Monday, September 15, 2014

Miss Odette Jazzes Things Up

Guten tag, kittens!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. My own was gloriously lazy. Between travels and visitors, Sam and I haven't had a weekend to ourselves in months. We slept late, ate dreadfully unhealthy food, took a couple of long walks, and reveled in not having to be anywhere.  To cap it off, last night we watched the first episode of Ken Burns' new documentary series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, while I edited a few posts worth of pictures. As an official Eleanor Roosevelt fangirl, this was the perfect end to our lackadaisical weekend. If you're in the US and missed it, the next six episodes will be playing each night this week. Set your DVR! If the first episode was any indication, Ken Burns has another documentarian masterwork on his hands. 

Back to the real topic at hand, though. Part of the editing spree featured pictures of my favorite dress from this summer. I am so excited to finally share my test version of Blue Ginger Doll's Odette Dress!

When Abby sent me the above line drawings of Odette, I jumped at the chance to test her. Odette is a classic bateau v-necked dress, with a gored circle skirt, waistband, and coordinated button insert for visual interest. These are all of my favorite things in one dress! As an hourglass, I live for sewing waistbands and flouncy skirts. Immediately, I imagined this dress in pink and black, which drove this version.

While I can't officially review the pattern, since I've only sewn the test version so far, I can say that Odette lived up to my expectations. The sizing, like all of BGD's new releases, goes up to an Australian 24 (50'' bust), is drafted on a D-cup, and is a very close fit. Knowing this, I cut a straight size 20 bodice, blending to an 18 waist, then back to a 20 at the hips. It's a shockingly good fit. The waistband nips in at the perfect place and the skirt swirls about me in such a fun manner. When I tested the fit halfway through construction, I ran out into our living room and demanded Sam look at how tiny my waist appeared. That's always a good sign in a dress, right?

For fabric, I used a hot pink cotton shirting from Fabric Mart that's been in my stash a few years. It's pretty lightweight and wrinkles like crazy, but is also really soft and has a beautiful drape. For the insert, I used a plain black linen also from the stash, and attached it with plain black buttons. For future versions, I'll probably flip these weights and do a heavier main fabric, with a lightweight underlay. The linen is just a bit bulky under the shirting, but the color combination is spot on. I know it's ridiculously girly, but I will always love pink and black together. 

Of course, a shockingly good fit isn't a perfect fit. As you can tell from the side view above, I probably need a small FBA for future versions, which makes sense given I'm a larger cup size. I'm thinking a 1-inch overall adjustment, but we'll see! When testing a pattern, I try to make as few changes as possible, so that the integrity of a draft's fit remains. 

As for construction, everything was very clever, which is a hallmark of Abby's designs. The black underlay is an insert that's secured with four coordinated buttons underneath. There is a full lining in the bodice and an invisible zipper running up the center back. Since this fabric didn't ravel, I pinked all the insides and finished the hem and lining by catch stitch. 

Originally, my version also had short sleeves, but they were driving me crazy. I was running out of fabric, so had to cut them on the bias, and they just didn't set in as smoothly because of it. They came off again a few weeks later and I hand sewed the lining to the armholes, turning View B into View A. If you'd like to see sleeved versions of Odette, both Heather and G Marie have beautiful versions. 

Dress guts! Woohoo!
Notice: fully lined bodice, the additional insert, and the hand-stitched hem.
Ignore: The "I wore this all day!" wrinkles.

There's really not much else to say, since this is a test version of the dress. Honestly, I just adore this pattern. Abby's design aesthetic and sizing really, really work for me. I'm already looking forward to making more versions of Odette. Wouldn't it be lovely in a plaid flannel for fall? It makes me itch for chilly weather! Jazz hands for Odette

Note: As part of testing, this pattern was given to me free of charge. All opinions and the decision to post about it, however, are entirely my own. 

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