Frazzled? Moi?

Second toile of the B5605

Okay, I think – think! – we’re getting somewhere.

This is the second toile with the adjusted bodice and a belt worn to see how the dress comes together. My immediate thoughts:

  • We’ve shaved too much off the depth of the bodice. I need to add an inch back on.
  • I may take the bodice in a wee bit more at the side seams.
  • I’d planned on wearing this dress with flat ballet pumps because of my terrible feet, but now I wonder if it would be a tragedy not to wear something with a heel.
  • I’ve decided what I’m doing with the petticoat! (FYI, I’m wearing two other skirts beneath this toile to approximate the fill supplied by a petticoat.)

Yes, this really does show the extraordinary merit of making a toile. Not only fine tuning the fit, but understanding how you’re going to wear the dress.

Thank you all so much for your petticoat suggestions. You linked to some fabulous tutorials, but it quickly became clear that a time-consuming make with metres and metres of organza or net was probably going to give me a nervous breakdown in the month of June. I’ve ordered a cotton petticoat from the House of Olivier after Shabby Chic Sarah suggested them. Thanks, Sarah!

I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that my petticoat costs more than my fashion fabric! There is some logic here, honestly. I wasn’t convinced that I’d get more than one wear out of a frothy (and scratchy) net petticoat, but I could imagine wearing a beautiful cotton petticoat again and again beneath circle skirts just waiting to be made.

So my plan for the B5605 dress is:

  • cotton petticoat
  • horsehair braiding in the hem of the main skirt

That’s the plan. Let’s see what happens!

I was concerned that a cotton petticoat would catch on a cotton skirt, but from this evening’s experiment with wearing two cotton skirts beneath a cotton skirt (keeping up?!) I should be fine.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that I think I’m ready to cut into the rose print cotton. Would you agree? Oh, and hems! The toile isn’t hemmed. What do we think to where the hem length is falling? I’d be really grateful for opinions on any detail of this toile because it’s half term at Morley College this week and I’m away next week, which means:


Garghhhhh! Dresses. When did they become so complicated?

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24 Responses to Frazzled? Moi?

  1. Karen in VA says:

    This looks great….your final dress is going to just be fabulous!!! It’s so damn hot and now that just reading about wearing 3 skirts made me break out into a sweat…..

  2. S’lookin’ great! Much improved upon the last iteration 🙂
    Will you be sewing in a waist stay please?

    • That’s a great suggestion, Claire. You’re so good at feeding through information. Thank you!

    • Not a bozo at all. I didn’t even know they existed! I believe they’re there to take some of the weight and drag of a big, full skirt so that you’re not relying on (and distorting the sit of) the bodice to hold up the skirt. It’s a length of grosgrain ribbon that is sewn to the internal waist, but does up with a little hook at your back. Basically I guess it’s an internal ‘belt’, using your hips to take some of the weight of fabric. I’m not sure it’s entirely necessary with this light cotton, but it’s a lovely suggestion from Claire and if I can find the emotional energy to add this last touch, I will now!

  3. Nicole says:

    Gerti (blog for better sewing) shared this website for reasonably-priced petticoats:

    The dress is lovely!

  4. Portia says:

    Wow, what a difference already! I love the kimono sleeve construction. It may be the camera angle but the neckline looks a little high to me?? Might it benefit from lowering it a little, oooh, or, a bateau neckline, hmmm??
    In any case, this dress, is going to look fabulous!! I soooo can’t wait to see this. That skirt is amazing, and I agree with you on the heels (you can always kick em off under the table!!)

  5. Sarah says:

    It’s looking fab!! I can’t wait to see the finished article!!

    Glad you found the petticoat link useful, I’d love a wardrobe of them!!

    S x

  6. Kat says:

    I can’t wait to see how it looks finished! This pattern is in my “to make” pile. BTW, I think you should hem the dress the length that the muslin is. It seems to be a good length for you.

  7. CuriousGem says:

    It’s got to be a cute kitten heel surely?

  8. Tilly says:

    Good work, Karen! You whipped that up pretty quickly. I would take up the hem a little if it were me as I’m little and longer hems make me look even more midget-like. I can’t see in this photo where your ankles are though. It looks from here that the neck is a little tight – can you breathe? Might be worth lowering it a little? Really excited to see the finished dress!

  9. SewOm says:

    I agree with Kat & Portia: the length of the muslin is fab on you. Definitely wear heels! And yeah, the neckline is the only thing I’m not crazy about. It does look high.

  10. ooobop says:

    This is so inspiring Karen. I find muslins such a chore but with a dress like this its so important to get it right. I’m actually quite liking the waistline as it is. I got brave with a couple of dresses and kept them high and I think where yours sits now really suits you. Im the wrong person to ask about hem though. I never can make my mind up. I feel comfortable just to or above the knee because I am pint-sized but with a pair of killer heels the dress should perhaps be just below. I cant wait to see the real thing!

  11. Sherry says:

    Looks really nice – even in calico!
    I think the length looks nice, but it would help to see your feet/shoes. Better to cut it too long than too short as you can always rehem it (but if that means rehemming about 4m of hem, maybe not!).

  12. Erika says:

    This dress will be beautiful! I’m with Tilly and some others here, maybe the neckline should be lowered a little bit? A high neckline says “winter” to me, and I know your fabric screams “summer” =) I love the hemlength just as it is now, but then I’ve been known to favor longer skirts than most other people. To link back to the question of age-appropriate wear: to me, a skirt (in this style of dress) that hits at the knees or above can easily look like something a “young lady” would wear, it’s cute and sweet. A skirt that is below knee-length but above tea-length is more elegant and sophisticated, in my world at least. But then I can have been looking too much at old photos =)

    I’m sure you’ll love the cotton-petticoat! I have one my grandmother wore in the 50s, and wear it with everything. In fact, copying that skirt to a new one is high on my sew list; I don’t want to wear out the vintage one on everyday-use!
    I’ve sometimes had trouble with cotton sticking to cotton, it depends a lot on the cottons in question. Just one thing to do: test and see. It’s quite easy to make a full slip without netting and so on, to wear between the two layers of cotton, if the need arises.
    Good luck with your sewing!

  13. Fay V says:

    Hi Karen,
    Your toile looks beautiful and the fit is really good – finding the right place on the waist is one of my constant challenges! I agree with some of the others re: the neck line, I would lower it slightly and I think the length it is now is great. You can wear some killer heels, you will look amazing!

  14. muddledstyle says:

    Another vote for lowering the neckline a little (or even maybe a wide scoop??) and keeping the hemline as-is, I think it’ll look lovely! I took The Child to the shop I mentioned to you and now she wants a dress with a circle skirt – oops! 😉

  15. Thank you all so much for your help and guidance!

  16. Bold Sewist says:

    This is looking great! Definitely wear heels though! Can’t wait to see it in the lovely roses.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    It looks fantastic!!!! I can’t wait to see it in the real fabric.

  18. Pingback: Butterick B5605 – four top tips and two secrets | Did You Make That?

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