Sunday, December 15, 2013

Grunge Sureau with Bonus Sparkle

I swear this isn't actual Seattle formal!
First of all I’d like to point out that after finishing this dress I remembered that I used to have one very similar to it.  Except that one was a blue and light brown plaid printed knit.  Oh yeah, it was supposed to be a babydoll dress but since I’m short it just fit normal.  I had a friend with the exact same dress plus a several extra inches in height and it fit her like it should but it looked good on both of us.
After my Bleuet success I quickly snapped up a couple more Deer & Doe patterns including Robe Sureau.  Since the Grunge sewalong was happening and I couldn’t wait to bust out this pattern I figured it’d be a match made in Seattle fashion heaven.  Which naturally meant plaid flannel.

I love plaid!
 I lucked out with this plaid as its balanced which made cutting it out a bit easier while lining up the pattern pieces.  I had “Spinal Tap” on Tivo and turned it up to 11 while fussing over how I wanted the plaid to line up.  I cut the center inset on the bias to avoid it only matching partway and to add some visual interest.  I basted it to another piece cut along the grain to avoid it getting stretched out.  I totally forgot to think about where the diamonds would be placed but they ended up in the perfect location but more on the later.

Tip: Wear a slip to avoid flannel sticking to tights
 Construction was pretty straight forward although like usual I decided to sew the sleeves in flat – I’ll do just about anything to avoid setting in a sleeve.  Next time I’ll probably interface the facing, it doesn’t say to do it in the instructions but a looser fabric like flannel could benefit with some added structure.  I topstitched ¼” around the neckline to help stabilize it and now it mostly lies flat.

Obligatory awkward pose showing pattern matching
I pulled my walking foot out for the first time to help match up the plaid and loved how well it worked.  I will never use anything else to at least baste plaids or stripes together!  For a while now I’ve thought it would be a useful addition to my machine foot collection but wasn’t sure how much I would use it since I don’t quilt.  (Actually I’ve been meaning to try it out for a few years but garment sewing keeps getting in the way!)  I ended up getting a super cheapo generic version to try out since I wasn’t sure how much I would use it and they’re kinda pricey.  If my current one breaks I now know it’s worth replacing with a name-brand foot.  My plaid matching on the side seams turned out awesome if I do say so myself.  Even on the invisible zipper side.
More pattern matching
 I shortened the sleeves a bit using the plaid as my guide to get everything lined up.  I hunted through my button stash and wasn’t happy with the black or white ones that I found.  They both just looked “eh… ok” on the bodice but liked how some bronze ones looked despite being the wrong size.  So I wore the dress to Thanksgiving dinner sans buttons.
BTW: I sewed half this dress with navy thread and half with black... I think. All due to poor lighting and the fabric disguising almost all stitching.  Good thing I didn't need to rip any seams out - they're practically invisible.

4 diamonds + 4 buttons = perfect placement
Later on after the Black Friday shopping frenzy I found some bronze buttons in the correct size to add. This is when I realized that the plaid on the bias formed perfect diamonds that screamed to have a button in the middle of each.  So I didn’t even bother lining up the buttons with my simflex, I just eyeballed the center of the four diamonds and cheered that it suggested four buttons.  A few minutes later my dress was completely done.
Who says there's no sparkle to grunge?
I’m really happy with my finished dress.   It’s warm and cozy, honors my Seattle roots with a nod to French girl style.  It’s a little bit looser than I was thinking, but that’s most likely due to the flannel.  (I have a flannel Alma that fits looser than others made of more tightly woven fabric.)  As a bonus since the plaid includes navy, black and brown it goes with multiple colors of tights and boots.  I wore brown the first time around but pulled out my hologram Doc’s for this photo shoot.  For those days when you’re aiming for grunge formal.  (I totally had a friend borrow these for prom one year!)  I’m curious how Sureau will fit in a more stable fabric and already have other versions planned.

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