agree that the sleeves may be too long. I have been a big fan of the dress over jeans look but this summer it doesn’t feel right for some reason.
    I’m only buying winter clothes from now on anyway! My summer wardrobe barely gets worn these days.

    • Oh, isn’t it awful that we buy/sew clothes for our dream weather. And jeans under dresses at least meant the dresses got worn.

    • The lining’s off, now to sort out the sleeves!

      I’m glad you like parts of it: I think this is a “curate’s egg” of a dress.

  11. Hi Marianna, I feel if the dress was less of an A line shape and the sleeves shortened it would be much better. Only because the fabric you have used is cord and not a cotton as featured on the pattern envelope. You have done a very good job on the piping and I like the soft colours of the fabric.

    • Hi Hazel,
      Lovely to hear from you! I’m glad you like the piping. I’ve not had much luck shortening the sleeves so I’ve removed them and put the piping around the scye. And the dress looks better without lining which I’ve removed from below the bust.

  12. I loved the dress, its patters ( gives me an idea what spring/summer is all about ), above all, the neckline and the longer sleeves, the latter is useful when you’re no longer a spring chicken.
    Husbands are the most unreliable because they mean well but phrase it badly.
    I also loved that dramatic ending in your garden.

  13. Um I dunno about this one. I agree with your DH that its not flattering for you. The colours are lovely for you but the dress shape ….. not so much. Sorry!

    That being said, the gal on the pattern cover could well be a biter. Who knows! LOL.

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