Hot! The “Gedda Dun” Dress

The Facts 

Fabric: 3 yds of blue hibiscus floral cotton with a linen-y type feel to it, from discount warehouse $11.97 (£7.38), navy broadcloth from stash.
Pattern: Simplicity 2442.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: Just thread so far (read on) but have a 22″ zip ready $1.79 (£1.10)
Time to complete: 20 hours.
First worn: 24th September 2012.
Wear again? Yes, when altered to fit better and not, erm, bodged (read on).
Total price: $13.76 (£8.48).

The challenge: “Something Blue: This week, we’re sewing creations all in the hue of blue”.


I’m all about learning lessons. Even 39 weeks into this wonderful adventure, I still feel like I’m only just taking my first steps into the world of garmentry creating. See, I don’t even use the correct terms ;)

This week I learnt that:

1. I do now have the skills to make more complicated “occasion wear” from patterns I’d been leaving till later in the year.

2. I can beautifully finish the insides of a garment, in this case a multi-pieced lined bodice with yoke (do you remember the trouble I used to have with yokes?)

3. There are some garments that really, really DO need muslins making for them first. Oops. Can you guess what’s coming?

(Hey, no eighthlys this time either….I’m learning good grammar an’ stuff too!)

“I whip my hair back and forth”

Oh, I was oh so cocky starting this dress. Do the rest of you find that after a project one you’ve really loved and that’s gone better than expected, you always get a bit of a flop on your next one? Is this just me? I came off the Papa Was a Roaming Gnome dress on a high and have worn it a bit too much this past week….it needs a visit to Mr Washing Machine.

I knew I was going to use this gorgeous blue floral fabric which I again found at my favourite fabric discount warehouse. I managed to snag two pieces, an approx 3 yd piece and a 2 yd piece. The plan was to make something still summery and capable of being worn during the day but that could be perhaps dressed up for an event. I thought I had enough to make this Simplicity 2442 dress and the matching bolero jacket from the pattern. As it goes, the remainder might be needed for adaptations to the dress.

For despite this being an absolutely gorgeous print, and the dress looking fabulous on Betty Draper my dressform all week, this is what happened when I put it on:

Look at that. I’ve lost my waist and developed a matronly box shape again. I used to only be this shape when I didn’t know my size and used to cut dresses 2-3 times bigger than the actual me. I had this theory that the wide straps would create a wider shoulder appearance to balance out the bottom half of me. And that cummerbund draping just below the bust just seems to create bulk (round existing bulk and wobbly bits). This dress needs surgery, cummerbund lifts, bodice extending…..stat! OK, maybe not stat, I’ve got to get a move on with the next 2 weeks challenges because school term finishes this Friday and I know I won’t get much sewing with the kids off school.

Any suggestions to ways I can make this slightly less matronly (it seems to have totally flattened my boobage inline with my tummy, not good….I’d rather we all could see where one stops and the other two start) and make me look less of a line-backer (I believe that’s a term from a sport the Colonials play here instead of cricket) would be gratefully received. I’m currently thinking of losing the draped midriff section altogether (too much bulk), cutting a slightly deeper but flat midriff section and possibly using the extra material I had to make a fuller skirt…..which might also be made into more of a device to point to a waist with a net petticoat. Let me know what you think. If there’s any way I can pull in that waist so I get more of an V shape top that would be ace too. Pondering cap sleeves…..I dunno. I wonder if there’s a way to make the yoke straps more of a V shape like the Cambie dress ones without ruining the armsyce?

And why’s it called the “Gedda Dun” dress? Because, as I alluded too above, things went wrong and I should have made a muslin first. Despite my checking the pattern measurements against previous Simplicity patterns I’d made and despite me grading the pattern up as I usually do, 20 at neckline, 22 at bust, 24 at waist and hip…….and in spite of all the beautiful finishing I’d done on the lining of the bodice………when I came to put the dress on this morning before the final step of inserting the zip…..the bulky cummerbundy drapey midriff section didn’t quite meet at the back.

Normally when something like this happens (though it’s not that often, just seems to have struck the last 2 weeks, perhaps I need to lay-off the cake), I make an adjustment at the side seams. But this blooming beautifully-made bodice was fulled lined. If (when) I sort this dress out properly, I’m going to have to unpick the lining first before making any changes. I couldn’t face that this morning and as I said, I need to get ahead with the next 2 weeks sewing. So this is the “Gedda Dun” dress (as my husband repeatedly tells the children when they’re procrastinating) because I’d come this far I wasn’t going to totally abandon this week’s challenge….so do you want to see the monstrosity piece I sewed in the back to get it to fit and to allow me to wriggle into the dress without first fitting the zip?

Of course you do. And never let it be said that I’m not honest about my sewing, warts and all:

Never leave them on a low Tempest….here’s me pretending I’m on an a desert island tiptoeing into a blue lagoon (hence the earrings my 10 year stylist chose me, hmmm, not too sure I’m be keeping her in my entourage, well, not as a stylist anyway, court jester perhaps….the pics of me laughing were because she was trying to moonwalk ‘off set’ without success):


Nah, me neither. I won’t tell you which of the Emmys dresses she loved and loathed….although she’s almost as acerbic sometimes as Tom & Lorenzo.



Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


Comments are closed.

  1. Oh dear! The dress may have…issues, but at least your post is fabulous and made me laugh! Good luck with sorting the dress and rescuing it so that you can love it and wear it. FTR, I don’t think it looks nearly as bad as you think, just not as amazing and the Gnome dress!

  2. I think it’s awesome! I love the color on you! I don’t know anything about removing the cummerbund, but I wouldn’t mess with the neckline/straps. I love the way it frames your face. Now you need your stylist to find a pretty necklace to wear.

  3. The first thing I noticed was the ruched waist, and thought wow, I really like that. Then as you started pointing out all the things you didn’t like about it, I started looking at those things too. But, I beg to disagree, I love the neckline, the fabric, and just the overall look of the dress. Except for the back, ( I have one of those too) I think it looks very nice. I’ve noticed that since I’ve done all this sewing, the dress with the extra in the back doesn’t get much wear. I wonder if that will happen to your dress?

  4. I agree with Barbara. I really like this dress. I love the ruched midriff (one of my favorite details, in fact) but the reality is that if you aren’t comfortable in it, you won’t wear it. So, with that in mind, I guess I’d try something with the straps. I feel like this dress wants to be a halter style dress, which would put your girls on full, glorious display.

  5. If it were MINE, and I totally understand the whole “WTH” aspect of this, I would leave the top but lose the midriff bunching cummerbund. I think the skirt is fine, I don’t know if you really need a fuller skirt and petticoat. I’m not too sure about your idea of the jacket, however. I KNOW you’re a matchy-matchy girl but that “might” be a bit much in the blue hibiscus department. Thanks for being honest, it’s good to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t quite finish or like what’s been done : )

  6. You look gorgeous in the dress! It is lovely on its own, perfect for summer. Or you can pair it with a cardigan as the days get chilly. The print is great, and the colour too. If the waist band is too cumbersome with the ruched detail, you can discard the detailing and use a plain one instead. Or you could bring down the empire cut to your natural waist line.

  7. I love this dress too – particularly the second photo, doesn’t look like you need to do much to it at all!

  8. I love the style and the fabric is beautiful on you.. When Looking at the first photos, I couldnt see anything wrong with it.It looked beautiful on you. I think, if you can fix the back problems, you have a great dress..
    I agree when you have such a wonderful dress as the gnome dress, its hard to like the next one.. That one, was just toooooo
    Enjoyed your post.. so funny.. Thanks for sharing the truth..We all have those sewing days too.

  9. Before I started reading I was going to tell you how flattering this dress is on you. I love the cut. I don’t think you look like a line backer. I think the bust line and shoulder coverage is very feminine. I love the ruched waistline, I don’t see the bulk in the pictures, I do see your waist and how it gradually descends to your hips. This dress draws my attention first to your face, because the color of the fabric is flattering on your skin and your hair, and because the neckline is like a frame to your face. Then I notice the full sweetheart neckline. I don’t see anything unflattering about it in pictures. You must photograph really well. I love this dress though. I mean it, I think you look great.

  10. I didn’t see anything wrong with this either Tempest I think the neckline is ace and the sleeves complement the neckline. If it were mine I’d make the skirt fuller to make the appearance of the waistline look smaller, I think in proportions. But after all the trouble you’ve gone to I’d just leave it. It’s the perfect summer dress.

  11. As a “curvy gal”, I also struggled with the proportions of this garment. I made the halter version in black gingham (along with the matching bolero), and it just seemed like the skirt should be a fuller A-line or circle to balance my figure. Your version looks much nicer on you (especially the neckline) and the colour is smashing with your complexion and hair colour. Perhaps not your favourite, but still a very wearable dress. Well done, Tempest!

  12. I actually like this on you. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to resort to inserting big chunks of fabric to get things to fit :o) Definitely worth saving.

  13. I agree with Loran. I think the top look great an the neckline is very pretty. I think you were right about expecting the wide straps to make your shoulders look wider to balance your lower body. I do this all the time and it works quite well (halter necks on the other hand usually make shoulders look narrower…). I usually avoid ruched midriffs though. I think if you could somehow taking all this ruching out of the midriff area it would be a very pretty dress (it is now as well – but I see why you don’t like it as much right now…). The flowers conceal the ruching anyway (at least in the photos) and all it does is add extra bulk to your waist. I love the fabric and the color looks wonderful on you. I really hope you’re going to save this dress. I think it has a lot of potential.

  14. Really lovely dress, I think it suits you

  15. Thanks ladies, perhaps I’m being too hard on this dress. It’s not a shape I’d usually choose and I learnt a lot from making it….and it’s such a pretty print. Time to adjust the fit properly and give it a second chance.