Friday, December 25, 2015

The Grey Wool Office Dress / Vestit de llaneta gris

I bought this wool fabric in Julian López, a fabric shop in Zaragoza, a place where you can find a whole range of good quality fabrics: crepe, silk, wool, tartan, cotton lawn, the works. They do not sell online, so one has to travel there and touch the fabrics before buying them. It is a lovely 100%. It frays quite a bit, it is hard to press, and it cannot be washed at home, but it is delicious to sew and wonderful to wear. Wool has some natural give, and this being a tight dress, this slight stretch is perfect.

The pattern is from Burda magazine (Sept 2015 issue). I have decided to claim they publish the BEST patterns in the planet. Seriously. They never fail. I made a muslin for this one to see if it complimented my shapes, but it was not necessary because fitting is always so close to perfection, that the modifications can be done with a slightly generous seam allowances.
After the muslin fit, I proceeded with my method as usual. First, cutting the fabric with the paper flat pieces of the pattern, leaving generous seam allowances around them for possible modifications in critical areas (bust, hips, waist). It is only with the real fabric that we can truly adjust the fitting. 
I use tailor tucks to mark the pattern pieces into the fabric. Here we can see the sleeves.

The first two pieces basted together were the centre back, to install the zipper. My first attempt was a total failure, caused by the stretching of the fabric as I machine-stitched the zipper in place. I had to remove it and construct it the proper way: I put some fusible interlining at both sides of the opening, pinned and BASTED the zipper into place. The second time the result was perfect. 

I see our American and English counterparts doing mortal flips to avoid basting (pins that are removed as you sew, patterns including seam allowances, steam-a-seam, etc). In my opinion, nothing can replace basting, specially in designs that require precision or curved seams.

Once the project is assembled together and basted (no sleeves yet), we will perform the first real fitting. We will modify, give or take at the different seams to adjust the dress to our body in a comfortable way. 

The design of the dress is stunning. With curved princess seams that end in darts in the front, and flares in the back, the dress adjusted to my poor old silhouette as a glove.
I only had to take a little off the hips, and close the neck to get a higher neckline. I know my Burda size is 42, and it is true in everyone of their patterns.
I had to adjust the sleeve setting, sewing them 1 cm closer at the top. After easing their caps into the armshythes, the result was perfect as always. I love Burda's sleeves, they are always perfect.

 I decided to line this dress with black silk habotai I bought through Ebay in Honk Kong. I assembled all the pieces together, but the sleeves, that I hand-sewed at the cuffs. I put some fusible interlining at the neckline, and I put the lining over the dress at the dress form, right sides together. I pinned it at the top, machine-stitched it around the neckline following the interlining, and turned it to the inside, after understitching it to the seam allowance. I basted it into place.

Once the lining was finished, I pinned AND basted the sleeves. Try it on again (it was perfect) and then stitched them into place with my Bernina. With the dress on the dress form, I pinned and hand-sewed the sleeves to the bodice lining.

I decided to try my Bernina blind-stitch presser foot number 5 to do the bottom hem. I was flabbergasted at its working! Very easy to operate (I only had to baste the bottom hem into place) and with a totally invisible result. :-) I also used the zipper foot #4, overlock foot #2 to polish seam allowances and the narrow straight stitch hemmer #64 for the silk lining bottom hem. All of them work perfect!

 The black silk lining shows a bit, as neck facing.

 Seams in this wool were impossible to press properly. That is the only thing I do no like about it.
 The pattern is so forgiving to my protruding belly, lack of waist and bottom. It is right for me.

 Ready to go to the school in the morning...

Seams were so difficult to keep into place that I had to hand sew them open at 20cm intervals.

1 comment:

  1. Looks brilliant and fits so well. Love the colour of this fabric!


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