When I first read about these in The Colette Sewing Handbook, I thought it sounded like too much work to be worth it. But I changed my mind during the sew along. I’m glad I did. It was easy to make (love the self timer on my camera), and now I can play around with all kinds of ideas.
Then I moved onto the muslin. I had a lot of fitting issues with the bodice. I made five bodices before I felt ready to cut into my fabric. In the end, I repositioned the darts, did a small bust adjustment, took about 3/4 inch off the shoulder seams, lengthened the back darts (because there was a ton of extra fabric around my shoulders), and took about a 1/2 tuck out of the back bodice (again to get rid of the extra fabric on the back). On the skirt, I took about a half an inch out of the center front, because it was too wide for my liking.
After making all my changes to the bodice, the center front had become very short, and pulled the skirt up in the front. To compensate, I added some fabric back onto the bottom of the center front.
My final muslin wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.
I made my final dress out of a dark blue cotton twill. I also decided to fully line it with Bembeg rayon. Best. decision. ever. The lining makes this dress so comfortable to wear. I am totally in love with Bemberg! To install the lining, I first sewed my lining pieces to the facings. Then I installed the lining unit following this method.
For some reason, I had a problem with my back skirt darts. They turned out really pointy. I tried pressing them and lengthening them. In the end, I took a tiny tuck from the bottom of the darts all the way to the pleats — kind of a faux princess seam, I guess. I like how it looks and no pointy butt, yay! I think the pointy-ness might have happened because the fabric is pretty stiff.
That stiffness paid off for the pleats though. They are my favorite part of this dress.
To get them super straight, I decided to sew the pleats flat, before I sewed the back seam shut.
In the end, I really like this dress. I’ve worn it to work a few times already, and am amazed at how comfortable it is.