Saturday, July 11, 2015

Floral Colorblocked Marianne Dress

This is my first attempt at the popular Christine Haynes Marianne dress:

Ahhhh...I wanted so badly for this dress to work for me, but I am unfortunately not feeling it at all. Sad day.


I think it looks better in the photos than it does in real life, but I am just not super comfortable in it. It feels neither "me" nor particularly flattering to my body type, despite how cute I find the pattern to be on others (I am particularly in love with Devon's version).


I made my Marianne with this gorgeous, drapey Betsey Johnson floral jersey I got from the lovely Nicole at Pudge & Nico when we did a fabric swap as part of Sister of Traveling Fabrics organized by Lola at Love, Lola. After polling my Insta-crew, I paired the floral with some teal jersey from Fashion Fabrics Club.


I wonder if perhaps the Marianne dress pattern wasn't the best option for my jersey. Both my fabrics are pretty lightweight, the floral more so. I find that, as a result, the dress just ends up hanging off of me and is a bit saggy looking. Also, I had to unpick the teal cuffs because they looked bulky and weird relative to the super drapey floral sleeves. 


I also feel like the yoke kinda makes me look like a linebacker and the line across the bust is hitting me in a weird spot. I'm not in love with the armpit wrinkles caused by the extended shoulders...


I know this post is getting a bit Debbie Downer, but I find that the dress isn't right for my pear shape, either- a bit potato sack-y. Wa waaaaaaaaa.

I may try cutting the dress to a tunic/shirt length to see if I like it a bit better...


Ok, I'll end with the good news: I still have plenty of the gorgeous floral left for another garment! Any thoughts on an appropriate pattern for this print?

28 comments:

  1. Argh, what a shame! Even though you look gorgeous as always, I agree this isn't quite working, but I reckon a sturdier jersey may solve that. Did you see sonjas post at ginger makes blog? She made some sleeveless non yoked versions that looked lovely. Maybe you would be more comfy in similar. Glad you have some more of this jersey and have you seen Maria of de marks Rachel wrap dress? That would look lovely in this fabric ;-)

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    1. I agree, Marilla! Something just isn't working for me. Sonja's are pretty cute, though! And the Rachel wrap dress looks lovely, too!

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  2. Hello, I haven't seen your blog before so forgive me for just barging in with my opinion. I think the dress looks ok but I think if you take the floral bits off the sleeves it would look better. I think the colours suit you and don't forget you move in your clothes so you won't see the underarm wrinkles. Looking again, maybe the top part is a bit big - maybe you could take it in a bit under the arms too.

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    1. You might be right, maybe a short-sleeved version would work better? I agree, the top does seem a little big.

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  3. Arg, what a shame! that fabric is lovely. I'm with the other commenters - chop that baby up and make something you'll love! For example, recut the shoulders as a Greenwood tank, and raise the yoke seam a bit higher while you are at it... or add some elastic at the waist so that it cinches in the waist and supports the skirt, then the yoke won't sag? But wear it a while first - I've had so many things that I've badmouthed on the blog only to love them later! Maybe it'll be perfect for something! :)

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    1. Ha ha- you are so positive! I appreciate it, because I was feeling so "eh" about the whole thing. I think I might try it a couple of times to see if it grows on me, then let it sit before hacking it up. Thanks for the great ideas!

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  4. Oh sadness! It looks cute in the photos, but there's nothing anyone can tell you if you're not feeling it on your own body. My favorite fabric to use for the Marianne is ponte knit, which has a lot more stability than this knit you used. You might like that more for future makes! But not all patterns are for everyone and some wonderful patterns that I thought looked great on others looked terrible on me. So you're not alone and it's all good to move on :)

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    1. Thanks, Christine! Having made it in a lightweight knit, I can definitely see how ponte would work better. I'm not giving up on the pattern for me, though, I just think I need to reassess size on the bodice, fabric choice and maybe make a blouse version.

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  5. Argh, it's so frustrating when you really want something to work out. I'm wondering if there's not too much contrast between the solid and the print...maybe that's why the style lines are popping out so much. But also thin knits are a curse! Can you wear it with a slip or reverse engineer a lining? Linings always help knit dresses that need a little more oomph to lay right. The kind of lining I did on my Catalina dress could work, and you could put it in now, after the fact because the camisole top is just tacked down in the center of the shoulder seams.

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    1. Lining or a slip could be a good idea- I'll try that and see how it goes!

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  6. Ugh! I hate when this happens! The colours look really great on you, but I think there is something a little off about the combo. Maybe if the floral was the yoke? Or maybe that bust seam just needs to be a bit higher? I also wonder if you could size down. I do think that this would be easy to refashion into something else though. You could probably recut the floral into a t-shirt or a Greenwood pretty easily. Or I'm sure you could get a little dress for one of your nieces out of it pretty easily too. Throw it in the mending pile for a while and come back to it. I think this is one of the bummers about sewing, that you can't try something on before making it.

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    1. The bust seam definitely needs to be higher- I think the whole dress kinda weighed it down and it got pulled low so it hits me at a wide spot on my upper bust. I'll definitely try wearing it and, if that fails, let it sit for a while before cutting it up!

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  7. Agreed, that pattern isn't working for you. I'm glad you posted because I was debating whether to purchase the pattern and since we have a similar body type I think I'm going to move on to a different pattern. Also, even the models had the armpit wrinkles, so its not you.

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    1. Yeah, sometimes I can look at a pattern and know it will or won't work for my body. I had an inkling this might not be the best for me, but all the adorable versions online swayed me...

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  8. I agree with the others who have said it looks too big on the top. I think sizing down and maybe trying to raise the yoke seam would help. The fabrics are both so pretty! I hope you can harvest the fabric for something else if you decide to chop this up.

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    1. I agree about sizing down the top part! That, plus a firmer fabric might help move the yoke seam up.

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  9. It's so great to see some of the not so good makes as well as the fantastic ones. Usually more is learnt from the meh stuff than from the fits right out of the box ones. That said, the dress doesn't look terrible but I hear you about linebacker look. I have a shape pretty similar to yours and often feel the same way with something that has a high isn neckline and is all one colour across the top eg a jumper. Thinking of the pink jumper I bought from Target the other day. I didn't see it in the mirror, but in a photo? Yuk. I put a scarf around my neck to break up that expanse of single colour and it looked much better. Perhaps you could break up the top in the middle? Insert some of the floral in a cut out v or something. I'm thinking a buttoned placket made of the floral. Doesn't need to be functional, just break it up a bit.

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    1. Yeah, the large expanse of color across the top felt strange to me, too. I tried to break it up with the necklace, but I do feel the neckline is a bit high for me.

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  10. I second the wait & see suggestion. I just "discovered" a skirt I gave up on last year and am glad I waited (forgot) to refashion it. The fabric looks lovely so I'm sure that you'll be able to salvage something great if it doesn't grow on you!

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    1. Good advice, Noelle! Good news is that I have more of the floral fabric, too, so I don't feel too rushed to refashion this right away.

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  11. I've always felt the busy seam on this pattern was a bit low, and makes everyone look a bit saggy. If you do crop to a top length, I could see the bottom fabric making a really cute skirt, too.

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    1. Good idea re: skirt, Meg! I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds the seam to be a bit low.

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  12. Thanks for posting this. As RebeccaHoward says there's so much more to learn from the ones that got away. I agree with all the other suggestees about why it doesn't quite work. I was curious so I grabbed one of your images and did some very quick dirty photoshopping to see how it would look with a higher bustline, floral sleeve part removed, lowered neckline and reduced contrast between the fabrics. It does look better but still not quite right. I think the two fabrics just argue with each other too much, they look like they want to be two different garments; a nice casual tee and a floaty feminine dress...

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    1. Wow, Debra, you are a more dedicated problem solver than I! Interesting... maybe I should take the teal off the top and replace it with the floral and see how it goes.

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    2. Yeah, I realised it sounded a bit OCD when I was writing it but hey :) I think it would be better with the floral but you'd lose the style line (that's in the wrong place anyway). That floral's very pretty, I think I'd liberate it from this dress and make a top. It's just right for your skin tone. Good luck with it whatever you decide.

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    3. Ha ha, not OCD, just incredibly helpful and curious! I will definitely make something else with the floral. Luckily I had at least a yard and a half in addition to what I used for the Marianne, so I have plenty and can do it justice!

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  13. Oh dang, I hate when something like this happens! You're so excited about something in your head and then for some reason it just doesn't come out how you pictured it.

    I agree that the bust seam looks too low and the armpit wrinkles are emphasized in the solid teal. Also sometimes I don't love dresses made out of really drapey knits like this Betsey Johnson one because I feel like they drape over my butt & belly too much and emphasize it instead of skimming over it like a thicker, less drapey knit would! What about a pretty Plantain? Or even a Nettie (scoop in front with the mid-back!)? Or I think it would look super cute as a Coppelia!

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    1. Sigh, I know, disappointing projects are the worst, especially when using a special fabric like this one! Plantain is a definitely possibility- a TNT pattern for me. I just bought Coppelia when it was on sale recently, but haven't made it yet!

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