I’ve decided that this is by far my most successful project to date! The satisfaction I felt when I finished this dress and it looked like I wanted it to look was great.
The fabric came from a craft fair that was held in the Heysel exhibition hall a few months ago. The stand I bought it from was run by a fabric shop in a small village in Flanders called Duffel. It was pretty cheap so cycling there to check out their stock is high on my to do list!
I drafted the pattern myself from scratch. I decided to make a new set of basic blocks and I used Winifred Aldrich’s method in the third edition of her book ‘Metric Pattern Cutting’. I first made the close fitting bodice block (page 18-19) and then followed her method on page 34 for making a close fitting two piece dress block. This was toile number 1. Next I adapted the skirt block to an A-line style. In the back skirt I removed one dart using the pivot method and moved the other to be in line with the back bodice dart and made it slightly bigger (3cm wide and 14cm deep). In the front bodice piece I moved the shoulder dart to the waist. This was toile number 2 which I wasn’t enamored with.
In the end I decided to draft a simple circle skirt style for the skirt part of the dress, using the finished waist measurement of the bodice instead of my natural waist measurement. I made some further fitting changes to the bodice before I was completely happy with finished toile number 3.
The sewing came together fine and this was my first attempt at making my own continuous bias binding to finish the neckline and armholes. I used the famous Colette continuous bias tape method. I HIGHLY recommend this!
And some other Colette blog posts that I can’t express my love for enough are the invisible zipper photo tutorial and the invisible zipper video. The zip in this dress went in quite well, and while I’ve definitely got a way to go before I can do it with my eyes closed, I can feel that I’m getting better when I look back at the shoddy zip insertions on previous projects.
I’ve worn the dress loads so far and it is really comfortable. It gapes slightly at the armholes but I’m just so happy with this dress that I don’t really mind! I never ever thought I’d be able to make something like this and I don’t mind saying that I’m pretty chuffed that I drafted the pattern myself. Next time I make it up I’ll consider lining it too and maybe adding short raglan sleeves.
Me wearing the dress and eating some lovely cake!