Greetings bird thugs. You know, Mr. Bug put out a bird feeder to be nice and I think the least you could do is not tease the squirrels and clean up after yourselves. Silly birds.

Ah! Today I have a reveal for you! I cannot tell a lie, I finished this dress a while ago. I mean, it WAS August, but it was probably before the 5th. Even so, I started it in July and I’m claiming it as the July dress for my Year of the Dress project. I made OTHER dresses in July too, but I’m trying to keep dresses made for classes separate from dresses for Year of the Dress. But enough with the administrative tasks, let’s get to judging.

I guess juries are supposed to deliberate more than judge, right? (In case you’re lost, not only are you thug birds with messy table manners but you are also jury members) I can tell you the jury in my head could not come to an agreement. There were naysayers and, um, yaysayers (is that a thing?) A few thought it looked like a strapless dress over a t-shirt, a couple thought it looked like a tablecloth, some loved it and there was one juror who was completely uninterested and was just flipping through the new Ikea catalog.

Sharp eyed birds will notice that my Macaron does not, in fact, have a Macaron skirt. Clever birds, I was trying to gloss over that. See, what happened is I made a muslin for the bodice and assumed the full skirt would fit fine. I added 3/8″ to the seams for good measure, but once I finished the darn thing and put it on, ALL the jury members (the ones in my head) were in agreement that the dress was not working. The Colette size 18 is a bit smaller than my measurements, but I thought it’d be close enough – it certainly was with the Crepe! The killer was the pleats which are stitched down for a few inches up by the midriff band. This created an unfortunate sausage look right over some rough terrain that then BILLOWED out to obviously-too-small pleats. With pockets embedded in them. It was not good, bird-friends. Not good at all.

I ripped the darn skirt from the bodice (lucky for me, I’d had the foresight to stitch that sucker on with 4mm basting stitches, just in case), removed the pockets and grudgingly bought more of the lovely orange-rose fabric. I fashioned a new skirt using the pattern pieces from Kwik Sew 3758 (my recent knit’n’cotton tank dress.) The pattern pieces are super elaborate. It’s actually just one piece and it’s just a big rectangle. I figured that the gathering at the waist would make it ease to fudge onto the Macaron bodice and I re-used the pockets I’d already cut to make in-seam pockets for the new skirt, although I forgot to take pictures with my hands in the pockets to prove it to you!

I just can’t decide what I think of the dress. I LOVE the cotton rose print – I mean, orange roses! How awesome is that? And I like the teeny yellow polka dot interlock with the orange rose print, although I had some hesitation over the whole yellow shirt thing (do I look jaundiced?) I really love the fit of the bodice, it’s one of the best horizontal/vertical dart combos I’ve ever donned in terms of properly covering the curves instead of creating a bullet bra effect without the bullet bra (a side effect of giant FBA’s that I’m still fine-tuning.) I even like the skirt style I went with. I just can’t get over the strapless-over-a-T-shirt vibe I’m feeling when I wear the dress!

If either the back didn’t go down so low or I wasn’t so lazy, I would try again without the yoke and just put on some simple, wide, bra-covering straps. I really love the shape of the dress!

It’s sweet, isn’t it? I particularly like it from this angle!

Details, Details

Where shall I start you squirrel taunting feathered criminals? Ah yes, the knit yoke. Some of you might already be familiar with my peculiar issues of making the yoke (that’s the yellow part if there are any non-seamstress birds reading this!) I made the yoke from a knit when it’s supposed to be a woven and I had to compensate for the difference in wearing ease going from a woven to a knit – namely, I’d need room to move my arms when wearing woven sleeves and I like my t-shirts scandalously tight. My first post covering all of those shennanagins can be read here.Ā I ended up cutting a size 12 yoke and attaching to a size 18 bodice.

The attaching went fairly well – it’s a bit wavey, but not noticeable when I have it on. Here’s some photos of the bodice front – I did some topstitching in orange to help things lie smoothly.

And here it is on – you can see the waviness over to your right (my left.) That’s partially due to how I’m standing and the fact that the bodice ended up a bit loose as a whole. You can also see here how much I lowered the neckline (and the shocking preponderance of freckles on my poor, fair skin.) In general, the puckering was minimal.

The pattern instructions have you attach the bodice and yoke by threadtracing, turning, pressing and topstitching – basically, you are to attach from the right side instead of the standard right-sides-together-sew-on-the-wrong-side. Or something like that. I really didn’t think that I’d be able to accomplish all that while trying to stretch the yoke evenly to span the bodice (the yoke was smaller than the bodice since it was cut from the size 12 pattern pieces!) Instead I carefully pinned right sides together and stitched slowly, knit side facing the feed dogs. Everything went in smoothly and I went back and serged the seam allowances together and then topstitched the seam allowances down. In the photo below the very top line of stitching (towards the upper left) is the seam attaching the yoke to the bodice. Below that you can see the serging and the bobbin thread from topstitching and below that is the horizontal dart.

The other big change I made was to lower the neckline. I did that by tracing the neckline from a t-shirt pattern that I like. I finished the neckline with a strip of the yellow fabric. I measured the total length of the neckline and subtracted about 3 inches. Then I cut a strip of polka dotted fabric that was between 1.5 and 2″ wide and my neckline-minus-three-inches measurement. I cut it from selvage to selvage which is cutting on the cross grain and is usually the more stretchy direction for knits. I serged the ends together, then folded the raw edges together and pressed so I had a nice strip that had been fashioned into a circle with one edge folded, the other side the two raw edges and the right side facing out. I pinned to the right side of the neckline, matching up all the raw edges and stitched on with the machine using a long stitch – I had to stretch it to get it to fit. Once I got it with no wrinkles or tucks I restitched with the serger to make it strong and trim the seam. Then I turned everthing to the inside and topstitched.

Here’s a closeup from the inside.

I stitched most of the seams on the serger. The order of construction has you attach the midriff pieces to the front and back bodice pieces, then attach the front and back sections together, giving lots of opportunities for the horizontal seams not lining up. I like to use the serger whenever possible and if there’s potential for mismatched seams I’ll pin and machine baste just for a few inches over the seams to ensure they’re lined up before I commit to serging. I think if I made this again, I’d attach the front/back bodice and the front/back midriff pieces separately, then attach THOSE together. In any case, what with the knit yoke and all those horizontal seams I nearly broke my wrist in my attempt to get everything lined up and there’s definitely some puckering, but I was able to steam a lot of it away!

I put in a very short size zip that goes from right under my arm to where the skirt begins. Since the skirt is so full I didn’t need a zip there, and it’s not easy to get a zipper in where there’s gathering! I had to put in a centered, regular zip rather than the invisible that the pattern called for – it was easier to keep the seams lined up by basting shut and putting in the zipper with the side seam basted. That way there wasn’t any creeping around while maneuvering the zipper! (Who’m I kidding? I can’t stand invisible zips – I would have hand-picked if I didn’t have to deal with those stubborn seams lining up!)

One feature of the dress that I like is that the sleeves are fully lined – there’s a little scallop detail on the hem sleeve, so they’d be hard to hem otherwise! The pictures showing how to put the sleeves together made me think I’d gone to crazy town. But I managed.

The Last Word ā€“ Colette 1001/Macaron “The July Dress”

Fabric
main: Joel Dewberry Heirloom Rose Bouquet in Amber. Isn’t it to die for?? (Available online – when I last checked, there were probably 3 or 4 yards left. Enough for a full circle skirt, little birdies!!)
contrast yoke: Oliver + S City Weekend Cafe Dots in Yellow/cotton interlock (Available online)

pattern: Colette 1001 Macaron

notions: thread, a bit of clear elastic to stabilize shoulder seams, 12″ regular zipper

time to complete: Just over 8 hours! EGAD!!
Pattern adjustments and muslins: 4 hours
Cutting: 45 minutes
Sewing yoke: 45 minutes
Sewing bodice: 30 minutes
Making and attaching skirt #1: 45 minutes
Removing skirt #1, making and cutting/attaching skirt #2: 30 minutes
Zipper (3 tries. sigh.): 45 minutes
Hemming: 10 minutes

likelihood to make another?: As I said, the jury’s out.

curvy girl score: Oh, dear. Style concerns aside, the bodice gets a 9 with an adjusted/lowered neckline and a 6 with the high neckline. Based on my experience, that skirt gets a 6, although if it’s made at the right size, I think it could get as much as an 9 – I’ve seen it looking VERY cute on other curvy girls!! So that gives a total that could be as low as 6, but as high as 9!

"what're you looking at?"

 

 

 

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