Monday, September 27, 2010

Macaron Dress

I have finished my Macaron dress from Colette Patterns and I love it! I spent a lot of time on it, and I'm pretty proud of the workmanship. Here is my mugshot photo (we took a ton of pictures and this one was the best.) There is some wrinkling at the juncture of the bodice and the yoke, but no matter how hard I pressed, the wrinkles wouldn't go. I've looked at other pictures of the finished dress, and a bunch of them have them, so it just may be how it goes.

The fabric is stretch cotton poplin from My original color plan was to have the navy be the body of the dress, but even though the fabrics are from the same company, the light blue is noticeably heavier. Since the sleeves are made with two layers of fabric, I thought that the light blue would be too thick. (It occurred to me later that I could have used lining for the second layer. Oh well.)

I started out with a muslin in my size, a 16, and ended up making the following changes.
  • The sleeves were very restrictive. I tried raising the bottom of the armscye, but that didn't work. I read about some other problems with this on PatternReview, so I grabbed the bodice from my self-drafted block and compared the armhole curve. (This won't work for everything, but the bodice shapes were very similar.) It turns out that the curve of the armhole was much too shallow for me to have full range of movement. So I laid down my bodice under the pattern yoke, put a piece of tracing paper over it and created a new yoke with a more suitable armhole curve. This worked wonderfully to give me a full range of movement. (I think maybe using stretch poplin helped as well.)

  • At the same time, I made a sloping shoulder adjustment.
  • I also raised up the bottom of the armscye just a little.
  • I took some ease out of the sleeve caps, With all of the changes, they were too puffy.
  • The back neck darts stuck out a little too much. I added an inch to them, but they are still not quite perfect. If I make this dress again, I will move the darts over to the shoulders, where the shaping will make more sense for my body.
  • I shortened the sewing on the back pleats by one inch to make it more flattering to my booty.
  • I did not add the pockets because I wasn't sure if I wanted extra fabric at my midsection.
  • In most versions of this dress, the band around the waist is in the yoke contrast color. I chose not to do that because I didn't want to cut myself in half there. It might of worked, and I may try it on a future iteration.
  • I added 5 inches to the length to give myself a two inch hem. It may actually be a a little too long at this point, but I am going to live with it for awhile and see how I like it.
The construction of the bodice curve is interesting and, while very lovely, may be what is causing those wrinkles. (When laying flat, the dress does not have them. Irk!) At the curved part of the bodice, you fold the seam down 5/8s of an inch and then top stitch it to the yoke.

Here is my lovely topstitching. (I used my very handy edgestitching foot for this.) You can click on the picture to make it bigger and see the details.

Inspired by my Susan Khalje class, I used a hand sewn pick stitch to do my understitching of the facing.

Here is a gratuitous picture of my rear taken by my daughter.

And here is another goofy picture of me in the dress.

This dress makes me happy. The stretch fabric is really comfortable and I love the style. If I were to do it over again I might do a few things differently.
  • Move those back neck darts to the shoulder.
  • Make the hem a little shorter.
  • Take a little more ease out of the sleeves.
  • Move the front waist darts in a little.
As much as I love this pattern, I did not like the hem treatment. There is a definite curve to the center front and back seams and the instructions just say to do a blind hem. Really? With that much of a curve? Maybe with a really small hem. I did not want to use a facing or a lining as a facing, so I just slit down the side seams a little and stretched the hem a little to lay flat. I also made a little slit in the center front hem allowance and hand finished the edges. In the picture, you can see the curved edges of the hem. I will figure out a better way to do this next time.

Yay! A new dress.


Faye Lewis said...

That dress is very pretty and looks real nice on you. Your tops titching is superb, better than RTW>

KID, MD said...

So pretty!! My 2 year old says you look like Cinderella - high praise from the princess set!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Excellent job on this! It's so flattering and your hair looks really cute.

Angela said...

Such a cute dress!! The topstitching is excellent! Dang... I wish mine would look like that!