Monday, November 11, 2013

Seasonal Macarons, Part I: Summer

Have I mentioned that I really like the Macaron dress, by Colette Patterns? You probably notice when you have a look into my Handmade Closet, as I have already made three versions. Well, now that number has gone up to five. :)
I'd been thinking about making a Macaron with a lace yoke for practically ever, and have had a small piece of green corded lace in my stash since my visit to Sidney three (three?!) years ago. And when I bought this second hand dress, it immediately screamed "Macaron" at me.

Um, actually it took quite a while longer than that little word implied. For one, I was very intimidated by the idea of working with lace, so it took me a long while to even start cutting. Then I realized that even an A-line maxi dress doesn't contain all that much fabric, so I had to cut the skirt pieces of the dress just a bit smaller. I figured that, since the fabric was just slightly stretchy, it wouldn't matter too much if I also used smaller seam allowances.
I also found out that despite having made the dress three times before, the bodice really didn't fit very well. That may be partly because of the fact that this hawaii print is particularly drapey, much more so than the other fabrics I used. Also, each of my other three Macarons has a differently modified bodice. The first was more or less a wearable muslin, on which I used tucks and darts until it fit me the way I liked. I converted my changes into a bodice with princess seams for version number two, since I liked that style better with the plaid fabric on bias grain that I used. For version three, I again changed the princess seams into darts, and that one seems to fit all right, but it's a sturdy quilting cotton.

What you're seeing here is the final version of my Summer Macaron, which actually fits nicely. But I had to shorten the bodice by quite a bit, especially in the middle, and since I had already put in a zipper, I just seam-ripped the bodice from the waistband and took out a curved slice, going from about 3cm in the front and 2cm in the back, tapering to nothing at the side seams. Now it looks a little funny on the hanger, but since it's the hang on the body that is important - who cares. ;)
I have almost fixed the issue for my second seasonal Macaron - the fall version. Which I'll show you soon.
The facts: 
Pattern: Macaron by Colette Patterns, self drafted knit yoke
Fabric: Thrifted maxi A-line dress. I suspect it's a rayon, since the fabric feels very soft and drapes well. I also suspect the dress was home-sewn, since it doesn't have any labels and some of the stitching looked that way. Also a small piece of bright green corded lace from The Fabric Store in Sydney and some leftover Elvis print quilting cotton (from a Wal*mart in Bowling Green, Kentucky)  for the pockets.
Notions: Some yellow bias tape that I got from Maider, to get a more secure stitching between lace yoke and bodice. Green invisible zipper.
Time to complete: About three months between start and finish. Actual stitching time: not all that long.
Alterations (from last iteration): Shortened the front and back bodice by 3 and 2cm, respectively, tapering to nothing at the side seams. skirt pieces are about 2cm slimmer on top,  but I straightened the tulip skirt a bit, to better use the border print..
Techniques used: Invisible zipper, machine blind hem, lace yoke bound with lace strips (like with bias tape), yoke and shoulder seams faced with bias tape. Overlocked seam finish.
First worn: Not yet, actually, since I only finished it a few weeks ago. The hawaii print screams summer to me, so I probably won't wear it until in a few months...

Funny how, even though the Macaron is not your usual basic dress pattern, I've managed to accrue five versions of it, and can see a few more in my wardrobe without problems. I'd really like a warm, cozy one in a nice wool fabric. Or maybe a sweatshirt fabric and jersey combination, with long sleeves. And now I've gotten (kinda) over my fear of lace, I'm thinking it would also make a perfect LBD with a black lace yoke! 

Do you tend to make multiple versions of you patterns? Which patten have you used the most?


  1. I always only sewed a pattern once when I started sewing years ago. But I would usually buy option patterns ie 4 versions on 1 pattern. Now Im much more frugel, learning that a pattern can look so different dependant on fabric. I have just made two of Butterick 5890, its as easy to wear as a t shirt, and I have have just cut our my second Vogue 8557 a different option to the previous. Ive never tried collette patterns before I can see the appeal of the Macaron pattern very versatile.

  2. Love the colours in this summer fabric and how well you were able to match the lace to the main fabric. I must confess I seldom make patterns more than once - I guess I'm mostly a one hit wonder!

  3. I love it!!! It looks so "you" - and at the same time, so fresh and interesting (I mean that in the best possible way, there are some people who stay true to a look and their clothing starts to look the same after awhile ... everything you make is so characteristically "Alessa" but each is beautiful, unusual, and distinct. If that makes sense). I never would've thought to make the Macaroon out of a thrifted rayon dress and paired it with a green yoke, but this is superb. Love it!!! Haha, I've got this CRAZY thrifted dress that I was going to refashion with the Macaroon pattern and some lace. I'm wondering if I need to finish that project up, now that I've seen how wonderfully yours turned out. Oh, but it's crazy. You'll see.

    Uh, I guess I've made the Sorbetto a hundred times, as a blouse and a dress. I need to retire that one, I think, although there's something lovely about shift dresses. Actually, the Airelle from Deer and Doe is another that I seem to really like, as well as the Tova - blouse, dress, all lovely!

  4. 5 macarons?!?!?! WOW!!!! Love your sleeveless version, they are so cute! I think that it would be great in sweatshirt fabric and jersey combination. Can´t wait to see your next version!!!!

  5. How cool! I think it's a great idea to reuse a pattern. I think the most I have used a pattern is twice. Love your version of macaroon...and the verity knit dress you made a few weeks ago!

  6. I love it, the lace is such a good idea. I think you know I do sew multiple times from one pattern as I am intrigued by seeing how many different results and design tweaks I can get from a single pattern! Most sewed? Simplicity 2259 tops, 3835 tops! xx

  7. I always love your Macarons! The lace yoke is so pretty and goes so well with the Hawaiian print.

  8. I really love this - and all the versions look different! This pattern has been in my queue for forever; I need to stop procrastinating!! :)