The Colorblock Dress at last!
Phew! Now that was a project and a half! Despite the trials and tribulations, I really enjoyed this process. There were so many steps, but they were all enjoyable, even the mental perambulations (I find it exceedingly apt that ambulance has similar roots to perambulations since you might need an ambulance after you perambulate – haha).
Brief recap of the colorblock marathon:
- Choose a design
- Cut up my TNT
- Figure out order of construction
- Sample, sample, sample!
- Hit some roadblocks
- Topstitching is fun!
- Wear the dress on a beautiful NYC Spring day!
Wow, I have so many things I want to share with you about the construction of this dress. Where to start? First off, spending hours drawing all those designs was fun. I totally understand all the croqui madness that has been spreading around the sewing blog world. That took up several days and nights of my time. I chose my colorblock scheme based on ease of interpreting the design into my TNT sheath dress pattern, B5147. I had to think of how to deal with the darts, both the bust darts and the fisheye darts. Lauriana, and several others suggested that I rotate the darts into the design seams, but that made my poor little head hurt. I also knew that the pink linen was my color, while the orange was not great next to my face, so that dictated a lot of the color placement and also how much orange I used.
I made a lot of samples which helped quite a bit in determining my order of construction and preferred methods, but they didn’t completely prevent mishaps or obstacles.
- My sister pointed out that having the darts run through the orange waistband was weird. She was right. So I redrafted the waistband.
- My topstitching samples were fine, but when it came to the real topstitching, I had a mess. The tension was off sometimes and my eyes were really pulled to all the random loose stitches. I ripped it all out and started over with a proper topstitching needle on my Singer Featherweight. It worked like a charm. My topstitching is gorgeous, if I do say so myself. I want to topstitch everything in sight now.
- The mysterious grease stains from nowhere came out using Dawn dishwashing detergent. Several people, including Peter, suggested that little gem.
Matching the colorblock seams was mostly successful (just two points don’t match up completely, but my perfectionism has its limits) and I’m quite pleased with how the dress turned out. It’s flattering, bright and pretty.
Ready for some pictures???
Here are some close ups of the top stitching, seam matching and the slit (which I chose to topstitch as well to deal with the seam allowances).
Other construction notes…
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really wanted the orange parts of the dress to be a saturated orange, so I doubled up the orange linen for those sections. Not only did that work and the orange is really solid, but the double layer gave the waistband a nice support and the hem band has a nice weight helping the dress to drape beautifully. I faced the hem band and topstitching the top of the hem band enclosed the seam allowance of the facing at the same time. I love when things just come together beautifully like that.
I also used a new method of inserting the zipper where the lining and fashion fabric are both sewn on by machine rather than hand stitching the lining to the zipper tape. I happened across this tutorial online, but also saw there were several others. While this method worked, I found that the lining was sewn too close to the zipper teeth. It caused problems using the zipper and I had to unpick a few of the stitches. Also, I had difficulty feeding the lining fabric through evenly so there was a little bunching up. I wasn’t too bothered by it though and I didn’t adjust anything beyond unpicking a few stitches. One more note on this method: I think you have more control over how “invisible” the zipper is by inserting it the traditional way. Or I could just need more practice. 😉
Here’s how the dress looks worn.
And here’s how I wore it at work with a cardigan that I picked up yesterday at Ann Taylor. It couldn’t have matched any more perfectly.
Conclusion: I love this dress. It’s so cute with those bright colors. Everyone else looks so drab in their NYC black uniform. Haha! I told everyone to wear their sunglasses today at work. They need them.
Happy Spring everyone!