Sunday 11 August 2013

Let's make a Flowery Colette Truffle Dress

I am still making my way through the Colette sewing book. So far I have only sewn the Meringue Skirt (not blogged, but you will find pictures here) and that twice because I love the scallops so much. Next in line would have been the Colette Pastille, but having been at the bloggers meet-up in Goldhawk Road a week ago I got some lovely flowery fabric in a swap. When I took the fabric, I actually didn't know what to sew with it. I just loved the colors and the drape. At home when looking through the Colette sewing book, I knew immediately it would be perfect for the Truffle. Luckily, I had just enough fabric (pattern instructions said you need 2.5 m - I had 1.5). Believe me there was hard pushing and rearranging involved – but I succeeded, yeah.

On the sea side :)
Truffle with a white shirt underneath.
Pattern: Colette Truffle Dress. The dress is sewn together at the waist and has a lined bodice. Bodice shell and lining fabric are sewn right side together at the neckline and armholes and then the right sides are turned out by pushing the whole dress (!) through the shoulder. Then you stitch the hem of the lining to the waist seam of the shell fabric, which helps to stabilize the waist seam – so hopefully no stretching here. The dress has an invisible zipper at the back. Special feature of the dress is that it has an extra bit of draped fabric hanging from the waist to the hem. 

You can just make out the drape.
Watching boats :)
Fabric used: Polyester/Cotton mix? I do not know the fiber content of the fabric, but I am sure it does not contain only cotton because when I cut it, it was sliding around and I also had problems to lay it out straight. So, the fabric was a challenge for me and I definitely learned a lot trying to handle it. As the pattern calls for a lining, I used some cotton/silk that I had in my stash.

Pattern alterations: This was the first time that I didn't make a muslin and just fitted the tissue using the Palmer/Pletsch approach. I have already worked out most of the problems I have with Colette patterns, so that it is a bit easier to fit them.
  • Moved shoulder seams forward about 3/8” (sloping shoulder adjustment) 
  •  Moved the bust dart down 1” and made a small bust adjustment (I have an A cup only and Colette patterns are C cups)
  • Graded the side seams from size 0 (bust) up to size 4 (waist)
  • Lengthened the pattern 1” as it was not sitting on my natural waist
  • Sway back adjustment

Am I happy with the fit? Not entirely, because there are three issues: (1) I am never sure where the armholes have to stop and I think I fitted them too far out. When I wear the dress the armholes slide towards my neck and because of that there is too much fabric on my back, which results in a gaping neckline. (2) When cutting out the fabric, the bodice front which is cut on the fold was apparently not on the grain and now there is a big ugly crease going from my bust to the waist line. I also had the feeling that the fabric was stretching a bit because when attaching the skirt to the bodice I had to ease the skirt in. It almost felt as if I am setting in a sleeve, buh. When looking at the photos now, I have to admit you can hardly see the crease. But I know it is there :( (3) Because of the stretch of the fabric the shell is bigger than the lining and looks a bit bulky. It would have been better to actually make an underlining for this dress because that would have stabilized the shell fabric better and also prevented it stretching. But if I would have chosen the underlining, then I wouldn't be able to follow the sewing instructions and I am not confident enough yet to do so!

What I like about the dress: I like that it fits quite well although I haven’t made a muslin. I love that the neckline looks so nice and tidy – I was worried when sewing it. It actually looks nice when I wear it with a white T-Shirt underneath. 

Will I sew it again? Maybe next year when I am more experienced with drapey fabrics and underlinings. 

Have I worn it? Yes I wore it on Saturday when we went on a bus tour to Dover, Leeds Castle and Canterbury. Surprisingly, I felt great in it and didn't mind at all the crease under my bust or at the back neckline. And imagine, I managed to tear a whole in my cotton/silk lining! I was trying to pull down the zipper myself and caught the fabric! Now there is an ugly whole of about 1 cm in the lining :( I can't really fix it because it is too close to the zipper and I don't want to add any bulk there.

Goodbye Dover!

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