Saturday Musings: Copy, Hack, or Inspire?

Sewing has so spoiled me (yay) that I lost my penchant for shopping RTW (wow)! But I still love shopping, and the dress below is what lured me back to the fold:


Lately at work I’ve been covering the reception desk*, which is rather hectic. When down times occur, I’m so frazzled that all I can do is web surf. Back in June I surfed on over to ASOS Curve and found that dress. I love it! It’s loose and flow-y, but it still has design lines and a distinct silhouette. And the high neckline and 3/4 sleeves lend it some sophistication, as well as wearability in warm and cooler weather.

makingtheflame asos curve packaging plus size sewing fashion style
What a cute shipping package!

It cost $45. Was that a lot? A little? I no longer knew how much a RTW dress should cost. But I knew this dress was the perfect LBD — look at those lines! I thought about sketching out the design lines and making my own pattern hack or copy, then took the plunge and purchased it.

makingtheflame asos curve packaging plus size sewing fashion style
Happy smile :)

I may have gotten it one size too big, but otherwise it is perfect: minus one glaring flaw. It’s made of a particular type of polyester that makes me reek to high heaven, even fresh out of the shower. In my early 20s I had a blouse made from this type of polyester that I loved, but that caused me no end of embarrassment because of the BO it created. So, I can’t keep this dress. Right?

makingtheflame asos curve packaging plus size sewing fashion style
Really happy smile :-D

But. Do I do make a straight copy from it? Do I hack patterns like M6465, V8805, and V8828 to make an approximation? Do I sew up B5522, B6209, V9107, V8876 or V8968 as dresses in the same vein? On top of this dilemma, I feel that returning the dress sends the wrong message to plus size clothing manufacturers. They’re always complaining we fatties don’t buy anything, not realizing they don’t make anything good for us. But this time, the dress is good! And ASOS actually has sooo many cute, on trend clothes for the plus size woman: should I suck up this $45 loss as a gain for the movement of more and better plus size fashion?

makingtheflame asos curve packaging plus size sewing fashion style
One last awkward pose for ya ;-)

Dilemma, dilemma. What would you do in this situation?


[Fun factoid: I originally scheduled this post for June 27. Nearly two months later, I’m back on covering reception. Ah, the revolving door that is the front desk.]

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  1. Send it back and make a good version in a quality fabric. You deserve better than that! I love that the trapeze dress is making a comeback and am planning to make my own version. such an easy-to-wear and flattering style for so many body types.

  2. I would copy the dress, I think. If the line and drape is how you like it (and it does look GREAT on you) I think you’re more likely to get the same effect with the same pattern.

    Here’s the thing. The dress ISN’T good. The design is good, but that fabric is NO GOOD. I know that kind of poly, and I just can’t wear it either. I think a lot of us can’t. So if you want to return it, return it. (Although I get in my head about this like, I would prefer to pay more for this dress in better fabric… but if it were more I probably wouldn’t have bought it… but that’s because my experience is that more expensive probably has the same fabric anyway…)

    1. Ahh, you capture the dilemma so well–yes, we’ll pay more for good designs in good fabric, but the fabric part of the equation seems elusive. I would have LOVED this fabric in a decent fabric. I would have turned around and bought another one, as a backup–this dress is so comfy, so retro and yet to modern, goes so well in many settings and outfits. But higher price points don’t necessarily reflect better fabric or construction, so we are unwilling to invest in pricier garments. Thank goodness we sew, eh?

  3. I’d use it as a master pattern and consider it not just a lesson learned but an opportunity to spread your wings in a creative path. Does it have side bust darts as well as the neckline tucks?

  4. I would keep it, but make a pattern from it. Especially if you think this is something you could make multiple versions from. You could end up spending much more in time and materials perfecting a pattern. It would be handy to have this around for comparing things like finished measurements and curves, too. I learned from bra making that manufacturers often have subtle refinements that are difficult to find in most patterns.

    1. This is a very good point! Early in my sewing career all I could do was dismantle RTW, and it was definitely an education. Some things you need to take apart to learn from!

  5. ***Swing dresses are an easy make and you get to choose your own fabric***. I went on a rtw fast because I got tired of buying poorly made/crappy fabric clothing. I’m still wearing what I have, but slowly working toward making everything I wear. I pinterest what I see in rtw and add it to my sewing list.

    1. This is really smart! Pinterest is such a great tool for keeping track of to-sew styles and details. I’ve dabbled there, and hope to use it more in the fall. What’s your Pinterest handle? I’d love to see your board.

  6. Honestly Ebi, if this dress is a piece of crap (fabric wise, despite the cute design), I say send it back! In my opinion, it’s better to send the message that women (of any size) won’t spend their hard-earned money on crappy clothes than to absorb the $45 in the hope that it will encourage more on-trend, plus-size fashion from manufacturers. If you think you can copy it, I think that’s the way to go. I love the style on you!

    1. Ahh, see that’s the other part of the dilemma–fabric quality! RTW wearing women of all sizes wear fabrics in a quality I’d not normally stand for (hence my very limited wardrobe), but I’m more lenient when it comes to things I’ve made myself. So I do occasionally wear crappy fabrics :-p I guess I feel really strongly that this dress deserves really high quality fabric. The style warrants it.

  7. That dress looks gorgeous on you! I do think you can hack that one. Some of the patterns you listed have just the right amount of swing dress design to make it possible. V8968 and B6209 look like good choices.

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