Episode 12: Uh oh.

I am not a clothing designer.

Yeah, it would have been helpful to realize that a bit sooner, and it would have been extra helpful to do more research on wedding dress construction and maybe even consult with a professional, if I could find one. Because here’s the deal.

I waited two weeks to try on the skirt. Part of it was that I was a bit bored with the project, since I had ended the skirt by working on it for hours a day and needed a change. But mostly it was because I wasn’t brave. At all. I tried to chicken out of what I knew would be the result of making a dress when you are not a clothing designer and also not using a pattern made by a clothing designer (I modified the VK pattern so much that I don’t know if it really counts anymore).

It looks like crap. The skirt is the most unflattering thing I’ve ever put on my body, including my Torg costume.

The problem is that, because I’m not a clothing designer, I thought I could go from this:

to this:

simply by making the skirt longer.



The skirt I made goes straight down from the waist on the hanger.  On my stupid body, it clings at my hips, which were clearly built just in case I had to give birth to a new civilization, and somehow also clings to my legs, fitting closely all the way down to my feet. The yarn and the lace pattern combine to make a very flexible, stretchy fabric, which is great except that it behaves like comfortable elastic. If the model in the first picture had closed her legs, I’m pretty sure the skirt would have snapped closed around her knees (while making a ZRRRPP noise). It looks really, really weird, and not at all floaty and romantic like I thought it would.

I don’t know if it’s fixable. I was thinking I would try to find a professional to line the dress, and maybe if I had them install a couple of layers of liner and maybe some tulle or PVC piping it would give the damn thing some shape. It would also probably add 10 pounds to the dress I’m going to be wearing in the middle of June, which is already made out of cotton yarn. It would also probably add a sizable amount of money to a project that was supposed to be a cost-cutting measure to secure our really minuscule budget.

The perhaps larger problem (pun most definitely not intended) is the nagging feeling that the skirt would look just fine on someone the size of the Vogue model. Or maybe even the size of me if I lost, you know, 30 or 40 pounds. 50.

I’ve been pretty determined not to go on a “wedding diet.” No matter what the WIC wants me to believe about how much more I’d love my wedding if I only spent five hours a day in a gym and ate three raisins a day, I think that’s a pretty horrible idea. Aside from issues of wild stupidity (including everything Robin said earlier today about gaining weight back after the wedding), I can’t seem to lose weight with any goal other than to be healthier*. “Five more pounds” or “one more dress size” are the kinds of concepts that kill a diet while I’m still optimistically perusing Cooking Light‘s online catalog. The stress of needing to lose weight so that I don’t look like I’ve been trussed head to toe in constrictive elastic netting would probably inspire me to find out what a lethal dose of cheese looks like.

I'd probably start here.

The point is, I don’t know what to do about this thing I’ve created, and it’s a bit terrifying. Suggestions?

*There was a time in high school when I lost a ton of weight by not eating enough food to sustain a human being. That pretty much wrecked my metabolism and caused a heck of a wild ride in college when my body realized that french fries are delicious and it never knew when I was going to go crazy and stop feeding it again.

2 responses

  1. I followed you over from Nina’s blog … and as a seamstress (semi-professional, classically trained) I have some input:

    Cotton lace is NOTORIOUSLY difficult to shape. It’s not your skills (which are considerable … I’m more than a little jealous!) or the pattern’s fault, it’s the nature of cotton lace. A lining will help … in the same way wearing a slip will keep a static-y skirt from clinging to your legs. (Our grandmothers were on to something there!)

    The other option … which might work best for what I think you’re going for … is to have it stretched and starched. If you’re looking for the fit-and-flare style, you’d only stretch it horizontally, on the bottom half, leaving the top thin. A good starching should keep it from collapsing in on itself.

    Good luck! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

    • Thank you so much for the advice! I like the idea of starching the lace to give it structure; it’s something I’ve never tried before, but it’s certainly preferable to giving up after such an investment of time and money!

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