Friday, 24 October 2014

Colette 'Truffle' Dress

Due to a spate of skipped stitches, my sewing machine is currently in the repair shop (and I've just found out it's going to cost 65 euros to fix, booo!). This has brought to a halt the projects I've been working on so I wanted to share a dress I made a few months ago.

This dress is the 'Truffle' dress from the Colette patterns book. I use the name loosely there as I had to make so many changes that it's really not the same dress.

I bought this beautiful Liberty fabric from the Knitting and Stitching show in London back in March. It was from a stall selling tonnes of Liberty fabric at discounted prices. This tana lawn cost me £14 a metre (instead of the usual 22!) and I managed to get this dress and a simple skirt out of it. Not too shabby! It has little poppy like flowers all over it - ultra girly.

Sooo, the pattern. I am so glad I made a muslin of this dress! Well in fact I made a few. I made the first one up in a size 4, based on my measurements. It was wayy too big all over, so I started again with a size 0. This was a better size, but still had a lot of issues going on - excess fabric and gaping areas all over the shop. After hours of pouring over all the fitting books I own, I made the following adjustments:

 - Shortened front and back by 5/8"
 - 1/2" sway back adjustment
 - 1" erect back adjustment
 - lengthened back darts by 1"
 - lengthened front waist darts by 1/4"
 - forward shoulder adjustment
 - pinched out gapes in armholes and neckline and transferred these to darts

And that was just the bodice! I made the skirt up and instantly knew there was no point continuing with it. It was just a massive baggy sack! Nothing like the beautiful, slim skirt in the book :-(. Sad times. So instead I drafted an a-line skirt using this method. I also drafted a waistband, though I can't really remember why!

Construction wise, the fabric was a dream to sew with. It presses beautifully and doesn't wrinkle too easily. It's a bit sheer though so I underlined the whole thing using a white cotton voile. This made it more decent and also helped to brighten the white areas (which didn't seem as bright as when I'd bought the fabric - maybe the colours ran a little in the wash??). 

To finish the neckline and armholes I bound the edges with white bias binding. I attached it by machine and then slip stitched it down on the inside to the underlining fabric, which gave a nice clean finish on the outside. For the same effect (and partly because I ran out of time and had to finish the dress on the train..) I also sewed the hem by hand, again slip stitching it to the underlining.

I inserted the zip using the lapped method and sewed it in by hand, using tiny pick stitches to conceal the stitching. The zip is actually an invisible one, but I didn't have a invisible zip foot at that time, so hand sewing it was (and again, train sewing). One thing that I really like about sewing zips in by hand as it allows you to be really accurate with matching seams, as you can ease the fabric in as you get to it and get a really precise finish.

Despite all the effort I put in to fitting this dress, it's still not perfect. There's some pooling of fabric under the bust, the side bust darts are way too high (really don't know how I didn't spot that during the muslins!) and there are some diagonal fold lines going from the bust to the side seams, which you can kind of see in the photo above. Thankfully the busy print hides the fitting issues pretty well! Also, something obviously went wrong with my skirt drafting as whilst one side seam matches quite nicely, the other is a fair bit out. Heh.

I love the colour of this dress but I think it is probably more of a spring/summer outfit. I tried making it more of an autumn look but I'm not sure it really works. Plus the cotton underlining really stuck to my tights! Would need a slip I reckon.

I think a belt helps to break up the pink overload slightly

Although I do love this dress I don't think I'd make it again. With the extra adjustments I would need to make I'm prepared to admit that this pattern has won the battle. Best to move on to something else!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Pintucked Sorbetto

This is my second version of the free Sorbetto pattern by Colette Patterns. I made my first version back in May as per the design, with the box pleat down the front. For the second version I had visions of fine pinktucks on a delicate fabric, which would be nice and light in summer. Naturally, I finished the top in October ;-).

I actually planned and cut out this top a few months ago, but what with moving countries it has sat unsewn in storage until I finally finished it last weekend. I spent a long time trying to work out how to add the pintucks to the pattern, but couldn't really find any tutorials online about how to do it without adding them in as a separate section. So after mulling it over for a while I decided just to try and work it out myself. 

This proved to be a mistake! As I was sewing the top up, my husband commented that it looked quite big. I assured him that it was just the loose nature of the style and that was how it was meant to be. However, when I put the finished top on it did seem quite a lot bigger than my first version. It was as if a whole load of extra width had been added at the front. My mistake suddenly dawned on me - as well as adding extra width to the pattern for the pintucks, I had also added the space between the pintucks. So I'd actually added over an inch of width to the front piece. Argh! This means the neck is wider than intended, the shoulder seams are too far out and the darts are in the wrong place. *Sigh*

When the moment of realisation struck I'd already finished the top, French seams and everything. I have taken the side seams in by over half an inch on each side to try and fix my error, but this has effected the back (which was originally the right size!) and made the side seams hang a bit oddly. 

Badly hanging back. Maybe should have ironed it!

I added sleeves to my Sorbetto using this free pattern piece. The piece was too big for my top, so I made the gathers on top of the sleeve obvious. I also shortened them by an inch. 

Erm, but see how that sleeve is hanging strangely? Yep, I sewed them both on the wrong way round! I think this was because I was pretty confused by trying to French seam the sleeves, so wasn't concentrating on which one I was using. 

These pintucks may have caused me problems, but they are pretty.

You may recognise the fabric as it is the same fabric I used for my Short Shorts. I believe it's Robert Kaufman's Veronica Voile in grey. Sewing the fabric unlined was a bit tricky, it's pretty slidey and frayed quite a lot. Soo light and drapey though.

On my original version of the pattern I made a few changes. I tucked out some gaping at the neck and armhole, cut the pattern to the longest length, graded in to a smaller size at the waist and moved the bust darts down about an inch. Having since reread the instructions I also realised that I sewed the neck binding on differently to the instructions - I applied mine as if I was binding the edge of a quilt, which could explain why it was so fiddly to do! I prefer the look of it to the original pattern though. 

Binding close up.

Despite my mistakes with this top I'm still fairly pleased with the finished piece. It's lovely and light and is good for layering. And anyway, you learn from your mistakes right?! I'm definitely going to try adding pintucks to another pattern, they are time-consuming but very satisfying thing to sew.

Also, yay for free patterns!

Here are some flat shots...

Pretty French seams :-)
Massively taken in seams!
Goofy grin shows my mixed feelings about this top!