After finishing my last medical school class on Friday a week ago, I sat my last end-of--year exams today. Well, the last ones before medical board exams next spring. I'm feeling kind of nostalgic... I only had three exams, too, instead of the usual seven-to-ten, so I had most of last week to relax, treating myself to a girl's afternoon at the Hamam and Vietnamese food and a indie pop concert afterwards, among other things. I love living in this wonderful city. :)
I also had time to make something that has been on my mind seemingly forever. Possibly since I saw the brown-cream-blue plaid in the FIDM scholarship store when I visited LA two falls ago. (Ali, have I ever thanked you for that incredible tip? :-) I was going to go for a princess seam sheath dress - possibly the same pattern as my teal wool dress - but was intimidated by the pattern matching. Which is obviously why I chose to use the Rooibos pattern in the end. Because of the minimal pattern matching. *sarcasm*
Well, in the end, my pattern matching did turn out mostly fine, although I chickened out and used a bias cut for the midriff band. It does make a nice contrast, I think.
I'm ridiculously pleased with this dress, possibly because of the fabric. It didn't have a tag but I suspect it's a wool-poly blend. It feels slightly scratchy, as if it has a pile, and it refuses to take a crease - even when pressing the seams, they wouldn't lie flat! It also washes well, so I hope this is going to be my never-to-be-ironed dress! ;-)
I added piping to the pockets, like last time, and also piped the neckline - which was a real pain. Something about those tight corners, many layers, and attaching it inside out... Using my facing fabric, which was a tad thick, for the piping also didn't help. It looks less than perfect, and in hindsight, I'd rather have piped the midriff band instead (which I meant to and totally forgot) - but it's ok. It's a lovely dress.
I also fully lined it, basically by making up another dress in lining fabric (except for the pockets, of course), basting the bodice part to the facing and then assembling everything. It worked out better than I thought, even with the slippery rayon lining - and I still love the Rooibos method of attaching the facing! :-)
In an incredibly unusual craving for perfection, I also hand-stitched the hem, with my homemade bias tape. Just for clarity, this is the very first time ever that I hand-stitched a hem. I also hand-stitched the lining to the zipper. This dress has untold (well, told, now) amounts of hand-stitching. (Btw, do you hyphenate hand-stitching? Hyphens confuse me. Compound verbs do, too...)
Fabric: 2.5 yards of plaid poly-wool mix, 1$/yd from the FIDM scholarship store, 0.5m possibly cotton twill 3€, 2m rayon lining 6€
Pattern: Colette Rooibos
Notions: two seafoam colored buttons, 0.20€ each, invisible zipper, fusible interfacing
Time to Complete: a week
First Worn: Sunday choir practice
Thoughts: Having made the pattern already, there was no tracing involved, I was pretty sure about the fit and construction was a breeze. Against the instructions, I left the side seams for last, to be able to adjust the fit better, since my last version, for which I graded from size 8 to 12 from the bust down, seemed a bit big in the waist. I had problems with notching and grading the many layers (lining, interfacing, facing, piping and fashion fabric) around the neckline. Thoughts for next time: use lighter fabric for the piping or leave it off at the neckline. The hand-stitched hem actually didn't take all that long and I like how it turned out, although it could use another pressing.
Oh, speaking of hand-stitched hems: Curves, Patterns & Pins has a project called Check the Technique, which I joined.
page (to be reached at the top of my blog) where I can tick off the techniques I learn. Yay for ticking stuff off lists! ;-)
How's it going in your part of the world? What are you sewing right now? Are there any techniques you've always wanted to learn?