Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Republique du Chiffon Lucie

One day last week I suddenly got tired of waiting to make this dress.  I put together the pdf, traced, cut and finished it in about 2 days while also being on hospital call.

I bought it last summer when it came out, which means I have the pattern in French.  Also, no seam allowances.  I was so very excited to make it!!  But ugh, so many things to make me pause - the pdf cutting and pasting, the french, the seam allowances.  So although I really wanted to make one exactly like the model in the black Atelier Brunette fabric, it didn't happen.

Now that I'm on the other side of the Black Hole of Moving, the fabric choice is a very rough rayon from Anna ka Bazaar - disappointing, as I wanted to use it for some Tania Culottes and it has a terrible drape and a rough weave.  It feels like linen.  That's why the fabric was set aside until a different project came along.  The lining is cotton on the top and silk on the bottom, just because I had a piece of white silk in exactly the right dimensions.

My hesitations about this dress were all about the gathered waist.  I generally avoid gathering.  I find it irritating and frumpy looking in sleeve heads and I have a psychological block about it everywhere else.  With exception when it's in very small amounts, like in the Anouk (which is even borderline.)  Also, it seems like a gathered waist is difficult to finish nicely.

I cut a size 34 after measuring the pattern pieces and myself a few times.  I would be a 38 according to the measurements but the final dress measurements of a 34 still gave me some room in the bust, and I wanted it to be a bit less loose and hanging than on the model.  I am 165 cm so I didn't lengthen or shorten it at all.

The technique for putting the top together is the same as the Datura blouse - namely that you sew the neck and armholes of the lining and the fabric together for the front and for the back, and then you place the back inside the front with one of them right side out, and you sew together the little tube of the shoulder.  I find this method completely absurd and crappy.  There's no way I can sew a perfect 2" tube.  I end up with lumpy and uneven shoulder seams and that made me think this dress was a mess early on.  Because of that I didn't do the extra work of sewing the lining and the dress skirts separately.  I think the pattern has you sew them together, but if you sew them separately then you have a clean finish on the inside.  Because I was suspicious about this Lucie, I didn't want to do the extra work of gathering twice.  I basted the bodice and bodice lining together, and then I gathered the front and the back of the skirt separately and sewed them to the bodice one half at a time.

I thought the dress looked totally stupid when I tried it on, but after a solid pressing of all those gathers and finishing the hem it seems to look better.  I'm still on the fence.  I can't see the shoulder seams anymore so they don't bug me like they originally did, but I would LOVE another method for sewing a clean finish on a lined tank top.  (BTW I think this would make a nice tank top too...with a french dart for some shape.) When I wear it I like the feel of it.  Nothing like some silk lining to make anything have a nice swish.  But I still feel like it's very unflattering. 

1 comment:

  1. Your fabric looks great, and I like the dress. However, given your comments about the bulkiness of gathers, I wonder if you really needed to line the skirt. Even if you thought it should be lined, it could be done as an A-line rather than being gathered. I realize it is customary to gather the lining on gathered skirts, but one usually does an A-line on a pleated skirt, so why not on a gathered one? This would eliminate the bulk of two sets of gathers around the middle, and still provide the desired opacity of the skirt. It would also enable you to put the lining seams on the inside, making for a tidier finish.