Guess what?  I finally got around to taking pictures of my Peony!


So.  I’m not sure where to start.  I keep going back and forth on this dress.  One minute, I’m quite satisfied.  The next, all I see are its issues. Also, yes, I know I should have steamed it a little before taking the pictures…

The good:

  • I love my fabric choices.  I used wool suiting for the exterior and the belt and Bemberg rayon for the lining.  The rayon is so silky soft next to the skin and the wool was a dream to work with.  I actually hand washed everything before sewing because I never have anything dry cleaned.  Except maybe coats.  But ha!  Wanna know what I did?  I through a piece of the wool in the washer.  On hot.  With a cold rinse.  Wanna know what happened?  Exactly nothing!  No felting whatsoever.  Not even a little bit.
  • Pockets!  Which also means that I kept sticking my hands in them when taking pictures for maximum fabric distortion.


  • The skirt portion was perfect as is.
  • I love the belt detail.

The “bad”: I mean, not horrible, but not as good. And it’s all about the fit.

  • When I adjust the dress just so, it looks pretty good.  There’s a little bit of extra fabric under the bust.  I tried scooping out the dart there and it worked to remove the excess fabric but then the dart point would bubble more.  So I went with low bubble but extra fabric underneath.


  • When I move, the dress moves too and that throws off the fit a little.  If it moves just a bit higher, you can see the shoulder area near the neck isn’t quite snug against my body.  And that neckline is so high!


  • When I tug the dress back down, I tend to tug it down too much because the neckline is so high.  When that happens, the darts aren’t in the right place anymore and it starts pulling a little in the bust.
  • I removed tons of fabric from the center back but I think maybe I also needed a sway back ajustement? Or something?  There’s still some wrinkling there.


Overall? I do like it and will wear it but I won’t make another one.  Not just yet at least.  It just took me way too long to get a fit that really isn’t as good as I would like. I would love to have a Peony that fits perfectly with a slightly lowered neckline and short sleeves but I won’t be attempting that on my own, no way.  If I ever get to go to a fitting class though, that’s the pattern I’ll be working on. I have a feeling I would learn so much from having an expert help me with it.  Online tutorials and books can only take you so far, you know?


Creative mommy at home to two wonderful little girls, trying to juggle family, sewing, exercise, family, knitting, photography, and did I mention family?

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Posted in Sewing
6 comments on “Finally
  1. Louisa says:

    What a beautiful dress! I love the neckline!


  2. Charity says:

    I so understand the fitting struggle! But I think it’s really pretty anyway. That wool is gorgeous. And the fit is a great deal better than most dresses I see.
    I’m by no means a fitting expert (um, just a beginner really) so take all this with a grain of salt- but here are a few things I think might help a tiny bit.
    To reduce the point-iness of the front dart while taking out the bubbling, you could add a second dart under the bust -OR, you might be able to transfer some of the dart shaping from the main under-bust dart to the side bust dart.
    The back… I’m guessing you don’t actually need a swayback adjustment. It looks more to me like an erect back/full derriere combination? You could try just pinching the extra out (or maybe begging your husband/friend/relative to help, since that would be difficult to reach alone) and transferring the pinch to the pattern. You’ll probably end up with a curved center back seam or side seam, but it should be easy enough to smooth out.
    At least lowering the neckline is easy! And I would take a pinch out of the shoulder seam at the neckline too- it looks like it’s lifting up from your shoulders a bit.
    Sorry for the essay, especially since you aren’t planning on making another one of these soon…. 😉


    • The essay is fine! What I did for the back was have my husband pinch to remove the excess fabric from the center. I had him pin and draw the line. Then, when I sewed the zipper on, I followed the line he’d drawn. I think maybe those wrinkles are just due to not doing a perfect job of it since it was the first time for both of us. I remember he had a tendency to pull the back so tightly together that he was creating tightness in front.

      Yeah, the shoulders aren’t quite snug like they should be. I think I tried pinching out the extra in one of my muslins but it made a mess elsewhere. Probably because I can’t actually do it on myself and the husband pulled it up too much.

      Thank you for your thoughts on the darts. I actually would love to make another of this dress in a summery fabric but I just won’t touch it until I can get a fitting expert to look at it and help me get it right. Having my husband help me is like the blind leading the blind…


  3. […] such a lightbulb moment!  I frequently have issues with too much fabric at the upper chest (see Peony, Mesa, even my latest Mingo and Grace dress though that one isn’t as bad and probably […]


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