In our CLE/CME series “Advanced Alterations: Case Studies” I give you: Hand-blocked Dress Over Pants (HBDOP) — a better-fitting dress over all-season white denim.

Directrice readers may remember that this dress was worn on the last trip I took before the pandemic: New Orleans February 2020.
Directrice Scholars will remember that I felt warmly welcomed by the melody of When the Saints Come Marching In at the airport, but then surprised to be advised during my taxi ride to the hotel that murdering a taxi driver is a capital crime.
New Orleans costume recreated for you in April 2020

Also a Before image
As you can see, the bodice is a little too big — through the neckline and the midsection.
Perhaps you are thinking, Is it big, Directrice? Perhaps there’s just a lot of dress there.
I must disagree. There’s full — which I like in this skirt — and there’s loose — which, in this instance, about the midsection, I do not like.

I added this dress to my list of “things requiring alteration” and waited to be reunited with Fatima.
Child’s play for Fatima
Not sure why I am so particularly delighted here; Fatima must be circling me

The zipper down the back was the natural spot to take in excess fabric.
I think we left the waistline alone and I know that we left the volume of the skirt untouched.
Fatima circles and then moves in for the strategic strike

Look at me grinning
It’s such a pleasure to see something take shape right before your eyes. I think that’s why your Ridge-backed Directrice is grinning.

Et voila!
What’s that you say? I don’t look any different?

Come closer and see.
No excess fabric in the bodice.
Very nice.
See? Smooooth

Also: over-rotated profile is not proper for photos or dueling*
This outfit is not for high summer, but I think it would be very refreshing in early May or late September/early October — particularly with a short denim jacket.

The special genius of Fatima is that she saw that the neckline was gaping a little — even after the back was pinned — and determined that the best fit was to make a small dart at my right and left collarbones.
The pattern lined up perfectly.
Can you see the dart she added over my left collarbone?

There you have it!
For those in need of Fatima’s expertise, you can reach her at 571/313-9760 or (This information is posted with Fatima’s blessing.)
For those who missed or want to take part in The Directrice’s first-ever closet-cleaning fundraiser, please look at this post.
Impractical but charming straw bag for summer

* Provided for the CDE participants.+
+ Whether you are here specifically for Continuing Dueling Education or just consider yourself a lifelong learner, know this: A perfectly rotated (90 degree) profile gives a photographer or duelist the smallest target area to shoot.

6 thoughts on “Nip/Tuck”

  1. It’s all in the tailoring, isn’t it? Amazing! Just the slightest tweaks but a big difference. Must remember this lesson when I decide not to pursue altering something because it’s such a pain to take it to the tailor. If I can find a good tailor. Still looking. Mine moved kind of far away.

  2. Having practiced law in New Orleans for years, I can confirm that NOLA does get a little frisson with its ability to shock on occasion. When my sister lived in Nashville we used to joke that her city was the buckle on the Bible Belt and mine was the (sometimes undone) zipper. Glad that you heard Saints at the airport- it’s a great welcome anthem.
    Fatima is fantastic and so are you. Wish I wasn’t 10 inches taller so I could fit into some of the beautiful clothes in the fundraiser!


Leave a Comment