Sunday, September 7, 2014

Here's Proof!

...of how cute the Tosca dress looks on my pixie-like friend Amie!

I also want to draw your attention to two very insightful comments on yesterday's post, in which I talked about how not-cute the dress looked on me.

First, from Steph of The Dashing Eccentric:

"What a gorgeous version of this dress! I've been a Tosca fan for years now, but haven't bought the pattern or made it up. You're tempting me!!! Lucky lucky friend :)

I see this type of comment popping up quite a bit recently. Certain shapes - a princess lined sheath, fit and flare dress, classic trousers - look great on the vast majority of people provided they're properly fitted.But there's a lot of other, interesting, unique designs which look great on some people but fall flat on many others. This often depends on subtler variations in build and proportion. This dress looks amazing on TerriK of Sew Sophisticated (she has pics on her flickr stream but i don't have time to search right now). Terri's a rectangle with a delicate build, high small bust and neat square shoulders and long, lean calves with nicely turned ankles.

Those figure types are highlighted and showcased with this design. If a person has a lower-set, fuller and more rounded bust with sloping shoulders this can start to make the top part of the dress look kind of bulky and droopy because the dress design accentuates and exaggerates that aspect of the person's form. If you have two people with the same bust measurement, but one's inches are mostly chest and less bust, while the other has a smaller chest but more in the breasts themselves you could get this type of situation (hope this makes some type of sense!).

These types of designs are wonderful to give life and style to our wardrobes, but they won't work for everyone. I adore Marcy Tilton's designs but i only look good in her V8876 dress - everything else looks terrible on me. But Marcy is a delicate rectangle, with a high small bust, whereas i'm a busty, hourglassy linebacker shouldered IT. Really, it'd be surprising if much flattered both of us with such different shapes!

But your case here shows that even subtler differences in shape can have just as dramatic a difference. I enjoy the challenge of educating my eye, but it can be so frustrating and vexing at times! 

I hope we get a picture of this wonderful piece on your friend sometime :) Happy Day! steph"

Oh, doesn't Steph just hit the nail on the head about how small differences in proportion can make architectural, sculptural designs like this one look great on one person and not great on another? And I do think Steph could wear this design magnificently herself, so make one already, Steph!! By the way, Steph's latest version of Vogue 8876 makes me think hard about finally making up this pattern for myself.

Second, the amazingly stylish Curtise of The Secondhand Years points out:

"The dress looks great, how nice of you to make it for your friend, but it would look just awful on me! As the commenter above observes, there are all sorts of differences of shape and figure which means that styles work for us or don't. As an hourglass with biggish boobs and hips, this style would disguise rather than accentuate the good things about my figure. But hey, wouldn't the world be dull if we were all the same! xxx"

Even though Curtise is shaped very differently than I am (i.e., she is a goddess), I think she's right--this dress wouldn't be a good look for her either. It would turn her statuesque curves into an undifferentiated volume of lumps!

So here's a great benefit to sewing for others: it gives us a chance to take a new idea for a spin, check it out and see if it might also work for us. As long as it works for its intended wearer, it's all good! And I do think this dress works for dear Amie, amazingly well. I'll enjoy it on her!


  1. Oh yes, it does work very, very well on Amie! I'm supposing that she has a lean physique with slim hips, so the added volume, particularly in the lower half of the dress, works in her favour, and she looks totally cool. And doesn't the colour suit her too?
    I also forgot to say in my comment on your previous post how sweet that felted brooch is, and look how beautiful is is on the dress. Clever you!
    It just goes to prove how much of dressing well - be in clothes you buy or those you make - is about shape, that of your body and that of the clothing. And I thoroughly appreciate seeing how wonderful a piece can look on someone else, even if it wouldn't be right for me.
    Btw, I LOVE that you called me a goddess, Virginia! Sturdy foundation garments and knowing what suits me - that's all I'm saying... xxxx

  2. Oops, typos - sorry. But you get the general idea! x

  3. oh what a treat!! This is an amazing example of what i love best in clothing - those moments when everything about a garments comes together to highlight the personality and intrinsic style of the person wearing it. Magical! I don't know you or Amie at all, Ms. Dandelion, but i feel Amie's whimsy and impish sense of humor right at the surface in these pictures. And that little heart brooch is the perfect grace note.

    Truly this is what i personally aim for in all my sewing, and it's a delicate balance. You have to take both soul and body into account to pull it off, which brings this closer to art than craft. Very well done. Brava!!!!

    And i'm glad you appreciated my comments - i hope i wouldn't come off as a know it all busy body; rather i just find this fascinating and it's not often addressed in sewing blog land. I sew VEEERRRRRRYYYYY SLOOOOOOWWWWWLLLLYYYYY, so Tosca will happen but soon - ha! nothing happens 'soon' in my sewing space :)

    I love the 'Beatrice' (my nickname for V8876) and i hear it's Vogue's best selling pattern, yay Marcy! i've found that keeping it close at the shoulders, under the arm and a little bit under the point of the bust (so that the dress comes in from the widest point of the bust) makes all the difference in whether or not this dress overwhelms. I think that the collar is very flattering and would be especially nice with your pretty face and delicate hair and features. I'll keep an eye out for your version!

    Thank you for a satisfying followup and bask in the glory of having made a perfect piece, you!! steph