Sunday, November 28, 2010

First stab at the Pauline Trigere pattern

Having finally gotten the pattern of my dreams, I of course had to start on it ASAP.  I knew it would be a hard one to get right on the first try, given those diagonal side seams and my minimal pattern resizing experience.   When I spread out the pieces (uncut and factory folded!) I really felt quite lost at how to redraft this thing.  But I made my best guess, and it mostly worked.  I've still got some more work to do for version two, and I suspect I won't truly get it right until version three at the soonest.

This pattern is designed for more formal fabrics, but I didn't want to go that route since my life has zero formal occasions in it (and I like it that way).  So I went with a cotton shirting material that I got from JoAnn's clearance section.   It turns out to be not quite drapey enough, but it's not horrible.   I had originally chosen a cotton voile in fuchsia for the lining, but it too looked a bit stiff for the design, so I ended up going with the fitted sheet from a sheet set I got from Goodwill a while back. (The top sheet has already turned into this dress.)   The bottom sheet was very worn in the center, and not suitable for anything that would show.  But for a wearable muslin, totally fine.

So here's my first attempt.  (You'll have to pardon my dog, who is doing his prairie dog imitation because he sees another dog.)  Despite taking out a total of five and a half to six inches out of the bodice, I still need to bring it in a tiny bit more.  It would be less noticeable in a fabric with more drape: this shirting wants to crease up a little.   I added bias strip edging (made from the lining material) to make the dress a little less plain.   It still seemed like it needed something more so I made a fabric flower and pinned that to the front.  I also top-stitched the angled side seams, which makes them somewhat more visible, but not as much as I'd like.  However, the sharp point where the side seam joins the back waist seam makes the idea of adding piping or the like rather unpalatable.  I had enough trouble sewing that point as it was.  I actually did a better job of it on the lining -- my points on the outer fabric aren't completely smooth, and the material wants to form a pleat there.

Here's a shot of the flower I made.   It was fun to do, so maybe I'll make more in the future.  I figure when I'm wearing a cardigan over the dress I can pin it on the cardigan.   You can see the fabric better in this shot too.

The dress requires a 24-inch zipper, which seem to be uncommon these days.  JoAnn's has a limited selection.  High Fashion Fabrics doesn't bother with them at all.  I'm sure they're available online, but as someone who doesn't plan projects much in advance, I like to be able to pick up my notions at brick-and-mortar retailers.  A 24-inch zipper meant lots of hand-sewing.  Ugh.  But I'm better at it than I used to be.

So I'm off to begin round two with this pattern!  I had wanted to make a version where the back panels were a different color than the rest of the dress, to make the unusual seaming stand out.  But I couldn't find what I wanted at High Fashion Fabrics, so the plan is to make a plaid version with some more clearance fabric that I happen to like.  The diagonal side seams probably won't stand out much at all, but I can continue to work on the fit, and I just like the overall shape of this dress, whether the interesting design details are evident or not.  I may look online for some fabric that matches my original idea in the meantime.

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