Monday, November 03, 2014

Dahlia in baby wale corduroy

So I'm going to be a bit of a grump about this dress.
I jumped on Colette's pre-sale of the Dahlia dress, mostly because I always need work dresses (especially wool!) and I love raglan sleeves.  But when I received the pattern I was immediately disappointed...first off, the dress isn't lined (wool dress - lining = itchy and static-y).  Second, the neckline and sleeve hems are bound with bias tape.  I don't dislike bias binding, but on a dress suggested to be made out of wool? Third, the description definitely says 3/4 sleeves (my fave!) and this sleeve is definitely not 3/4 length.   I know, I know...look at the photos and whatnot, but descriptions are there for a reason.  Grr...
I could have drafted a lining (or used an underlining)....could have made facings instead of using bias tape....but I'm lazy (and have plenty of pattern drafting to do for class at the moment).  So, I used a baby wale cotton corduroy, which makes it slightly more acceptable to not have a lining. 
My fabric choice doesn't help this dress at all, since all style-lines are completely hidden.  My husband took one sour look and said, "That looks like a sack."  I can't say I disagree!  Even though I love the fabric,  it definitely pushes the dress firmly onto the frumpy side of the line (though extremely comfortable!  Just like a nightgown!)
My biggest gripe, though, is with the neckline.  When I first tried on the dress, it all fit nicely (with my standard pattern changes, of course: petite adjustment and small bust adjustment), except the neckline.  It was bafflingly wide!  I ended up gathering the back neckline a bit, adding darts to the top of the raglan sleeve, and adding elastic to the front neckline to pull it in even more.  Much better, but I'm not sure how it was supposed to have worked without those changes!
The dress pattern includes a back kick pleat.  This feature is completely unnecessary, since the skirt is fairly wide and certainly doesn't hinder movement.  So, since it looked a bit odd, I sewed down the seam (you can see the remnant of the pleat above).
I used Hug Snug on all the seams, which makes the inside look better in the absence of a lining.  I definitely still need some practice with this product, but I really like the outcome--it give the garment a vintage-y feel which matches the fabric pattern.
Okay, so that was a rough critique of the Dahlia pattern.  While I've liked many of Colette's other patterns, I'm definitely not a fan of this one.  I'm sure with a different fabric it could look a bit more stylish, but with all the other issues, I won't be making another.  I'd like to wear this still, so I'll be on the lookout for a scarf, or bold necklace...something to make it more modern.
Also....I'm considering chopping off the sleeves to make more of a cap style.  What do you think?

Anyone out there have any luck with the Dahlia?

Sewing Resewlution 2014, November garment #1.  Self-drafted trousers are the likely next project...


30 comments:

  1. I think either shorten or narrow the sleeves. It may be a combination of length and width at the end of the sleeve that doesn't look quite right.

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    1. I think I'm going to go with narrowing them. With the fabric and color of the dress, a longer sleeve suits the style a bit better. I'll post before and after photos when I do!

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  2. It's OK to be grumpy about a dress when you know what you're doing and you're honest, so thank you.
    of course it does look fine on you, but since everything you usually make looks smashing that is hardly a compliment, is it? ;)
    I agree that the straight, square sleeve doesn't suit the bell shaped skirt. yep, perhaps shorten it to some sort of cap.

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    1. You are far too kind! I was really planning on shortening the sleeves for a while, but I do like the longer sleeve for the Fall, so I'll give narrowing them a try first. Can always hack them off after if they still don't look right!

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  3. I was excited when they announced this pattern because I'm not a big fan of knits. I wasn't so sure of this pattern when it came out. Even though I loved the green dress, I wasn't feeling it. I wanted to see blogger's opinions and dresses. Thank you for your honest review.

    For your dress, I think you should make it cap sleeves. I've thought about doing that to this dress if I were to buy the pattern. How about narrowing the width of the sleeves a bit? On a different note, I liked what you did to hide the seams around the waist. Cleaver idea!

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    1. Kathy--actually, the pattern calls for using "self" fabric on the inside at the midriff to give it structure and hide the seams. I chose to use Bemberg lining fabric instead to reduce the bulk (no one needs more bulk there!).

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  4. Anonymous2:18 AM

    Yes to cap sleeves. Definitely.

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  5. Nadeen3:10 AM

    I wasn't overly impressed with the pattern either, but I think you should keep the sleeves. The dress is corduroy and has an autumnal vibe, so best worn in cooler months. I'd pair it with a chunky, knit infinity scarf and boots.

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    1. I wore it today and while I don't love the sleeves, you're right, they kind of hit a certain Fall vibe. I may try to just narrow them a bit--as much as I can without losing the functionality :)

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  6. I agree with nadeen. I was jthinking a chunky belt also in a mustard yellow or another bright color

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    1. I have some hot pink tights that might do the trick.. :)

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  7. Can you maybe make the sleeves a tad more narrow? They're just a bit wide and like a man's shirt.

    I looked on the Colette page and the third green dress photo looks like it's about to slip off the model's shoulder. Maybe it's that way so that it can be a strappy version too? I don't like things that feel as though they're going to slip off my shoulder though

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    1. Yeah, since I spend most of my professional and private life bending over to look at student/ child work, I can't have anything that slips around in the chest area! I'm happy I added elastic, and might even add some at the back neckline, too.

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  8. Anonymous8:06 AM

    What if you added elastic to the sleeve cuff?

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  9. ....sigh....I feel your frustration. But! I know you can rise above the frump!!! Have you got a jean jacket? I'm with Nadeen on the scarf and boots...that and a washed denim jacket would be cute. I'm not sure about the sleeves. They look a little too wide, almost as though a full length sleeve has been cropped...so I would probably shorten them to the point above where they flare out.

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    1. I wore it today with a big chunky orange sweater and mustard flats, so I think I brought it up a notch (I think :) And I'm definitely going to go back and make the sleeves more narrow overall...as much as I can before they become non-functional. Thanks for the suggestions, Sue!

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  10. I agree with the previous comments. I think if you alter the sleeves - either shorten or narrow them - that will make a big difference. It's unfortunate that the waist detail doesn't show up because that is what is really nice about this pattern. I still think it's a nice dress though - especially with the accessories that others have suggested. Thank you for your honest review!

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    1. The waist area is the best part of the pattern. I'm happy with the fit there and think it would actually be flattering if the sleeves and wide skirt weren't taking up so much space :)

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  11. Aww bummer it didn't work out. I was going to say maybe shortening the sleeves, but I see you're already considering it. That's what I always do when I get swallowed up by a pattern! Next time maybe try Vogue 8655?

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    1. Hi Meg! You know, I tried looking up Vogue 8655, but I'm not sure the pattern I'm finding would be something you would suggest (forgive me if I have that wrong!). I like the idea of this dress a lot, so I may just give my pattern drafting skills a try (in a month, when my classes are done :)

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  12. I agree with everyone else that says shorten the sleeves! Also try a nice teal or lime belt. It will cinch your waist and add a pop of color. It would be cool if you got some earrings or a necklace to match the belt.

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    1. Accessories make the outfit, that's for sure! Thanks for the suggestions!

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  13. I think it's a cute dress, although for myself I would try to narrow the sleeves a bit. A nice warm scarf and boots would make it really nice for winter, but perhaps I rather tend towards a "librarian frumpy chic" look myself. At least, I hope it's chic. Maybe I just don't care that much! Haha.

    I DO appreciate your honest review of the pattern. I really loved the plaid version but put off buying it hoping to read more. This kind of post is very helpful for figuring out whether a pattern will work for me, or if I might want to make changes. Thank you for that.

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    1. I wore it today with a big chunky orange sweater and oversized bag...definitely the librarian frumpy chic look! I do tend to rock that look a bit, now that you put a name to it! I think I'll try taking the sleeves in a bit, so they look more flattering....goes better with the fall fabric than cap sleeves.

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  14. I too just finished a Dahlia - will be posting it soon - and had exactly the same issues as you! I had to a) Narrow the sleeve cuff; b) Add a shoulder dart; c) Pull in the front neck gathering much more than what the pattern recommends. The back still gapes a little bit though, so if I make it again I'll gather the back too. With all those changes it actually does look decent on me, so I'm sort of tempted to make it again!

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    1. Oh, I'm glad it wasn't just me (though not glad that you also had issues!). Happy to hear you worked through them, though! I'm seriously not understanding how this pattern doesn't just come with shoulder darts--it would work great with the style, even! I may go back and add some elastic at the back neck, too, even after gathering it a bit. You know, I like the fit of the midriff and the bust (after doing my small bust adjustment), but the sleeves and skirt could be better, so maybe I'll do some hacks and create what I was hoping the dress would have been!

      Can't wait to see your version!

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    2. Hi there, I've posted my dress. I'm seriously tempted to make it again, with all those pattern changes incorporated!

      It's here: http://limescented.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/colette-dahlia/

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  15. What a bummer! I think it still looks cute and perfect for our current weather. Next time, I like the idea of narrowing the sleeves if you want them longer. And how strange to have a kick pleat drafted on this style!

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  16. Chop sleeves...would it work with some high boots? Like riding boots? idk. maybe.

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  17. colleen8:59 AM

    I, too, think the sleeves would look best almost capped! They would look a bit cooler. I, too, am really disappointed in this pattern. Almost nobody has a good version of it. I saw one this morning that works but the maker scrapped the bodice, substituted the one for the Emery and made it work. I think, given the problems people are having, Colette needs to rework this pattern.

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