here is my finished charles! (in case you missed it, my dress is named charles.) click on the photo below to enlarge it.
i was hoping to take pictures of it on me, but we had such a busy and fun (and exhausting) long weekend in big sur/san francisco that i just let that goal slip away. right now i am so burnt out from all the hard work leading up to the trip, plus the travel, that i haven’t the energy to put it on and take a picture. i promise that i will follow up with a modeled photo soon.
in the meantime, here are some details regarding construction, inspiration, and fabric choice…
* as previously mentioned here, i started out using the pattern for the pastille dress in the colette sewing handbook. after A LOT of alterations to make the bust fit (due to my body shape, not pastille’s design), i decided to add a full skirt instead of following the pattern. i also removed the sweet little dip in the front of the neckline and the cap sleeves to make it simpler.
* for the skirt, i started with gertie’s full gathered skirt tutorial, but was inspired by these two skirts as well, and wanted to add pleats to the front.
* the skirt has one large 4″ inverted box pleat at the center front, flanked by 1.5″ knife pleats on either side, and gathered around the sides and back. i added a few extra inches to the front to allow for the pleats.
* i also deviated from the pastille pattern by making it fully lined and adding pockets.
* i underlined the bodice for added stiffness; since this fabric has more drape than i’d originally intended, i wanted to give it some body. i also hoped that this would help keep the darts from showing through on the face when the bodice was pressed. as you can see in the photo above, that didn’t really work. i considered underlining the entire skirt to try to add fullness, but in the end the weight of all that fabric would have been way too heavy.
* i had never installed an invisible zipper before, let alone with a lining. i did as much research as i thought i needed, and somehow missed the all important step of not sewing the side seams until AFTER the zipper is installed. major whoops. i think this mistake added a solid days work to my efforts. i will never make this mistake again!
* hemming… i overlocked the bottom edge of the skirt, then sewed vintage cotton twill tape over the edge to cover the stitches, and hemmed the dress using the blind hem stitch/presser foot on my sewing machine. i just didn’t want to fold the hem under and then stitch it, as the extra bulk would show through on the front when i pressed it. unfortunately the twill tape stretched out while i stitched it on and got all wavy. next time, seam or hem tape only.
* i think my favorite detail is the peach rayon seam tape that i used to hem the lining. i love the gold and peach together!
* the fabric is either an organic cotton or linen (i forget!) from my local fabric store. i really envisioned this in a silk taffeta or something similarly stiff, to hold the pleats and gathers, but it took so long to make all of the adjustments and decide on (and make a pattern for) the skirt that i didn’t have time to order anything fancy. given that i hadn’t really made the whole dress yet, nor had i ever (machine) sewn that type of fabric before, i’m not sure that i would have been comfortable spending that much money anyway. in the end, i sacrificed the fullness of the skirt that i’d fallen in love with in the inspiration photos for practicality and affordability.
overall, i’m pleased with the way the dress turned out. because i made it from cotton (or linen?) i made a dress that i can wear often, instead of a party dress for special occasions. i think this will be a great date night staple! however i don’t think i’ll be able to let go of my original vision so easily, and i expect i’ll be making this same dress (with a few modifications!) in silk one day…