I have been really busy lately and have about 5 WIPs on the go, and I'm aware that there may be a bout of mass blogging coming up as I complete them all. I hope this is cool with you?
I figured that before this happens I should really post the unblogged projects I finished ages ago. Particularly this one, as it has already featured in the blog and some of you have already seen it on me at NyLon2014.
So, here is the Colette Ceylon dress. I've had loads of questions about the dress and I'll try to remember them all and squeeze the answers into this post.
Firstly, I instagrammed the hell out of this project. But I found the construction really interesting, which is probably why. Rather than place right sides together and sew, the instructions are to stay stitch on the seam allowance, press the seam allowance to the wrong side, and then topstitch that piece over the top of another, creating a really detailed topstitched patchwork of a dress. It takes a little time, not just for all of the basting, ironing, removing basting stitches, not to mention ALL the little gathers, but because there are a squillion pieces to this dress!
The main question I had was the same question I had when I first saw the pattern - "Is it really hard to fit?" As we leave safe front bodice/back bodice territory and enter the world of an 9 piece bodice you would think that it would get tricky, but actually having a different piece to fit over each of your curvy bits makes it a lot easier to spot where the problems are. Bust looks wrong - just alter that piece. Waist not right - you know what to fix.
As I am short, I had to remove some length. I made a muslin, grading sizes 2 at the bust to a 6 at the waist and hips. I did this piece by piece, matching the size at the top of one piece with the bottom of the adjoining piece. Knowing I couldn't exactly do an SBA this seemed the best option and it worked fine. The muslin showed far too much room height wise in the top back piece, so I took out a wedge of a couple of inches, then I took an inch off the bottom of the bust pieces and an inch off the top of the waist pieces. After reading other reviews I did a sleeve to test and also found it impossibly tight. I added an inch, and even then it's a very snug fit. I have to pull it off separately to get out of the dress! So really, a few easy adjustments was all it took. The pattern is marked with a waist line which made it easy to get the length right as the waist is quite nipped in, so you know when that sits in the right place everything else can be assessed properly.
It's taken me so long to blog this dress because I've been lazy with taking photos. I'm getting tired of tripods in my living room and I live in a lovely town full of interesting backdrops so this morning I decided to drag the boyfriend down the road to take a few snaps in a more interesting location. I found a nice garage door. Unfortunately, I hate having my photo taken, so I'm pretty much talking through the whole thing, complaining at how awkward I feel. This should explain the strange faces I'm pulling.
Once again I don't know what "type" of fabric you call this. It's polyester (Sweaty, boo! No ironing, yay!), very slinky with a very slight mesh feel to the texture. I found it in the Fancy Silk Store, Birmingham and I think it was £3 a meter. I bought 3 meters, but I only used 2 which is very surprising considering the number of pieces. The buttons were a job lot on ebay, cheap as chips!
When it came to the buttons I made a little boo boo and made the holes on the wrong side. Whoops. The pattern calls for horizontal buttonholes so I dutifully followed orders but oh my days what a nightmare!! Because it allows no scope for up/down movement, if the corresponding button is sewn just a couple of mms off the whole thing bunches up and looks awful. Most of these buttons were sewn three times before I finally got them all in the right place. I'd love to say sod it, go vertical, but due to the spacing between them I don't know if it would work. Which sucks. But it looks pretty with them horizontal so what the hell!
This is the first Intermediate pattern I've tackled and I didn't find it difficult at all. So if you've eyed up this pattern but been afraid that it's difficult then have a crack at that, it's not hard, just time consuming. And I think it's worth the little extra effort :)
I'm already planning my winter wardrobe and I think there might be a couple of wool versions of this featuring- perhaps with normal seams instead of topstitching to reduce bulk. I'll probably let out the waist another 1/2 inch, and loosen the sleeves a little more as well, but I definitely plan to make this pattern again!