Curves like the back of a bus: a spotty wiggle dress

Kia Ora everyone! Welcome to a scorching Thursday morning in the Hokianga. The cicadas are going crazy, and it’s hard to believe that elsewhere there are crazy snow and water storms (yes, water storms. Sorry Christchurch). I’ve tried not to be too squinty in the photos (which were only taken at 8am but look at that sun/view!)


Life is the same up here: the work is enjoyable and I’m able to fit in HEAPS of sewing time. That might change if I keep staying up late to finish dresses off, as I’ll become too tired to sew!

This dress – well. I love it, but I’m not sure if I can quite get away with how tight the skirt is!


Jessie-dog won’t NOT be in the photos with me. She looks like a grazing cow in all these photos.

I bought this fabric at the same time as I bought the spotted rayon, with this exact kind of dress in mind. It’s cotton-spandex (97/3% I think) which makes it really comfortable to wear, but has enough stretch to show all of your lumps and bumps (of which I have a few).


I made it using a trusty combination of my bodice sloper (for the front), the La Sylphide back piece (with center seam) and Gertie’s skirt pattern, which I narrowed at the hem to make more-pencil like. Initially I thought that was the cause of the super-tightness (srsly, if this fabric wasn’t so stretchy I probably wouldn’t be able to wear this very comfortably), but I worked out that actually it’s because the main part of the skirt usually sits lower on my waist (because of the waistband) – so because it’s lifted, I had to take it in at the seams above my hips, and the fabric that would usually sit at my thighs has to stretch around my hips (if that makes sense). Next time I try this I’ll have to either add a waistband, or extend the top of the skirt before attaching it to the bodice.


I am very proud with the construction of this dress – the darts/princess seams, side seams and center back seam match up PERFECTLY. The darts are in the right place and not puckery. The invisible zip is invisible. Almost all the internal seams are enclosed – I did flat felled seams on the skirt – not because the stretchy fabric needed them, but because why not? I did have to unpick these TWICE, once because I accidentally caught too much fabric in them (causing a fold in the seam on the outside), and secondly because I had to take in the seams between by waist and hips. I almost gave up on them and overlocked them, but decided I should stick to my guns – and that would have involved MORE unpicking. Flat felled seams aren’t as hard as I thought (even over a hip curve) but they look rather nice, and lets just say I’m practicing for menswear.


The bodice is lined with self-fabric, and even the waist seam is enclosed (by folding up the seam allowance and stitching in the ditch from the outside). The only exposed overlocked seams are the center back seam below the invisible zip, and the sleeve seam (which I wish I had enclosed too, but only realised too late). You’ll notice that the overlocking threads totally don’t match – I would have used white but, you guessed it, my overlocking threads got packed away by accident.

Flat felled seams on the right, nice and tidy seams thank you very much!

I do have an issue with neckline gaping quite badly. I staystitched one of the bodice necklines but forgot to do the other (duh). I’m going to buy some twill tape to try and prevent this happening because it’s quite common on me, even if I staystich properly.


I have fabric for a plain black version (that will be work appropriate!) so should be able to make it fit a bit better! Plus, its a sturdy cotton twill so you hopefully wont be able to see my belly button!!



Pattern: Should we just say “my own design”? Combination of bodice sloper + La Sylphide + Gerties skirt, heavily modified.

Fabric: 97% cotton 3% spandex, $20/m from The Sewing Shop (Kerikeri): 2m for $40

Notions: Zip and Thread, $8

Total: $48


To show off how stretchy and comfortable it is. Maybe I should just always stand like this when I’m wearing it?

So now I have to decide whether I can get away with this as is; if I should make one of those sucky-in slip tube things; buy more fabric and re-do the skirt; or buy more fabric and redo the WHOLE thing, perhaps selling this version. Mr. Guy thought it was relatively unflattering and Mum said it looks fabulous but a bit tight over the bum. Any thoughts from y’all?


14 thoughts on “Curves like the back of a bus: a spotty wiggle dress

  1. Lovely looking dress but can see what you mean about it being a bit too close. At least you did work you why it didn’t work. Also your neckline gaping, are you sewing it from one shoulder around to the other, this will cause it to stretch, stitch from centre front to shoulder on both sides, a bit more work but does make a big difference.

  2. I agree with your mum. I love this style of dress on you but it is too tight. My advice is to make the whole thing again from scratch only because every time I mean to fix something I never get around to it.

    Aren’t flat felled seams awesome? I completely flat felled a pair of jeans using a photo tutorial by Ande Whall (he makes jeans in Chch). The construction was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

    • Yeah I had the thumbnails opened up on my computer and thought “yep, that skirt is way too tight to look good”. I’ll buy more materials to make more, hopefully I can sell the dress somehow/somewhere to make back the costs – I never get around to fixing things either and often just end up wearing them as is.

      I’m somewhat surprised at just how easy they are! The only time I’ve done them before was on some pant legs, that I had sewn on both sides so it was like sewing the inside of a sausage.

  3. Oh I love this dress Sophie! The fabric is so pretty. I think you look fantastic in it. If you’re really worried about bumps just pop down to Farmers and get yourself some shape wear. I’ve got two pairs of Nancy Ganz pants which go from my butt up to under my boobs and I wear them under tight dresses and they smooth out all the bumps. Don’t get the cheap ones, the good ones aren’t very stretchy, it should take you half an hour to wrestle them on and you should have difficulty breathing and bending over, that’s how you can tell you’ve got the right size. And there’s no such thing as too tight over the butt, if you’ve got it flaunt it!

    • I’ve been thinking of getting some shapewear, but it’s probably more a special occasion thing than an everyday good – plus I’m still trying to go RTW free so I’d have to make it myself! Probably a good idea when you want to look freaking flash, but I object to having to do it on a daily basis (and I wanted to wear this dress often!). I think I’ll just buy more fabric and try to sell this one somehow.

  4. I like the bodice of this dress, and the front looks really well, but the back is indeed not really flattering, it’s just too close to your body. If I were you, I would buy more fabric and redo the skirt so the hips of the pattern go where your actual hips are, and I think it will be smashing, because you look great in your Gertie’s skirts!

    • That’s what I’m hoping – I have fabric for another one, and was hoping for it to be a work-appropriate dress (Although I always feel too dressy when I wear black. So consequently I only have two black dresses)

  5. Shapewear is the bomb and will take this dress from a tad too tight to perfect!! Make sure you get the high waisted to mid thigh ones, you’ll need it nice a smooth from just above your belly button to mid thigh where it is still hugging. It smooths all the lumps and bumps, otherwise I think it is lovely and you can totally get away with it. 🙂

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