When I saw Colette Pattern’s latest release – Dahlia – I liked it immediately, so when the pattern arrived I set aside my other projects to sew it up. It turned out that Dahlia almost got the best of me, and this dress almost didn’t happen. As you probably notice, my finished dress ended up a bit different from the pattern.
One of the things I like about Dahlia is the inset waist. (Before the pattern came out, I had been thinking of doing an Emery hack to get a look close to this.) I also really like the princess seamed skirt. I decided to sew the bodice from view A with the skirt from view B.
I started out by making a muslin. It seemed to fit reasonably well, except the armhole was too tight and was cutting into my underarm. The neck also gaped a bit, which is something that I think is a common issue with this pattern.
To address the issues, I let out the front arm seam, and also took it in a pinch at the neck. It felt better. But this is where I made my biggest mistake. I put the muslin on and just stood in front of the mirror. However, I didn’t really move around and check the range of motion. Normally, I try to wear my muslins around for a bit, to really test them. I was feeling impatient and wanted to get to the good fabric, so I skipped this step.
The fashion fabric I chose is a tiny black and grey houndstooth. I got the fabric at the Michael Levine Loft, so I’m not exactly sure what fiber content it is. It pressed and sewed really well though, which makes me think it’s a wool blend.
When the dress was almost done, I tried it on, and ugg . . . I couldn’t raise my arms. :(
This was my maximum range of motion.
It looks like there is plenty of room when my arms are down:
But as soon as I raise them, the fabric pulled extremely tight across my shoulder blades and the top of my arms:
Since I actually need to be able to move around in my clothes, the dress was unwearable. I was feeling pretty sad to just toss it because I had taken the time to line it and everything.
Since I had a little bit of fabric left over, I decided to try re-doing the bodice. One without raglan sleeves. I suppose I could have tried the view B bodice, but I personally don’t like those little bias tape straps.
Instead, I pulled out my trusty Emery bodice and hacked away. The problem was I did this late at night when I was tired, and I made some mistakes. I forgot to add the seam allowance to the neckline. I also forgot to remove the seam allowance from the center back.
Once I had the new pieces cut, I unpicked the dress.
Then sewed and attached the new bodice. It took me 6 tries to get the zipper back in. And the little mistakes I made when drafting crept up and made sewing the new bodice really frustrating. I almost tossed the dress again.
I didn’t give up though, because I had invested so much time in this dress. It made me too mad to just throw it away. I don’t know if it’s more frustrating to have to spend hours and hours to make an indie pattern work that you paid a premium for, or to invest a lot of time on a $1 special Big Four pattern. I guess both are frustrating. But for me when I’ve only spent $1, I think I have lower expectations, and it doesn’t seem as bad. So I’m kind of turned off Colette at the moment. Maybe that’s not fair, because I know I caused a lot of my own problems, but that’s just my honest feeling right now.
Some flat shots:
On the lining, I turned the under bust gathers into two small pleats to reduce bulk.
I tried something new for the hem. I used Hug Snug rayon seam binding as hem tape, and I love it!
It’s too bad the raglan sleeves didn’t work out, because I was looking forward to having a dress I could wear without needing a topper. Oh well, I’ll just go with a cardigan and call it a day. This dress isn’t perfect and it was a literal and figurative pain to sew – when I was making the muslin, I sewed through the tip of my finger! (that hurts like hell, btw.) But it’s done, and wearable, and that’s good enough for me.