dress & look slender: disguising figure irregularities

dress & look slender: disguising figure irregularities

Ever thought about clothing as a way to overcome figure irregularities? I sure have!

I’m learning there are basic art principles I can use when choosing patterns, fabrics, colours, and accessories to disguise the bits I wish weren’t there.

Here’s an entire book about applying these principles to dress:

Dress and Look Slender, by Jane Warren Wells (also listed under Mary Brooks Picken), 1924; Personal Arts Company; available on Cornell University’s HEARTH collection.

You might look at the Table of Contents first, to see which chapter(s) you’d like to see. (The examples below are from “Lines that Slenderize and Lines That Don’t,” in the first chapter.)

Hint!  I always re-read the Help section because I forget how to navigate their system. 😉

I wish there were a more up-to-date book to recommend, but they’d be under copyright, and the principles would be the same. Hope you don’t mind the vintage-ness.

click any picture to go directly to the source

page 18

Dress & Look Slender p 18

page 19

Dress & Look Slender p19

page 22

Dress & Look Slender p22

page 23

Dress & Look Slender p23

a good day gleams amid chaos

a good day gleams amid chaos

For a better look at the gleaming brass AND fabric, click.

Sometimes a day can turn right-side up in a tic.

Firstly, the lovely package from Thimberlia’s give-away arrived – yeah!!! Cannot thank her enough for sending these all the way from the U.K. Extra-extra-extra special treats!!!

Secondly, enough breezes kicked in so I didn’t have to spend another night in an hotel.



Should explain my ickle flat is detached on 5 sides, in a very strange arrangement in a complex of mostly traditionally attached-&-stacked flats. Below are before & after photos. Those windows on the right aren’t mine. Soo the brown doors at the ends of hallways? those will go!


Am submitting this to both Ailsa’s & WordPress’ photo challenges.

PS/All the doors get painted this coming Thursday… fingers crossed!

watching paint dry… or not

watching paint dry… or not

Surmounting the daily question of how bad the fumes would get was the more burning question: WHEN am I gonna get to that linen dress I’ve been wanting to sew?

Maybe tomorrow? F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!

Nah, I haven’t cut it out yet today, but the sun hasn’t set yet. 😊

There’s a problem with last summer’s favourite pattern, Vogue 1236. The shoulder seam always pulls forward.

what's wrong?

see how this pulls forward?
drives me crazy!

This appears to be a pattern problem: The back is high and the additional length of the front piece lowers the entire front.

Does that make sense?

Wish I could get a better side view of this, to check for other possible causes.

Moving right along, the other pattern from last summer, McCall’s 6117, doesn’t have the problem, so that’s my choice.



Are they done with the painting?

Uh, there’s still the front door . . .

sneaking this in real fast ~

sneaking this in real fast ~

Lounging last night whilst taking a wee weekend break from the construction chaos and saw Candice Huffine on the cover of Washington Post Magazine.

 “Maybe this new era really is more than ever about being and loving yourself? If that is the generation we are in, that is an awesome one to be a part of because everyone fits in it.”  Candice Huffine

Yes, Lovely One ~ couldn’t agree more!

V8813 – old lady dress?

V8813 – old lady dress?

V8813Am faffing about this weekend, wishing the malodorous fumes from the outside painting would stop entering this tiny box as I don’t appreciate  the corresponding headache. (Sorry for the whine.)

Don’t let the new photo on the right confuse you!

In my cyberspace sleuthing to see who’s done what with this pattern, saw some who wondered if it was an old lady dress.

Is that why they changed the photo?

I know I can faff about some of the strangest things… but given that reprinting a pattern jacket (cover? folder??) costs time and money, am wondering why they did.

What do you think???

Looking at the new photo brought more questions to mind ~

  • Belt all that fabric around my waist? Are they serious?
  • A belt that wide would cover half my you-know-whats!
  • How many heads high is that model (the same model as the original pattern)??

Guess I’m more of an old lady than I thought . . .  or something.  😀 Meanwhile, goal for today: read pattern directions & note changes I want to make… do those center front gathers/pleats first  . . . . . .      (maybe play with my pin tuck foot?)


V8813 – other versions & fabrics

V8813 – other versions & fabrics

Other bloggers’ versions of V8813

  • Thornberry: here & here (really like her gathered pockets)
  • Sew Forward  (note to self: check length before cutting & lengthen below pockets if needed)
  • Particularly like Jilly Be Joyful’s version as it looks like jacket-over-sheath, which I know is slimming.
  • Note to self: do centre front gathers pleats before assembling (see Marcy Tilton’s video at bottom)

What do you think of my 2 stashed fabrics below, the darker rayon challis for outside, the mustard handkerchief linen for that central front panel?

  • Do you think these will look and work well together?
  • Think I could use the mustard for the back’s top panel? Or make the back all black challis?

examples from bloggers of other patterns with similar potential

Designer Marcy Tilton did a video of how to sew & press the centre detail. It supposed to be teensy pleats, not gathers.

Just to clarify, here’s a video on gather from an American sewing magazine Threads’ editor.



Blackberries on sale last weekend . . .

Fan tucks (darts). Use as a decorative feature on the outside or inside of the garment. Mark where tucks are to be and run them by hand or machine.”  The Simplicity Sewing Book for Beginners and Experts, 1945; page 33.   (from my personal library)

Witness to Fashion blog ~ This post (see last 4 pics) really inspired me to give neckline darts (al.k.a. fan tucks, above) a try soon, maybe with embroidery thread. . .

She also has a great post about reality vs. fashion illustrations’ illusions. See how models disguised wide hips, and learn design details to draw the eye away from problem areas. Suggestions I can certainly use.  😍

Time for a catch-up . . . click any piccie to go into slide show & comment areas


V8750 – eye candy!

V8750 – eye candy!
the design lines should allow for colour blocking and lots of slenderizing

the design lines should allow for colour blocking and lots of slenderizing

Me Midlands Mate requested more photos, so thought I’d play a bit & see what happened.

Hope they might be of interest or use, particularly those of the wrong side of the fabric. Didn’t do any seam finishing this first time round, other than using pinking shears, as fabric is medium weight 100% cotton.

Moral to this story might be moi coulda been more careful choosing her fabric’s pattern! At the time (several years ago, a-hem!) I hadn’t read all the directions before choosing said fabric, and wanted to see if all the lines might come out in interesting patterns. NOT!

S-o-o-o, another lesson might be to read the pattern, and look at the pattern piece layout a bit more thoroughly . . .  ;-)

❤   ❤    ❤

RS – Right Side   and   WS – Wrong Side

click to go to slide show

make comments on any or all photos once in slide show mode