Sunday, 22 December 2013

Louder than a lion Peony

After the meh-ness of my red Elisalex, this make is a winner!  The pattern is Colette Patterns Peony dress, and I made version one with three quarter length sleeves and pockets.  I got this pattern last Christmas, and made it here, but that one was a disaster because it was simply too big.
 
Before I go any further, I have to tell you about my photos.  The ones on the dress form were taken yesterday, which was rainy and windy.  I managed to get a break in the rain to take the dress form outside because the light was so poor inside.  Unfortunately I didn't have time to iron the dress properly, but the rain wasn't going to wait for that!  The photos of me wearing it were taken today, which was also windy and rainy, and also flipping freezing!  And I'm not joking, I just got back into the house when it starting raining again, and then there was a rubbish attempt at some snow.  Anyway, back to the dress...


I've seen a lot of lovely versions of this dress on the blogs, my favourites are on my Pinterest Peony board.  I really liked the tartan versions, so had a look on the fabric websites and found this Lindsey tartan on the Calico Laine website.  It's green and purple: how could I resist?!  It's £5.99 per metre and 150cm wide.  I bought 2 metres, which was perfect.  I also lined the bodice with some white cotton lawn, but I don't have a photo of it.

 
I know there are some weird drag lines going on in the upper bodice, but this was because I didn't properly straighten the dress before each photo.  I was trying to get my photos done really quickly so I could get back inside.  Did I mention how cold it was?!
 
 
I re-fitted the bodice, and made the following mods: 
  • Size 0 at the shoulders, size 2 at the underarms, size 4 at the waist
  • 1/2 inch Full Bust Adjustment
  • Bodice Length size 6
  • Bust and waist darts size 4, but both were shortened (I didn't measure by how much)
  • The front neckline was lowered by 4cm.
  • The shoulders were brought in towards the neck by 2cm, by adding this onto the neck edge of the shoulders.
  • Sway Back Adjustment of 4cm at the back of the neck to fix the back neck gaping.
  • Sleeves shortened by 7 cm.
  • Skirt length size 0.
It's a lot of adjustments, but I'm not an average shape and this pattern is known for being tricky to fit.  Some of these adjustments came from the first disaster version, and when I tried on my toile (with sleeves), I was delighted that it fitted.


I do own an iron; honestly!  But look at how the fabric matches on either side of the zip. :)
The next challenge was the fabric itself.  It's not that it's bad fabric, it's really lovely!  It was the tartan, plaid - whatever you want to call it, print.  Before I started cutting, I got slightly obsessed with how to match the seams.  I did a lot of googling, and came up with a lot of useful tutorials. 
 
 
 
And then:
 
 
I came across Amy's post while I was making my toile, and talk about good timing!  I have one thing to say - if you are making something with fabric that you want to match at the seams; do yourself a favour and read Amy's post.  There are two downloads within it; I read them on my phone at lunchtime and it took about 20 minutes.  The information in them is amazing.  It starts off with identifying whether the tartan is balanced or unbalanced, then goes on to pattern layout, cutting and sewing.
 
For cutting, Amy advices not folding the fabric in two and cutting each piece individually.  This is what I did, it is time consuming and sore on the knees, but oh so worth it! 
 
For sewing, there's a clever trick of hand basting the seams before sewing.  Again this was time consuming, but definitely worth it.  The photo below shows the hand basting, this is the right side of the fabric.
 
 

This is how it looks on the wrong side,
 
 
 
and this photo shows the seam when it's sewn.  Apologies for the flash photos, it was a dull day when I took them.  Also, this fabric is a fluff magnet.
 
 
 
Amy also advices using a walking foot if you have one (I don't), but if you don't you can reduce the pressure on the presser foot - I tried this, and it worked like a charm.   I'm thinking of treating myself to a walking foot now, as I happen to know that Santa is bringing me 3 metres of this black watch tartan which is going to become S2444 with short sleeves and collar.
 
See how the black lines on the tartan line up on the sleeves,
 
 
and also on the side seams of the skirt,
 
 
oh, and on the side of the bodice.  I'm very proud of this!
 
 
All the hand sewing, and pattern matching did make this a very time intensive project, but it was worth it as right now this is my favourite thing that I've made.  Preparation really is the key with matching prints, and every time my seams would match up I found myself singing this,
 
 Katy Perry - Roar
 
 
Just in case anybody is in any doubt as to just how windy it was when I was taking my photos, here's the first photo I took.

 
And since this is my blog, I am going to do another shameless plug for my cousin Jenny's entry in the Shell Livewire Grand ideas awards!  To vote, please click on this link.  Jenny's video is second from the left on the second row; she has short blond hair and is wearing a navy blouse.  Thank you!!
 
I hope everybody has a lovely Christmas, and Santa is good to you.
 
Lynne

22 comments:

  1. I love the fabric and am seriously impressed by the accuracy with which you have matched the plaid! Happy Christmas to you, Mr BB and the cats!

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    1. Thank you! I impressed myself as well! Merry Christmas!!

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  2. Very impressive :) I'm sure you'll get lots of wear out of it. Have a Happy Christmas :)

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    1. Thank you! It's had two wears already. Merry Christmas!!

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  3. Just amazing! Thanks for the details on what you did to fit it, I'm very tempted by the style of the Peony but have been put off by reading about the difficulties of fitting. I might give it a whirl. I love the thought of you singing about your AMAZING pattern matching skills as you went! You can certainly roar!

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    1. Thank you! The shape on the bodice is quite simple, so I'm guessing it might be easy enough to match another bodice of the same style instead of having to re-fit. Please tell me I'm not the only person who gives themselves a little "yey" when they've just done something that looks right!

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  4. Wow! Your matching skillz are something to be proud of indeed! Fab dress!

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  5. Lynne you are a dress inspiration at the moment! You've just made so many lovelies & this is no exception. The tips on plaid matching are interesting, & the results that you have got as a result show that it's all worth the effort. Gorgeous gorgeous colours too. And LOVE the windblown look :-)

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    1. Oh, thank you! Honestly, I highly recommend a read of Amy's tutorial. It's has to be the definitive guide!

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  6. Fabulous matching Lynne! Lovely colours too. Thanks for sharing all the tips.

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    1. Thank you! I couldn't resist the colours!

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  7. Gorgeous dress. Nice work matching the plaids as well. It's so much extra work!

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    1. Thank you! All the extra work was definitely worth it.

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  8. It's absolutely incredible workmanship! I am so happy for you- I actually clapped at your matching stripes. Seeing this makes me so happy! Wonderful job! :)

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    1. Oh, thank you so much!! I couldn't have done it without your help!

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  9. This is really cute! I love the way it looks! I ran across Amy's tutorial a few weeks back, and boy, is it a good one! Absolutely fabulous advice, and you did so well getting everything lined up!

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad somebody else has seen this tutorial, and I totally agree that it's fabulous advice.

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  10. This is lovely! It was worth all your efforts at matching the pattern, how satisfying and worthwhile. Well done … and I love the colours and windswept look!

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    1. Thank you! All the matching really was worth the effort.

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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.