Flawed fabric – fab frock

When this cotton silk blend fabric popped up on Emma One Sock, I just knew it would make an awesome V2.0 of the Gap wrap dress. Online fabric buying is undoubtedly a leap of faith, even moreso when you consider the postage to Australia and the abysmal exchange rate of our South Pacific Peso. So let me tell you about my experience on finding a flaw in the fabric after it was cut.

manufacturer's flaw

The Gap Wrap Dress V2.0 maxi version is a hungry savage of a thing. The green linen version consumed a good portion of 3.5m of 140cm wide fabric with the back panel cut in 2 (CB seam) to tesselate the lay plan! This black silk/cotton broderie anglaise, needed to be cut with the grain running widthways to avoid sideways flowers – phew, I’d purchased 5yards (4.57m). More good luck than good management – note to self – buy more metreage of embroidered fabrics. This black fabric cost $102AUD not including postage. Purchased in the same lot was 4 yards of fine silk and together the postage was $43.42AUD. It’s only now that I have checked Paypal and bank statements that I realise the charge was $222.90AUD by EOS but I paid $248.65AUD via Paypal – which means that the exchange rate commision and whatever other charges from Paypal amount to a $25.75AUD premium on top of the quoted cost from EOS. Outwith the retailer’s control I understand, but all to say, the hidden costs of purchasing fabric internationally are huge and unpredictable. These costs make shopping at our local, Fabric Muse with their imported italian designer offerings, positively budget worthy!

manufacturer's flaw

So to get back to my fabric flaw issue… I cut out the garment on my black dining table and having not checked the fabric at time of purchase managed to locate the flaw just about centre back of the skirt. The dress is underlined so it’s not too attention seeking, my concern is that it will tear apart. Presumably I will need to sit in this dress so the CB is a stress point and as the threads are thin in that area and the hole is unsupported, it may well leave me red faced at some time.

underlined in cotton batiste for modesty to above knee

I contacted EOS who were very apologetic and I do totally understand that they can only do their best, but, I now have a handmade garment for which I toiled numerous times, made a prototype (green linen) and now has a somewhat limited lifespan. Hopefully I’ll get sick of wearing it before it gives way. EOS offered a refund and considering how much I lose every time I pay exchange rates, I opted for the ‘credit note’ offered by them. But now, having calculated the postage at face value on that last transaction of $43.42 + $1 for handling (WTF), I may have been better off cutting my losses and taking the 50% refund of $43.45 USD offered, currently it is a credit note sitting on my EOS account. I note our exchange rate is particularly tragic today – so shopping will have to wait ‘cos I’ll be paying AUD for postage!

Anyhoo, there is a lot to consider when buying fabric from overseas not the least of which is what will be done in the case of a flaw, but primarily, is it really worth the hidden costs from Paypal and postage?

Nonetheless, this dress is a bloody winner in my books. Underlined in cotton batiste – but just the front bodice because broderie anglaise is like secret air conditioning in the back! Lined the skirt to above knee, so the dress is not too dense in the skirt section either. Big mistake not to have designed pockets in/on the skirt though, I may revisit that at some stage. In no lifetime have I ever managed to purchase such a beautifully conceived and executed dress and it does make me proud that after a patchy restart to my sewing career, I can now design and make a worthy garment. Worn with leopard print stilettos, I feel downright Sophia Loren to be frank.

These photos were initially imagined in a nearby graveyard on a dark and stormy day wearing a black veil, but we’re still in Summer, despite the calendar telling us it’s Autumn and clear blue skies do not a gothic picture make 😉 So it’s my Zelda as accessory yet again – black goes with just about everything!


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  1. Aargh! You must have been bummed to find that flaw. Hopefully it won’t ever give a problem.
    The dress is magnificent – you have every reason to be proud. I’m unaware of how important the built in air conditioning is but I’m sure it will be a hit to wear. Zelda looks impressed too 😊

    • Oh Kim, it’s been soooo hot in downtown Sydders – I’m just gagging for a cool change, just as you’re priming for some warmth I guess. I really don’t have to do much to impress Z, she’s a doll x

      • I’ve been having the vapours just seeing your reported temperatures!
        We won’t be getting anything like that – or even close – but I’m hoping for a good summer 😎

  2. its stunning – must have been awful to have found that flaw – and impossible to have predicted.
    beautiful make and well wear

  3. Such a beautiful dress. And that fabric is just so darned amazing, it makes the dress extra special.

    I hear you on risks of international fabric purchases. The few times I have purchased from Australia, the postage makes me wonder what I was thinking. Sm

  4. Agh! I’m using my daughter’s iPad, and the technology is strange to me. Yes, I live under an Android and PC rock.

    Anyways, what I was trying to type was: then I go downtown to the local fabric stores and thank my sewing stars that I actually have the brains to shop online because it’s cheaper, even with the fees, exchange and shipping. Fabric costs in CDN$ are ridiculous.

    I do hope you can reinforce the CB flaw (visible mending?) and your dress lasts a long time. It is truly stunning.

    • Haha, I’m in the other camp…PC whaaaat?! Thanks Tia, great fabric is actually much harder to come by than we at first realise. Only now that I go through stuff I bought years ago does it dawn on me that the quality just wasn’t worthy of the effort! We live and learn eh?!

  5. Elaine Fields 03/03/2019 — 11:16 pm

    That is a stunning dress and you look great in it!

  6. Very pretty, Lesley. I especially love the skirt. I wish I could wear a skirt like that but maxis look silly on me. You wear this well.

    Sorry to hear about the shipping woes. EOS is fortunately very affordable here given that we are geographically so close and they have (at least in the past) sought to provide us with great shipping rates, which in Canada is something as shipping is usually fairly prohibitive. It usually does make sense to purchase locally from a bulk importer. I feel you on the exchange rate though…

    I like the secret air conditioning idea!

  7. Vicki Maiorano 04/03/2019 — 6:34 am

    The dress is beautiful. Hopefully with it being so full there will be little stress on the back when you sit.

  8. Wow I just LOVE your dress, well done you did an amazing job. I too have been stung badly by the exchange rate and postage in cahoots with Paypal. My US fabric shop favourite is Marcy Tilton. Years ago I would shop there with gay abandon, now I check the total then the exchange rate, most times my measly bit of fabric now has doubled in price and I just push delete. Fabric shops here in Melbourne are now like hen’s teeth. Nothing near where I live, I have to catch 2 trains then a tram to get to the Fabric Store. I always buy by the weight as I then have to lug it home the same way.

  9. Another goddess dress. You’ll soon forget the flaw, and no one else will notice. Enjoy!!
    (Love the matching pooch…)

  10. Oh the shipping costs, etc. are terrible! You look great! I love your dress and Zelda is a cutie!

  11. Really beautiful dress!

    Conveniently, holes are the highlight of broderie anglaise so you could always add more embroidery to the flawed area and pretend it was part of the original fabric! That might strengthen the area. The problem is finding the motivation to mend something freshly made…ugh.

  12. That is a stunning dress and you look great in it! ❤

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