Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The "Good Intentions" Dress

Fabric: Light-weight navy and white cotton for main fabric, muslin for underlining
Pattern: Colette Patterns' "Peony"
Year: 2011
Notions: 20" vintage zip - navy, store-bought red piping, thread
Time to complete:  several hours, over a few days (3 day weekend)
Total price:  ~$30.50 total --  ~$10 for the fabric, 50cents for the zip, $2ish for piping, & $18.00 for the pattern (the expensive part...but I'd definitely make it again)

Peony, piping, polka-dotted cotton, and matching vintage zip.

Similar to my intentions when taking the above picture (despite the bad lighting, etc.!), my intentions for this dress were good...I promise! I even made a muslin of the bodice because I'd heard through the internet sewing grapevine that this pattern's bodice generally required a little bit of fitting and tweaking. But wait, there's more. I decided, why not try underlining (for the first time) for this project, since I had a rather lightweight fabric for a pattern that specifically noted the suitability of "crisp, medium weight fabrics." (It did give the dress a nice weight.) I even took it a step further and used the same soft muslin material to underline the facings, instead of using fusible. How fancy am I! 

Used Tasia's advice re: underlining a bodice and dealing with darts.

Well, just because you've created a muslin doesn't mean you'll automatically be able to determine which ways to adjust it to perfect the fit! Also of note, underlining makes for bulkier seams, which, when combined with underlined facings makes bulky, fiddly shoulder blobs seams.

with a thrifted belt, from the front...
and the side...(ignore my dopey face!)

...and the back.

One final product I did like is the sleeve cuffs. These babies were inspired by Alana's and Adey Lim's cute little curved cuffs. I decided to use contrasting navy/white striped fabric from my stash with a pop of red piping (I know, it all looks rather patriotic and a bit nautical--but I'm ok with that!).

Doing my darndest to stitch super close to the piping.
Trying to figure out how the heck to construct and attach them.
Ta-dah! Fancy cuffs!

Cute--just ignore those bunchy shoulders!

All in all, I'm fairly pleased with this dress. Maybe I'm ready to veer away from the polka dots for my next project. And I didn't really make any progress in the fitting department, other than actually creating a muslin, which I never do. But, I'll wear this dress (once I finish the hem -- I hope no one noticed!). Also, maybe I can find an in-person class on fitting...because it seems like no matter I how much I read about it, when it comes to actually identifying what to alter on my own projects, I'm clueless! I guess the only thing to do is to just keep on trying and practicing and making. :)


  1. Hey Sue, thanks so much for commenting on my blog - it brought me over to your own and showed me this gorgeous dress!!! I love the spots and the cute little cuffs with piping. And I recon the fitting looks great!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment, Suzie! The cuffs with piping are definitely my favorite part of the dress. :)

  2. Those cuffs are awesome! And there's nothing wrong with polka dots :)

  3. Adorable! I love the nautical feel!

    And . . . I'm with you, sister: fitting is kind of a nightmare! Trying to find my way as well!

  4. Beautiful fabric choice! I really love what you did with the sleeves. The dress looks great in the photos. I hear you about the fitting. I just finished my Peony last night, my trial version, and the whole thing fits like a dream except the back is huge and gapey. How weird. Going to have a cup o joe and try to figure it out. I'm glad there is so much info on the Internet to help! Following your blog now too! :)

    1. Thanks, Kim! I've only just popped over to your darling blog and just had to admire your ginger skirts! So cute. Ginger is definitely on my to-sew list for spring. :)

  5. I just saw this featured on the Coletterie blog and OMG! I love love love this dress! I adore the fabric and the fit is fantastic. I'm a new-ish sewer and I am super-inspired by your dress. Thanks so much for sharing :-)

  6. So adorable on u! Love the sleeves and red piping x

  7. Gasp! I LOVE The cuffs on your sleeves! It's genius!


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