If at first you don’t succeed…

then ball the fabric up, throw it into the corner, and find something new.

The past week, I’ve been quiet as I’ve ventured into the world of shift dresses.  While so cute and versatile, a shift dress has never hung in my closet, mainly because if it fits in the shoulders, it’s waaaaayyyyyy to small around my hips, and if it fits in the hips, I’m drowning up top.

But I saw this fabric at my local fabric store, and couldn’t be stopped



Love at first sight! It was screaming out to be a shift dress. Or a totem pole. So I found the right dress (Colette’s Laurel), and started cutting away.

Guess what? It’s wicked hard to match up these organic circles. Wicked hard.  As in closing in on 5 yards of fabric hard. I keep getting close, but then, it’s off.

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This was beginning to bother me so much, I was dreaming of cascading circles.  At the end of every run, I was certain I had figured out how to do this, that I would pounce on the fabric store, get myself another yard, wash, iron, and pin, pin, and repin for DAYS ON END, only to have it be, sigh, slightly off.

So I went with plan B.

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It’s not done yet–still have a peter pan collar (self-drafted!) and some bias trim to finish off the edges. I’m liking how this fits–I took a fitting class, and learned how to gradate patterns so they fit perfectly.  I would say it was money well spent.  This shift went from looking quite house-coat-ish to slightly less so in about 2 hours and lots of pin pricks. But man, oh, man, I want this dress in that original fabric. Yeah, the one that’s lying in a wad in the corner of my living room.

Oh, and Thing 3 insists that I can’t only share the “good” of our photo shoots–I’ve got to show the “bad and the ugly” (or at least the “hurry up it’s almost bedtime) Here you are, compliments of Thing 3:





  1. I feel your frustration. But for me, that would’ve happened at the very first pin and with the plainest of fabric
    Love the jeans ‘n dress look!;-)

  2. I love that spot fabric also. You would love a TV program we have here called the British sewing bee, they had an episode where the contestants had to match a design on a fabric whilst making a box pleated skirt! Tricky to watch let alone do. Me I am having trouble matching triangles in a quilt-two rejects so far.

    • I’ve heard so much about that TV show, and also heard they’re making a pilot for cable TV here in the US. I hope it goes forward! I can’t imagine trying to match something up while doing a box pleat!

      • It’s a great show, amazing how clever people are and how sewing is still being done by other people (always think it’s just me) sometimes British shows are On I think on Netflix, don’t know if this would be or if you have it. Shame you can’t get BBC iplayer! Hope you get an American version soon.

      • I’m going to check Netflix. I wish BBC America would pick up the original. I mean, you can only have so much Dr. Who and Graham Norton…

  3. keep at it,, that circle dress will be adorable. I do like the floral one, too, and I am impressed that you know how to make such a thing fit, as I also have non-standard sized upper and lower body.

    • The fitting class was instrumental. We paired up and took crucial body measurements, and then learned how to use curvy rulers to make not straight yet accurate lines to connect the different sizes of the pattern. Then after sewing, we put them on inside out and fit them even more with more darts, more seams. A lot of work, but worth it. And something I’ll be able to apply to RTW dresses as well.

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