Our project this week was to make a pattern for a tent dress. Although our teacher showed us some fairly nice pictures of tent dresses I wasn’t keen.
She picked out this Victoria Beckham number which was controversial. In the class some of the younger women raved about the style. I just hated it, and I always try to keep an open mind about fashion.
Nevertheless I made the pattern. Our version had a boat neck, a cap sleeve, facings and additional width at the hem was also suggested. This was a suggestion too far for me. I just made up the basic foundation tent dress pattern thinking that these very plain styles feel a bit like a Japanese pattern book which I am sometimes tempted to try.
I was pleased about how simple the pattern making was – even though I know anything that looks like a tent doesn’t look very nice on me. I am not really sure a tent dress flatters anyone but maybe they do. I have seen larger ladies wearing them and I suppose the advantage is you get a nice close fit across the upper chest but no constrictions around the tummy or hips. And I suppose on very slim tall models, worn very short, they sort of emphasise the thinness and length of the legs. But on me? No!
I simply hate this dress. True the lilac linen is rather nice (I had bought this for my Sweet Pea collection), and the boat neckline/cap sleeve look is fetching. But I literally felt overwhelmed in this dress. I felt like I had two sails either side of my body. I put my hands in the pockets, just like Victoria, but there was nothing I could do. As my friend Sew it or Throw it? says on these occasions: “Throw it!”.
But first ladies and gentlemen, let’s see it with a belt.
Of course it is better, but it is still vile. Stage wear for water carriers or extras in a biblical movie maybe. Or as Nick says something for mowing the lawn in. Maybe it could be improved with guy ropes and a ground sheet. As you can appreciate I insisted on these pictures being taken inside the house – I couldn’t risk being seen in the street in a tent.
I considered separating top from skirt and introducing a gathered waist, or slimming down the sides and putting some darts in front and back waists, but the tent dress had no fastenings. In the end I cut off the side flaps, removed the pockets and cut it off just above the hip. It makes an OK top.
Would you ever wear a tent? What sort of figure would look best in this style?