Wiggle Wiggle

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I didn’t set out to make a wiggle dress, but I think I kinda did!

I’ve been thinking lately about my mix-and-match collection of bodice and skirt patterns, and I wanted to try a new-to-me skirt silhouette. I’ve always been attracted to blousey-on-top, tight-on-the-bottom dresses… somehow they look sexy but easy to wear at the same time.

wiggle front and back Collage

For the bodice, I considered the Olivia Oversized tee, like I used on my red floral dress this fall… but decided a Jalie Dolman top would use less fabric, because it has a separate sleeve piece. I remember this pattern being huge when I sewed it  in rayon, but somehow in ITY, it really didn’t turn out all that blousey!

wiggle skirt Collage

The skirt is the fun part of this dress – or at least, the learning curve! I was inspired by both Inge and Birgitte, who have both made fun and chic twisted jersey skirts this winter. It’s basically a long tube, the width of the hips, folded up and given a 1/4 twist. I like how it drapes in a tulip shape at centre front and back of the hem, but still has plenty of ease for walking. The down side of this skirt design is that there’s no shaping at the waist. This fabric is perfect though, because the ITY is slippery so it hangs nicely and doesn’t need a slip. The busy pattern also means I’m not worrying about bumps and lumps!

It was a bit of a comedy of errors getting the bodice and skirt the right length – both ended up too long and too short at various points. I tried a 1/3 twist on the skirt, but it ended up too short and too tight at the knees! At one point I had to cut the inside of the skirt away from the waist band and add a 6″ strip of fabric to make the skirt longer again. The elastic at the waist couldn’t handle the amount of gathering and after stitching it stretched to be far too loose. I felt totally bummed about this dress after making it, and almost tossed it… then I figured, “Hey, it can’t get worse!” and took two tucks at the side of the waist to snug it in. Hurrah – the dress is saved!

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Did you notice my attempts to improve my photo area? I picked up two little grey rugs to cover up my ugly flooring… though clearly I need one more to cover it all. I was hoping I could get the rugs to lean up against the wall to cover my radiator, but they kept falling down. (I did teach myself to clone them out in Photoshop, but it looks really messy so I decided just to leave it!) On the plus side, you’d never know from these pics that it was grey and snowing outside, and really dim and dark inside! Thank you, Lightroom.

Real talk for a minute: When I first made this dress last weekend, I felt like I’d wasted my time and fabric. And most importantly, I felt like I didn’t have the body to wear this silhouette. Which really, speaks more to my general stress level affecting my perception than how many cookies I ate over Christmas! But here’s why taking good blog pictures is important to me: by time I’d played with accessories, worn it for 30 min, and edited the pics to look their best, I like the dress. Not my favourite, but I feel like I’ll wear it for work and feel just a bit sassy. Thank you, photography, for helping me give this a second chance. 

wiggle cardi Collage

Chances are, I’ll usually wear it with a belt and cardigan. This dress is complete opposite from my last: That one was monochromatic and needed bright accessories, and this is plenty bright and I’d probably feel more comfortable toning it down for work! Oh, and a necklace top tip that I learned from my Mom: buy second-hand necklaces and use a plain chain necklace to extend them. Cheap and easy, and gives new life to too-short necklaces!

How are things in your neck of the woods? Anyone else going through a post-holiday slump? What’s your solution?

PS. I’m hosting Lingerie month on the Curvy Sewing Collective in February! And on the Better Pictures front, Anne did indoor pics for her latest Jungle January project (I LOVE Jungle January!)  and Helen took indoor pics for her Carolyn Pyjamas! Birgitte talked about her editing process, and Charlotte took lovely pics in natural light inside! 

 

 


51 thoughts on “Wiggle Wiggle

  1. I think you should be very proud of this dress! I love it – the tulip shape on the bottom and the fit is fabulous. I often fantasize about doing the very same thing – blending patterns but haven’t taken that on just yet. A little above my skill level🙂 I’m still perfecting that darn FBA! I love this dress on you and happy to read that it’s going to make its way into your wardrobe after all🙂

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    1. Blending patterns is really not hard! If they are wovens, they need to be the same measurements at the waist when you combine a bodice and skirt, so you may have to take in a side seam or dart to fudge things… but in a knit, you just stretch one to match another!

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  2. I think this is gorgeous and you will come to appreciate it more with every wear. But I totally hear you on the “get real” front. Trust me. And I do LOVE it when I save something that I’ve made (the first iteration of which was just wrong but the simple fix is elegant and effective). It shows me how my skill set has advanced – or even just my raw creativity. Alas, I hate that moment when I realize I’ve made the thing that needs saving. But you can’t have it all!

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    1. I think you’ve nailed it – I’m always disappointed in myself when I realised I’ve made something that needs saving. And because I enjoy improv sewing without a good plan, it happens way more often than I care to admit to myself!

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  3. This would be my favorite pattern if it existed! I would love to recreate this. Wish me luck! Any technical advice would be appreciated. Karen

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    1. Easy peasy! If you click through to Inge and Birgitte’s blog, they both explain how to make the skirt and ink to another tutorial as well. It’s really easy! And the top is just a Jalie shirt, cut shorter so it’s a blousy bodice. An loose bodice/tee pattern would work. You can do it!🙂

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  4. So two tucks at the waist was all you needed to make this dress superbly fitted. I’m glad you found this simple solution bc this is one of your best looking dresses. And what a nice idea from your maman for lenghtening these short vintage necklaces. Like mother like daughter! For beating off the post-holiday slump, I’m already sewing for spring. The Waver jacket from Papercut is next on my cutting mat. I couldn’t resist Katie’s version (What Katie Sews blog).

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    1. Between Katie’s version and Heather and the Pugs’ version a while back, I’ve been eyeing the Waver jacket too! What kind of fabric have you chosen?

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      1. I was looking for some Irish green or sunny yellow sturdy twill for a real spring feel, but my fabric store only had navy blue or army green on the shelves. I thought I’d go shop in Montréal (I’m in the suburb) but still, the navy blue was nice and crisp and I kept thinking about Katie’s coat, which was so perfect. So I opted for the navy blue. I’ll add a pop of colour inside: the lining is a bright green cotton with small white polka dots. Now, I’m going to see what Heather did. Thanks Gillian!

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  5. Ugh. I am in SUCH a post-holiday slump right now. I’ve scaled way back on my sewing plans for the month and am only trying to finish a pair of SBCC Pinot Pants and the HotPatterns Pretzel Sweatshirt at this point.😛

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    1. Those two patterns together sound like a perfectly stylish sweatsuit – perfect for this time of year! I think it’s a good thing we got Lingerie month going early, because I’d be hopeless trying to get things rolling right now!😉

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  6. This is great on you! I’m super intrigued by that skirt, it looks so fancy but seems easy to sew. Might have to copy that! And nice pics – I love the fairylit background.

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  7. The shops are full of fitness gear, and the bookshops have fitness books, if you weren’t in a post Christmas slump before, a walk down the High street would put you in one anyway!! Dress looks great, Photos look great!!

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    1. Hahaha – as I started to read your comment, I thought, “Is she telling me to workout and lose weight?” but no, of course not! Sewing people are too nice for that. Thanks for the compliments!🙂

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      1. Haha. No, not a all, was merely commenting on the yearly routine of the spoon feeding of the shops! Next we’ll have swimwear, and summer dresses, bit of Halloween, back to Xmas jumpers and on and on!?

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  8. What a cool idea for the skirt! It looks great.
    No post-holiday slump yet – January is recover-from-all-the-socializing-at Christmas month. By February I’m seriously sick of winter and can’t wait for spring, so, blah!.

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    1. Ha – yeah. And then by March is hard to believe winter is lasting so long, and in April it’s horrifying when there still is snow half the time… I guess i shouldn’t let January get me down when everything is going to get worse!😉

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  9. Bloody lovely dress. I think that it looks fantastic, especially with the cardigan and necklace I really love the fairy lights in the background. They look so lovely in your photos. I am so looking forward to Lingerie Month. My favourite kind of sewing! Xx

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    1. Thanks doll! I’m looking forward to Lingerie Month – though slightly worried it won’t meet everyone’s expectations! We’re just excited amateurs, not experts, and I hope some of the people who were asking for grading tutorials and nursing bra hacks etc in the comments section understand that!😉 Oh well. Can’t ever make everyone happy, and I think it’ll be fun!

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  10. Ok…for reals…I just squealed out loud when I saw this dress!!! Love it!! Then when I read about how you made the skirt portion…I want to run down to my sewing room asap to make a skirt like this! Thanks for sharing how you made it… Gorgeous Gillian!

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  11. It turned out great in the end, and I LOVE it with the the black cardigan and necklace! So very classy! Plus your mum’s tip and links to the how-tos – so much goodness in this post!! You know you’ll have started a twisted skirt craze, right?

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  12. I love this dress with the black accessories – it just really makes it pop! I find that blog photos can make or break an item for me. Sometimes I think something looks amazing, then I take photos and I think “do I really look like that?”. Other times, I look at the photos and think, “Wow – that does look good.” Your editing looks great and I love the fairy lights behind you!

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    1. You know, in the end this dress is a lot like my Tilly and the Buttons dress – what was that pattern called? You made a few with big sleeves and they were fabulous!

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  13. First of all, you look FANTASTIC! This silhouette definitely works on you.

    Second, thank you for that bit of real talk. I really think that’s a testament to why taking good photos matters. A lot of us can look at shitty cell phone photos of ourselves in a garment and then we’re like, “UGH I LOOK TERRIBLE, I knew I shouldn’t have tried this silhouette!” But when you actually take the time to take pretty photos, it can leave you with a much more positive feeling, even if you don’t 100% love the thing. You at least feel like the journey was worth it, ya know?

    Also–I love the twinkle lights setup! Great photos.

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    1. Thanks doll! I really have realised how much nice pics can alter my perception of clothes… which seems shallow, but dammit, it’s true! Plus sometimes it helps to have time to play around with styling so that when i’m getting dressed in the early morning, I already know what will work!

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    1. Jamie’s first response was, “Its loose… and then it’s tight.” He did not sound impressed! I was like, um, yeah, but that’s the whole point!😛

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  14. Sexy!! I love the skirt and the fabric and it looks so posh paired with your cardi and accessories. I also love the lights in the background. The add a twinkling highlight to your photos.

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    1. Thanks Tanya! The Christmas lights in the background help distract from the beigeness of my wall, I think – One day I’ll have a turquoise photo wall, and I’ll be a happy blogger!😉

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  15. I think that dress turned out seriously cute! I really like the tulip-like effect of the twisted skirt! Reminds me I’ve been meaning to sew a Lindy petal skirt… Hehe, I also sometimes only get to like a dress after seeing it photographed. Funny how that works.

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  16. Somehow I never told you how amazing this dress is! Probably was too busy stressing over my due date😀 But I was looking for inspiration and since you are one of my main sources I found just what I´m looking for🙂 I´m totally copying this but with a nursing hack ofcourse! I guess the total tube length has to be twice the longest length?

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    1. Ooh, that will look great on you! If make the skirt length 2.5 times as long as the finished length, because the twisting takes length, and mine turned out pretty short at first, and I had to add more length from the inside!

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