I’ve just started work on the Colette Pattern Oolong dress as a back up dress for my brother’s wedding (in case it’s too hot for my wool crepe swing dress).
There are hardly any versions of this pattern out there - I wonder why this is? It’s such a flattering looking dress AND has no buttons or zips (always a big plus in my book), but still it’s thin on the ground. The two nicest versions I’ve seen have been this gorgeous red number by Isaspacey and Amanda’s pretty flowery version. In fact it was Amanda’s version which inspired me to try out the pattern.
The pattern arrived and I cast my eye over the cutting layout….
... no words needed, just a deep breath. The entire dress and the entire separate lining is cut on the bias from a single layer of fabric, no folding. I almost backed out there and then, but something about the dress was calling me. The Oolong has a 1940’s look about it with the gathered sleeves and the cut under the bust - so a vintage-y looking fabric was called for.
I settled on this cotton lawn, if the weather does turn out sunny then it should be lovely and cool. As it’s a wedding, I wanted a bit of luxury so I decided on a silk lining which I picked up at last week’s Goldhawk Road Fabric Fandango. And that, my friends, was my fatal error.
Without doubt, this fabric has been the absolute worst I’ve ever sewn with. Bar none. I took Isaspacey’s advice and decided to use the lining as a muslin to check any fitting issues. It took ages to cut out and just wouldn’t behave itself. However much I weighed it down and held it still, as soon as I’d cut each piece out it immediately changed shape.
|It all looks a bit sinister but it's just the lining fabric stretching|
I then had to let the pieces hang for 24 hours, then press and stretch each one before the sewing machine even saw the light of day. Tedious and tiresome. And the icing on the cake? I cut a size too small. Grrr. I had enough fabric left to cut out another bodice in the next size up and thankfully, this was a good fit. So, I sewed the skirt section up and tried it on. Disaster. Yes, it also could have done with being the next size up but that wasn’t the problem, it was the feel of the lining fabric that was just dreadful. It was so static and absolutely clung to me, I felt like I’d been wrapped in cling film.
|You can see how much better the fit is on the top half compared to the bottom|
|The skirt has to be sewn with a zigzig stitch which puckered like mad on the silk lining|
The pictures on the dummy are pretty accurate of how the dress looked on me size-wise but NOT a true representation of what it looked like on me cling-wise! BUT, through the darkness I can still see that the dress is perfect for the curvy figure - even resembling sausage meat forced into a skin it was extremely flattering. I’m going to continue making the dress, but I’ve obviously made an error with my choice of lining (a BIG error, I'm definitely out of pocket). After a lot of pondering and dreams about it, I’ve decided that the best lining for a bias cut dress made from cotton lawn is more cotton lawn. I like the idea of a traditional lining fabric, but can’t bear the thought of it clinging to me like a limpet. I'm hoping that cotton on cotton won’t have any clinging issues and will give a nice, smooth finish.
I’ve 95% made up my mind on this but any advice on what lining has worked for you, and what to avoid (well, I can answer that one already) would be very welcome. I think I need to step away from it for a few days though. The saga continues…