Dissertation Proposal Defense Dress: NewLook 6123


As of last Wednesday, I am officially a doctoral candidate. I made this dress for the occasion, and wore it to my dissertation proposal defense. With this being such a special occasion, it was a risk for me to make a new-to-me pattern, but that’s exactly what I did. This is NewLook6123. After having such great success with NewLook 0180/6184, I was hoping that this dress would fit the same.


I was not quite that lucky. I made a straight size 8, just like I had done previously, but it turned out much tighter than my previous size 8 NewLook makes. It’s tight all over, not in one particular area, so I’m not sure what that’s about. Maybe it’s just drafted to have less ease. It’s a good thing that I made it in a stretch fabric (a polyester stretch suiting from Joann’s).


The dress is especially tight in the upper back area, which is partially my fault. When I first tried on the dress, before putting in the zipper, the upper back had a ton of extra fabric. I had a gaping neckline in the back with my previous NewLook dresses, so I took out a wedge of fabric from the center back seam as I had done before. I may have been overzealous about this, though, contributing to some of the tightness issues. It’s impossible for me to zip this dress up on my own. If I make this pattern again, I will be sure to baste the zipper in before removing any fabric. The good news is that I have to stand or sit up straight in this dress, as it doesn’t let me slouch. Silver lining, I guess.


Beyond the sizing issue, I have a number of other issues with this pattern.

  1. The pattern envelope says that it comes in sizes 4-16, but the pattern pieces actually start with size 8, with finished garment measurements corresponding to the size 4. Very confusing.
  2. The pattern envelope has fabric requirements for views A, B, C, D, and E, but there is no view E!
  3. The pattern envelope calls for a traditional zipper, but the instructions are written for an invisible zipper.
  4. The instructions omit the step of finishing the edges of the skirt vent, but show it in the illustrations (step 23 if you make this pattern).


If you’re able to get past these issues, I think this pattern has a nice design. It is a classic sheath dress with some interesting design features, including the wrap top with pleats on the side bodice, three sleeve options, and two skirt options. I love the pleats going across the wrap bodice and think it’s very flattering. I’m not sure that it merits the hassle I went through to get it, though. It looks like it’s OOP, and I had to order it off of Amazon.

Pattern: NewLook 6123 in size 8
Fabric: 1.5 yards of navy stretch polyester suiting from Joann Fabrics
Cost: $9.74 fabric + $1.60 zipper + $2.09 thread = $23.17 ($34.73 if you count the cost of the pattern)
Time: 6 hours

10 thoughts on “Dissertation Proposal Defense Dress: NewLook 6123

  1. liamarcoux

    Congratulations on your successful defense! The dress doesn’t look tight from here – but hey, if it helped you stay sharp, then it’s all good : )


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