the renfrew red velvet dress with no velvet in it.
I've been sewing. Above are four photos before I took a piece out of the bodice to take away the droop and hemmed it. One day I might have better photos, but equally, one day may never come. I was harsh on myself at first, but I suspect I shall come to like it a lot. The skirt and midriff is from the Cake Patterns Red Velvet and it is beautiful. I mustn't have concentrated properly, because my scissor pleat isn't exactly central in the front and not exactly symmetrical in the back. My husband picked this, demonstrating that he was concentrating when I asked him what he thought. I've made this skirt part of the red velvet pattern twice before and got it perfect without major effort those times. I speak as someone for whom sewing and perfect almost never meet.
The top is the Renfrew top from Sewaholic, cut at just below the bust. I was looking for a combination which gave me modesty at the top (achieved), set in sleeves (achieved), winter-suitable (achieved) and a lovely fabric (achieved) . I'd not anticipated the hint of early 1980s primary school teacher pinafore which it has though.
The difficulty of fitting clothes was what led me to sewing, and the difficulty remains. The more I sew, the more particular I get about fit. I think that if I'd pursued the Red Velvet top half, making alterations after my muslin last year, I would have had a really lovely dress. But I wouldn't have had a dress which fitted all of my criteria above, and it is my winter wardrobe which needs augmenting right now, not summer.
So I've decided it's time to sew something straight from the envelope. I'm a bit over spending hours making pattern alterations and then still not being quite happy with the final result. Tonight I cut out the fabric to make a Style Arc Issy Top. The instructions look sure to pose a challenge, with crossing and draping and asymmetrical necklines and hems. But it was deliciously easy to cut the pattern when it was only three pieces and no fba or other messing. I would add that the pattern is totally beyond me to add an fba to, so that sorted that aspect out. The Issy top was a freebie when I ordered a Clara skirt pattern earlier in the year. No Clara until I've made a top though, as there are more skirts than tops in my wardrobe.
p.s. I was thinking about making a dress suitable for a ball, but I have deemed that insane. The multi-use options for a ball dress in a small wet town like mine are nil.