Hot! The “Red & White & Blue & Hazel All Over” Dress

The Facts:
Fabric: Poly crepes: $3 for the floral (Fabricville last chance pile) and 25 cents for the navy blue (estate sale)
Pattern: Victory Patterns Hazel = $11
Year: 2012
Notions: none
Time to complete: 5 hours (yes, 5 hours, most of which was wrestling with the neck)
First worn: In the dreary grey light of morning for this photo.
Wear again? nope.
Total price: $14.25

Geesh, smile much?

Oh polyester crepe….you’re the Pamela Anderson of the fabric world:  from afar, you look colourful, radiant, and unwrinkled.  But get a little closer, and your cheap plastic nature is glaringly obvious.  You’re slippery and hard to work with, and it’s impossible to iron you.  Wait…I think my metaphor fell apart there somewhere…..

This dress is a resounding FAIL, and I wasn’t planning on posting, but then I got to thinking:  these are challenges, right?  It’s not all about posting only your best work and the photos in which you look the most glamorous; it’s about challenging yourself to make things you otherwise wouldn’t and learning from the process.  That’s why I’m uploading these last minute photos taken with a flash on this dark morning, between dropping the offspring at school and rushing to the lab.  Feast your eyes:


Blatantly ripping off Taking a cue from Diane’s Tale of Two Cities dress last week, I downloaded Victory Pattern’s Hazel dress and found matching floral / solid poly crepes in my stash. I cut a straight size 6 without any modifications because the final measurements of the pattern seemed roomy enough for me.  BUT! as I mentioned last week, I usually add width through the back and move the armscyes forward, and I didn’t bother with this design.


I can’t lift my arms and my biceps, although by no means muscular, are being strangled, causing my blood to pool in my arms and feel like a heart attack is coming on.  Not usually the fit I aim for in a dress!  Also, the poly just would not take a crease, so the neckline facing wouldn’t lay flat; the seams all had to be serged as soon as I cut them because they fray in the breeze; and poly crepe is so heavy and slippery that every time I turned my back, she was slithering off somewhere, trying to escape.

Ah well, live and learn.  I really love the combo of red, white and navy, and I’m tempted to unpick the whole top and start again, since I have another 1.5m of this print.

Here’s the inspiration:  Most of my childhood photos were taken on slide film so I don’t have copies, but my father recently emailed me some scans he had made from old colour slides from 1971-1981.  All of them featured me wearing a bib-front jumper or overalls, and while that’s a cute look on a 2 year old, I wasn’t sure about wearing them 4 decades later!  I cut out a vintage pattern for a bib-front apron dress and even started drafting this post, but quickly realized that I had little enthusiasm for it, and it would become a wardrobe orphan.  Then Dad sent an email with another four scans, and the photo below got me thinking:  Remember those summer days of childhood?  You woke up, slapped on a bathing suit and a hat and you were fully equipped for another day of running wild.

I’m not likely to spend my summer days running wild on the beaches of Nova Scotia anymore, but I do need something effortless that I can throw on for work every day.  Something uncomplicated.  Something breezy.  Something red, white and blue. I thought this Hazel would fit the bill, but c’est la vie.  Peut-être la prochaine fois. (Maybe next time)








Vicki used to sew when she was young and free, but then raising young'uns and bringing home (some of) the bacon took up all her time. Now her closet is full of skinny clothes, maternity clothes and post-partum clothes, none of which fit properly. Maybe that's why she started sewing again in 2010.


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  1. You know, I think I must be just plain lucky in that I must be an ‘average’ shape where patterns are concerned and never seem to have to do any altering. My dress just seems to fit (though I think I made mine a little on the large size, as I haven’t quite got the hang of the difference between US and UK patterns). Hope you do have another try because it looks good on you! (I found the neck a little tricky too and did it a little bit at a time).

    • I’ll definitely use the pattern again, but it needs some tweaking for me. The fit is perfect except across the upper back and in the upper arms, so a quick bit of redrafting will solve that. I’m just glad I used my cheap-o poly crepe for this first round, and not the silk charmeuse I’ve been hoarding.

  2. I have the same problem with arms. I always have to make them bigger in vintage patterns (I feel like my arms are massive). Did no one have muscles in generations past? It’s too bad you have fit issues, because from the pics it looks really great!

    • My body has changed in shape, but not size since my babies, so I’m still trying to figure out how my proportions have shifted. I used to have skinny little pipe cleaner arms, but now they’re normal sized (or so I thought!)

  3. Your post made me laugh out loud. Not because you had issues though. I think your dress looks great. Grrr to slippery escaping fabric.

    • Thanks Sarah; it’s a great dress for standing still and posing, as long as I don’t have to move my arms! ;) I loved this print and bought the fabric even though I have an aversion to polyester, but strangely enough, I was at the thrift store yesterday and found 4m of cotton blend in the same colours….

  4. Hi Vicki, when I was working with the satin material I served all the pieces first and then constructed it. It really helped to prevent the pieces from being slippery. The fabric design looks beautiful in the photos. I’m glad you posted, I feel the same way.

  5. Yes, that happens sometimes. Like you say, it is about the learning and tackling new ideas and patterns. I hope you can fix the top because the skirt is very becoming on you.

    • Thanks Barbara! When I tried it on, my man said that it looked “kinda old lady, but in a cool way. Like something an Olsen twin would wear.” (How he knows about the Olsen twins and their fashion taste is beyond me, but I took it as a positive compliment!)

      • Haha, that’s really funny! The dress looks great – like you said, it’s a good thing that the fabric wasn’t a VIP-fabric since it didn’t quite work out. But it still looks good!

  6. I love that print. Too bad you’re not completely sold on it. From our view it does look very nice!

  7. Love reading your posts Vicki, very funny, I love your sharp wit. The photos show no struggle of blood loss. Well if you do decide to unpick you can always submit it as your next UFO.

    • When I was taking these photos, I started to panic from the strangulation, but when I went to try to take the dress off, I was completely stuck! I had to hang upside down and wiggle myself out for several minutes – I didn’t even have anyone else at home to rescue me!!