Oh boy, where to begin? On one hand, I am absolutely in love with this dress. No, I adore this dress! When fitted right, it is extremely flattering and so elegant! I am in love with the sweetheart neckline, short sleeves with such a slight flattering curve to them, the pleats on the skirt, and the pockets. Oh the pockets… they are perfectly hidden in one of the pleats on the skirt. Just genius. Getting this dress to look right was a whole different story and I really don’t think I fully got there, to be honest.
It all started with me coming across a couple completed Macaron Dresses by Colette Patterns. I especially liked the ones by Freya and Sibeli. Seriously, how cute is Freya’s black suiting and lace Macaron? And Sibeli’s Ikat print cotton with see-through chiffon? I was sold and after locating a leftover piece of what I thought was black lace in my stash, I decided to shamelessly rip off Freya’s idea (sorry!)
The dress was intended for my work Christmas Party. I do not like the idea of cocktail dresses. Well, I do, they can be gorgeous. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to attend a lot of cocktail parties so my cocktail dresses spend most of their lives in the corner of my closet until I either grow tired of them (after a couple wears… sheesh, so spoiled!) or grow out of them (damn, you cookies!). So when it comes to my “cocktail” dresses, I strive to have something I can wear again, and not to a cocktail type party. I want something that can be dressed down for work, or a nice dinner. Macaron seemed like an ideal dress for that.
I know that Colette patterns require some fitting when it comes to me. I am tall, I have square shoulders and sometimes the adjustments I need are plain weird. I started off with making my usual adjustments to the paper pattern – I lengthened the bodice, widened the shoulder, lowered the arm cycle, and slightly re-drafted the sleeve. I proceeded to make a muslin. I only made the muslin for the bodice of the dress, with one sleeve. See, I am lazy! I added 1” seam allowances to the center front, and cut the front as two separate pieces. I cut the back pieces on fold. This way it is turns into a quick and dirty muslin. I don’t need to waste a zipper and I am able to put it on as a shirt, pinning it along the center front. Next time I will take pictures.
My muslin came out pretty okay! Only slight adjustments were needed. I ended up lowering the bust darts and taking it in at the slides ever so slightly. I was very happy! From there I decided to cut into my fashion fabric.
I saw my dress as being almost identical to Freya’s. I wanted black suiting for the dress and lace for the top part. As I’ve mentioned I already had black lace in stash that was perfect for the dress. I took my lace to the fabric store and thought I could easily find a matching black suiting. Well… the lace looks black, but it does not go with any black fabric I saw in the store. None. The lace has a slight navy color to it in some places but overall it comes off as black. After a long time of me running around in the store looking at all the fabrics I finally found very dark navy suiting that matched the lace! The suiting was 100% wool and it was exactly what I envisioned. I picked it up, together with Bemberg lining and went home happy.
I pre-shrunk the fabric. Probably not in the best way possible, I really should have dry cleaned it, but I am too lazy for that. I ended up soaking it in cold water and then laying out to dry. I ironed the whole thing with a cool iron. Then I proceeded to assemble the dress. Since my muslin was fitting me really well I was not too concerned with the final dress, but I was wrong. I am pretty sure the fabric store lied to me… I doubt that the suiting was 100% wool. I’ve sewn with wool before and it always behaved itself. It actually is a dream to sew with! This “wool” was something else. It stretched out every single time I pressed it, even though I used a cool iron and never pulled on the fabric, I was very careful. However, my bodice still ended up looking way too baggy, which looked especially weird on top of the lining that fit well. Was there something I did wrong?
In the end, I took the bodice apart twice, both times after the dress was fully assembled and lined. It stretched out and bagged more and more every single time. The last time I took it apart was literally an hour before the party. The zipper gave up on me too and I had to fully replace it that time. I finished the dress with just enough time to fix my make-up and hair and leave for the party. Even though the fabric was mean to me, I still think the dress turned out okay. I probably am very biased in this opinion and am too hard on the dress just because I know how much effort it was. I also find that although I love the look of the dress, every time I think of putting it on I get a wave of frustration. The memories are that traumatizing I guess! I truly don’t know if I will wear it again… I really hope I will but I will likely need some time to “heal” from the whole experience.
Other than the fabric hiccup, I am very proud of the dress. It is fully lined. I sandwiched the lace part in between the layer of suiting and lining so all my seams ended up being enclosed. I cut the sleeve with the hem right on the scalloped part of the lace so that it didn’t need hemming and looked beautiful. The neckline is finished with a thin bias tape made out of lining. The dress looks beautiful on the inside.
The final verdict for the pattern is that it is an astonishing win. It’s beautiful! I will definitely be making it again. The cut of that skirt alone is very flattering, and I do not like tulip skirts! I already have an idea in mind of making this dress with elbow length sleeves in gray suiting, with or without the sweetheart neckline (may be adding piping to highlight it?). It would also make a really cute summer dress. Next time though, I will be extremely careful about my fabric choice and it may take me a while to trust “100% wool” again. 🙂
P.S. I didn’t realize how often I come up on my tippy toes… I swear I don’t walk like that. Next time when I take pictures, I’ll make sure to put shoes on!