Now that the wedding is over and done with, I feel like I have all this free time on my hands… to do things like sewalongs! The timing of the release of the Colette Patterns Dahlia dress and subsequent sewalong could not have been better. I have a nice plaid shirting that I found in the remnant pile at Pacific Fabrics and have been wanting to make Matt a Negroni out of it, but I’ve been sitting on it, since I had never sewn with plaids before and was a little intimidated by it. The Dahlia dress was designed with plaids in mind and came with a plaid matching guide in the form of a free download. I figured this would be the perfect entre into the wonderful world of plaids and I could experiment with something for myself, in case I screwed up, which I almost did.
Guys, this dress was almost a wadder… let’s be clear right away though, it was in NO part the fault of the pattern designer or the host of the sewalong, the adorable and oh-so-talented Devon of Miss Make. The pattern instructions were as clear as always and the sewalong posts spelled everything out even further. I just brain farted for some reason and made some stupid mistakes. Maybe I got high off making my wedding dress and thought I could just coast through this one or maybe I drank too much wine while sewing. Who knows? Whatever the reason, let’s recap anyway, shall we?
Okay, it looks totally wearable in these pictures, right? And it is! I mean, I am so pleased (and amazed) that it turned out so good, but at one point it almost ended up in the bin. The pattern is listed as a beginner level pattern, but for some reason I had a lot of trouble with it.
Let’s start on an up note though and talk about something that went well. The fitting was a breeze. I followed my measurements and graded from a size 6 at the bodice to a size 12 at the waist, which was different than my usual 8 to 10. I’m glad I went by my measurements, because I did a muslin and found that no adjustments were needed. That never happens!
I think I can attribute a lot of the problems I had to my fabric choice. I used a cotton flannel from my stash, that I had bought at Bolt Fabrics in Portland, when I was there for the Blogcademy last year. I originally bought it thinking I would make a Peony dress out of it. I love the colors and it is very soft to the touch and doesn’t seem like it will pill much or anything. It was kind of stretchy though, so it moved around a lot more than I had anticipated it would when I was sewing it. I even followed Sarai’s advice from the plaid matching guide and basted the seams first (most of the time), to make sure they matched, but I swear sometimes they still moved a little bit. Maybe I should have used a walker foot?
Another thing I did right, is that I cut the fabric on a single layer, so at least everything was pretty even to begin with, so I think that helped.
The biggest boner move I made, was that I somehow sewed the yoke lining in backwards. Here’s where the stretchiness (and the fact that the yoke was cut on the bias) became an asset, I was able to maneuver the yoke lining into sort the of the right place, so in the end it didn’t fit too bad!
It doesn’t look too pretty on the inside, as some the yoke lining was not caught by stitching in the ditch. I got crafty and basted it from the inside and then stitched in the ditch again, so most of it attached correctly. I had to cut my losses at this point and be thankful that the yoke was even still fitting somewhat correctly.
The inside of the back looks okay though!
The best part of this whole dress is this hem. Just look at this hem! Devon taught us how to do a blind hem in the sewalong and my life has been changed forever. I have spent hours catch-stitching hems in the past and sure, something may still call for that, but in the meantime, this is just magic to me. She also taught us a technique for joining bias tape that I had never tried before and it worked really well, so I learned a ton from making this dress.
This is totally going to be my holiday dress this season and it is really comfy, so I think I’m going to enjoy wearing it. Now if I could just finish my Miette cardigan! That would look so cute with this, don’t you think?