So I finished my Rooibos, just lagged a bit behind the Colette Patterns Sewalong, it being September and not August now.
I wore it out last night & I swear I have never been so embarrassed having my photo taken. I don’t know how Karen & Debbie manage others’ curiosity in their beautiful & interesting settings. I thought a photo “on the town” at the top end of Milsom Street would be a bit of a change from the garden. I tell you, it took courage. There was I grinning – but with an audience of bemused strangers. “It’s OK” I wanted to pretend, “I’m a tourist too” (rationale there being that tourists have their photos taken all over Bath & no one blinks an eye). But that would have been a lie. I just felt vain & preening ….Oh well, you don’t know till you try! Perhaps if I was pulling a silly pose I would have felt happier???
And yes, that it the Vogue jacket too – I will be writing this up in a later post. I am rationing you. Well me, actually, only having a certain amount of time. Perhaps it was the BRIGHTNESS of the outfit that made me feel so brazen amongst the dour tourists & sedate shop facades. And it’s possible shorter than I would normally wear a dress so that made me feel even more self conscious, although it looks OK in the pictures …
And here’s another – you know I have to add another one of the street views – you don’t think I’d go through that trauma for the sake of just one picture do you? And check out all the people behind (who stared at me on the way up) & that child, unable to tear his intrigued eyes away. (No you can tell I am not a model nor am I famous, I’m just trying to have my picture taken, right?!)
I think mine’s a bit too big from the waist down really, that’ll teach me for only making the bodice muslin/toile & not the whole thing. The bodice I think fits well after a few tweaks (lowering the armholes & adjusting side seams) Anyway, it’s a totally different dress than I expected - it isn’t as tightly fitting as I thought it would be. This is the dress that will get pulled out of the wardrobe when the day is oh so sultry & promising thunder. The dress for sticky humid work days. The dress for skipping along a gravel path. I don’t know. It makes me feel cool (not “hip” but not hot) & should I say this, young?! That might have something to do with the fabric & binding choices. There is something childish about solid powder blue and red polka dots. I am relieved it went that way as opposed to looking like an air hostess uniform, which I felt it was in danger of becoming as I sewed the red satin piping to the blue pockets with no polka dot to be seen from the outside. However, don’t you think it’s like a cartoon character dress?
So, what was ace about making this dress? Apart from the oft quoted quality of Colette Patterns’ instruction, of course. I actually supplemented the sewalong posts with the written instructions. I’ve never followed a sewalong before. This sewalong had just the right number of pictures and hints & tips. The only silly thing about sewing along following a blog once the sewalong has finished is that the “next step” posts are not next in a blog, as we all know, as they have not been written yet. The sequentially “next” posts are actually earlier posts you should have already followed. Navigating around the sewalong therefore involved a few extra clicks & scrolling. You all know that though!
So, apart from the excellent instructions, both online & with the pattern what did I love? I am very much taken with the style, & whilst I’ll make it smaller next time, & perhaps an inch longer, I do adore the collar with the contrast facing. I actually found making the choice for my facing extremely challenging. I’d picked the fabric from my stash (a Walthamstow linen) mainly because I had already bought the invisible zip to match it but the dress it was earmarked for is lounging in my “can’t face it pile” due to a far too tricky for now muslin failure. So having decided on the powder blue, & plumping for red piping, what would be the contrast? Eventually it clicked, I was enlightened with vision & I bought 75cm of the polka dots (25% off in my local shop ).
More design loves – any obvious opportunity for piping pleases me immensely, & this was no exception. I chose red satin bias binding, just to see what it was like, as other bias tends to be quite coarsely woven. The satin was fine (hope it survives the wash). And those pockets! Oh so cute! I know I’m stuffing my hands into more polka dots which will make me smile. I could have done the piping better, & didn’t read this part of the sewalong instructions which advised me to fold my piping at the “nicked” bit in the curve. So my piping is a bit straighter than it could have been.
Now, invisible zip sewing is a new one for me, & I also followed Colette Patterns online tutorial. It was very clear, but didn’t stop me messing it up first time. Never mind. I am really pleased with it- I followed up one of the comments to Jane’s post where she also was converted to invisible zips. A comment from Lladybird advised that getting an invisible zipper foot for her Pfaff made it all so easy. So I looked up my model & bought the invisible zip foot (as well as the pin tuck foot & the narrow hem foot ….. well, you have to make the postage worthwhile don’t you?). Wow, sewing with the right foot makes it SO easy (as long as you place the zip the right way!).
My only yuk bit is the end of the zip & where it gets subsumed into the side seam. Lots of sewing, unpicking & sewing it’s still not right. There’s a little pucker that won’t iron out, but if I resew anymore I may wear the linen out, so it stays. Apart from that I have been revolutionised by invisible zips!
As the final design detail I took up the “design tip” in the pattern instructions & made a couple of self covered buttons from the facing fabric.
Another things that occurred to me when I was sewing this, was this: do cotton reels pack less length? What I mean by this is didn’t you used to get more on a reel of cotton ? Is there less metreage of thread being sold these days? I only ask because for making this dress I was very prudent, only using my blue thread for main seams. All finishing was done on my overlocker and I also changed thread for any tacking & sewing of facings. And the resewing of the zipper took place over the smallest distance. Despite this, I still ran out of thread – get this – less than 10cm away from finishing the hem.
Does any one know the answer? How many reels of thread do you buy per project? Is it worth buying two?