Sunday, 15 February 2015

Basics winter sewing - black wool crepe dress

I am constantly divided between all those great colorful and original dresses I see on the blogosphere which motivate me to create some as well and the fact that I primarily sew working clothes. With limited time dedicated to sewing, and almost zero possibility to find appropriate clothes (read clothes I do not have to adjust to my size and I like the colour and cut), the choice is quickly made.

So here we go with a next “basics”. Put in some black wool crepe from Laurent Garigue, a proven pattern (Butterick 6016), add a pair of sleeves and I do not ask for much more.

Not so many adjustments needed, just plain and quick sewing. The dress is lined with a rest of the flower silk, which I also used for the hem. Again, the wool crepe is forgiving but needs to be handled carefully to prevent fraying.

The black was really difficult to photograph, moreover with a new flash my photograph got last week. So the preparations took some time and … I got bored.

OK, enough talking, here is the finished dress:

Inspiration: …
Pattern: Butterick 6016 with sleeves
Pattern changes: sleeves
Technique: nothing special
Fabric: black wool crepe
Time to Complete: 2 weeks

Total Cost: 31 EUR

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The dress it took ages to finish

And when I say ages, I mean ages: almost 30 hours of work, to be exact, all-in-all over a month to finish it, knowing that I do have a full time job and sew only on week-ends and rarely during the week.

Moreover, contrary to my usual sewing, this dress does not even have lining. Although the lining choice could have saved me some time in the end.
So why, WHY did it take so long?

First of all, this was my first designer dress from the Vogue collection. As a traditional Burda sewer, I discovered Butterick last spring and was pleasantly surprised by the fit. I still need to do some adjustments, but do not encounter Burda’s plunging necklines and large shoulders. I tend to sew, and wear, always the same style, so the Ralph Rucci V1317 seemed like an interesting innovation. Still a business dress, but a DIFFERENT one.

I have seen very different versions on the internet, from a very fine fabric, to false suede (which, btw, is one of the recommended fabrics). I took some risk and tried to sew it from a great violet wool crepe.

Wool crepe, you say, so fluid fabric, but also a lot of fraying. The pattern does not include lining and since it took me at least 2 days to understand how all the pattern pieces should be assembled, I decided to follow it and not to put the lining in.
Which meant: another solution to prevent the fraying: Hongkong binding, or something similar. Add to this the double stitching and the result is clear:
Every seam had to be sewn 4 times:
-       One for the seam itself
-       One for adding the binding
-       Plus the double stitching (attaching the binding at the same time)
All this on often curvy seams….

I was not 100% convinced by the model (round shoulders… hmmm, not quite my style, it makes me thinking of the 90’s), until I have sewn the kaliko. And there, the revelation: this dress could turn out pretty well. I guess I was this revelation moment which actually motivated me to finish the dress, because what came next was a serious attempt to lose my sewing mojo.
If you have narrow shoulders and a short back like me, this is not a model where adjusting is simple. Fortunately, the wool is somehow forgiving a few imperfections. I remember having adjusted the pattern correctly on the kaliko, but on the final model I still ended up taking in an inch or so in the shoulder area.

Then came the craziness with the binded seams, and I can tell you, I had a great training!

OK, let’s stop complaining and get to the positive side:
I have managed to finish this dress and turned out quite OK.
The colour is just beautiful, the double, or triple topstitching is perfectly visible on the dress and the fit is better than expected. I now also have a big stock of violet thread, as I was afraid of running out of it :o)

The only thing I am still hesitating on is the waistband. Put it on the front, in the back, or cut it out? Not sure.

To sum up: great pattern, great challenge, original dress and certainly going to buy some Vogue in the next weeks.

And of course with the Vogue pose:

Inspiration: Ralph Rucci
Pattern: Vogue 1317
Pattern changes: waist adjustment, shortening body part, only one pocket
Technique: Hongkong binding
Fabric: violet wool crepe
Time to Complete: 6 weeks, probably
Total Cost: 46 EUR