Dahlia: The One That Got Away!

Zip not inserted, left side pinned

Zip not inserted, left side pinned

My projects start out 100% perfect, but that’s before they’re cut and sewn. It seems that every stage of the process moves the garment further and further away from perfection. From cutting to sewing and the final finishing touches, my dream of a perfect make deteriorates with the accumulation of human involvement. Most of the time the end result is wearable, even something to be proud of. This time, the project defeated me…Let’s just say, the jury’s still out as to whether it’s even worth finishing.

Plaid matching

Plaid matching

I will not be alone in falling hard and fast for the new Colette pattern: the Dahlia. Feeling optimistic, I followed Colette Pattern’s How to Match Plaids & Stripes tutorial and spent a good four hours, yes that’s four hours, cutting out the pieces. Deep down, I think I knew this Dahlia was doomed from the start. The brushed cotton plaid fabric was the perfect colour for a winter dress. In retrospect it would have made a perfect pair of pyjamas: soft, snuggly and yielding. Whilst being my dream colour combo, the fabric has a tendency to pull out of shape. Case in point: it took an awful lot of tugging to straighten it out after the pre-wash, and with plaids there are no shortcuts. So I shouldn’t have been particularly surprised when the bias-cut waist yoke appeared to have stretched out of shape. I decided to go back and add fusible interfacing to stiffen it up before I sewed down the lining yoke.

Major neckline gaping

Major neckline gaping

A similar effect had occurred on the neckline. Despite stay-stitching, the neckline had stretched out so that the binding gapes away from the body. Is it just me, or does stay-stitching itself stretch the fabric out? I do wonder if it’s better just to sort the neckline out for good at the earliest stage possible to avoid all problems. The only solution would be to remove the binding at the back and add neckline darts.

Dahlia

Whether the fabric has stretched beyond belief or I had cut a size too big is up for debate. I did cut a larger size than my last Colette pattern, the Laurel. I also graded out at the waist to be sure that it would fit after studying the size tables! The hastily prepared toile did not hint at the disaster to come. As I write, after the yoke lining has been stitched down, the only way I can take the fullness out of the waistline is to increase the seam allowance down the zip side. Would this result in the dress being noticeably off-centre?

More plaid-matching

More plaid-matching

So, the fit’s not great, the fabric pulls out of shape, and worst of all, the dress seems to be in a ‘Fatal Attraction’ relationship with my tights. I’m really unsure as to whether it’s worth the effort to salvage this, despite the super-human effort it took to get the plaid to line up. I think I will admit defeat and let this one go. It will be The One That Got Away. And it could have been so perfect….

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