The best I can figure, people who design off-the-rack clothing design an "average" sized dress and assume that a larger size has the same up and down measurements and they're just fatter. This means that when I see a dress that I like, I need the larger size to be able to fit it around my body, but then everything up and down falls way to short of where it's supposed to.
For those of you who are more visual, look, I made a chart!
One of the greatest benefits of learning how to sew over the last five years is that it helped me break free and clear forever from the pressure of feeling deject when something I love at the store doesn't fit me in body the way I want it to in my heart. I've come to appreciate the vast difference an inch can make here or there, and how luxurious and amazing you can feel when you're wearing something that was made specifically for you.
That being said, buying direct is always a nice option, and I'd really like to be able to feel comfortable in this dress. Part of the reason I took these photos is because I'm on a six-week intensive excercise quest and I'm curious to see the before and after. I chose this dress as my proving ground. It's possible if I can lose an inch or so around that I can get just enough interest on the up and down to make me happy with the fit.
But there's a chance that plan won't work and I still won't feel comfortable in this dress. And if that happens, that's okay. I have another option, if I want it badly enough. I can pull it apart and somehow add to it or use it as a template to make one that fits me.
So we'll see! One week down, five weeks to go!!