Fashion Sewing

Colette Peony Dress – Complete!

March 28, 2012

Remember this in progress photo here?

That was back, oh, maybe a week ago. Yeah, it’s been awhile… What happened, you might ask?

I fought the bias tape and the bias tape won.

More on that later. But in the meantime…

It’s done! Yay!

I decided to go with a sleeveless version of the Peony dress. I’d been pondering how to go about doing this when I saw Lauren’s adorable gingham version on her blog and decided to also go the creating-facings-from-bias-binding route. I’d also trimmed down the neckline from the pattern pretty significantly as well, so this was much easier than drafting up totally new facing pieces.

The main fabric is an organic cotton and the belt is a polyester satin type material. I picked up the fabric a few months ago after oogling the print on this Modcloth dress over at Sew Weekly’s “Make This Look” feature. I liked the print but wasn’t a huge fan of the colors… or the style… but then I came across the same print in blue and for some reason immediately pictured it as a Peony dress.

Along with making the dress sleeveless, I also lowered the neckline pretty significantly. I just tried it on, eyeballed it, then put it on my dressmaker model and trimmed. If I hadn’t trimmed it down, it would have been brushing up against my neck all the time, which would have driven me nuts! That’s just a personal preference though. The lower neckline ended up being more flattering as well. I also omitted the pockets and created a variation of the belt with topstitching on the sides and two smaller self covered buttons. I also did what is becoming my standard “long-waisted adjustment” to patterns and added two and a half inches to the bodice length and adjusted the darts accordingly. Otherwise the dress would have been more of a baby doll style on me, which wasn’t really what I was going for. In this case, creating a muslin of the bodice beforehand was definitely a good idea.

I think that I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really a floral-sy girl… but I actually really do like this print! For some reason, a lot of more traditional floral prints make me look like I’m trying to play dress up. It’s actually pretty silly. I think that the colors and the birds in this print make it a little more fun and funky though, so it works.

Some sewing nerd close ups follow.

Contrast stitching on neckline (I used a pale blue rayon on top and a blue cotton thread in the bobbin):

Same contrast stitching on hem, close up of the belt, and fabric covered buttons:

The back of the dress: (it looks like the belt rode up a little higher here, but you get the general idea).

As far as the bias tape fiasco goes, I tried to make bias tape out of the same silky slippery polyester that I used for the belt to use as a contrast around the neck and armholes. Several attempts (and several hours) later… total fail. The darn stuff just wouldn’t hold a crease while I put it through the bias tape maker! I kept turning the iron temp up and up and even tried steam/no steam until I was worried that the stuff was going to melt. It still wouldn’t hold a crease! So then I just gathered up the scraps I had left over of my fashion fabric. I had just enough left over to make a bit of bias tape for the facings, which worked out quite nicely since that fabric was a nice crease-able cotton

So… lesson learned. No using slippery polyester fabrics for bias tape.

The first project from my spring sewing list is complete! The second is in progress right now. Which one do you think it’s going to be? Check back tomorrow for a sneak peek!

P.S. Head on over to BurdaStyle for a few more goofy pics of the dress from today’s post in action.

Have you ever sewn with bias tape? Have you ever made your own? If so, is there some secret to making bias tape with silky or slippery fabrics? Please share in the comments below!