Hi, guys! Hope everyone had a lovely and safe long weekend, and those of you in the U.S. enjoyed the holiday!
Today’s dress is kind of a funny one. This is my second version of the Colette Hazel dress– here’s my first version. When I made it two years ago, I wasn’t in love with it and ended up putting it on my top 5 misses of 2012 list because I just didn’t like it. The funny part is that, despite not loving it, I wore that dress a fair amount that summer and over and over and over again last summer. It ticks the right boxes for a summer day dress- easy to wear, easy to launder, doesn’t make me hot and sweaty, doesn’t need special shoes… perfect! So I found myself wanting another version!
I was so excited to use this fabric, despite the fact that I’ll be a walking hipster joke (everyone’s seen this, right?). It’s a gorgeous wax print from Vlisco– they still have the print, “Speedbird”, in a couple of different colorways. I really love the colors and the striking design. I should warn you, however, against checking out their website- the fabric is SO, SO beautiful that you might find yourself ordering more than you can afford! I’ve admired Vlisco prints since I discovered Cathy‘s amazing creations from her days in Benin, and when Susan of Moonthirty fame told me over Instagram that they ship to the US, I lost my mind and ordered two pieces. It’s been in my stash for a while, just waiting for the right pattern! Right now I’m trying to talk myself out of this print. It’s so beautiful! Must not… buy… more fabric… stay strong… stay… strong…
Here’s the problem. When I made this dress back in 2012, I noted that the darts are way too long, but if you shorten them to the proper length, they stick out terribly and look worse than when they’re just too long. Welllllllll, I forgot about that when I was making this version- it’s not that noticeable in the soft, light-colored fabric I used originally. Vlisco prints are medium weight cotton with lots of body, bordering on stiff. So, the too-long darts were a pointy DISASTER in this! Sadly, I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had already sewn the dress up completely and trimmed the seam allowances. I resewed and resewed the darts, steaming them, curving them, everything I could think of, but no dice. I finally followed Anne‘s suggestion and didn’t stitch the dart, instead catching the excess for the dart in the stitching line like a pleat. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative. If I ever make this dress again, I’ll figure out a way to change the dart to gathers, but I didn’t have enough SA left to do that and true things up correctly. Ugh!
Another problem is that I can’t get the positioning of the straps right. I wasn’t really satisfied with how I placed them in my first version, so I decided to make them more comfortable. I futzed and futzed with them this time around, and thought I had them positioned correctly, but after wearing the dress all day, I’m still not loving them. I think they need to be straightened out entirely. Oh, and, I didn’t notice until I edited these photos that the darker stripe of the fabric gives an unflattering shadow to the bust area! Ugh!
I spent lots of time working out the print placement to avoid any embarrassing birds and to match across all the seamlines. But before I cut it out, I decided to relax and just cut things out carefully, but without going crazy. I could’ve matched everything, but it would’ve used up all the fabric and it felt kind of wasteful. Usually I would annoy myself with matching everything up perfectly, but I decided to just match it across the center back bodice and call it quits. I’m happy with how this looks and I have enough fabric leftover to make a special garment for the next baby girl born into my friend group. Somehow it felt like better stewardship than throwing away tons of odd scraps. But I may not feel that way the next time I’m dealing with a large-scale print… I dunno! Let’s see, what else… I used scraps from my Roller Skate dress for the pockets to conserve fabric, and it’s a fun detail, too.
This dress isn’t perfect, and I’m not sure I’ll revisit the pattern again, but I still like it and I know I’ll wear it lots. I mean, there are birds ALL OVER this dang thing- how can I not like it?! Also, it matches my adorable clutch so perfectly! Gail made it for me and brought it when she visited NYC a few weeks ago… she’s the kindest, most generous gal around (and talented to boot)! Thank you, Gail! ETA: I made this dress as part of Heather‘s Summer Sundress Sew-a-long… but I’m forgetful and didn’t remember that when I was writing the post, oops!
Alright, your turn! Are there any patterns that you have a love/hate relationship with? Are you obsessed with wax prints, too? What are you sewing right now? OK, I’m out- it’s time to finish the 4th of July weekend with our annual Jaws screening! Who’s better than Robert Shaw?!