for christmas i received colette patterns eclair, and thought it would be a perfect for easter. since it requires a good amount of fabric, i made sure to keep an eye out for a deal and fell in love with this cute floral print. i snagged up the last few yards of it at under $4/yd!!! it is a cotton lawn and feels so dreamy and soft, perfect for a full-skirted spring dress. is it just me or does this fabric have something of a liberty print vibe going on?
if you haven't noticed, i've become something of a colette patterns junkie. they have me so spoiled with their sweet packaging and hand-holding instruction booklets. i'm one who normally skips over the pattern instructions, but from colette i read every word whether i need to or not. a benefit to sewing from the same pattern designer repeatedly is that you quickly get a feel for what adjustments you will need. i know i have to cut out basically all the bodice shaping, so that's what i did. i finally figured out how to do sba's on darted bodices, so the princess seams threw me for a loop initially. on this bodice, the princess seams narrow to the center more than normal, so it took a bit of fiddling to get the shaping right without losing this (slimming!) design feature.
|front bodice pieces|
|back bodice pieces|
seriously. you don't even want to know where the original seamlines were. why i don't just start out with a rectangle and then add tiny amounts of shaping is beyond me.
as a personal preference, i'm not totally comfortable in a strapless dress so i added spaghetti straps. they don't do anything structural, i just felt like they would be a nice insurance policy on account of my lack of boobage to keep this sucker up. also, my shoulder to bust measurement is shorter than average, so i just hiked the bodice up and added some length under so that the bodice hit my waist. all in all, i added a good inch and a half to the length of the bodice because i need the waist seam to hit under my ribcage. ya know, so i can breathe and whatnot. i think this pattern is a tad short-waisted anyways, fyi.
being a strapless dress, the bodice needs some solid construction to make sure everything stays in place so i underlined the bodice pieces with muslin. but, before i underlined the bodice pieces, i added some lightweight fusible to the muslin. this gave me the benefits of the fusible interfacing without having it directly applied to my shell fabric. i hate to risk the bubbling or weird creasing you can sometimes get with the fusible. yes, i could have just underlined in a heavier material, but i was using what i had on hand, and this worked out rather nicely.
|against my better judgement i followed the "press seam to center"|
directions... i don't see the reason for this, i'll definitely press
princess seams flat from now on!
i used a lightweight poly lining to which i added boning. the pattern suggests a sew-in caseless boning but i went with the good ol' roll-o-boning from joann's. it's not my favorite, the plastic can be a bit unruly, but it gets the job done.
quick tip: bring a pot of water to a boil then shut off the heat. take the boning out of the casing and drop it in the hot water for about 5 minutes and it will magically uncurl!
also since i was dealing with an essentially strapless bodice i added a waist stay. the waist stay helps to anchor the whole dress so i don't feel the need to constantly tug at it. even a well fitted bodice can start slipping.
as colette patterns is famous for, this dress has pockets! the full skirt hides them beautifully, but i strayed from the pattern directions slightly because i wanted to be able to press the skirt side seams flat. i'll elaborate on what i mean here in my next post and give you a full step by step.
mmm... don't you just love a neatly finished interior?