Monday, July 26, 2010

The 'Cry Me a River' Dress

So, I'm not totally feeling this dress. I made it so I could have another chance with this self-draped pattern, and I am happy with the adjustments I made: namely, lowering the empire line just a tad under the bust. But, I'm just kind of "eh" about it. First, I don't love the fabric. It's that $2/yard Vera Wang navy faille from Fabric.com. It has the body of a tarp. I wish I'd just given it away, but for some reason I felt compelled to make the best of it. (Remind me in the future to not make any projects with fabric I'm just so-so about; life's too short!)

Secondly, it photographs terribly. The trim is two little white grosgrain bows (that idea was inspired by a 60s pattern design), not that you'd be able to see that from any of the photos I took.

Here's the back.

So, we'll see. I'm going to wear it to work and see if it grows on me. I'm also going to work on the styling of it. I love it with my lime green pumps, but the hair needs a do-over. This little bun is about all I could handle post-yoga in yesterday's heat. Plus, jewels! I need some baubles.

Gosh, I sound like such a sad-sack, don't I? To accentuate the positive, it's a nice neutral dress and the piping came out great. In other good news, I'm working on the muslin of the yellow dress and it's looking awesome so far. Onward!

81 comments:

  1. Oh... I love the IDEA of the dress but I can see what you mean about the 'thing" of it. the gather in the waist I don't love so much...

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  2. gertie - i acutally love the dress, particularly in that first photo - it's nice and understated with a nod to vintage but not too overboard. i thought the white rectangles weren't bows, and it think they'd be nicer just as some dash of extra detail rather than as bows. i really like the vintage look, but am afraid of going overboard or too cutesey, so i never really try it. this has some sort of mod appeal... it's a nice neutral.

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  3. Well I think it's fabulous! The white really pops against the navy.
    You're right that the bows don't really show up in the photos - I'd be tempted to either make them bigger or to remove them so that they don't interfere with the lines of the dress. But that's just a personal preference - I like my bows LARGE (why yes, my taste does lean toward the kitsch..)
    I think that the 'flaws' will iron themselves out over time though - we are our own worst critics when it comes to our creations!

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  4. I really do like this dress. It's classy with really nice details (the piping and the bows). I personally would sew the bows such that they would be placed centered on the piping, not directly above. Hopefully this does not affront you. It's just my personnel preference. Otherwise, i beuatiful dress. I hope it grows on you!

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  5. I say, Red shoes and Red beads and you will be Sexy on a stick! I think its simple and stylish :-) Go you. I'm itching to see the yellow dress, Hurry up!!!

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  6. I hear ya about using fabric that you're only so-so about. I've done that a couple times this year and I think I need to adopt your philosophy! ;)

    That aside, I think the dress is adorable! I mean--there is something so classy about a fitted, black and white dress, imho. The piping is a fantastic detail; although I agree with the other commentors about the sizing/placement of the bows (which are genius--but then again, I'm a bit biased towards bows right now! ;). Maybe instead of straight, bar-style bows, if they had little tails (nothing too long) they'd register more as "bows".

    I love the bright, lime pumps with this dress! I think if you slapped on some novelty, 40s/50s "tropical" jewelry, you'd be set to go! :D

    ♥ Casey
    blog | elegantmusings.com

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  7. Well, from here it looks great! And those shoes - just love the colour. And so I should, I have two pairs of shoes that colour...lol,.

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  8. I think it's beautiful -- one of your best. It's just classy and fits you very well. And I'm a sucker for white piping.

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  9. Yeah, I'm with Ellie.

    But it's SO close to awesome I think it would be worth re-visiting. Maybe after you've have some space from it get some navy fabric you would really love to wear and work with and make another. Perhaps change the little bits of gathering to darts, which would be pretty easy. That would make it so svelte. Keep the gathers under the bust, they're lovely.

    Of course, this is just my subjective opinion and you don't have to listen to a word of it if you don't want to!

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  10. you might not be crazy about this dress yourself, but it really looks good on you -- the fit is perfect. I think it's adorable and I love the piping detail.

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  11. I must agree with most everyone else here. I love the dress but in my opinion I would get rid of the bows. I am just not into bows.

    I also agree with the previous poster that I would go with red pumps and bead. Once you have done your hair you would look fab!

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  12. Are you kidding me? I love that dress, including the bows that i thought were rectangles. Classy, but fun. The shoes are lovely too. I'm always on the look out for green shoes and if I could wear heels without looking like a lumberjack in drag I'd probably stalk you and steal them when you're not looking.

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  13. The fit looks terrific, and there's such a crisp feel with the navy and white. I love the idea of a high ponytail with it, since the dress is sophisticated, you could go with a hairstyle that's simple and young. I love the green pumps with the navy for sure! Orange accessories would also be great.

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  14. I would wear that dress for sure!

    We are our own worst critics!!!

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  15. It's super cute! That's a shame you're not in love with the fabric. A neutral dress like this can be a lifesaver when nothing else seems to be working. And from the back? Divine!

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  16. Honestly, I think it's fantastic. If you don't like it, send it to me! Just kidding.

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  17. Wow. If that's a 'fail' you don't want to see some of the things hanging in my wardrobe. But I sympathise on the fabric front. Sometimes you know something just isn't working for you. I love the piping details and little bows, even if we can't see them properly. You look really slender in that dress.

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  18. Actually I really LOVE the way this one turned out. Funnily I have a similar one (but it´s too big in the waist. buhu)

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  19. Oh, I love the dress! It think it is very elegant and would be a great dress for work and church. I so enjoy your posts, you are very inspiring. I have got to get the sewing machine out!

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  20. I like it, but it seems kind of conservative for you. Hang on to it, you can always use a dress like this. Perhaps some time in your closet will cause you to like it better--time away from a new garment often helps me.

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  21. Garsh, I love this dress! You look great in it too! Maybe the heat just made you cranky? Hope the weather breaks a little and you look at it again.

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  22. Well Gertie! Regardless of how you feel about it, I'm LOVING the color of the fabric with those green shoes! You've still managed to inspire me even though you were crying us all a river :-)

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  23. I agree completely about sewing with fabric that you less than love, but that aside, this dress fits you beautifully. I think I like the sheath skirt even more than the circle, especially for work. It really is lovely.

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  24. I just discovered your blog today. I love your style and your goal to work through a sewing book from 1952! (Clothes just aren't constructed or finished the way they used to be.) Plus, it's so nice to see someone on a blog who understands design by draping (and how it doesn't have to look like Rami's from Project Runway).

    Despite you're not loving the fabric for this dress, the cut is incredibly flattering on you, right down to the length of it, so I call it a success!

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  25. I think it looks fantastic and that back shot is super flattering. If I were to see this dress hanging in a store I would buy it in a second.

    ps - I've reading your blog for the past few months and I am so enjoying following your adventures in sewing.

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  26. I think it looks fab ... but is there anything you can do to make it less irksome in your eyes? Add a blazer or cardi? Make any minor adjustments? or is it just the fabric that's doing it?

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  27. Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I'm wearing it now - but I took off the bows and I'm wearing a brooch with it instead. It's growing on me!

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  28. Oh, that navy Vera Wang fabric. I ordered some too and when it arrived, I realized that it was really better for a rain coat. I've been using it as linings for purses, actually.

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  29. I think you look beautiful in the dress, it fits you like a glove and will be a basic you'll come back to for years. Keep!

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  30. Love the navy and lime combo. Like some of the other posters, I'm so-so about the bows. Just not sure about the stiffness of the fabric and the daintiness of the bow.

    But your draping skills a progressing at a fast clip. You may have doubts about some fabric or styling issues, but the fit is spot on. Bravo!

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  31. I love it, and I especially love those shoes.

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  32. Advanced BeginnerJuly 26, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    I like bows, but in the photo they don't read as bows. They look like tabs.

    I usually don't buy super expensive fabric, but I never buy cheap fabric unless I know what it is and it's truly a deal. I've had too many problems, even for class projects. Like the time I bought inexpensive wool and all it was good for was dusting -- it's nasty.

    Just because Vera Wang let her licensee slap her name on it doesn't mean it's great fabric. (I made myself remember that when I saw a deal on "Shabby Chic" sheeting on Fabric.com and was tempted to buy some.) I'm very wary of buying completely unfamiliar fabrics online. If it's a line I've seen in a store, that's different.

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  33. Advanced Beginner, these fabrics were different from licensed fabrics. These were remnants from her actual line - the Lavendar Label. But yes, just because they were used in a designer line doesn't mean they're good quality.

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  34. Gertie, this is my favorite dress on you. The bows read as rectangles to me and they worked. The fit is spectacular. I'm sorry the fabric doesn't feel good, though. If it's not pleasant to wear it's not worth it. My two cents.

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  35. Oh, I hate when something just doesn't pull together the way I thought it would. I have some projects like that; they're sitting waiting for me to think of a way to repurpose the fabric. Other people think they're fine, but I just look at them and say, "Meh."

    That being said, the dress style is lovely; perhaps a different fabric would do all of your lovely design and handiwork better justice? You are a draping goddess! Can't wait to see the yellow dress.

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  36. Gertie,
    The dress is brilliant. The bow detail, I believe, would work if they were an odd number instead of the two. Three in the midriff or just one bigger one. It's all in the proportion. Right now they just don't look anchored and appear to float as an afterthought.
    They also read 'heavy' so you could always think about making a lighter, more feminine bow (floppy).
    The chartreuse shoes are terrific! Love, Love! Red would be soooooo predictable.

    Nice work!

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  37. I think the dress looks great, but I'm a sucker for navy and white. I hope it grows on you because you look really cute in it, especially with those shoes. But I know how you feel - I made a shirt that I feel totally blah about, and while I got so many comments on my review of it saying how great it looked, I still can't bring myself to wear it.

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  38. I think it's great, especially with those green pumps. Green and black together...what a great combination!

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  39. I think the color is great and the style of dress suites you. i also am not a fan of contrast piping it works in this dress. i am a big fan of if the fabric doesn't move or feel right don't use it...well you tried it and you made a great dress...what about selling it? i am sure there would be tons of people willing to pay for it!!

    xo,
    cb
    www.thecitybirdsnest.blogspot.com

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  40. I think the dress is understated and classy. I do like the green pumps, and I think you could use it as an opportunity to wear some flashier accessories...perhaps even a colorful scarf. And let's face it, there are times when you need a simple black dress- yours is lovely and fits beautifully.

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  41. I like it! Leave off the bows for sure (it breaks the lines of the dress), and maybe accessorize with bright yellow?

    I like the bun on you too! Super slick and polished.

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  42. I think you did a beautiful job and that the dress is gorgeous. I know the faille you're talking about, but maybe you'll love it more once it's fall and more temperate? Have faith in it! It's lovely and elegant. Looks fantastic on you.

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  43. I'm a big fan of this dress. I wonder if you don't "feel it" because it is too classic for your style? I was just looking at the background dress again (which I liked very much) and it seems to me that you really LIKE the bolder patterns and brighter colours. This is a perfect dress for a more formal occasion, and I agree that red is the perfect accent colour. I think this will grow on you because it suits you very well.

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  44. I bought some of that Vera fabric too. I think it wants to be a trench coat. Have you any tips, suggestion or words of caution and/or wisdom to impart? It is currently aging in my stash.

    Actually, I like the dress. It is very elegant. I bet when you get your hair ready and you add baubles, all hte compliments you receive will warm your heart enough to give it a permanet home in your wardrobe.
    I am watching your drafting lessons carefully. I've never tried it but your results are making me want to jump in!

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  45. hahaha, I bought the faille in chartreuse...or is it absinthe? It's what I needed after constructing my own retro dress. I ended up sucking it up and tossing it, but yours looks truly wonderful, darling. keep it!

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  46. When I clicked on your page my first reaction was "Ooh! Cute dress!" I really like the look, but I totally understand if you're hating the feel of the material -- there's no getting past that.

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  47. I don't know if it will help your feelings about it, but I love it. It looks very crisp, and I adore the piping. Those lime green pumps are awesome, too.

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  48. Gertie,
    I totally know what you mean. I think it is photographing well. The black is ridiculously slimming and attractive on you. But I've made projects that look great (in the picture) but then I have given them away. Mostly for me it's my skill in alterations or a bad fabric choice. . . Congrats - can't wait to see the yellow!

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  49. I think this dress is so flattering on you! And paired with those green pumps... Love it!

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  50. It's pretty, simple, and elegant! But if you don't like the feel of it, that's hard to fix. I've sewn up projects and posted about them, even when I wasn't thrilled with the result. Everything's a learning experience! Luckily, I have a sister who's exactly my size :)

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  51. What do you mean 'eh'?? It's fabulous! Honey, you could make something out of a tarp and it would be magnificent!

    The dress is beautiful; it's a wonderful wardrobe staple, and it's a lovely style.

    Success, I say!

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  52. I agree with pretty much everyone else when I say that I think it looks lovely on you! Although you didn't give us a close-up of the bows, they looked fine in the shots you did provide. I'd rethink adding them back, but in a slightly larger size? Don't forget that with every project you sew, you become a better seamstress!
    Also, I love the lime green pumps...

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  53. Ok, first I have to say that the dress does NOT look like you made it. If I had seen you on the street I would have guessed you bought it on the designer floor of Neiman Marcus (or Bergdorf's since you're in NYC). Here's why:

    The fit is rediculous. It is perfect and flattering on you. It looks professional and quite timeless, especially in navy.

    I do hope it grows on you, or that you at least wear it for "professional" functions because it really is fabulous.

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  54. The fit is lovely on you. Good job! The soft gathering at bust and waist make it look comfortable. A great "wiggle" dress. What about some red pumps with your red lipstick...and maybe make the bows shaped more like a bow. These photograph as if they are just straight across, rather than spreading like little wings. And if you're wearing it in the evening, perhaps pin on a nice white fragrant corsage...beautiful!
    I do like the leafy green pumps, but red just seems to fit the mood of your dress. Great draping job.

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  55. Gertie are you kidding me. The dress is fabulous and you look amazing. The fit is to die for. It looks so much like a high-end designer dress. I'm not sure what the bows look like in person - they look odd on the photo. But I'm loving the look. You are very talented. I hope to be where you are one day.

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  56. I LOVE this dress, and the fit. In fact it fits much better than the previous dress. It is one of my favorites of what you've made in terms of fit and style. I'm sorry if the fabric is not as good in person as it looks in the photo! I would kill for this dress...

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  57. I think the dress looks great on you! I love the details and the shoe pairing!

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  58. My biggest surprise was seeing you in a dark colour - we are so used to seeing you in brights!
    It is a nice dress, but I know what you mean about the fabric. It just goes to show how fabric can either make or break a style!

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  59. I'm sorry you feel so-so about the dress because you look FABULOUS.

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  60. You know how the fabric feels and I don't, but it looks phenominal. I really love the crisp look of it.

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  61. Until you wrote that they were bows, I was thinking "What are those strange white tabs on her dress?".

    Still, it will be a great work dress. Perhaps not a sassy, night-out-on-the-town dress, but a 9 to 5 workhorse.

    I completely hear ya about working with fabric you love - I tend to get sloppy on a project if I'm not over the moon about the fabric.

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  62. To be honest: I like this dress much better than the first one, the green and white polka-dot one. The fit is much better. Especially the bustline; the empire line was definitely too high before - which was not all too flattering.
    This dress suits you really well. Don't worry about the bows, I'm sure they simply don't fotograph so well.
    Bummer about the fabric. :(
    Well done!

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  63. I actually really like it, but I understand about the so-so fabric.

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  64. Well I think it looks great! I thought it was a stop staring dress at first

    Love the shoes you're wearing with it and it looks nic eon you

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  65. Regardless of how you feel about the fabric - you have a winner of a pattern. But I do think it looks great.

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  66. I think the dress is lovely!! LOVE the green shoes! :D I am looking to make a formal dress, and since you have some experience in draping (whereas I have none) how hard do you think it would be to drape something like this http://www.etsy.com/listing/33477144/1950s-vintage-sylvia-ann-designer ? Thanks so much!!!

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  68. I can understand not loving fabric, but in the photos you look fantastic! I love the combination of the piping and the bows. They were definitely identifiable, and small enough to not be cutesy.

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  69. I am in awe that you drafted that dress yourself - and, like many others who have commented, I think the dress looks great.

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  70. I actually really like this dress, Gertie. I love navy and the piping looks great. And I knew those were bows even if they didn't show in the pictures. I would love to have this dress :)

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  71. Purchasing fabric online can be a gamble sometimes. . . You know what though, I can see a difference between this dress and the first green one and this one is defiantly the better. The dark colour with the contrast piping is really lovely and does wonders for not only your figure, but I think the ability and opportunity for accessorising.You can change of the look of this dress with shoes, jewelry, hats, gloves - it's limitless and timeless. I hope it feels as nice as it looks. Awful feeling fabric can ruin the best of ensembles. . .

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  72. I too love the shoes, and I am grateful you've shown me them paired with THAT dress as I have a similar pair and worried about what to wear them with.

    Also, I LOVE the dress up to and including the tiny bows. I love your blog, your positive attitude and all things Gertie.

    Of course, you're privvy to the feel of the fabric, but from here, it looks great.

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  73. Well, I am a little late to the party but that dress is stunning! I absolutely love navy and white such a classic. I have to say no to the bows. If you don't love the fabric I completely get that. Make it again though in fabric you love because it really is fabulous! The fit, the styling! It is so versatile, red, yellow ,green.

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  74. Advanced BeginnerJuly 27, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Gertie wrote:

    Advanced Beginner, these fabrics were different from licensed fabrics.

    Got it. Thanks. I'm just very wary of "deals," especially online. My one order from Fabric.com, some cotton for $4 a yard, came in a plastic bag and it was moist. It worked out all right, but it was alarming to receive it in that condition.

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  75. I like the fit of the back much better than the front. A non-gathered waist would be nice on you. I do like the classic navy/white combo. The piping is nice. The bows are a little awkward, though. Maybe remove them and just wear some jewelry to match your cute green pumps. It would also look nice with a vintage hat! It is a nice style.

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  76. That dress looks really wearable and cute. If it is comfortable to wear I'd keep it in the closet and use it. Another person suggested red shoes which would work.
    At any rate you've made a nice garment that you can wear until you make something that you like better That is if you don't warm up to this one.

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  77. Love your dress. Sorry you are feeling so-so about it; I think you look stunning. I love the green pumps. Green is my favorite color.

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  78. When I saw the picture, I thought, "Oh my God, beautiful dress!" I love the fit, the simplicity, and I love it with the green pumps. I hope it grows on you because you look great!

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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