Mademoiselle Marinette

Marinette1I don’t exactly remember how I stumbled upon Gasparine, I think it was via Instagram, but I do remember that I immediately fell hard for Miss Marinette. As a lover of 1920s fashion and nautical style, I could not resist its dropped waist and sailor collar and immediately ordered the pattern.

There was one detail I didn’t like, the elasticated low waist: I knew there was no chance for this to look good on me and I decided to simply omit the elastic, easiest modification ever. But when I first tried the dress on, it was way too long and, well, it did not look good at all. So I unpicked the waistband and reattached the skirt directly to the bodice, and that did the trick! It’s crazy how much a few centimetres of skirt/dress length can change the way a garment looks.

Marinette3All in all, the pattern was really easy to sew, to the exception of the collar, but the tutorial for that part made it fairly easy, too. The only step I had trouble with was no part of the pattern: the cotton trim I used had a strong tendency to shrink as I was stitching it to the rayon, which made it a total pain to sew. I managed to keep it under control on the skirt and sleeves, but not at the collar: it literally made the collar ties about five centimetres shorter each, argh! This made them difficult to tie, so I invisibly hand-sewed them in place.

Marinette5The fabric is some rayon I bought at Le Chien Vert. It’s a beautiful fabric, heavy and very fluid. Fearing that the pieces would distort as rayon is often prone to do, I stabilised not only the neckline but also all of the bodice seams with some Vlieseline Bias Tape T12 (I prefer that to staystitching).

Marinette4The pattern has you finish the neckline and sleeve hems with bias tape, but I did not have enough fabric to make some, nor did I want to use some stiff store-bought bias tape on such a fluid fabric, so I made a narrow neckline facing that I topstitched in place (leaving about two centimetres free, that couldn’t be reached by machine, under the collar on each side of the shoulders), and I serged and turned the sleeve hems. I also replaced the skirt gathers with pleats (four pleats, one under each bodice dart), because I had made such pleats on this dress and loved the effect.

Marinette2I like the finished dress very much; the only thing that bothers me a little is the fact that the collar got so distorted by the cotton trim that it sometimes gets a bit wavy, depending on the way I stand. But once again, I never think about it when wearing the dress. Oh yes, one thing that really bugs me is that I completely forgot to add pockets! I keep reaching for them, so I think I’ll have to muster the courage to add some side seam pockets to the finished dress someday…

Peachy Dress

Blush1Judging from my blog, you’d think I’ve completely given up on sewing and knitting, wouldn’t you? But I haven’t, not at all! I blame Instagram for the languishing of this space: it is so much easier instagramming what I’m working on or what I’ve just finished than bothering to clear up the space where I’m taking my blog pictures (you didn’t think it was always this pared-down, did you?), set up the camera and tripod, and check my hair, and strike a pose, and blah, blah, blah.

But I’ve decided to stop with the slothfulness and blog those unblogged garments already! My obsessive nature compels me to present them in the order I made them, so we’ll start with this dress I finished in, ahem, February!

Blush3The fabric was a birthday gift from Mimolette, who knew I had been fawning over Atelier Brunette’s beautiful designs but hadn’t taken the plunge yet (I have since bought three meters of this beauty). Bye Bye Birdie Blush: gotta love the alliteration. My birthday’s at the very end of September, so this fabric only spent five months in my stash, not too bad compared to the usual lot of fabrics in my house.

Like all cottons, it was very nice to sew with, but man does it wrinkle! Also, it has a tendency to forget that it’s 100% cotton and sometimes attracts lint like a common synthetic. I mostly wear it with this cardigan, which I wear with a lot of other pieces, yet this dress is the only one it sheds tiny pieces of black fluff on. Not that big of a deal, but it was surprising at first.

Blush4The pattern is from Stylish Dress Book 3 (Dress B). It’s a very simple pattern so I was sure I’d be finished in no time, but you know me, I’m never finished in no time!

I quickly realised that with such a light-coloured fabric, I’d have to add a lining or run the risk of putting my underpinnings on display. Luckily I had some beige Bemberg rayon in my stash, and putting in the lining was not too difficult. I did have to think twice about how to manage around the neckline facing and the sleeves, and finally opted to simply attach the lining by hand at the sleeves (but by machine everywhere else). While we’re on the sleeves, I trimmed those with a very small piece of this lovely cream lace (oops, still haven’t started on that blouse!).

Blush5I had planned on adding patch pockets to the dress, but later realised that there was no way the pockets I had in mind would work with the gathers of the skirt. So I had to ditch them in favour of side seam pockets, for which I had to unpick and redo the side seams of the skirt, argh!

Blush2The only thing I’m not happy about with looking at the finished dress is how high the waist is compared to the dropped waist I was imagining. I should have measured the pieces beforehand and compared them with my other dropped waist dress. Like most sewing mistakes, it never bothers me while wearing the dress, but I’ll definitely lower the waist if I ever sew that pattern again.

Now only eight more finished projects to blog to catch up on my backlog!

Marcianita Dress

Viviane1Oooh, shiny! Maybe too much? And also too puffy? That’s what I thought when I sewed the yoke on and saw it on the dress for the first time, especially after my boyfriend saw it too and started singing this (warning: that link makes noise!) and joking about how funny it was that I was going to a 1920s party with a futuristic costume.

Viviane2But as I said yesterday, even though it’s a bit kitschy, I actually like the end result and I’ve worn it a few times already on days when I wanted to be comfortable yet put together, so I call it a success! It’s not perfectly comfortable, the armholes are a touch too tight (and they have a tendency to wrinkle after I wear the dress for some time), but it’s subtle enough that I don’t really think about it while wearing the dress.

Also, the fabric I used (a silk voile I bought for a song!) is so lightweight that the slightest gust of wind makes the skirt portion fly out and reveal, well, everything under it, oops! Let’s just say there have been a few instances when I was grateful I was wearing opaque tights.

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I don’t really know what is happening there. Is that my Marcianita pose?

The pattern (Viviane by République du Chiffon) is a pdf you have to assemble and trace, which doesn’t bother me too much as I trace all my patterns, and at least this means you don’t have to print and assemble too many sheets of paper, but it was a MAJOR pain assembling those sheets as none of them did match! I had to “gather” the paper in many places so that all the lines would remotely correspond to each other, not a pleasant experience. Other than that the pattern was ok and the instructions were clear, though if you ever make it I would advise drafting a facing for the lower part of the yoke to get a rounder and more even edge: if you follow the instructions for that part like I did and just turn the edge under, it’s pretty much near impossible to get a smooth result, especially with a lamé like I used.

Viviane4Oh yes, and I know I’m really slow, but I was surprised at the time it took me to sew the dress compared to how easy it looks, but this may have to do with me using French seams and adding side-seam pockets, or just being even slower than I thought I was… About the pockets, I added them in the skirt part and I was afraid they would be too low, but I don’t need to perform contortions to put my tissues in there or take them out and my hands are in my pockets in most of the pictures I took, so I guess they must be in the right place.

So all in all, this was not the perfect project I hoped it would be, but it’s still a nice dress and I would not rule out making it again with a few modifications now that it’s already been traced.

PS My blog is one year old today!!! Thank you so much for reading! 🙂

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