For round 3, we were all given the same pattern to use—a dress with a weird bodice—the Colette Rue pattern. Modifications to the pattern are allowed but it still has to be recognizable as the pattern. We were given digital files to download. I took one of the files to Staples to have it printed using their engineering prints. It was sized way too small. The sleeve fit on an 8.5x11” paper—a doll-size sleeve. After being at Staples for over an hour trying to download the other files to see if they would print properly, it cost a small fortune. I have never spent more than $10 on a pattern. To print 3 pages, it cost over $21. Since the pattern had two different versions, it was spread out over 5 pages. Also, the pages had patterns for the lining, which I am not going to do. So basically it cost over $21 to get one page worth of patterns.
Ok, done with my ranting . . . for now.
First off, I chose version 2, with the straighter skirt and no piping in the bodice.
Did you tweak the Rue Pattern for Fit or Design?
I wanted something different with the large neckline. I could tell just by looking at the pattern that the neckline was going to need adjustments. For one, there’s the modesty factor, and two, constantly pulling it up on the shoulders is annoying. I don’t like having my bra straps show. Also, since the weather is getting colder, I wanted a dress I could wear for fall. So not only did I modify the neckline to make it cover more, I also added a collar for style. I have some tunics in my wardrobe that I love that have a unique collar. Joann’s had a sale on Butterick patterns, so I decided to take a peak. I found Butterick 6248.
Here’s what I wanted to make:
Once I got the dress finished, that particular collar just didn’t go well with it. It was too big and distracted from the unique bodice. So I went with a different style, cut on the bias, from Butterick 6243.
My updated draft:
I loved how it actually turned out. I also wanted to make a matching hat. I found a free template online at Martha Stewart’s website, called Woolen Beret.
I also decided to omit the pockets. I normally do not like pockets in dresses or shirts. But after finishing this dress, I thought, “It needs some pockets.” I wish I had included them.
I also changed the location of the front pleats and put them to the side a little ways (see photos). I wish I had also moved the side pleats because they stick out a little bit since they are directly on the side.
To make it look more like a tunic, first I shortened the skirt pattern by 7.5 inches (on the line on the pattern where it says to shorten or lengthen) but after I stitched the skirt on the bodice, I needed to shorten it a little more. I ended up cutting off 2 inches in the back and 3 inches in the front (tapered, of course), then made a 1-inch hem using the blind hem stitch.
I omitted the lining. The fabric I used is pretty heavy. I didn’t feel it needed a lining, and I didn’t want it to be too hot to wear for autumn.
Now for the sizing factor … I normally wear store-bought clothing size 6-8. I use Butterick and Simplicity patterns size 12-14. Colette pattern sizes seam to line up with the store-bought clothing sizes. I used the measurement of my waist because my bust is so tiny and my waist is not. When I made the muslins, the sides were a bit too big, so I trimmed them down. I cut pattern piece size 6, but trimmed the sides down to size 0. I also enlarged the armscyes by about 1/4 inch.
Describe any trims, embellishments, linings, etc. used to construct your dress.
I used an invisible zipper for the back. Since I used an 18-inch zipper for my last project, I did the same for this one and it worked fine.
Share your sewing process on this garment. Details please!
Ok, here’s my long story . . . When I first read the contest rules, I misread that knits were allowed. I had some ideas for some fabric and really didn’t want to spend money buying more fabric when I have totes and totes of fabric in my shed. But I decided to look at Joann’s to see if something might jump out at me. Sure enough, a beautiful knit ombré burnt orange/red fabric screamed “Pick me!” and I loved it, so I bought it. It was more expensive than what I normally spend on fabric, but I figured it was worth it if I get a beautiful new outfit out of it.
Since the fabric was pretty expensive, I wanted to make a muslin out of cheap fabric first, to make sure it would fit before cutting the good fabric. I used knit fabric, with a few minor adjustments to the neckline (since the neckline is so large, it would literally be hanging off my shoulders). It fit perfectly. I was so excited to get started. Before cutting the fabric I decided to re-read over the rules just to make sure I didn’t misread the part about using knits. Sure enough, it says “knits are not allowed.” I wanted to cry. So, back to square one and I had already used 4 days out of 7, just figuring out fabric and printing and modifying the pattern. I thought about some fabric I had in the shed that I had bought to make a coat out of. It is beautiful purple and gray plaid from the Joann’s Plaiditudes line. I only spent about $3 a yard on it since I got it for a really good deal (and I bought all they had.) I wanted a little contrast with it, so I found some matching gray fabric at Joann’s (again from the Plaiditudes line.) I didn’t need much, and I again bought it all, so I got the remnant on it—only paid $6 for over a yard and a half. I originally was only going to purchase 1/2 yard, but I am SO glad that I bought it all. I messed up on some things and needed that little extra fabric. I ended up using most of it.
Ok, so now for the second attempt at creating a muslin out of flannel. I literally spent 7 hours drafting and redrafting, modifying this, modifying that, and it just didn’t fit right. Many people had trouble with the sleeves and armscyes not fitting. That was my problem, too. Without the sleeves, it fit fine. And even using stretch knit fabric, it fit fine. But as soon as I placed the sleeves on it, it was too tight in the arm. I tried enlarging the sleeve and armscyes about 10 different times. When I finally got them large enough, it looked terrible. The sleeve was too big and the large armscyes made it gape in the front. Finally I decided to do away with the sleeves altogether.
By day 5 of the contest, I was ready to start cutting the good fabric and creating my dress. Since I was going sleeveless, I measured the armscyes, then cut a piece of the purple plaid fabric on the bias one inch longer than the armscyes. I sewed the ends together with 1/2 inch seams and stitched it on like blanket binding.
I used the gray fabric for contrast for the bodice bottom (side) pieces, and the collar.
By day 6, I was finished sewing. I am so happy and excited with how it turned out. It is even better than how I pictured it in my head. Day 7 will be picture and review day. I literally spent every spare minute working on this. I woke up, worked on it, went to work at my job, then when I got off work, I came home and worked on it until bedtime.
Did you use any "new to you" techniques or methods of construction?
Stay-stitching!!! I have run across patterns that say to stay-stitch, but did I ever listen? No. This time I did and what an invaluable technique! I created a muslin without stay-stitching, then one with stay-stitching. What a difference! Stay-stitching will be a technique that I will use from now on.
I had never made anything with a bodice such as this one. It was a little confusing. Thank goodness there were drawings in the directions, but still, the drawings were a little confusing for the step to put the lower part of the bodice onto the front. After the second muslin, I had it down to a T.
I haven’t used an invisible zipper for a while, so I had to look up how to insert it. I love how it turned out and wish that all my zippers in my stash were invisible. Ha!
Tell us why this dress should get you to the final round.
With each round, I have stretched myself further than before. This one has been the most challenging, and what a challenge it has been! I figure if I successfully complete this round, I can do anything. I have grown in each round that I have completed. The first round I was rushed and just wanted to get it done. I was actually surprised when I made it through to the second round. For the second round, I was really excited about making a nice top to add to my wardrobe. Of course I hoped I’d win, but I was just as happy to have a beautiful top that I could actually wear. I stretched myself to be creative and make something I’d be proud of and proud to wear. For this third round, it has been a true challenge. I felt like giving up at times when things didn’t go right, but was able to continue on and take this challenge by the reigns. I began to get excited about making yet another beautiful addition to my wardrobe and figuring out how to go around the obstacles. I’ve only really been sewing for a few years and have made only a few garments—mostly for my kids. This contest has stirred up a new excitement for me and has forced me to face the challenges that come with it, to learn more about sewing, and broaden my horizon. I no longer see “making a garment.” Instead, I see “creating an awesome, amazing, beautiful garment.” I feel that this dress is awesome, amazing, and beautiful. It fits me perfectly and I love how it looks on me. It has been a sucess.
Indicate here that you included the minimum of 3 photos required- no blog links please for this contest.
1. Front – Yes
2. Back – Yes
3. AT LEAST ONE PHOTO ON A LIVE MODEL – Yes
4. Photo showing modifications
5. Collage of front, back, side, and close-ups of collar, armscye, and contrast bodice.
(Stupid bathrooms at the state park were locked, so I had to go to the portapotie to change.)