Dress like a star

I have been reading "Dress like a star" by Annebelle van Tongeren, which has had me drawing croquis again....that perfect dress still eludes me. Annebelle is an experienced stylist and has loads of tips for styles to play up our killer features and play down the not-so-good features...which is all very well if you can identify those. I have looked at my shape way more than anybody else's, so it all seems quite normal to me and I don't know what is out of proportion...though, I did hold my croquis over the top of a model in a fashion magazine...we matched head for head, neck, shoulders, waist, top of legs...and then the model's legs just kept on going. My feet lined up somewhere above her calves. So I guess I have short legs. Which would explain why my thighs stick out...if my legs were longer, all those leg cells would be distributed over a much greater area and would look slimmer.

Anyway, the nifty thing about Annebelle's book is that a lot of her line drawings match up with styles in the Vogue catalogue. So if you are a lover of Vogue patterns, which I am, you can get a bit of inside info on whether the style will suit you, before you make it up.

Here are my drawings...feel free to offer your opinions, because I do not have a very objective eye....

A is a pattern that I have bought to make a LBD.
I am trying to choose between B & E for a silk faille that I just bought.
I love pattern D, but it looks a bit brick-shaped on my croquis.

G is a Vogue pattern that I have been wondering whether or not to buy for a while now. I might be a little too old for it?
I like H, but have not found a pattern in this style yet.

O is a Marc Jacobs dress that I am thinking of copying, perhaps in denim.

P I have made already.
Q is a Vogue pattern that I love, but can't decide whether or not to buy.
R is in muslin stage.
S & T may be good give-away prizes.


  1. This whole post has been very informative. Thank you. I even have a friend with all those back issues of Threads to go back to the referenced article.

  2. What a fascinating post...I have the croquis ready to go - but have never got around to actually using them. I think I was at a bit of a loss as to whether they would actually make a difference. I really appreciated seeing the way that you have used yours. It is clearly evident that some styles look more fabulous on your body than others.

    (If you are looking for an opinion, which is mine entirely, my favourites on you are B, D, H, and I.) I don't think D looks brick shaped at all - if anything, the sleeve balances out the skirt.

    Thanks for sharing your process.

  3. What an interesting post, I will find that book as the croquis are sooo useful. It is really difficult to imagine what suits yourself I find ...
    BTW, I am a similar build to you (I think!) - 5'4 and a 1/2", small bust and 36 years old - I made V8380 (if that is G) and was REALLY happy with the result. Another one I have just made a muslin of is V8235 (if that is M) and I was also very pleased with the fit and plan to make in good fabric. There is a similar dress with different strap placement to H in BWOF 08-2008-126 - made recently by Vicki of Hongkong Shopper blog. I'm interested to see R (is that V2900? - one of my favourites from way back that I haven't made, but bring out to admire all the time). Look forward to your decisions. Natasha (from Sydney)

  4. Thanks Natasha, I just looked for your reviews on pattern review...I would love to see some photos of you in these dresses.

  5. I agree that it's very hard to critique one's own body. It wasn't until I started sewing and reading websites that I realized that I was pear shaped!!! I know you aren't soliciting dress opinions but I really like dress B.

  6. Very interesting, I have never heard of croquis but it really looks a useful concept - just looking at your pictures I could see the difference in silhouette on the body and its impact. Thanks, this will be very helpful .. after all, 1 minute to sketch, 10 hours to sew! Think of the time saving in that!

    I liked B,G,h,K,O,R on your croquis. I think we've all mentioned B so that's a good sign.

    It's interesting what you say about being "too old" for something. I am thinking through the same issue myself as I enter my final year of 30's. I think style is timeless, so if it suits you, then I see no reason not to wear something.

    I did notice in Trinny and Susannah's latest book that the skin on Susannah's legs looked tired. Does that mean she's too old for the pencil skirts she loves? Na, I don't think so. She still looks great. Older, but great.

  7. Katherine, thank you so much for dropping the comment on my coat:) I visited your blog and you have such interesting posts. I do not make croquis but this technique impresses me so much especially that I'm a dress sewing fan:)

  8. Hi Katherine,
    I posted reviews this afternoon on PR for V8380, V8229 and V8235. I thought V8235 was an interesting design and plan to make it again in a dress fabric. The bodice is particularly flattering on a small bust! I published its review as a WIP so I hope you can still see the photo - send me a message if not.
    All the best, Natasha

  9. It's good to know someone besides me uses a croquis. Do you use a standard croquis or one drawn from your own body?

  10. Hi. I enjoy following your blog so I nominated you for the Kreativ Bloggers Award. Ann

  11. A friend pointed out many years ago that I wasn't too fat, just too short. Now I know that if my legs were right (as you mentioned) they'd be stretched out longer and all would be good. LOL