A Dries Dress!

YLF is such an amazing place. 

I mentioned that I had a big party to attend and within 10 days, a designer dress arrived at my doorstep from Israel! 

Shevia rememberd that she had this Dries van Noten, and thought it might be in my size and worth a try, so she forwarded it to me. 

So here it is! 

The dress is a beautiful cotton/ linen blend, in a sort of sagey-olive green. It hasn't been ironed yet, so please excuse the shipping wrinkles. I just wanted to get photos ASAP. 

It has an interesting asymmetrical collar. The fit is superb up top. The lower hip area is just a touch too snug. Years ago, whenever I had this fit issue, I imagined I was "fat." Now, at last, thanks to YLF, I understand that it's actually more because I am on the short side, and short waisted! The dress is falling a couple of inches lower than it is supposed to. If I raise it at the waist just a little, the hip issue goes away. 

I'm showing it first "as is." It's wearable this way, and does pass a sit test, but movement feels a bit compromised. 

In #5, it is folded a bit to raise it by an inch or two. This eliminates the hip problem. 

In pics #6/7 I've tried it with a belt, blousing it a little. Maybe it compromises the line too much to wear it this way -- I'm not sure. I quite like the effect, myself. But it does make if feel more casual.

I think even unbelted it is a bit too casual for the gala (the slight sheen you see here is mostly a flash effect and doesn't really show IRL), but I have another occasion just before the gala that it might be perfect for, and it would also be perfect for all my city excursions in the summer. 

What think you? Keep? Alter? Wear as is? Belt it? 
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35 Comments

  • Lantana replied 7 years ago

    Keep but alter. There is too much fabric in the small of your back and this is evident whether belted or not. A little more ease in the hip would let the dress drape better I feel .
    The colour and collar suit you well and the pink clutch is a perfect choice.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago
    Do you think it makes sense (or is possible) to take it up from the middle? Hemming wouldn't solve the problem, it seems to me. 
  • cinnamon fern replied 7 years ago
    How much seam allowance is there?  I'd be tempted to have it taken in at the waist and high hip, and let out at the low hip.

    Do you think it's too long as is?  I think it's verging on too short in the belted pictures - how is this length with a higher heel?
  • Mona replied 7 years ago
    I vote keep and alter. It probably would be easier to decide if you should belt it or not after alterations. I really like the shocking pink clutch with the olive colour of this dress but I think I prefer you more in deep colours (navy and fuschia) but that may just be me as I always like bright and deep colours more than muted ones.
  • Thistle replied 7 years ago
    Do you have a seamstress you trust that you can take the dress to and get an honest opinion on altering?  I can so imagine you in that dress with some pops of fushia. 
  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago
    This is a tough one Suz - the color is positively scrumptious on you and I love the subtle sheen of the fabric. I also adore the interesting collar and find it incredibly flattering on you.

    The top half of the dress fits well but the bottom does not because of where the waist hits, as you've pointed out. Shortening the dress is not the issue. Wonder Woman East could cut the dress in half and take it up at the waist but that would mean you'd then have a seam at the waist, which isn't bad it would just be a different detail. This is what my Wonder Woman did with my blue lace dress - exact same issue where the waist on the dress was too low on my body.
  • replied 7 years ago
    The colour is nice, and the neckline is nice also on you. But I think you will have to do as Shannon says and put a seam in the middle. I don't know if that would detract from the look of the dress.
  • replied 7 years ago
    I definitely think keep and alter. The side view in #2 is helpful because it shows that the dress is actually a little off balance and going forwards with the side seam angling forwards towards the hem. I would suggest if you have a seam put through the waistline that its possible that a bit more needs to come off the back neck to waist length in relation to the front.  It is do-able but may need adjusting at the hem as well. I love how you styled it with pink and it suits you.
  • pil replied 7 years ago

    What a beautiful dress Shevia and Suz, I hope you can come up with a solution. It probably isn't something you ever use but would shapewear help with the fit through the hips? I prefer it unbelted as the belt seems to draw attention from that fabulous neckline.

  • Debbie replied 7 years ago
    Love the dress. As suggested I would take it to a seamstress and see what she suggest.
  • Diana replied 7 years ago

    I'd keep it. As is, it looks good with the belt, although casual like you said. You would need to alter it to wear it w/o the belt. I'd get an expert opinion because it doesn't look like you can raise the shoulders, so you'd have to create a seam somewhere, I think. I have this problem all the time w/dresses... It's easily fixable on sleeveless things but harder with sleeves.

  • Eliza replied 7 years ago
    Suz- I like this color on you and the general shape of the dress with the color is stunning. It clearly needs tweaking to be perfect, but what that is should be left to the finer minds than mine. So many experts have already weighed in on possibilities. It reads quality and simple, understated elegance to me. Hope you can work it in to your life. 
  • Joy replied 7 years ago

    This dress has that artistic edge. I hope you can get it altered to perfection.

  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago
    Taupe!  Soft but architectural!  Of course it's fab for Suz!

    Diane has given you some terrific feedback, I think.  Do you have a Wonder Woman?  I'm working on my own alteration ability, so I can do some of these things myself, but I'm keeping it simple for now -- baby steps.  If I have bigger alterations, I'd look for a seamstress who has worked in costuming before I'd try a tailor from a dry cleaner.   Costumers are great at thinking outside the box, and know everything about reworking the same garment over for different bodies.

    Great thinking, Shevia!
  • annaj replied 7 years ago
    I love it! I'd take it in slightly, so that the skirt is pencil straight, rather than subtle a-line. I think that would make the dress perfect "as is" (in preference to wearing with a belt). Love the colour and the collar/sleeve detail!
  • Angie replied 7 years ago
    Wooohooo! Three cheers for Shevia, Suz and Diane! If you can have the frock successfully altered - a hundred thumbs up :)

    I like #1 and #5 best.
  • Suz replied 7 years ago
    Thanks, all. And thanks especially to those of you who sew. Diane, that is very interesting what you said; I should take your comments to my seamstress. I'm a bit nervous about trusting her with this particular alteration. She's fine with hems, and taking things in at the sides, but I worry this one might be a bit much for her. It's really a reconstruction job we are talking about, albeit a relatively simple one. 

    CF - I am not sure about the length. That's as high a heel as I would ever wear -- it's a wedge, but almost 3 inches. If the dress is cut up in the middle it would by necessity become shorter. While it might be possible to let it out at the low hip a bit, I don't think that would really solve the fit problem, which is that the waist isn't where it should be, proportionately, so there is too much fabric through the body length. It is supposed to fit loose through the waist, however, so I wouldn't want to take it in there.  
  • replied 7 years ago
    Whats needed is for the lower half of the zip to be unpicked from waist down. and possibly the side seams from waist down,. then a seam around the waist at the back maybe taking up a bit more in the centre area and shaping to a bit less at the sides. then a seam round the waist at front. Finally the zip needs re-sewing in. Hope this helps you to explain to a tailor. You will need to pop the dress on for a fitting and have them pin around at your waist.
  • Suz replied 7 years ago
    Thanks, Diane - that is super helpful. This is more or less what I was imagining. It's a bit of work to do it, though....oh to be taller!! 
  • catgirl replied 7 years ago
    You've gotten great advice!  Nothing to add except the color is stunning on you, and Shevia is so generous - I benefitted from a pair of sunglasses she sent!
  • rae replied 7 years ago
    I don't have anything new, either. I love it belted if you would be ok wearing it only like that. But if you don't mind a waist seam, that would be awesome, too!
  • Gaylene replied 7 years ago
    I agree with Diane G that the alteration you're considering might be a bit more complicated than just shortening a hem or sleeve length. If the seam allowance was large enough, you could gain an extra inch by letting out the hip area 1/4 inch on the seam allowance, but that wouldn't address the waist length issue.

    Diane's suggestion is a good route if you want to re-design the dress to incorporate a waist seam and wear the dress belted. My biggest reservation, though, is such alteration would radically change the designer's original vision of how the dress should fall on the body. If the dress was an inexpensive bargain, I'd have no hesitation chopping it up and re-designing it, but I'm a little more cautious when it comes to a designer original.

    If you want to go with the re-design route, I'd take the time to find a good dressmaker/designer/costumemaker and talk over your options with her/him. IMO the average tailor/seamstress might just slice into the garment to create a horizontal waistline seam without much consideration for how such an alteration would affect the overall drape and look of the dress. It might turn out fine, but it could also be a disaster.

    It's a tough decision because the top of the dress looks fabulous on you.
  • replied 7 years ago
    Oh how I wish there wasn't a massive ocean and thousands of miles between us. I would fix your dress in no time and retain the shape. I can see in my minds eye how it would work but to articulate is difficult. Whatever you decide to do with it I hope it works out for you.
  • deb replied 7 years ago
    Or you could make a fabulous top out of it. I love the neckline and the color is wonderful on you.
  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago
    I have this problem with garments (tops, jackets, dresses) as well.  I'm short waisted AND short.

    I like the dress belted.  (If you can't alter).  Maybe hunt for a really elegant belt, or shorten the dress and have a belt made with the dress fabric.
  • Gaylene replied 7 years ago
    I totally agree with you, Diane, that shaping the waistline seam would be the way to solve the fit issues without compromising the look and drape of the original. But I'd hate to see that dress just hacked off in the middle and sewn up with a straight horizontal seam that needed to be covered with a belt.

    Suz, maybe you need to plan an overseas trip? Or at the very least, if you are opting to look for someone closer by to do the alterations, mention Diane's idea of taking up more in the centre of the back and shaping the seam to a bit less on the sides; if the person looks confused, don't leave the dress in his/her hands!
  • Caro in Oz replied 7 years ago
    Gorgeous dress on you. I agree with Gaylene - I don't think the dress would have the same line if it had a straight seam at the waist. 
  • Nicole D replied 7 years ago
    That is gorgeous on you.  I like it belted too, Rae.
  • Firecracker replied 7 years ago
    It sounds like altering is possible, but I would question whether you wanted the seam at the waist or not. Would you feel compelled to cover the seam with a belt? If so, that's going to change how you'd wear the dress and how it looks. As gorgeous as the neckline and color are on you, I would be tempted to pass it up for a dress or skirt-and-blouse option that doesn't need so much work.
  • Deborah replied 7 years ago
    Suz, this dress is beautiful.   I see and undertand the need for the alteration but I do really like your styling with the belt.  I also would not put a horizontal seam at the waist, but I am not a sewer, and this is based purely on aethetics.  I personally think you can wear the dress as is with the belt.
  • shevia replied 7 years ago
    Delighted to see you in the dress Suz! And I am so glad that you are getting such good advice on how to alter it to make it perfect. I love the color and material on you but I see the problem with the fit and I would have no idea how to solve it. I think the idea of the dress is almost a simple shift with all the attention on the shoulder area so whatever can be done to get that effect seems like the right idea. I hope you can get it altered because I think it will be stunning on you!

  • Sarah A replied 7 years ago
    The dress color and neck detail look lovely on you. I would probably wear it belted a few times as a "test run" before making alterations. Love Beth Ann's idea of finding a coustumer and Diane's detailed instructions. Brilliant!
  • lyn67 replied 7 years ago
    Like Deb said, such an interesting and beautiful garnment, I like it as it is, with or w/o the belt, and fuchsia clutch is perfect, too! If you trust the WW and have time for alterartion, then you can  go that way, too-but dress is a keeper, anyway! love it's neutral color, subtle  sheen, and dramatic colar! Very Suz!:-)
  • replied 7 years ago
    Such a lovely neckline and the color is quite good with your complexion. I'm off to read your other posts (on the edge of my seat)!
  • Karie replied 7 years ago
    I think the dress looks fine with the belt the way it is. Without the belt, you do need to have it altered. If you decide to have it altered, you should find an expert seamstress, not just some sewin' Jo with a needle & thread (like me) - this is a job for Wonder Woman.

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