When Sewing Goes Meh. A Denim Sanibel Dress

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Every once in a while, my vision of what something will look like when it is sewn up just doesn’t match to the resulting reality.  Sometimes, fabulous fabric combined with a perfect pattern plus hours and hours of no-mishap sewing still adds up to MEH. It’s the kind of occurrence that makes me scream, weep a little, and throw up my arms.  I’m speaking, of course, about this Sanibel dress in patterned denim.  I know that my tribe of beautiful people will say very nice things about this dress and there are nice things to say but I’m telling you…on me, this dress is meh.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Actually, let’s get very specific. The cinched waistband on this dress is just not a shape that works well for my body. I already don’t have enough of a defined waist and adding bulk to that area only highlights the lack of curves. I knew this. I know this! This is why I never wear peplum styles. I still proceeded to make myself a finely-detailed box.  It happens.

The pattern is the Sanibel Dress and Romper from Hey June Handmade with some modifications in a Robert Kaufman denim I bought from Hawthorne Threads with a super fun, quirky pattern.  I actually think the combination of these two is pretty great for a casual dress.  It’s just not working for my shape.

There are many things I like about this dress, though, so let’s start there.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

First of all, I really love the shirt portion of this dress. Love it! I have always shied away from cap sleeves but they are growing on me and I like the button flap detail on the shoulders.  I also wanted a more open look to the top, so I added in some elastic to draw it open (I got the idea from my everyday blouse, which did that at the shoulders).  I love the placket and it fits well.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

I wanted that love to extend to the whole dress but I just don’t feel the shape is flattering. I tried to adjust it with another modification: I removed an inch of the bottom on the top and added it to the skirt. I was hoping for less volume at the waist. It was only a partial success.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

I will probably wear it some but not as often as I was dreaming I would when I conceived of the dress. Perhaps if I wash it a few times the rigidness at the waist where the button plackets meets the waistband will soften a bit? I dunno. Considering I have made nearly every pattern Adrianna at Hey June has created I can safely say that the pattern isn’t the problem. I honestly should have known better than to use a stiff cotton fabric on this dress. If I was going to venture into waistbands at all, I should really have used a rayon or something with more drape.  I learned my lesson. If I were of a more scientific disposition I would probably try the dress in rayon to experiment.  As it is, I’m wrecked over the work I put into a perfect shirt that I proceeded to pair with an imperfect dress skirt and I’m going to steer clear of elastic waistbands for a long time.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Doesn’t it look like a dress that could be so great!? Harumph.  I leave you to admire, once again, the beautiful top.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

By the way, I hope you are following along with my Instagram. I’m really following through on Me Made May this year and posting my me-mades nearly every day.  I’m really enjoying seeing which of my handmade clothes I pull out of the closet.

16 Comments on When Sewing Goes Meh. A Denim Sanibel Dress

  1. Catherine Dorsey
    May 24, 2017 at 9:33 pm (3 months ago)

    Material is lovely. What about adding a belt to it?

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      May 24, 2017 at 10:01 pm (3 months ago)

      A belt does help. I might need to add belt loops and remove the tie. Hmm…

      Reply
  2. Patricia Burns
    May 25, 2017 at 8:23 am (3 months ago)

    I’ve done this too often. Can you make a the shirt and skirt into sperates??

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      May 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm (3 months ago)

      I think they would both be too short. I’ll have to play with it. I love this fabric too much to give up.

      Reply
  3. sewbuttonsblog
    May 25, 2017 at 9:13 am (3 months ago)

    Have you considered removing the drawstring and leaving it a shift dress? I don’t know the pattern, perhaps this isn’t possible. Good luck.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      May 25, 2017 at 9:53 am (3 months ago)

      I’m tempted to try this but a little scared. It would involve a bit of deconstruction but it might be worth it. For now, I think I need to let it sit in my closet for a while. 🙂

      Reply
  4. sewthatswhatidid
    May 26, 2017 at 9:46 am (3 months ago)

    Have you considered shortening to a “peplum” top? If shortened to hip length…the fabric might flare out below the drawstring to give a more curvy look. The fabric is gorgeous and would be well paired with a pair of white shorts.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      May 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm (3 months ago)

      It would look great with white shorts! good thinking. I’m worried, though that a peplum look would still be too bulky. I definitely love the fabric too much to give up on it. It will make a comeback, all of this encouragement is helping me feel certain about that.

      Reply
  5. rebecca
    May 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm (3 months ago)

    Sometimes just throwing a cardigan over a dress like this helps me. I know… Wrong season, but as much as I love this dress I understand, because I feel this way with elastic waist things on me. I’ve taken to wearing large “potatoe sack” shaped garments.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      May 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm (3 months ago)

      A cardigan is a definitely a good idea. I think I tend to go with potato sack style, too Rebecca. Silly me for trying something new!

      Reply
  6. Lynsey_makes
    May 27, 2017 at 3:13 am (3 months ago)

    It’s a super dress but I know the feeling when you put it on and just feel meh. Could you try taking in the sides, especially of the top so there’s not as much poof? A tan coloured belt would look fab.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      May 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm (3 months ago)

      I think a belt is a great idea. But, I’m thinking I will remove the elastic and add a belt when I want to change things up…the elastic waist is just too bulky overall!

      Reply
  7. Mie
    May 28, 2017 at 2:56 pm (3 months ago)

    So I think it’s too long in the bodies above the drawstring. It’s probably too late to fix now depending on the pattern (I don’t know it in details) but try to shorten it with pins and see what happens 🙂

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      May 29, 2017 at 8:09 pm (3 months ago)

      Yes! I agree! The crazy thing is I already decreased the bodice length by 1″ so the bodice length measurements are definitely off for me. I think that issue paired with the fact that I just look better with a classic a-line makes me want to try to eliminate the waist elastic altogether.

      Reply
  8. Sew It Is!
    June 3, 2017 at 8:31 pm (3 months ago)

    I’d be willing to bet that fabric softens up when you wash it. I wouldn’t be so quick to count it out! I have no waist either, so I know how you feel! In this instance, I think the dress looks great on you, it would be different if you pulled the drawstring too tight, then it may not work but it’s loose, the tie adds interest in the front and it really does look great on you!!

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      June 29, 2017 at 9:22 am (2 months ago)

      Thanks! Great thoughts on the waistband.

      Reply

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