Monday, October 15, 2012

Rooibos - Finished?

This weekend, for what feels like the first time in AAAAGES, but in reality is more like the first time in two weeks, I had the chance to sit down and do some clothes sewing. On Friday evening I got together with some lovely friends for a sewing evening and I made really good progress on my Rooibos dress that I'd cut out at the Social Sewing day.

On Friday evening I managed to get all of the pieces together and the zip in, leaving only finishing the neck and arm holes and the hem, which I did on Sunday morning/lunchtime. I didn't do the facings for the pattern, so I finished the neck and arm holes with bias binding, using Tasia's technique from the Pendrell blouse that I also used on the Portrait Blouse. However, as I had corners on the neckline, I had to add a new skill to my repertoire; bias binding on inside corners. For which I used this very good tutorial on the topic.

I am absolutely thrilled with the fit of this dress, it's the second pattern that I've tried actually doing a FBA on and it worked fantastically (above pic shows FBA in progress). I used the tutorial for the Rooibos FBA on the Colette Patterns blog, starting with the bodice size based off my high bust measurement and adding in about 1". I did however still need to add in some extra fabric at the side seams (when I was making my muslin I used a method very similar to Rachel's "fitting insurance" method) which I was glad I'd done. Once I'd worked out the fit of the bodice pieces, I worked out which midriff pieces to cut based on the  measurement around the bottom of the bodice pieces.

Here's a summary of the fitting changes I made to the dress:
  • Added a 1" FBA to size 4 bodice.
  • Extended the weird stubby back bodice darts about 3" in length.
  • Added 5/8" to the side seam on the front of the bodice.
  • Added 3/4" to the side seam on the back of the bodice.
  • Added an extra 5/8" length to the bottom of the front bodice (and I probably could have added a smidge more).
  • Removed some of the curve in the midriff piece.
  • For the back midriff cut size 8, for the front midriff cut size 6.
  • For the back skirt cut size 8 at the top, tapering down to size 10 8" below the seamline.
  • For the front skirt cut size 6 at the top, tapering down to size 8 8" below the seamline.
  • Pinched out about 1cm from back neckline near shoulder blades, tapering to nothing at the arm hole (see below pic for why).
  • removed the little collar thingy (as I didn't have a nice contrasting fabric, I will include it next time hopefully).
Having now worn the dress for a while, the the only other thing I think I'd change is to make the front arm holes a little bigger as it digs in a tiny bit at some angles.

The fabric I used is a printed poplin that I bought at Spotlight at the beginning of the year. Even after washing it was still quite stiff so I was worried that it wouldn't really work for a dress, so I underlined the fabric with some white voile from GJs that does have lovely drape, which I think has made just that bit of difference. Hopefully it'll continue to soften up as it's washed too.

I wore the dress last night to dinner and then today to work and it's super comfy and hasn't become too obviously creased. The pockets really are fantastic too! However, as the title of this post suggests, I'm not 100% convinced the dress is finished. I'm not usually one for adding trim (I don't think I've ever added any trim to anything I've made), but the design lines of the dress are lost in the busy print, and I think adding something to highlight them would make the dress more interesting and more flattering.


So, while at my pattern making class this evening (more on that soon, I promise!) I bought some relatively simple black trim to try (the flowers are outlined and detailed with black on the fabric so black isn't a stupid choice). I already pinned it onto the dress in the store and think it really improved the look of the dress. So I shall add it on and report back with new pics!

Excluding potential trim additions however, I already love this dress! It's very similar in silhouette to some of my favourite and most worn dresses, and has fantastic pockets! I definitely see some more of these dresses in my future!


  1. Looks great and the fit on the floral dress is perfect. Ps one of my tomatoes in the balcony garden is pregnant! Excited.

  2. Ohh love it, great fit, definitely worth the effort for all those changes. I love my Rooibos, especially the pockets. I vote for adding some contrast trim, I'm interested in how it looks afterwards, I think it'll be great.


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