Day 14: Should It Stay or Should It Go?

After spending last Monday in a sweatshirt and workout pants, I felt I should make a better effort on Tuesday. And I wanted to get your opinion on this dress, too. I bring it out every Me-Made challenge, but rarely wear it any other time!

Posing with my bike makes way better pictures than just standing in a park. I look like I’m standing there with a purpose! I can get up the hill quickly, snap a few photos, and coast back down to the road with hardly anyone noticing.

The Details:

Dress: Resort Dress, Vogue 8185 (discontinued)
Sweater: Gap
Shoes: Keds, my go-to shoes for cycling!
Belt: thrifted

What I like:

The swishy skirt! I like the volume of the tiers for twirling and biking. The print of the fabric and the tiered skirt hides any wrinkles, and the cotton is lightweight and comfortable.

What I don’t like:

I don’t feel like it’s totally me. I think the print is a bit crazy, even when I first made the dress, I had a hard time coming up with something to use the fabric for!

It doesn’t exactly project the image I want to project. Classic yet pretty? Professional? Sexy? Nooo.. Casual and comfortable, yes. Fun and playful, yes. And it may be a bit too young. I’d like to look more like a woman, and I fear this dress borders on ‘little girl.’

You can’t see the sewing flaws, but the zipper doesn’t reach the top of centre back. It’s a less-than-invisible invisible zipper, sewn way before I learned the magic of hand-picked zippers!

There’s no waist definition – it hangs straight down from the bustline to the hem. If I belt it, the belt bunches in the dress and it doesn’t sit right. Wearing a cardigan over it helps, with a belt, which leads to the next thing I don’t like…

I wear the exact same things with this dress. Unless it’s really warm, and I can wear just the dress, I usually wear either a brown sweater or a denim jacket on top.

Here’s how I’ve worn it before – basically the same look every time!

I didn’t even bring it out for Self-Stitched September! And how un-original, I’m wearing the exact same sweater, and in my bike basket is a denim jacket I took off when it got warm.

That’s the revelation I’ve had about sewing printed garments versus sewing solids. If this dress were say, hot pink silk, I could wear it with all kinds of tops and jackets! Changing a grey blazer and black pumps for a brown leather jacket and flat sandals makes it a different look altogether.

If it were a neutral colour, like navy, I could wear it with patterned jackets, add colourful scarves or bold jewelry for fresh new looks. With this dress, it looks the same, every time – so it’s easy to get tired of the same look!

I’ve been very slow at responding to comments and emails but I really do like getting feedback on my sewing projects, outfits, and overall looks. It’s like having a stylist, except I get ten opinions instead of just one! So thank you all, and never feel like you’ll insult me if you don’t like something I wear. It’s a continual process, definining one’s style and figuring out if we like the image we’re presenting to the world.

What do you think? Like it? Should it stay, or should it go?

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55 Responses to Day 14: Should It Stay or Should It Go?

  1. julie s June 20, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    I especially like the way you’ve styled it with a denim jacket and with the fedora in the “how I’ve worn it before” pictures! I think it might also work well with something like the jacket from S2443 (maybe with some of the pockets edited out) in a solid chocolate brown or tan colour. My vote is to keep it!

  2. Samina June 20, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    I think the dress is cute, but I can see how you think it’s a bit young looking. That said, I think that it depends on the accessories you’re pairing with it. The pic with cardi & boots looks older & more sophisticated than the one with the denim jacket, which makes it look much younger. So, I say keep it & play with the accessories to dress it up or down, depending on your mood.

  3. Tanit-Isis June 20, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    I think it’s adorable. Although it’s rather youthful, I don’t think it’s “too” young, especially when you style it with a cardigan. It certainly looks great in all the photos.

    That being said, it’s cute enough I’m sure there’s someone out there who would love it a lot more than you do. If you really feel awkward and bored wearing it, feel free to let it go.

  4. Christine June 20, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    Hiya! When I saw the title of the post and the first photo, I thought, that fabric isn’t exactly your style. If it were me, I would say something like this to myself (were I in an anti-packrat kind of mood): just because I don’t love this dress doesn’t mean it’s not a good dress. By letting it go, I will no longer have to wonder why I don’t love this dress, and someone else can get some use out of it. The peace of mind I’ll gain by not owning this dress is worth the amount of sadness I’ll feel giving it away. And, based on other times I’ve gotten rid of things I didn’t love, I probably won’t be all that sad anyway. This dress will suit someone else’s style and personality much better than me. Let the dress give them some happiness.

    Then, if you end up missing the dress, you can make a new version that you don’t have to wonder about every Me-Made-Month. I also find that photos of things to remember them makes it a lot easier to let go. And you’ve already got that!!

  5. Kristen June 20, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    Gosh, tough call! Initially, I say keep because it looks so darn cute on you (I LOVE it with the hat!), and the colours really suit you! But if you don’t feel comfortable in it now, then that probably won’t change. Would you like it more if you altered it into a skirt? I know what you mean about the print being a bit crazy, so perhaps worn as a skirt with a plain blouse on top, it will be more subdued? Good luck on your decision!

  6. molly June 20, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    I like it, I think the print is the most fun part and it would go with other things too like a tan jacket or blazer. I have this pattern and understand what you’re saying about the fit through the middle, but it has a zipper so you could just take the sides in a little. If you don’t want it I’ll take it lol!

  7. Michelle @ If Toys Could Talk June 20, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    I like how you’ve styled the dress with the cardigan, but I agree with you in that I don’t think the print is really “you”. I agree with the previous poster who said that it’s okay to let things go sometimes, even when they’re good items. It may be a good dress, but it’s obviously not working for you since you don’t choose to wear it very often and there are a number of things you don’t like about it. And remember: if you let it go, you’re making room in your closet for something else! :)

  8. Nadia June 20, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    You never wear that dress! And I know for a fact that you have a younger sister who would be more than happy to take it off your hands and wear it all the time in a hot Ontario summer. ;)

  9. Lisette June 20, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    I like it a LOT. It has sort of a southwestern vibe, especially with the denim jacket. In my opinion, it is good to have a sundress that you don’t care too much about, because then you can get it dirty and wear it places you might not wear other handmade garments.

  10. Emilie June 20, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    First of all, I love fun prints and this is no exception. However much I am attracted to them, I know exactly what you mean when you say that it’s hard to find something to do with them sometimes (for garments). Especially the really bold prints. I think your dress looks great although it is hard to see the waistline and I also personally like something that has a more defined waistline. Anyway, I see what you mean when you say that it’s hard to pair it up with other things. It would probably be great as a skirt (and the way you wear it with your sweater, it almost looks like a skirt!). I still think it looks great on you and it is probably really comfortable (also love the ruffle-like bottom tiers… it must indeed be great for twirling).

  11. Beth June 20, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    I think I would feel the same in regards to the dress looking too young, but I would also love the feel of a soft, swishy skirt. If you could lop off the bodice of the dress and keep the skirt, you might be able to re-make this garment as something you would wear more. The pattern wouldn’t be as overwhelming as a skirt and you could pair it with a sleek blouse to make it look more grown up.

  12. Casey June 20, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    I think it’s a cute dress! :) But I can totally see why you’re a bit on the fence about it; I have several things in my closet like that. I made them and theoretically they look good on me, but I never am completely in love with how they look or ways I style the garments. I’ve been in a bit of a purging mood lately in my own closet, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I think it’d be totally okay to let this one go (as another commenter pointed out). After all: life is too short to be feeling guilty about a dress that doesn’t quite fit with your aesthetics! :) I’m sure someone else will give it a great home.

  13. Faye Lewis June 20, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    I think it should stay. I really like it under the cardigan or the jean jacket.

  14. Karin June 20, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    It’s a cute dress, and maybe worth keeping around for trips to the beach? I do understand what you are saying about prints. I gravitate towards prints, and the more lurid the better! But then, once they are made up, I seldom wear them. Food for thought.

  15. Robin June 20, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    I like it, too. I like the styling with the cardi and belt- but given the colors think it would be even better for fall wear with tights and boots. Alternatively, you could cut the skirt portion off and just use it as a tank under a cardi. But if you don’t like it, then it should go!

  16. christine June 20, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    I think when we hand make something ourselves, there’s this pressure to keep it, keep wearing it, and treat it differently than something we’ve bought readymade. But here’s the thing, if you don’t like the way you feel in it, it doesn’t matter where it came from, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of it. You don’t need to justify it to anyone to part with something you made. If you don’t love it, then set yourself and the garment free :)

  17. Erin June 20, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Is there some way you could fix the waist definition problem by adding some definition? If it has side seams maybe you could take it in a little as a previous commenter also suggested.

    If you like the print in moderation you could always layer a sweater over top so it looks like a skirt in cooler months. With a solid sweater and maybe some tights or leggings underneath it might balance the pattern down some.

    I don’t think the dress makes you look too young. As you’ve demonstrated with the cardigan, you can accessorize it to look more sophisticated while retaining an edge of fun from the pattern. If you can fix the flaws in the dress itself that make it uncomfortable to wear, I say keep it. If not, then you’ll think of them every time you put it on and maybe it would be better to gift it to the world for someone else to enjoy. With the ability to make the awesome clothes you do, there is no reason to hold on to something you don’t love or can’t tweak to make it something you love.

  18. fangaroni June 20, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    I actually love the print! I think it looks great with the brown sweater and belt you are wearing. However, I think you should let it go. If you are only bringing it out during me-made challenges, and reluctantly at that… I think that even though us readers think you look great in it, you don’t feel so comfy in it, and that is why you should give it away. Also, if you give it away, you will have more space in your closet for something you do love and wear all the time!

  19. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) June 20, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Seems Ok to me but if you don’t like a garment I think it should go. Why keep something that you never wear? Although…I often turn dresses made of fabric I like into skirts.
    What you like about the dress is the lower half – could make a cute skirt which you could wear with different color tops.

  20. Lauren June 20, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    this may sound sacrilegious, but why don’t you just take off the bodice & turn the bottom into a skirt? that should solve both the problems of the lack of waist definition & not wearing it with anything other than a brown cardigan. there are a LOT of colors going on in there, you could easily pair it with yellow, red, brown, white, or even something non-matchy like turquoise. i love the shape of the skirt & maybe it wouldn’t seem so overwhelming if you weren’t covered in head-to-toe print, know what i mean?

  21. B @ Sweet Limes June 20, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    If you don’t wear it I say empty that hanger so something else can hang in that spot. I like the dress but you’ve named way more cons then pros and you never wear it which to me says you’ve already made the choice for yourself.

  22. learningnewtricks June 20, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    In my opinion, the dress doesn’t look too youthful. I think you look quite lovely in this dress, and especially like the print on you. However, your opinion is what matters most. If while wearing the dress you focus more on the aspects you don’t like, such as the print and fit, then you shouldn’t guilt yourself into keeping the dress.As previously suggested, give the dress to someone, such as your sister, who would appreciate it’s beauty and enjoy wearing the dress. It’s rather pointless trying to convince yourself to wear it simply because you made the dress. Your time would be better spent on creating a new dress, either from a completely new pattern you haven’t yet tried, or one you design yourself.

  23. Sofia Pona June 20, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    Give it to Nadia!!! Totally. And plus, I agree with you. Remember that Zara dress? Your Mad Men Picnic dress? Those are you. They’re elegant and feminine, flattering and something that people would see on and say “I want that dress!”. If you don’t feel awesome in it, you can’t rock it like you should and people notice. I say give it away!

  24. Amber June 20, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    I love the look of this dress, I’m 33 and don’t think it looks ‘little girl’ at all! Prints are definitely way more fun and spring-summery than boring old solids and what’s wrong with styling the dress the same way over and over? It’s not like you’re wearing it every day, or every week, also if you hate the lack of waist definition, couldn’t you take in the waist a bit somehow?

  25. hazel June 20, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    I love everything about the dress except the colour on you. None of the pictures above really reveal the waist of the dress so I can’t comment on that. You seem to me to look your best in bright colours like true blues and greens, white, bright pinks, black, lemon yellow, bright (not rusty) reds. I guess I believe in the old 1980s-era colours system that categorized people into seasons based on what range of colours look best on them. According to that, I have a strong suspicion that you would be a “winter” and look good in the brightest colours except for orange. Google it if you’re interested.

  26. Shey June 20, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    I say it should go, I mean, you posted more the things you didn’t like about it than the things you liked about it, I actually don’t like the color or the print. You have other pretty dresses to wear, and maybe someone else will find it beautiful and it will fit their style.

  27. Alexandra June 20, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    I think the dress looks great. It’s pretty without looking over the top and it’s nice, light and summery! What’s not to like?

    But the fact that you’re giving so many reasons for not thinking it’s very ‘you’ and the ‘problems’ with it, suggest that you’re not mad about it, but feel bad about getting rid of it. Give it to someone who will really love it, and won’t notice any of those flaws you mentioned!

  28. Kerri June 20, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Dye it a darker color that you like.

  29. Maria June 20, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    I really like this dress. In fact, when you first made it I thought ‘I want to make something like that’ (and I’m 42!). Right now I’m looking for the ‘right’ fabric. Yes, it’s very bohemian and fun, which is why it’s great. I do understand what you mean that it is perhaps not the ‘formal’ image you want to present. But I say keep it for holidays and weekends and wear something else for work. Most of my clothes are separated into just work (I work in an office) and others that are just recreational wear.

    Alternatively, I’d be happy to take it off your hands :o)

  30. Laura June 20, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    This is the exact style of dress I am thinking of making. It looks comfortable and relaxed, great for days when I want to head out to the park for a picnic or play with my friends girls in the backyard!

    My thoughts, if you don’t wear it, give it to someone who will (I hear you have a sister in Ontario who might appreciate it!) even though I think it looks great on you!

    Thanks for the link to the hand-picked zipper tut, I am positive I will be using it, since I am TERRIFIED of sewing on zippers!

  31. Laurel June 20, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    This is probably my favorite dress that you’ve made, actually. I think it looks fabulous on you. I also think it would be cute with a cropped cardigan, if you think it needs more definition around the waist. I don’t think it’s too young; it’s a sundress! The print is well matched to the style of the dress.

    Of course, that’s just how I feel about it. if you really don’t like it, you shouldn’t feel compelled to hang onto it just because other people like it. You can totally send it to me. :D

  32. Lois June 20, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    It may just be the pic, but I don’t think these colors look good on you. If you like the pattern, do it in something else & take the waist in a little. You might lengthen the skirt a little if you feel like it’s too ‘little girl’. And have something in mind to wear as a jacket when you go to work.

    You don’t need a good reason to “not like” something. Feelings don’t have to make sense.

  33. SI June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    You know what needs to go? That boring red dress with the red men you’ve shown us a million times now !

  34. Sofia Pona June 20, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    I think SI secretly wants the “boring” red dress and is hoping for a giveaway. :)

  35. Nadia June 20, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    This girl will happily fight SI for anything that Tasia makes. ;) Plus, you don’t get giveaways by insulting them!

  36. msmodiste June 20, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    I love the dress and the print, and I’m not sure I agree with some of the negative points you’ve made (I don’t think a tiered skirt automatically means it’s youthful, nor do I think it’s not sexy… although it’s not a pencil skirt and it’s not office appropriate, true.) But I think the fact that you don’t wear it and that you felt inclined to analyze it this way just shows that it’s not “you.” And that’s totally okay!

    I used to be very guilty of returning a lot of clothes, or buying a lot of clothes and not ever wearing them. What I finally realized was that I was spending a lot of time analyzing them… talking myself out of buying things I loved and talking myself into buying things I didn’t. My conclusion is that clothing should be a gut feeling. A good bit of analysis and planning can keep you on track but at the end of the day, your gut will tell you what you do and don’t want to wear. And clearly yours is telling you that you don’t want to be wearing this!

    Now, where can I find that print? I want to make one! LOL.

  37. Marie-Noëlle June 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    I don’t thinks that the ruffles makes the dress look too young. I love it paired with the brown cardigan. Maybe it is just not your colours though they suit you perfectly.
    Maybe you could try higher heels. However If you are still not convinced after all these comments get rid of it and forget about it. Life’s too short to bother with a dress you don’t fell comfortable with.

  38. Stephanie June 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    You look adorable in the dress, but I’m not that crazy about that print, either. And if you don’t wear it in everyday, non-Me-Made-Whatever situations, then you’re most likely just not that into the dress and it’s totally okay to let it go.

  39. Suze June 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I kind of feel the same way about that particular style of dress and finally decided that for me, it’s a beach kind of dress. The print and style make it “suitable resort wear.” And I would wear stuff on a beach vacation that I would never wear at home. But you look really cute in it and have dressed it up nicely.

  40. Corinne June 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Over all I think the dress is one of those “once in a while dresses.” It is cute and the skirt is fun and flippy. If you are looking for closet space I would pass it on. The print is so busy that you are correct in thinking it makes a statement but you just don’t want to make this statement too many times in a professional capacity. One important issue IMO is that as a sewist, you are an artist. and changing your style periodically with a statement piece is important. I think all artists evolve their style with time and experience. That is good because keeping your perspective fresh is your best business card.

  41. lisa June 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    keep it for when little sewaholic junior will arrive (even if your not planning it now)
    the bright colors will lift you up in the post partum days :)

  42. Charlotte June 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi, Cute style, but I do not care for the print at all. And, after reading what you think about the dress, I would let it go. In fact, I am headed to my closet right now to get rid of a pair of light tan capris (I do not like tan at all on me) that are “tonal” striped, cargo style (not the style for me) and I have not worn them in such a long time, so out they go to make room for maybe a new skirt or something that I will enjoy wearing! I needed a push, and thank you for doing it. Have a wonderful day!

  43. Suze June 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Look at this slide show on Anthropogie for some other ideas of how to wear this dress.

  44. Becky June 20, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    I like it, personally. But then, I’m drawn to crazy prints and that more bohemian style. And I don’t think it’s necessarily bad that you only have a couple of different ways to wear it. I personally think there’s only so many ways you can wear a dress, and I think that’s a big part of the reason I go more for separates.

    That being said, I get the impression that you don’t really feel comfortable (i.e. not yourself) in it. And if that’s the case, then perhaps it would be best to let it go. Perhaps to a friend close to your size, or as a blog giveaway, so it can go to a good home with someone who appreciates a handmade dress!

  45. boocat June 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Didn’t you wear this dress under a cute little leather jacket? I thought that outfit ruled. I was jealous. If I had that outfit, I’d wear it frequently.

  46. Krysta June 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Personally, I love this dress. But it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks, if it isn’t you, it isn’t going to be you. If you don’t love it, turf it!

  47. Lucy June 20, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Personally, I like the colours on you, Tasia. I think the browns and yellows go well with your hair and skin tone, especially with the brown sweater.

    But I don’t know you, so if you don’t think you feel like yourself in it, ditch it. Wardrobes are too small to be filled with clothes you don’t like to wear. (And yet, somehow we all have them!)

  48. Claire (aka Seemane) June 21, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    Tough-love time from me…. IMHO you have listed too many “cons” vs. “pros” to keep it (sorry – but it doesn’t seem to get worn enough to justify keeping it, and you seem to want to cover it up/hide the bits you dislike about it too often).

    Why not turn the bottom into a skirt (the twirly part you love) and re-purpose the fabric from the bodice for some other (future) project / bag / trim? :)

  49. Claire (aka Seemane) June 21, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    Dyeing is a fab way to revamp fabric/garments – but anyone hoping they might cover a pattern will still find int shows through (and if considerably darker then any polyester thread might remain the original colour and show through – which might be an unexpected surprise LOL!) :)

  50. Nadia Lewis June 21, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    You don’t love it, so I say it goes! Why do you want anything you don’t love in your closet?

  51. Jen June 21, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    I agree with others that say if you don’t like it, get rid of it! BUT… it is one of my favorites of yours that you have made! I love the fabric-tribal…very stylish right now!

  52. Joolz June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Why ask? I can only guess that you really want to keep the dress, but something inside is telling you that you don’t really like it.

    If you like the dress, but don’t wear it, then keep it for another season or two and see if you like it. If you don’t really like it then ditch it.

    Asking for help from random strangers on the internet about your clothing choices is just weird, or self-indulgent, even when you run a sewing blog.


  53. novemberfoxtrot June 22, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    as a fellow pear-shaped woman, I say let it go. drop waists are not for us.

  54. Karin June 24, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    I absolutely agree with what Maria says. I really like this dress as well and I don’t think it looks too young. I love the bohemian look and like to wear tiered dresses and skirts myself (and I’m 42 too). Like Maria’s my clothes are separated into work and more casual wear (although in Switzerland even our workwear is pretty casual compared to other countries). To improve the fit around the waist, why not put in some darts.
    Alternatively why not give it to your sister who’d obviously love to have it :-) I’ve both been given things (even though the giver much liked it herself) and have given away clothes to someone else who loved them (even though I really liked the garment myself) and to me it’s the best feeling ever. For me the joy is in the giving and seeing the other person really happy (so both sides win).

  55. Janice Bear June 28, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    I don’t understand why it would hang so straight – the pattern looks like it has princess seams…Am I just on glue? Can you add darts like @Karin suggests?

    Also, why only pair it with brown or denim? What about aubergine? Red? Going with a neutral kind of makes it look like you are unsure, which does add to the youthful look. Have you tried a wide belt or a waist cincher? And instead of a cardigan, what about a bolero or a shrug? Maybe some fun arm warmers?

    On the other hand – if you have to ask – it is probably time to let it go. You could repurpose the bottom portion into a skirt if you just feel awful saying goodbye to your own creation.