Monday, December 8, 2014

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

Here is the other result of the Dahlia sewalong!

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

This dress is Version 1. Like nearly everyone else, after seeing the gorgeous model pictures for the pattern release, I couldn't bear to make it out of anything other than plaid.

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

The fabric is this Italian wool flannel from Mood. I thought it was on the border of being too thick to work with the gathers, but I loved how it looked and felt so I followed my usual methodology and just went with it. This is actually the first real wool garment that I can remember owning, except for a pea coat from the Gap that has been tentatively carbon dated to the High School Era and possibly an ill-fated sweater that found its way into the dryer.

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

I mostly don't have wool because of where I lived, and I also don't lead a dry-clean-only lifestyle. Plus, wool sends some mixed signals. It feels all soft in your hands, and then you put it on your body and it's like, HA! tricked you, I'm actually gonna BE ALL SCRATCHY. It keeps you warm when it's wet, yet you can't wash it. And the smell of damp wool fills me with conflict - I think it's kind of gross, but it also makes feel vaguely pleasant?

All that being said, I've decided I do like to wear wool, and I'd like more wool things.

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

So let's talk about fit. When I first made my muslin, I cut a 2-4-6 based on my 33-27-38 measurements. Everything was pretty ok, except the shoulders were way too big. Like falling off too big.

If you look at the original sample pictures, it's quite a wide scoop neck on the model, and as I've said with annoying frequency, I have pretty narrow shoulders. I decided that I didn't just want to do a fit adjustment - as in, adjust it to look proportionately the same as it does on the model. Instead I wanted to redraw the neckline so that it was a bit higher up. That way I'd be sure it would stay up and there would be no peeking bra straps [a major pet peeve of mine].

So here is what I did to the pattern pieces:

Colette Dahlia - my fit changes

On the sleeve, I did a couple of things. First, while wearing my muslin, I decided how much further in I wanted the neckline to be at the front raglan seam - I think it was 1.5". I extended the front raglan edge towards my neck by that amount. I also angled it slightly to shave off a bit from the width of the sleeve at the neckline because it was kind of gapey. The amount I angled it was determined by how much I pinched on the muslin.

On the front bodice, I lengthened the raglan edge by the same amount. I also angled it because it was hitting me too high, and also to take out some of the neckline circumference.

Not pictured, I also removed a 1/2" wedge from the center back at the neckline, blending to nothing at the bottom. Because of this I moved the dart points each away from center by 1/4" to keep them on grain. [1/4" was the width of the wedge even with the dart points.]

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

The yoke and skirt fit fine, although I think I could have cut a 4 in the skirt instead of going out to a 6, but with the lining and the zipper and everything I'm not changing it!

Speaking of lining - I added a sleek and shimmery Bemberg rayon lining to deal with the aforementioned wooly itch factor. Cliff notes version is that I made a whole second dress out of the lining, attached it at the zipper, and stuffed it to the inside. The process is detailed further [and with pictures] in this sewalong post if you want to learn more.

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

Other sewing notes - after finishing the dress, I decided that I'd rather have the skirt be pleated rather than gathered. With the thicker fabric and the plaid I just thought it might look a little cleaner. It was a really quick alteration, just a matter of undoing the yoke seam where the gathers were, squeezing out a box pleat and restitching that section. Since I had a separate lining, I omitted the inner yoke, meaning all those seams were still exposed and accessible.

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

I also took in and shortened the sleeves, which I suppose belongs in the fit section, but I did it later after things were happening. The lining was already in when I shortened the sleeves, and I cut them together as one layer. I think I must have cut the lining too short somehow, because now the bottom edges of the sleeves are a little wrinkly like they're getting pulled. Grrr...

I think the last thing to mention is I made the bias tape 3/8" finished instead of 1/4" to account for the thicker fabric.

Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress - Version 1

I'm very satisfied with how this turned out, although because of the dry clean factor I probably won't wear it as often as I would if it were machine washable. Or, I will just have to expedite my acquisition of more wool things to make the trip worthwhile. I did have a dream about ponchos the other night... [not kidding].

26 comments:

  1. oh, this is beautiful ! I also made a bodice muslin and I was a little off when I saw how wide the neck line...Now having your post read I am definitely go back to that and try to do this adjustments. Thanks a lot .

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  2. It's a shame that everyone seems to have to make some serious alteration to make this pattern work. I bought it the moment it was released made it that week, and hate the dress because of the neckline. I'm debating unpicking and fixing, but am not sure if it's worth it. I rebought the fabric to do so, but am so irritated with what seems to be a drafting problem that I'm not sure if I want to do it. Your version looks lovely!

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    1. Thanks! and hmmm...on the one you already made, you could try adding a little dart at the top of the shoulder, or adding some gathers across the shoulders maybe. That would be a lot easier than taking it all apart!

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  3. I agree with Nicole: this pattern requires an awful lot of adjustments. I also bought it the minute it went out because the style is lovely, but the muslin adjustments are so overwhelming that I'm wondering if this pattern has been tested before publishing. Anyway, you did a great job with your own make and your detailed adjustments are certainely most welcome.

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    1. thanks! if it's the shoulders that are troubling you, remember that as long as you get it close, you can always adjust it when you make it by gathering it more or less around the neckline. good luck! :]

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  4. Lovely dress. I could tell right away from your photos that you had done some significant alterations to the neckline and shoulders. Every other version of the Dahlia I have seen have had problems there which I think are the result of poor drafting. Your alterations are nicely done. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. thanks, i appreciate it! i think maybe it's a combination of the colette block being slightly wider in the shoulders, plus a neckline that supposed to be a wide scoop neck. add that to my narrow shoulders and i was doomed from the start :]

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  5. Beautiful! I love how wintery it looks with the plaid. Wool is actually my favorite type of fabric (I'm a knitter first, but use it for sewing as well). You can almost always hand wash it and some machines even have a gentle enough delicate cycle as long as it's set to cold. Always hang to dry, though. You could test a leftover scrap of this fabric to see if it'll be OK; measure it before and after washing to see if it shrinks at all.

    Superwash wool is also a thing, which usually means it can be machine washed on cold and dried flat. And actually, the process they use to make wool superwash often also makes it less itchy. Wool has scales, which is what makes it want to turn into felt, but by making it superwash they chemically remove those scales so it becomes less scratchy as well. And this will sound gross, but wool really doesn't get stinky as fast as cottons so you may be able to go longer in between washes with something wool.

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    1. Oh that's good to know! I will test wash a scrap. I'm a knitter too, and I love wool in that capacity but have just never had a garment made out of it. I will look for super wash, thanks for the tips! :]

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  6. Wool flannel sounds dreamy. I agree with Emily wool is amazing! Very pretty dress, looks great on you.

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    1. thank you! wool flannel makes me think of the english countryside, which i've never been to, but at least now if i go i'll have wool flannel to wear.

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  7. Hallelujah, I'm not the only person the Colette Patterns shoulders are acres too wide for! Thanks for the tips!

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    1. haha no problem! i have to do something to the shoulders on just about everything i make, but yes colette shoulders seem on the wider side.

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  8. How beautiful! I'm with you the wool smell - haha! Also as Emily writes, I wash my wool garments on a delicate or cool cycle in the machine (no spin) or hand wash them. I'm not into dry cleaning! I am into your dress though, and that lovely lining. Good work!

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    1. thanks for the tip! i'll definitely have to try the washing machine, because i never go to the dry cleaner.

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  9. Firstly, your dress looks amazing! You are so talented to make all those adjustments you needed and end up with such a perfect fit. Secondly I was really surprised when you said that this dress was one of the first real wool garments you had owned. I am from New Zealand and everyone here spends winter wearing Merino wool everything. It is not itchy, it comes in different weights so you can layer it, its natural, looks great and its machine washable - (I use the machine wool cycle with shampoo instead of laundry powder). I would love it if you could order some from The Fabric Store in LA and then made something up in it - like your Papercut Patterns Anima Pants for example. I swear Merino will change your life! Happy sewing. Rachael x

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    1. thank you!! i think it's mostly because i lived in southern california for 10 years, and wool is so warm that it was just too hot to ever wear! it's clearly a lacking area in my life, and i've very excited that i live in a colder climate now so that i have a chance to wear it and sew with it. also i SO wish that the fabric store sold their fabrics online!! i would give them all of my money!

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  10. Lovely dress. Having read others difficulties I had decided to give dahlia a miss, then I saw yours! Then reading about all the alterations you made to get this lovely fit I think I'm back to giving it a miss! I'm not convinced I'd get it right.

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  11. I have GOT to make this dress! I bought it the day it was released, and haven't touched it since - still deciding on fabric, I suppose. Nice to know it is easy to line, as I was having the same hesitations about wool. You look super cute in this! :)

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  12. This is absolutely gorgeous! Great job on the fit and I love the lining. I will be saving this post so that next time I can use your adjustments!

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  13. Beautiful dress! I love it in the plaid. That color blue is fabulous on you.

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  14. This looks great! And I am not a fan of plaid but wow - such a nice job on this dress. Your decision to switch to pleats is perfect.

    Wool doesn't get very dirty. A salesperson at Britex Fabrics told me and other Bay Area Sewists (we had a meetup there last month) that he just brushes off his wool clothes after he takes them off and only dry cleans them maybe twice a year. A member of our group says wool is antibacterial so it takes longer to get dirty. So you can wear your dress a lot before you need to dry clean it. :)

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  15. I heart. I have some of this wool too. Mine: a Bruyere. And, I have a wool crepe plaid for this dress. :)

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  16. You should use Soak - https://www.soakwash.com/! It is perfect for handwashing, which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than drycleaning. Bonus, it is perfect for every kind of delicates such as silks and bras and underwear. You fill a tub with lukewarm water, a squirt of the wash, then let it soak for a while. Then squeeze it out in a towel and let it lay flat to dry. Easy peasy!

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  17. I love this dress. It looks beautiful on you! I'm a sucker for plaid, I have to admit.

    As some others have said above, you can certainly wash wool. Sheep are out in the rain, too! ;)
    I prewash all my wool fabric in the machine, unless for the really delicate crepe fabrics or fabrics that are very loosely woven. Use special wool detergent or simply shampoo. My machine has an extra wool program, but if you use a short, gender cycle and a short spin, you should be fine (temp 30°C). Make sure to let the clothes dry flat (not hang, as said above). Sometimes, with extremely expensive fabric, I pretreat with a wet cloth and iron/steam. Your flannel would have surely wandered into the washing machine here, flannel is not very complicated that way. Treat the fabric before sewing as you want to treat it afterwards, so that it doesn't shrink after you've put in all the effort of sewing.
    And if you can't machine wash it, you can always wash it in the sink. Roll the garment up in a towel and press so that it isn't as wet for drying.

    Just came across your blog the other day, and I really really like your blog and what you sew!
    Greetings from Germany,
    frifris

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