Sort of not a Coco at all....

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Hello all,

So, this is what I hoped would be my 'simple' Minerva make - you know, after the trauma of last month!

And I guess it was (simple, that is)

The plan was to make a Tilly & the Buttons Coco dress

I thought - it's simple, it's quick, and it's similar to what I wear to work on a daily basis, and aren't we all always going on about how we need to sew sensible pieces that we will use everyday?

I myself change into a uniform at my place of work, so the clothing I wear on a daily is worn to-work and from-work, and usually no longer (I love my pjs)

And as I am usually running late, and getting changed is a giant pain in the arse, it's awfully nice to wear a simple knit dress. Whip over head and step into uniform.

But of course nothing ever goes to plan!

Before we go anywhere, let me show you the dress.
I would like to forewarn you that I look mad as hell, but I was actually channeling a moody ambiance for the photo shoot. Cheery photos didn't feel right for 'the look', lol.

Here goes

You may notice a few things about this dress, the first probably being that it is definitely not a Coco dress.

You would probably bet your bottom dollar that I had swerved and made a Nettie dress.


The dress did indeed begin it's life as a Coco.
But it was god awful on me.

Basically, I decided that I would make a Coco, but I didn't want it to be as short as drafted as I'm not one for the short skirts. So I added 4" in the 'shorten/lengthen' line. and then followed the line of the upper waist down to the hem, but marginally wider (about 5/8"). 

I think this was my first mistake.

My second mistake was trying to make the dress reversible.
Because, as you may not realise, this is actually the wrong side of the fabric.
I had ordered the Grey Embossed Floral Ponte Roma, but the dress in my head was nothing like the dress on me. The picture also makes the fabric look a bit shinier and more metallic.

This is a nice enough print, but I think I could only get away with having it as a pencil skirt or something.
Not as an all over print.

Anywho, as the plain grey was so nice, I had this wonderful idea of flat-felling the seams to make the dress reversible. Lets just say all that remains of that idea are some flat-felled shoulders I couldn't be bothered to unpick (again)

But it was only when I started putting the dress together did I only realise fully how awful the fabric was on me. 
So I abandoned the reversible.

Only once I had the dress finished did I realise how awful the dress was on me.
Honestly, I think the main problem was those 4 extra inches of length.
It was drafted to sit at the point it does for a reason.

Once I realised this I was about to throw in the towel, hold up my hands and say "Sorry, I messed up, but I cannot and will not put this online as something I created". Although now I am slightly regretting not taking a 'before' picture!

But something in me pulled myself together, and began to hack.
And hack I did.

Firstly, I grabbed a fitted pencil skirt from my wardrobe, plonked it down on the dress and drew around it with chalk. I sewed that and tried it on.
Then began the 6 million tryings-on and tweakings of the dress.

In total I think I changed the skirt, took in the waist an additional time, scooped the neck, took in the bust side seams through to the armpit, pegged the skirt a little more and then took little extra bits at the hips that were sticking out funny.
Bits and pieces like that.

I have also taken in the sleeves since these photos were taken, to give a more snug and fitted finish.

I didn't set out to make a Nettie-lookalike, it only struck me once I took these photos, but it looks a bit like one to me! An unconcious homage to Heather Lou

Now this dress would not be the thing I normally wear. If you know me, you know I do not do fitted very often, and I hate anything clinging to my stomach. 
(In the interest of full disclosure: I am wearing some awesome controlwear in these photos)

But (with the controlwear) I really enjoyed wearing this dress! I felt sassy and wiggly, and a bit like a secretary - but in a good way - especially with a pair of heels on!

So there we go, not my usual on here but I learned stuff, and that's always good.
Has anyone else saved a disaster recently?

Emmie x


  1. Sew Little Time3 July 2014 at 11:41

    it looks great in the end emmie! i haven't bought the coco pattern as i don't think i'll like it on me for the same reasons as you. but it came out so well. i thought you had chopped off your hair in those first few pics til i saw the back view!

  2. I really like this dress, you look fab in it!
    Claire xx

  3. great save - and your hair looks great! I recently saved a skirt - dead simple but the waistband was just way too big so I unpicked it and put an elastic one on instead. Solved! Your process sounds like a lot harder work, well done for sticking with it!

  4. Woah! I admire your perseverance! You look amazing and I love your hair like this too!

  5. Hello, Joan Holloway Harris! You're looking like one sassy minx here! Bob your hair- it looks so cute like this!

  6. Great save Emmie! Your right about the solid, the print would have been to much. It looks really nice on you ; )

  7. I think it looks amazing on you! Your hair looks exceptionally great in these photos too :D I had a recent disaster tank but managed to save it by pinning it on and drawing lines around my body, then sewing right at those lines. LOL. It somehow worked.
    Great way to keep at it and make it work !

  8. Helen McFadyen3 July 2014 at 20:24

    I think this really suits you! It looks like this was the plan all along! Good save! Also, new hair? It really suits you!

  9. Wow. You might not believe me but this looks stunning on you. Maybe it's the full look, cos I'm having shoe and hair envy! I've been having a nightmare with my bellini unfortunately. All my own mistake as my fabric got really off grain in the wash so it's all twisty. Sob sob. Need to start again!

  10. What a great save! This shape looks awesome on you.

  11. Joanne Roberts4 July 2014 at 09:57

    Well it looks great. I am one for trying again and again. BTW your hair looks great like that! I am loving the serious model vibe. I have just finished a 1969 zip front dress with my fabric I bought at Minerva meet up too.


  12. ozzyblackbeard5 July 2014 at 19:54

    Wow, what a save! It looks great on you. I take my hat of to you, I'd have chucked it in the corner and huffed! And I'm another one that loves your hair, the colour is gorgeous. Lynne.

  13. A great example of why we sometimes shouldn't give up! You look fabulous in this Emmie, and it looks like a fitted dress was the plan along. I've just had a massive problem with a maxi skirt. It is sat in the corner until I come up with a plan.

  14. tania@sewitanyway.wordpress7 July 2014 at 13:28

    Exactly what I was thinking! Still vintage, but of a totally different type... And I think you look fabulous! x

  15. Totally off topic, but - I REALLY like your new hairstyle!!! It frames your face beautifully.


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