fall, sewing mail, and self-inflicting fitting woes

I am sitting here literally eating hot fudge pudding cake cold out of a Tupperware while Oregon douses us in perfectly timed fall. Yesterday the weather was similar, if not more torrential, and Josh and I attended the wedding of two dear friends–a wedding that was an outdoor wedding.

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The dress I wore was one I made specifically for this occasion, yet alas it was covered up by a winter jacket, because it was just so cold outside. The newlyweds’ love may have kept them warm, but I, on the other hand, was dreaming of wool socks by the end of the afternoon.

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Colette Patterns sent me their newest pattern, Rue, before the official release, and opening that package was akin to digging through my stocking on Christmas morning. I love the vintage call-out and the distinct femininity of the design. The full lining was also a pleasing element. I also appreciated that this pattern was more involved than the quick and gratifying patterns from their Seamwork line.

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{See that awful pulling at the bust? Good hell.}

What made this particular pattern challenging for me was figuring out the fit. The design lines in the bodice are so lovely and distinct, and that also makes fitting adjustments trickier. When I whipped up a quick and dirty muslin of the bodice, there was bagging in the bust, but I cut that out using a simple wedge adjustment in the center front bodice. When I started stitching up the dress in the real fabric, I took in the waist by about two inches. As I was nearing the dress’s completion, I noticed some more funny fitting in the bust. I fixed some gaping by taking in the neckline at the shoulders, but I fear my fitting inexperience really caught up with me on this one.

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In researching potential fitting last-minute fitting solutions, I referenced the Rue sewalong that started this week. The information there answered several questions for me: 1) This pattern has more ease than other Colette patterns, which explains why the size I usually am with this brand was too big, and 2) because of the bodice design, grading between sizes–at least from bust to waist, like I usually do–is not advised. The sewalong hasn’t yet tackled the bigger fitting issues I faced (and created), but I’m eager to follow along and learn how to fix the fit for the next time I make this (and I do want to make it again).

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Apart from my own self-inflicted fit troubles, the dress is delightful to stitch up. Construction is complex enough to be interesting, but not so intricate that I’m throwing seam rippers across the room. I had no problems easing the two bodice pieces together and felt like a zipper victor when I successfully installed the invisible zipper to both the shell and the lining. And all those box pleats? Take me to heaven please, where all the skirts will have giant pleats.

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(Can we take a moment and ogle my lining fabric? It’s a poly blend I snagged for $3.97/yard from the bargain bolts at Colorado Fabrics a few weeks ago.)

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Next time I make Rue, I’m going to start from scratch and trace a completely different size and make a new muslin. From there I’ll reference the sewalong for needed fit adjustments. You can be sure that I’ll post my take-two-Rue when it’s finished!

Fabric is Robert Kaufman chambray from fabric.com

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2 Comments

  1. Andrea
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    The bust was hard. I forgot that had to reduce my shoulder seam allowance to 1/4 inch after I slashed out 1/2 an inch from the bust. I love your yellow! Good information on the sewalong. I’ll have to remember to reference that info.

  2. Matthew
    Posted September 27, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Looking at your lovely pictures and beautiful handywork, I almost cannot believe that a woman can be this cute. I’m 49 years old and have been living in Thailand for eleven of those years, and it appears I had quite forgotten just how good a real honest-to-goodness and decent lady looks, back in the west. I’ve had a smile on my face all day today, since finding your website. I wish the locals were as sincere and classy. I think it’s time to come home. Thanks.

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