Saturday, April 20, 2013

"There's A First Time For Everything Dress": Colette Laurel in Teal Corduroy

This dress marks a "first" for several things:

1. My first blog post!
2. The first time I made something to enter into a competition.
3. The first time I used my new serger on a garment (which was a disaster but I'm still counting it)
4. The first time I inserted a sleeve in under an hour with no tucks or crying.

For starters, taking pictures of a garment for a blog post is way harder than I anticipated it would be. I didn't know where to go to take one, I don't have a tripod, and I don't know much about taking pictures (or even using my camera).  I decided to go to the large field at the end of our street using my husband as the camera man. The pictures were taken while our twins were crying in their stroller saying, "OUT!" and I was telling my husband, "Could you PLEASE get a closer shot?!"  Someone we know drove by and chatted for a few minutes.  Somehow the subject of us standing in a field taking pictures while our kids were crying never came up.

I've been learning to sew clothing since late 2011.  I've always wanted to participate in a sew-a-long but never got around to doing it.  When Colette Patterns released Laurel and announced the contest, I decided I was going to enter no matter what I ended up with.  For practice I used teal corduroy that I had sitting on my shelf.  The back of the envelope doesn't suggest corduroy but I think it turned out OK. I will wear it in the fall, or next week if our weather doesn't warm up!

I am still working very hard at picking the right size to sew. I usually fail with the first muslin. I've made the Colette Sorbetto before so I knew I wanted a size 2 in the bust. My initial muslin was sewn with a size 2 in the bust graded to a size 6 under the bust. I tried it on and wondered what I was thinking because it was way too big.  The dress I ended up with is a size 2 that I graded down to a 0 a few inches under the bust.  I do NOT buy size 0 clothing at stores, but when I had all the seams sewn and tried it on it looked too baggy in the hips. I think that might be because corduroy doesn't drape very well. Starting under the bust dart, I sewed 1/2 inch inside the original seam all the way down.  I don't know if that's how you're supposed to do it but it worked out OK!  I added a few inches to the length of my pattern piece but it was still very short.  I ended up doing a simple hem instead of a 2 inch blind hem because I didn't feel I could spare the extra 2 inches at the bottom.  What can I say?  I don't like short skirts. 

I used Colette Patterns video on inserting an invisible zipper and I think the zipper turned out well.  I love that video!  "Flip once, flip twice' really made things easier for me.  It looks like the tops of the collar don't line up in this picture but in real life they do. Too bad because I'm not taking another picture!

I didn't take pictures of the sleeves.  I feel slightly self conscious about them even though the whole process went well for me.  Apparently I don't know how to work a steam iron so it looks like there are tucks in them but there aren't!  I completed a Colette Anise jacket and almost ended up with a vest because the sleeves were SO challenging for me.  This time I followed the advice in Fit For Real People and sewed the bottom of the sleeve separately prior to gathering the top of it.  I also used 3 rows of basting stiches instead of the two I normally do (even though I know you're supposed to use 3). 

As for the serger:  I want to love it but right now I just can't.  Threading it is like rocket science.  I'm not posting pictures of what the serged seams look like.  I just don't have healthy enough self esteem. Let's just say they don't look like any serged seams I've ever seen!  Back to the shop for a second class for me!