Sunday, April 8, 2012

modcloth dress knockoff

I like to imagine the ModCloth "warehouse" as an open green meadow with miles of dresses hanging daintily from clothing lines, blowing lightly in the breeze, back-lit by a warm golden sunset that never actually sets. When you place an order, a woman in a floppy sun hat prances out to pick the dress from the line, folds it gently in her wicker basket and sprinkles daisies on top before heading to the post office. 

"On Meadow" by Aleksandr Averin
Source: Art Russia

Then I remember their HQ is in Pittsburgh PA, so it's probably just in an old steel mill or something.

ModCloth Distribution Center
Source: IUP Fashion Association 

Anyway, I hope ModCloth doesn't mind that I was inspired by (okay, tried to copy) one of their looks. I want them to like me so they'll hire me one day. A friend of a friend actually works at ModCloth as a writer. She gets to sit in a posh studio with a rack of beautiful clothes hanging next to her probably-a-Mac computer, thinking of clever puns and styling options for the item descriptions. And, she says, you can take your dog to work. UM, DREAM JOB, even without the meadow. Do they just, like, giggle & wordplay their way through team meetings? I'm evergreen with envy. 

The inspiration dress is called the "Diamond Fund Dress" (out of stock as of today), and I bookmarked it in my browser awhile ago but forgot about it. I also bought this rayon fabric awhile ago from Hancock, but couldn't decide what pattern or style to use it for. So when I came across this dress again on Pinterest, I immediately knew what I had to do. I looked in my pattern stash and even had a pretty good match; McCall's 6503, which I used to make my colorblocked dress, has an option with a cross-over gathered bodice and curved midriff band. So I didn't even have to make any new fabric or pattern purchases to get started. I just had a little pattern modification to do, and you all know how much I love that.

I tried to stay true to the original dress as much as I could, but didn't get the midriff band right. Mine lacks the horizontal pintucks (seemed unnecessary), doesn't really have that inverted V curve on the midriff and therefore no buttons (unfortunately; my fault), and has a more modest neckline. I also couldn't squeeze out a proper A-line skirt in the amount of fabric I had, so my skirt consists of two gathered rectangles and is slightly more fitted. My fabric print has circles instead of diamonds but it's pretty darn close. I like theirs better when I compare them side by side, but I like mine just fine on its own.

Since I had previous experience with the M6503 pattern, I knew that the gathered bust was basically drafted for a double-Z cup, so I went down a size and narrowed the bottom so there wouldn't be as much fabric to gather. It was still tricky getting it to lay right, with the crossover front and gathered shoulders. I wish I could have called ModCloth to ask for their advice, but doubted they had patternmakers readily available to answer phone calls from copycats. I just kept taking the bodice up and in until it worked for the most part. It still is a bit saggy.

The back has a V neck and a shirred waistband like the original. I've never shirred fabric before, but it was so easy! I always thought the look was pretty juvenile, but it's pretty fun to sew and definitely practical to wear. SURE I'LL SHIRR. I just extended the back midriff piece by three inches, then stitched five rows with elastic thread on my bobbin. Elastic magic.

So, why bother? I'll show you:
Inspiration dress = $71.99 with shipping.
My dress = $9. BOOM. This makes me feel better about it being slightly less cute than the original.

Can't forget to acknowledge my little helper:

(Not my actual dog. Not my actual yard.) 
(Don't worry, I'm housesitting, not trespassing.)