The construction of this dress was, admittedly, a bit involved. The front bodice is gathered where is meets the waistband and the yoke, while the skirt is gathered all the way around. Such extensive gathering produces the kind of neurotic second guessing typically only seen in bomb-defusing movie scenes. Is this even? Is the back too poofy? One actually has to go through this twice, as the lining is a full replica of the dress, rather than a simpler draft. In the end, it's hard to even care about the extra hours spent on the Chantilly, because it's just so darn cute!
Part of the more-involved process of this dress was due to my own additions, namely overcasting the seams and using flexi-lace hem facing. Up until now, I've alternated between finishing seams with bias tape or - embarrassingly - pinking them. It's a sad side-effect of my sergerless state. However, a light bulb went off in my head, after reading Gertie's post on overcasting. I have an overcasting foot & stitch on my machine, so why wasn't I using them? I decided to fix that with the Chantilly. Even though I went through double the amount of thread as usual, it was worth it. My seams look amazing! I will never pink anything again. For that matter, I no longer get envious pangs passing sergers. Overcasting may not be quite the same, but it's a rather wonderful substitute. The other addition I made was the lace hem facing, which is one of my favorite methods of hemming a dress. Not only does it give an invisible hem, when the lace is catch-stitched to the dress, but it's a lovely detail, if you have a Marilyn moment.
As far as the pattern itself goes, it was a dream to sew up, no matter how long it took. Colette's instructions are one of my favorite aspects of their company - clear, concise, and exceedingly helpful. Every step was clear and easy, just needing a little patience to get it right. Oddly enough, however, despite the instructions being awesome, the diagrams were not. The instructions on joining front & back were at odds with the diagrams - the former insisted you leave the left side open for the invisible zipper, while the diagrams made it seem as if you left the right side. A bit confusing, but easy to get around. I live for a proper diagram, so I inserted my zipper on the right side and followed the diagrams. It worked out well, even if it is on the non-traditional side. I also enjoyed stretching my invisible zipper skills again - the Chantilly is another pattern with the invisible zip/pocket combination. It's a skill I'm quickly becoming an expert at!
In the end, it's the details that really make this dress. The fabric is a favorite of mine, a lovely floral shirting littered with blue petals, and was perfect for the delicate nature of the dress. With the curved yoke and shaped midriff, the Chantilly has visual interest to spare. This is definitely a dress which I'll be making again, especially as it only requires 3 yards of fabric. A cute dress with reasonable requirements? It doesn't get better than that!
Things I Changed:
- Added flexi-lace hem facing in white.
- Nothing else! Colette uses standard ready-to-wear sizing drafted for larger bust cups. Since my measurements line up precisely to their size guidelines, no alterations were needed for a sublime fit. I love when that happens!
- I'm contemplating cutting out the skirt lining, the next time around, in order to cut bulk. I love this as a summer dress, but my theory in that season is the less layers, the better. Though the lining does allow the skirt to move beautifully, it's optional unless your fashion fabric is sheer.
- The invisible zipper/pocket construction, once again. This pattern is classified as "intermediate" and I think it's this step that really pushes it there. Luckily, the Colette guidelines are crystal clear. As long as you remember to sew the zipper to the long side of the pocket (something that seems elementary, but I've made that mistake before!), then you should be good.
- Keeping the skirt front & back pieces is a little tricky. The skirt is a six-gore full skirt and the pieces are just slightly different sizes, enough to matter but not enough to be glaringly obvious. Once again, this is a pattern where over-marking your pieces really pays off.
- Make sure your gathering is even, whatever you do! The bodice is especially dependent on the gathering staying even. If it's not even, the girls don't look even either. That's not a good look for anybody.
- White & blue floral shirting from Gorgeous Fabrics.
- Cotton blend batiste from Fabric.com - very lightweight, amazing lining fabric.
- Shoes: Seychelles In With The New pump in navy. (Which I now realize you cannot see!)
Review on Pattern Review