Monday, 23 June 2014

The dress that almost didn't happen...

The dress that almost didn't happen is my butterfly Colette Parfait. You might remember from my last striped version that I had fitting issues: When doing the small bust adjustment (SBA) I had to take out 1.5" from the back and front bodice, which resulted in the back sitting to high and the appearance of a "propeller" at the back skirt. To solve this problem, I took out the too much "propeller" fabric. But because of this, the dress is bunching around my belly when sitting down.

The final dress
My first attempt in solving this problem, was just to make the backstraps 1.5" longer. This perfectly solved the propeller issue. And because the waist seam was not sitting on the waist, I also added another 1" to front and back waistband. I also decided to make a colour blocked version by adding a white waistband, which would be a nice contrast. Contrary to my usual "I make a muslin first" attitude, I immediately cut the fabric (and made my butterfly Sorbetto Top from the leftovers).

That's the first version I took apart. 
It took me two weeks to assemble the dress, because I was not really convinced by it. And only when I had inserted the zipper (and the only thing left to do was the hemming), I admitted to myself that I didn't like the dress: The colour blocking looked awful with putting all the emphasis on my bust - but not in a good way. And because I had lengthened the straps, the back bodice had dropped so far that you could actually see my bra closure.

The waistband proportions didn't look good either. There was no way I would wear this dress. But the fabric I used is the most expensive cotton lawn I ever bought. So I put the dress away for a few days and decided the day before my PhD viva (and encouraged by a 35°C weather forecast in Germany) to adjust the pattern and cut a new bodice. The fitting and sewing kept me from freaking out :) and directed my thoughts away from the viva. Sewing IS good for you . . .

The only problem I haven't solved yet is that the backstraps don't cover the bra straps.
First of all, I unpicked the zipper and also separated skirt, bodice and straps. The skirt was good to use further, as were the straps.


Added centre back seam at bodice pieces.
Button details.

Adjustments: I started from the beginning and this time used Shaerie's flat pattern method to do a SBA - I removed 1" from the bust. The advantage of this method was, that the side seams were not changed at all and I could keep the original back bodice. I made a muslin of the bodice.  I pinned the skirt to the bodice muslin and checked that the waistseam was on my waist and I didn't have a propeller. I noticed that my front waist seam was riding up over the belly and added a wedge of fabric there: 1" at the centre front that tapered to nothing at the side seam. I made another muslin and it turned out fine and I was ready to cut the fabric.

Pockets with contrast detail and stripey buttons.


Cutting: I still had some butterfly fabric scraps left and managed to cut the front bodice pieces on the fold. But none of the scraps were big enough to cut the back bodice on the fold. Thus I added seam allowances to the centre back, cut the pieces twice and stitched them together. They do have a centre seam now, but it's on the back, so I don't mind. I cut the facing from white cotton lawn because there was no butterfly fabric left.

The hem is finished with a narrow hem.


Construction: As I had skirt, pockets and straps already assembled, it took me only a couple of hours to finish the dress. When stitching skirt and bodice together, I took out 3/4" at the centre back tapering to nothing at the side seams on both bodice and skirt. This accounted for my sway back. I stitched the whole dress with my sewing machine, but finished the raw edges with my overlocker first. I finished the hem with a narrow rolled hem, also with the overlocker (I love this function of my Bernina).



Have a worn it? Twice already. I had my PhD viva on the forth of June and I am now a Doctor of Philosophy  :) A day later I went to Germany to celebrate with my family and spent there an entire week. We had up to 35°C the first few days and I was wearing both of my Parfaits, yeah! They are both the perfect summer dresses and I felt very happy to wear them. So, although having troubles and almost not finishing the butterfly Parfait, I am so glad I did!


26 comments:

  1. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zur Promotion. Darf ich mal fragen worüber du deine Doktorarbeit geschrieben hast?
    Mir gefällt das Kleid sehr gut, besonders die Raffungen. Schön, dass du es doch noch fertig gestellt/geändert hast.
    Lg Ella

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    1. Hi Ella, vielen lieben Dank :) Ich hab meine Doktorarbeit in der Mikrobiologie geschrieben. Hab also den ganzen Tag meine selbstgenaehten Kleider unterm Laborkittel versteckt, hihi. Ich bin auch so froh dass das Kleid fertig ist. Ich hoffe nur dass das gute Wetter anhaelt, sodass ich es noch etwas tragen kann.

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  2. Mikrobiologie und Philosophie? Ich kenne Bereiche der Philosophie die sich mit Neurowissenschaften, kognitiven Prozessen und Bewusstsein beschäftigen, besonders im englisch sprachigen Raum, aber Mikrobiologie?

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    1. Doktor der Philosophie ist hier nur eine Terminologie. Jeder der einen Doktor in Lifesciences macht heisst PhD (=Doktor der Philosophie).

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  3. you got a great fit (good perseverance, I need some of that!)

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    1. Thank you! It's hard sometimes to keep going, but in the end sooooo worth it :)

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  4. This looks terrific! I'm not generally a fan of this pattern, but I think it suits you perfectly and fits really well.

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    1. Thanks. I am really glad that I tackled the fit in the end. I am planning to make a corduroy version for autumn.

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  5. You really had a tough time with this one! I'm glad you stuck it through. The dress is beautiful and looks really nice on you. Congrats on the PhD!!!

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    1. Thank you Kristin - for both comments :)

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  6. This is a great example of why perseverance pays off. It is a lovely dress and well worth the effort you put you into the fit. Thanks for the construction notes, it is always interesting to hear how others have to alter patterns.

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    1. Thanks Claire. I really hope that my notes will help others who have similar problems. I tend to first search the internet as well, before trying to find a solution by myself :)

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  7. I'm so glad that you gave it another go as the final dress looks wonderful. Love the fabric choice and you look amazing! Also congrats on becoming a doctor! 😄

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  8. I'm a big fan of this dress! Although I would never spend that much on a cotton, this fabric was worth it! You look gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks Charlie :) I just couldn't resist - all these butterflies are sooo me!

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  9. Congratulations on getting your PhD! And on persevering with this dress, it was definitely worth it - the finished dress looks gorgeous. I need to learn from your perseverance - I'm putting off making a dress that I think needs an SBA at the moment but I should really just get on and do it!

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    1. Thank you Ruth. Just do the SBA on your dress. It is not very difficult and the result will be worth it :)

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  10. This is gorgeous! I love the white on the pockets, it's sets the dress off. Definitely worth all the work, but fitting issues are such a pain!

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    1. Thanks Lynne. I am so glad that I used the white on the pockets, because otherwise you wouldn't see them at all on this busy fabric. And that would be such a shame. I love pockets :)

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  11. congrats on the PhD ! the dress came out beautifully and fits perfectly...... you look so lovely in it. :)

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    1. Thank you. I am glad I'm done with both :)

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  12. Eeek congrats on the PhD. Plus this dress is perfect. I love it

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  13. Thank you so much for these explanations which were very helpful for making my version of the parfait dress.

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