Pattern Review: BWOF 10-2008-117: Bubble Dress Redux

I first made this dress in October 2008 for a wedding. It remains my most flattering dress. This is the one I constantly get a positive response in. It’s slim and flattering through the waist and is complementary on the bottom. In fact, it’s my go to ‘Get ’em gurrrl’ dress. In fact, a few weeks ago I knew I was going to see an ex-boyfriend (Ladies. Do not sh*t where you eat. No good will come of it). The original purple version is what I chose to wear. And, it did what I wanted it to do. Everyone needs a dress like that.

I’ve been wanting to make this up again for some time. Mainly because the original purple (this is mortifying), is stank with body funk. Yes, there I said it. I have a garment that is only wearable in the winter when I have no opportunity to get warm. I have done everything prescribed to it by the incredibly knowledgeable doyennes of pattern review. It’s significantly better (it was once unwearable) but it is not without flaw. Man, last week I soaked the pits for eight hours in  a pure ammonia and baking soda paste. Again, better. But, not perfect. I’ve since moved on to dress liners, prescription strength antiperspirants and washing my knits (with amonia, baking soda and borax) as soon as I wear them. But, I digress.

I bought this material at PR Weekend in Montreal. I have no capacity for remembering how much fabric was.

For this iteration, I left out the CB zip, did not interface the collar (so I could pull it over my head), widened the turtleneck, and did not sew the bust darts. I find bust darts in thin knits super annoying and I was thinking that they weren’t going to make that much of a difference.

Voila! I have a very nice gray almost sweater knit that I think I’d like to make it up in. This dress was especially needed this week as someone thought I was in my mid 40s. Not that there is anything wrong with your mid 40s. But, for heaven’s sake! I’m 34 !!

** I took pictures twice. Now that it’s dark out, the lighting in my living room isn’t great. And, I’m too much of a wimp to take pictures outside in the cold. I had some really nice detail photos on the dressform. But, my four-year old iMac is currently in the shop. I put in a Netflix DVD of Butterfield 8 (great costumes by Helen Rose) and my computer just stopped working. They are ordering a new elliptical drive. But, for now,  all my good photos are on there.  Boo!!


  1. Wow! This dress is a knockout!!! I think the colors of the dress really go with the color of your hair and your coloring. But I think the number 1 reason the dress looks so good is the confidence you have while you are wearing this dress. That “I’m looking good” feeling is really coming through, even on a computer picture, so no wonder why it is so fierce in real life!

  2. You look amazing!! Great dress, which is absolutely fabulous on you. Who thought you were in your 40S???? And what were they smokin’?

    • Thank you! It was the guy at the place I took my car to get an oil change. He was prattaling on about how his son took Jada Pinkett to the prom (she’s from Baltimore) and takes out a photo of his family and says, ‘My daughters are your age — in thier mid 40s”. I was gobsmacked. Which I realize sounds shallow. But, c’mon!!

      • Oh, he was an old man. My daddy has no clue how old I am and probably thinks everyone is my age (though he knows better than to volunteer his perceptions of age to women – my momma has taught him well!).

        You really don’t look mid-40 or even early 40!

  3. Check out the va-va-VOOMiness of you! Gorgeous, gorgeous work and SO flattering. I hope Mr. Man saw what he was missing and maybe pined. A lot. You seriously look fantastic! And nowhere NEAR 40.

  4. I wouldn’t let the guy who thought you’re 40 anywhere near your car again. He obviously can’t see well enough to be anywhere near anything mechanical! The dress looks gorgeous on you, as does its previous iteration. Again.

    • I love these boots too! I got them in New Zealand a few years ago. I seriously treasure them. I treat them better than I do my car.

  5. Love the dress, love peoples’ reaction to it even more! Whoo hoo for a hot lady dress 🙂

    As far as stinky synthetics, I feel you. My running shirts got bad but antibacterial dish detergent fixed it. Apparently the fibers are too fine for normal detergents to reach. I don’t normally advocated antibacterial products but this is a special circumstance!

    • Interesting! I’ll have to try that. I’ve noticed a lot of Under Armour clothes say they are antibacterial (or something like that). Thanks for the tip!

  6. This is too funny, I made up the same dress in a purple jersey print! And I get the exact same responses, Everyone loves it!

    Lol, maybe it’s time to make it again!

    You look smashing in this one, and I think the grey would be so chic I may have to steal the idea.

  7. Wow. I would never have thought to pair a graphic print with this pattern, but it looks amazing. No wonder you get compliments left and right!

  8. You do look wonderful in this dress. It accents the good and skims over the parts of your body you don’t love. Mid 40’s? that man was on crack!

  9. It’s a great dress. I hope the Ex had a few inward twinges of regret at what he lost. And, no, I don’t think you look 10 years older than you are. Like Nancy said, that guy was on crack.

  10. Dress looks great. And for what it’s worth someone once asked me if I was my kids’ grandmother… I’m 30. That was awesome.

  11. You are killing me! The boots, I think I could move to a temperate climate for, I swear! Mon Dieu! And I love the print on your dress. My mother was looking over my shoulder and she agrees. I’m sooo jealous! I need a TNT knit pattern, I really do!

  12. Yeah, that is definitely one cute dress and it rocks with the boots. Still can’t believe some idiot thought you were in your 40s.

  13. Wonderful dress – I want one next winter. And those boots are TDF! But in the current political climate I’d be head to toe in mourning black.

  14. Yes, the first thing that came to me when I was looking at these photos was, dang, look at the waist on her! Very flattering. And, I am the same age as you, too. 🙂

  15. Honey, you don’t look mid-forties and you look lovely in that dress. That was a stupid comment that someone made. Just ignore it or consider the possible motivations behind it, probably none of them admirable – then you will definitely just ignore it.

    Growing up insensitive comments like “bubblebutt” were made towards me and I have resisted wearing any skirt with the name “bubble” in it, but seeing you in that dress has made me rethink the style. Terrific dress!

  16. Wow, knockout dress and you’re really wearing it too! Obviously, the darn guy needed glasses! You don’t look anywhere near 40. I think he probably meant you carried yourself very maturely! (wink, wink!)

  17. Cidell!

    I’d have emailed you, but I couldnt find your email, so forgive the post…
    I’m a big fan of your blog, and have been a lurker for a good 6 months or so, being a beginning sewist. And as luck would have it I’m going to be in the DC/Baltimore area the weekend of the 19th, and I’d love to meet you if you have the time. Would you be up for a fabric shopping trip? (Or a cocktail?)

  18. Great dress, fantastic fabric and lust worthy boots… and ignore people who comment on age-so rude! How great it is when you find a dress you love and that suits your figure so well?

  19. And here I was thinking you’re in your twenties… You look fierce in this, especially with boots and tights. If you can sing, they’re holding auditions in NY for “Shirelles”… 😉

    Your comment on my last post was priceless- thank you!

  20. Wow you look absolutely stunning in this! Both the style and the colours are soooo flattering… just gorgeous.

  21. That’s such a flattering dress on you – I’ve recently been discovering the joys of drop waists too. I thought it would cancel out the thinner bit of the waist, but it actually makes the hips look slimmer, and therefore everything look slimmer. I love the pattern too. And I think I prefer the softer un-interfaced collar. Just lovely!

  22. WOW!!!! THat dress is fantastic. I can’t believe someone thought you were over 40! They need glasses. You look fantastic and YOUNG!!!!

  23. Hey there! Well I have been following your blog for years and enjoying every minute of it! Just thought I needed to write and thank you for all the great entertainment and info! If you find your way to DC, please give me a jingle. DC Threads is alive and well and would love to have you come spend time in DC sewing!
    Stay well!


  24. I just discovered your website and I think it’s great! You’ve really inspired me to start sewing.
    I was looking at some of your posts, and I think the guy wasn’t looking at you, but maybe at your clothes. What you make and wear (at least what I can see so far) is probably more sophisticated than what he credits a 30-something woman to be wearing.
    Looking at your face, I thought you were younger though – and it’s 1:25am and I gotta hit the sack, but I will check back here soon.

    I wanted to ask – I really want to make something that I can wear but am so intimidated by some of the complicated patterns and blogs. What would be something good for a timid newbie to start sewing?

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