Recently in an active wear catalog I found a dress with a center panel and ruching at the midrift area along both sides of the center panel. I thought – now that’s a clever way to hide a stomach pouch! I already had the Christine Jonson Princess Wrap Top which has a center front with ruching on one side.
First I made the top to try out the fit. The fit was fine – but the v-neck was a bit deep for me. To make the dress I added an inch to the neckline to give me more coverage. I also added a back center seam which gave me the ability to add shaping to the back. In order to create ruching on both sides, initially I tried to follow the model of the pattern which – because it is gathered on only one side- the pattern bows out along the gathered side to create a nice drape on the opposite side. Well, trying to create this on both sides of my center panel piece just wasn’t a good idea. A much simpler path would have been to keep both edges of the center front straight and then extend the length of the panel to account for the gathering. (The reason my initial idea didn’t work is because it created a ‘drape’ of extra material in the front area. You don’t want drape across your stomach – that added to the pouch.)
To determine the appropriate width and line of the skirt I followed the skirt pattern from Christine Jonson’s Wrap Dress. I found the key to ensure the gathering around the midriff is flattering is to keep the ruching under the bust and not too far down into the stomach region. Also – keep the gathering even on both sides and fairly tight across the front – if it looks to loose, it looks sloppy and like extra weight. Sorry the pictures with the pattern fabric I used make it a bit difficult to see the ruching.