Completed: A Peony for The Sew Weekly Reunion

Back before I was a garment sewer, I followed The Sew Weekly. Sadly the project was abandoned at the end of last year.  But then along came the chance to sew along with The Sew Weekly Reunion, and I was in.

The Reunion challenge is to sew a garment from the Pantone Fall Color Palette.  Here’s what I came up with:
Sew Weekly Reunion Peony
Sew Weekly Reunion Peony
Sew Weekly Reunion Peony

The Facts

Fabric: The main fabric is a floral print stretch cotton sateen (From my Mood Fabrics shopping trip.)   The skirt is lined with white Bemberg rayon, and the facings/armhole bias tape is made with some plain white cotton sateen.

Notions: Regular zipper, embroidery floss for garment label.

Pantone Challenge colors: Acai and Vivacious

Pattern: Peony Dress by Colette Patterns. (Modified as follows: no sleeves, converted front skirt pleats to gathers, RTW belt in place of sewn belt.)

Year: Contemporary.  

Time to complete: About a week.

First worn: I plan to wear it to work next week.

Wear again? Absolutely.

Total Cost:  ??  Honestly, I don’t really care.  Wait, that sounds bad.  I do care about what I spend on sewing, and I don’t have an unlimited budget!!  But I worried about the price when I bought the fabric.  I determined it was in budget at that time.  After the initial purchase, I let go of thinking about the cost.  Otherwise, I get worried about “ruining” the fabric and then won’t sew it up.

Pantone Peony Details

Front

Pantone Peony Details

Back. I did a handpicked centered zipper.  Also my attempt to match the pattern worked out – woot!

Pantone Peony Details

Inside Front. Only the skirt is lined.

Pantone Peony Details

Inside back.

Pantone Peony Details

Inside back zipper and facing.

Pantone Peony Details

Inside front facing and armhole.  Armhole is finished with self-made bias tape.

Pantone Peony Details

The edge of the facings are finished with bias tape I made from the lining fabric.

Pantone Peony Details

Embroidered label.

This is my second Peony. (First one is here.)  I was running short on time to get this dress made before the deadline for the Reunion, so I wanted to make something that I knew already fit.  The fabric is the same as my first one (stretch cotton sateen) but for some reason this one turned out a little looser.  You can see a little puckering below the belt, which is the excess ease at the waist getting nipped in:

Sew Weekly Reunion Peony

Oh, well.  It’s comfy and was an easy sew.  A win – win, in my book!
Sew Weekly Reunion Peony

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Completed: Colette Peony Dress

It’s finished!  It’s finished!  My Peony is finished!  Now if only the sun will come out!
Peony

I actually finished this last week, but between gloomy weather and the fact it’s dark when I get home, photos have been a challenge.

Peony

Me and my sewing buddy, Millicent. Hmm…she’s suspiciously taller than me!

I started this dress back during Sew Colette, before the group went on hiatus for the holidays.  I had a difficult time fitting the bodice. Honestly, I almost gave up on this dress. But I’m so glad I didn’t. The fit turned out pretty good, I think.
Peony

My biggest trouble was with the sleeves. I thought I worked out at the muslin stage, but when I sewed them into my final dress, they just weren’t working for me.  They looked okay, but felt tight and restricting.  So I ripped them out, and went sleeveless instead. This is better for wearing with a cardigan anyways, which is what I always wear at work.

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen that I found at a local shop.  Depending on how you look at it, you may see dots or stars.  I really like it, and I think the extra stretch helped the bodice fit.
Peony Details
Peony Details

Here’s the insides:
Peony Details
Peony Details

I lined the skirt with red Bemberg rayon.  I also made some bias strips out of the lining fabric, which I used as a hem tape.  This fabric was fiddly to turn into bias tape, but I think it’s a lot nicer than the stiff store-bought stuff.
Peony Details

I tried a few new techniques on this dress.  First, I used bias tape as a facing for the armholes. After I nixed the sleeves, I didn’t feel like drafting an armhole facing piece. The bias strips worked really well. (I also made this bias tape, using the same contrast fabric from the neck facing.)
Peony Details

Second, I did a Hong Kong finish on the edge of my neck facings.  I used some of the red lining bias strips for this.  I really like this finish, and plan to use it again.
Peony Details

Third, I put in a centered hand-picked zipper.  This worked just as nicely as the lapped versions I’ve been doing recently.  Actually, it might have even been easier!
Peony Details

The sun peeked out for just a minute this afternoon, so I tried to capitalize on it for a quick outdoor shot.

Peony

This dress took me a long time to finish, and I’m happy it’s done. Now I can move on to my next project! Here’s a small sample of the fabric I cut out last night:
IMGP4911

Slow Progress

The past two weeks have flown by with very little sewing happening. My dog Abby had surgery and it’s thrown my schedule out of whack. She’s recovering slowly (surgery is hard when your almost 16!), and things are starting to get back to normal. I finally sat down yesterday and made some progress on my Peony dress.  I was hoping to finish it for my birthday (which is today) but that didn’t happen. Oh well. I did finish the bodice at least. Now I just need to sew the skirt and put in the zipper. I pinned everything together last night, and I’m liking it so far!  Here’s a peek:

dress progress

More Muslin Madness: Thurlow & Peony

I’ve been muddling around working on the muslins and pattern alterations for my Thurlow trousers and Peony dress.  Someday, maybe I’ll have a finished project to share, but until then it’s more muslin madness.

On my Thurlows I was having a problem with the front crotch.  So I took my muslin to class, and my teacher pinned out the excess and showed me how to make the alteration to my pattern.  I ended up shaving off the front inseam by about 3/8″ and took a tiny scoop out of the front crotch curve, as illustrated by the purple line below:

pant2

I think they are looking better.

Thurlow Muslin #2

They look like they are tight across the thigh here but that’s because I was playing around with the side seams.

So I took the leap and cut out my fashion fabric!  I’m making up this pair in navy cotton twill, with a white and blue cotton for the lining.  Here’s a peek:

Thurlow Fabric

On my Peony, I knew I’d have some changes to make based on my previous Colette dresses.  But this pattern is kind of a bugger.  My usual alterations haven’t been enough.  So far I’ve lowered the side darts and repositioned the front darts.  I also lowered the neckline a little.  On the back I made bigger neck darts because it was gapping. This is what my flat pattern alterations look like so far:
Peony Alterations

Then I sewed up the muslin, and I’ve got some problems.  There’s a vertical wrinkle running down from my shoulder along the armhole.  And then there are those diagonal lines below the bust.
2012-10-30 20.32.20

If when I get those issues figured out, I’m planning to use this crazy big dot fabric for my dress.  I’m on the fence about whether to ditch the sleeves though.  I think they may be giving more fitting problems than I feel like dealing with right now!
Big Dots