Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Opale dress from Grains de Couture

After luck put me in Delft during the weekend of the fabric market, I had sewing on the brain.  I lasted one week without sewing: )  I ended up with about 6 meters of lovely rayon jerseys and itchy fingers...

There is a 'werkstatt' in Munich with sewing machine time to rent, but it didn't match up with my free time.  However my friend in Munich had been considering buying a sewing machine and I managed to talk him into doing it now so I could show him the ropes.  And those hopeless pieces of Opale were conveniently in the luggage I am storing in his attic, and I was finally ready to look at them with a fresh outlook.

Upon assessment, what I had done wrong:
--no SA on the neckline.
--back facing without SA, although I did put it on the dress cutouts.

I didn't cut out the front pieces - the little collar or the additional parts on the sides, because I was so uncertain how to add the SA.  And now with the dress on the floor, I still couldn't figure out how they were supposed to go together.  I didn't have the book, and so I just went by photos on the internet of the final dress.  In the end I decided to skip those pieces altogether.  I must say, even without the cuteness factor of those additional bits, this dress is great.

The fabric: from 1000Stoff in Berlin, and although it is pretty ordinary navy linen with a huge amount of stretch, it was somehow my dream purchase and was hoarded for awhile.  I wanted to make the Merchant & Mills Trapeze dress with it, but didn't have quite enough fabric.  Now I wish I had just narrowed the trapeze skirt and gone ahead - my instinct that it would have been amazing is correct.  On this pattern I ended up crossing sizes at the waist, although I don't remember what size I cut, the french sizing goes very small at the waist.  I didn't need to do that - it has a lot of ease, plus the stretch factor.  I was even able to skip putting in a zip. Also, this dress is short - I didn't shorten it and I'm 5'4".

It came together easily once I skipped the decorative parts.  I got a bit distracted on the front darts, so they are pointy. (I was talking to my friend about the sewing machine as I sewed!)  I didn't quite know what I was supposed to do with the cutouts. The facing creates a nice finish but means then you have limited adjustability.  I didn't stay stitch and so I was stuck with a stretched out neckline and I didn't have a good idea of how to best use bias tape to fix things.  My friend was completely amazed to watch it come together over a few hours of work.  Unfortunately I was stumped and I left it in Munich...where it waited over 6 months for my sewing vacation!!

So, updates are below:

 It was time to come to the rescue!  I stay stitched the neck (better late than never?) removed the weird bias tape I'd put on it, created a little tuck in the front, snipped about 1.5 cm out of the top back isthmus, and bias taped the neckline and the sleeves.  That created a fine finish at the back neck.  Probably because of my original missing SA, the armscye is a bit low and just about shows my bra.  In between the two cutouts I just sewed it down.  I know it should have something THERE but I still can't think of what - I don't want a bow as I reckon it would be annoying to lean on, but I did bring a piece of fabric with me to Ukraine in case I get bored and want to play with it.  I'm really happy with finally finishing this dress into wearability, even if I had to diverge from the nice details of the pattern quite a bit due to circumstances.

Good news: I'm learning French!  So maybe next time the pattern (hrm and the rest of the book) will go better when I can read the instructions.  I would consider sizing down a bit for another version but I reckon this one will get loads of use, as southern Ukraine is already hot! 

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