Monday, February 28, 2011

Slow Fashion: Of LBDs, part 2

Last post I talked about the Uniform Project (UP) and the Bright Young Things (BYT) version of Sheena's UP Year 1 little black dress (LBD). The post got a bit long, but in the interest of full disclosure:

The BYT LBD in the Fall 2010 issue of Boho magazine. So flattering, so versatile.
I have the BYT Premier Edition version of Sheena's UP dress, in XL, purchased about a month before UP started selling their updated version as The Classic LBD. It's super cute on, though shorter than I prefer, even for a minidress. The cut skims away from the belly and hips, and the weight of the cotton pique stretch fabric is great for hiding any perceived figure flaws. From the photos it looks like Eliza from BYT used a lighter fabric with more drape for the Spring 2011 capsule collection. (I think the fabric used for UP's Classic LBD drapes better, too.) 

The button at my bustline after the last wash.
THAT ain't right...
The screenprinted care instructions on a pocket of the BYT LBD.
Tumble dry low heat? Oooooops.
Unfortunately, my LBD has shrunk by about a size on me! It got accidentally sorted into the general black clothes pile on laundry day, and thrown into the dryer. It was already quite a tailored fit, so I really can no longer wear it. My loss will be a friend's gain, but before I swap it, I took some photos of me in it so you can get an idea of the fit. Please keep in mind that the BYT Premier Edition has now sold out, and it's not clear to me how the version she's selling in her Spring 2011 line differs (the fabric looks lighter and less stiff), or how the version now selling on the UP site differs in fit.

Worn unbuttoned as a jacket - LOVE this look (especially with a belt on top).
I'm wearing it over a tunic-length t-shirt and black denim slacks.
If you know the dress from other bloggers' photos, 
you can see that it shrunk in all directions, 
losing about an inch in both length and width.

Buttoned partway, so you can imagine what it looked like when it fit. 
(When I also buttoned the offending button shown above, 
it distorted the dress' lines.)

To show how the fabric tends to bubble out over my butt, thanks to the pleat opening starting at the small of my back instead of further down. If I was keeping it, I'd stitch up the pleats by hand so it would be more fitted.
(Wearing it back-to-front never worked with my busty figure.)

Lucky for me, I also bought the sewing pattern which UP are selling, which as you can see came packaged in an adorable and useful tote bag. I was thinking I'd like to make a longer version (I'd be more comfortable with the hem an inch above the knees), in equally-timeless navy blue or indigo, in a lighter fabric for summer, with a couple of different collars to help add more variety - but now I'll need to make a replacement in black as well. 

I guess the moral of my sad story is, definitely handwash and hang dry these dresses - and if your lifestyle means that's impractical, consider buying the pattern and preshrinking your fabric before you sew.


  1. I hate when I shrink things! I try to take such care when I do laundry, and I typically line dry everything, but in the winter I have to use the dryer more often, and occasionally something gets missed. :(

    It is awesome that you have the pattern to make another one! I really look forward to seeing what it looks like with a little longer hem. (you are right about it being too shore even for a mini)!

  2. Ah, yes, I know of the shrinking LBD well. My shrunk one looked similar in length to yours. And as you know I have the U.P LBD and it does the same thing in the "back" with the pleat. And my correctly fitting LBD is not tight at all and it still bows open at the pleat. I kind of like it. It gives plenty of extra wiggle room.

  3. @Slow Fashioned - thanks for visiting! =D Same here on the dryer, except that having small kids means I cave and use the dryer more often than I did when I was childless and doing a LOT less laundry. Our winter weather has this evening's temperature down to -32 Celsius, which for those of you thinking in Fahrenheit is getting dangerously close to Absolute Zero ;-), so in winter I'm restricted to hangers on the shower rod and a wire drying rack.
    As for the dress, you know that @Kristy is now wearing the one she had her tailor lengthen, right? I suspect that when she was collaborating on the design, Sheena went for the ultra-short mini to make it easy to use as a layering piece. But then, Sheena doesn't have two kids and a complex about her thighs. =)

    @Kristy, have you ever tried your LBD on pleated-side-to-the-front? I'm curious how well it works that way around for you, since you're taller and a smidge bustier than Sheena (but not as busty as me). I think the reason the kickpleat starts so high on the back is so it'll rest at Empire-waist when the dress is worn back-to-front.

  4. Yes, I wear it that way more often. I read somewhere that pleat-side-front was originally created as the front. But it doesn't seem to be marketed as such any longer. I prefer it that way though.

  5. I try to do that to do "cheap alternations" on my shirts as much as possible. lol... unless it's a complicated job, like a dress, I will take it in to a steamstress to deal with. It sucks that you accidentally lost your dress from the evil dryer. :(

    I was looking on the site at their other dresses, but they don't make it in my size. :( Darn. Wish they had some patterns for those I could possibly purchase and alter!

  6. @Kristy, thanks for letting me know. Shirtdresses are really in fashion right now. Perhaps that's why we're seeing more people wearing it with the buttons to the front?

    @Kathleen: link to buy the sewing pattern for this dress is in the last paragraph of the post (under photo). Sizes Teen through XL. (XL is a North American size 18). If this is @GuitarKat from Twitter - I think Teen would work for you from what you've said previously about trouble finding slender sizes. ;-)

  7. Update! My dear friend Marilyn inherited my LBD during the epic wardrobe purge last night, and it's perfectly proportioned for her. I know she'll totally rock it at #yegLBD, and in her everyday life, as shirtdresses are one of her favoured looks.

    I also found the great spread on the BYT LBD in a recent issue of Boho ( so took a snapshot and added it to the post.