Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Colette Patterns Polka Dot Crepe Dress

I took some extra days' leave at Easter, and was quite productive because I made this dress!  It's Colette Patterns Crepe Dress. I bought this pattern a couple of years ago, but have only just made it now. 
 
 
My fabric is cotton lawn from ebay here, on the selvedge edge it says "Great Flowers Designs 40 by 40s superfine cotton lawn".  It's £6.99 per metre, I ordered 4 metres (to be on the safe side!), and used 3 metres.  So I now have enough leftover for a top.  I see they have it in red and white, so I may have to order that.  It's lovely fabric, note the back of the skirt in the photo below - I've been wearing this all day, then took my photos, and it's hardly creased.
 
 
I went with a size 0 at the shoulder and size 2 at the underarms, grading out to size 6 at the waist.  I probably could have got away with size 4 at the waist, but the waist tie pulls it in a bit.  I made a toile of the bodice, and was delighted to find that the bust fitted, therefore I didn't have to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA).  Colette Patterns draft a larger bust size than standard patterns, so this may explain why my FBA on my Peony dress made it too big.
 
In my excitement I failed to notice that the bust darts are a bit high, and only realised when I made the bodice in my polka dot fabric.  But I can live with it, and it's not like the sewing police are going to arrest me or anything!  I wonder if this is an issue with Colette Patterns because I was re-watching The Great British Sewing Bee last night (yes, re-watching :) ), and it was pointed out that the bust darts were high on Lauren's lovely Colette Macaron dress in the final challenge.
 
I shortened the bodice, and also the width of the waist tie by 3.3cm, and also widened the skirt.  One of the two things that made me a bit meh about this pattern is that the skirt isn't as sitty-out as I'd like.  I'd read about the slash and spread method of skirt altering in some of my sewing books, so I thought I'd give it a go. 
 
 
Above is the traced original pattern piece, I've marked the grainline with a red arrow (PicMonkey don't have doubled-headed arrows - sorry).  I ruled a line through the grainline right to the top and bottom of the pattern piece.
 
 
I cut along this line from the bottom to the top, but not cutting right to the top edge.  I left a little bit that will act as a "hinge".  Then I taped one side of my pattern piece to my cutting mat with some masking tape.  Did you know you can buy 4 rolls of masking tape in Poundland for £1?  Just saying.
 
 
At this point I dug out my Madeleine Skirt pattern pieces (might have been a bit easier if I'd ironed them first!).  Having made three versions of this skirt, I knew it was the width I wanted.  I placed this pattern piece on top of my Crepe skirt piece, lining up the corner of the waist and the side seam with the edge I had taped down.  I weighted this down with whatever was handy, and then gently moved out the un-taped side of the Crepe skirt piece until it lined up with the bottom edge of the Madeleine skirt piece, then taped the Crepe skirt piece so it wouldn't move about.  If you didn't have another pattern piece to measure off, you could just eyeball it until the gap is as wide apart as you would like.  

 
Then I took away the Madeleine pattern piece, and filled in the gap with more paper.  The next thing was to draw in the grainline.  On this pattern the grainline runs down the centre of the pattern piece, rather than being parallel to the centre front/back.  I measured how much I moved the cut pattern piece apart (see below photo), and marked the middle of this.  I then drew a line from this point straight up to the hinge on the top of the pattern piece.  This then became my new grainline, which I have marked with the red arrow in the photo above.   I'm no expert on this, but all I can say is that it worked for me.  I hope that all make sense, because I'm not very good at explaining things. 
 
The red arrows mark the edges of where I cut the pattern, and the vertical pencil line is the bottom of the grainline.
 
And here's how wide it turned out!
 
 
Another new thing I learnt was the pick stitch.  I had been reading Gertie's Crepe Sewalong, and came across this post on attaching the armhole facings.  Because the capped sleeves are part of the bodice, the facing is a strange shape, and it would have been very tricky to understitch.  At the bottom of Gertie's facing post, she has added a video on how to pick stitch this facing.  It was so easy to do, that I did the same on the neck and back facings. 


 
I decided to underline the bodice, because I really didn't think this cotton lawn would be that warm for where I live.  I used some white cotton lawn for this.  Then I decided to underline the skirt because I was afraid that a renegade gust of wind could catch the wrap-a-round skirt, leading to much embarrassment! I used white polycotton for this; and, yes, the underlining was very time consuming.

 
Then I got all fancy and finished the wrap skirt edge and hem with some white ribbon.


The second thing that made me a bit meh about this pattern was the waist tie.  I'm not a big fan of waist ties in general; in my experience they tend to come un-done, or get caught on things.  Plus the one on this dress made me think of a little girl's party dress, which was not the look I was going for.  But maybe I only think this because I'm small.  Anyway, I thought about it for quite some time, and came up with shortening the waist ties so they overlapped a bit at the centre back, then adding buttons to fasten.
 
 
Below are the front and back of both waist tie ends.  I made some bias tape, and made the buttonhole loops from instructions in my Simplicity Sewing Book that came from my Granny.
 
 
I absolutely love this dress, and can see more in my future.  It did take a lot of time to make, but it was definitely worth it.  I wore it today with a green cardigan, and got lots of lovely compliments on it!
 
 
I'll leave you with an action shot of the skirt.  It had to be done, resistant was futile... :)


Ooo!  Twirly!!






39 comments:

  1. This looks so cute on you! It's the perfect color!

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  2. Your dress is very beautiful Lynne you really suit it. I remember having a dress when I was little that had a tie belt, and I have to agree with you I loathe them too, more hassle than they are worth.

    p.s. Love the action shot at the end. xx

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one with tie belt issues. :)

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  3. It's adorable and you look great wearing it!
    I just ordered crepe as well and looking forward towards making it!

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    1. Thank you! Good luck with yours.

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  4. Definitely worth the time it took to make - it's lovely and really suits you :)

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  5. What a stunning job you have done. I love the green, too, its's so 'appley crisp'. I enjoyed all your pics and explanations, v helpful. I have watched the BBC show twice here in Aus. I love the gentle British sensibilities of it as well as all the info I have gathered . Perhaps you would be available for the next round, Lynne? Meantime, thank you for sharing. x

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    1. Thank you! My sister said I should be on The Sewing Bee, but my nerves would be shattered! I would lose the ability to thread the machine, work a pair of scissors, and probably speak!!

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  6. It's fabulous, and I love all the detailed explanations you have given as you've gone along. The waist looks so stylish the way you have adapted it. I am really enjoying the Sewing Bee, I am in complete awe of their skills.

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    1. Thank you! I'm really pleased with how the waist tie turned out.

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  7. What a beautiful dress, it is so pretty and vintage, just what I love and it looks fabulous on you!

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  8. Oh wow! This might be my favourite thing you have made - I just LOVE it! The colour is gorgeous on you, especially with your hair colour. And I really love what you did with the skirt, such a good idea. YOu need to get a pettycoat now to really make the most of it!!!

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    1. Thank you! I love how the skirt worked out, and I actually have fabric for a petticoat, I just have to get time to make it!

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  9. Lovely fabric and I like the change you made to have buttons on the waist, a great idea.

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    1. Thank you! I was thinking it would work with the buttons at the front too.

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  10. That is such a gorgeous dress! I watched The Great British Sewing Bee yesterday and I think it is going to make me itch to get back to dress making. I feel like I'm learning, just from watching, especially as I've never had any lessons.

    Congratulations on creating something so flattering and fun to wear.

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  11. Really really gorgeous! Love what you've done with the waist tie!

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  12. This is so gorgeous, I'm so glad you made yourself a green polka dot wrap dress! And I always have to lower the darts in Colette patterns too so maybe they are designed for the abnormally perky.

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    1. Thank you! It was the photo of a green polka dot dress in a shop window on your blog that inspired me.

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    2. I thought so - you've done a brilliant job! I hope you don't mind but I've just given you a Liebster award - the details are on my blog.

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    3. Oh, thank you! I'll have a look at your blog now.

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  13. Oh Lynne - it's beautiful (I fear I'm starting to sound repetitive at each of your reveals!) and the colour is gorgeous! I often find that the Colette bust darts are often too long and too high, but tend to alter them as a matter of course now. I love your extra twirly skirt :) x

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    1. Thank you! It's interesting to read that you and other folks find the bust darts are high too. I'm glad it's not just me!

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  14. Lynne this is so pretty!! What gorgeous fabric and I'm very impressed with the extra twirl factor! It's a lot of work, but great that it's a dress to be proud of. Lovely

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    1. Thank you! I am proud of it! And I love the fabric too (I've have ordered the red and white!)

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  15. I'm not surprised you got a lot of comments, the dress is beautiful and I love the fabric...my most favourite colour :)

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  16. Thank you! I love the colour too, you can't go wrong with green!

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  17. Lovely dress with lovely twirl! I think it was smart to swap out the ties. You look so pretty in green!

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  18. Great dress!!! Loe the green spotty print. It suits you beautifully. I especially like your clever idea for the waist tie. Ros

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    1. Thank you! I'm pretty pleased with the waist tie.

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  19. It's a super dress, the waist tie is my favourite part as it looks so polished, lovely idea :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm really pleased that in real life the waist tie turned out the way it looked in my head!

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  20. Cute! I particularly like the buttons on the waist :) and thank you for your comments on bust fitting, I was just looking for some before making my toile!

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Thank you for reading my blog! I love reading your comments, so please feel free to leave a comment if you have the time :) Lynne.