Tuesday, 26 April 2011

So Long, Ceylon

Never the quickest off the mark, I'd had the Colette Patterns Ceylon dress pattern in my collection for about a year before I got round to giving it a go. To be fair, I had been waiting for the right fabric to appear, which it did in the form of a pair of spotty navy cotton sateen curtains I found in a charity in Maldon (holler, Miss P!) Autumn just gone. Maybe you aren't aware of how I feel about cotton sateen? Strongly. Anyways, I'm getting off track.

I ordered the Ceylon pattern along with the Macaron when 'Santa' (AKA, my mate Anna) perceptively bought me a Colette Patterns voucher a couple of Christmases ago. I'd fallen pretty hard for the Ceylon design when it first came out and not long after some nice versions seemed to be appearing out there in sewing-blogland (Sølvi's being my favourite to date). So when the spotty navy sateen came into my life providing sufficient fabric for this fairly fabric-hungry project for a mere £4, I felt it was time to finally crack open the Ceylon. I think I began prepping the pattern last December, and it's taken me until April to finish. This was not a quick project.

Why did it take so long? Because this dress is so damn involved and problematic and I lost momentum. It has approximately 3 squillion pieces, with heaps of gathering and top stitching, all of which meant it was always going to be pretty time consuming. But I think most of my motivation wained when I found some flaws in this pattern which needed some time to tackle. I found that the front yokes married up poorly with the front panel below at the sides seam area. Also, in my opinion, there are a couple of problems with the way the sleeve pattern piece was drafted, like it was not possible to hem properly because no allowance for the sleeve seam angle had been made, and the gathering of the sleevehead would not have been even if you matched up the shoulder point notches. One of the back sections puffed out quite a bit, which needed unpicking and repositioning (in a similar vein to my Macaron, as it goes). I also think the skirt shaping at the side seams was somewhat bizarre, so I took that in to prevent it sticking out oddly. These last two issues were definately emphasised, but certainly not caused, by my fabric, which is fairly thick.

The final issue I had with the fit of this dress is probably not the fault of the pattern, however. The wide waist panel in this design means that the skirt flares out from quite a low point. I have a naturally high waist which means that the bottom of that waist panel hits me firmly on my hips and close to my widest point. I tried to counter this to some extent in the very beginning by cutting out one size for the top and graduating out to the next size up at the waist, but this only helped so far. I would, of course, have found this out had I made a toile/muslin of this dress before cutting my final version. But with all those panel pieces, you'd have to be something of a sadist of possess the patience of a buddist monk to make a dry-run of this style! So the waist doesn't doesn't fit fantastically, which I think is a shame considering the rest of the garments looks pretty good. Hopefully, with so much going on with this style, there is too much detail to draw the eye to notice the ill-fitting waist area.

So, what IS good about this dress? Well, the fabric is lovely. Such a lovely quality and slightly weightiness of the fabric feels really nice and special to wear. The red satin piping I added to the yoke area, although a bit of a nightmare to apply (sharp angles + piping + lots of layers of fabric at certain points = extensive headache) really emphasises, what is, to me the best feature of this style. The red buttons (self-covered using scraps of the lining of my winter coat) were time consuming to make, but complement the piping well and make the dress pop.

I wore this dress for the first time to the Handmade Brighton shop's birthday party and it received lots of compliments, possibly more than any other garment on its debut, so maybe it's actually fine, and it's just that the rawness of the troubles is still too fresh for me to have a balanced view. I am planning on a second outting in it this weekend coming, so I'm hoping me and my Ceylon will be able to put our troubles behind us and become close friends afterall.

34 comments:

ashley0107 said...

I love it! The red piping and buttons are so cute! I think the waist looks fine :)
I have this pattern and the fabric I've chosen is also pretty thick. I'll just have to be careful of the fitting I think.
Ashley x

Claire said...

Well, it certainly looks great in the photo, but I hate it when you spend so long on something, encountering many problems and then perhaps can't see past all the troubles in order to view it objectively.

I have just bought this pattern and almost started to make it on the weekend with some beloved fabric... I'm glad I didn't now and maybe will use something less precious first!

Sølvi said...

Ooo! I LOVE your version! This is so pretty! Sorry you had troubles with it, but hope you´ll be best friends soon. You look great!

And thanks for the nice words! :-)

Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood said...

well it looks great on you, so i would say it was worth it!

Marie said...

Oh dear, sounds like it was a right pain to put together. Luckily it looks just stunning on you, so hopefully you feel it's all been worth it. What a gorgeous fabric find too ;o)

Amy said...

That is one fabulous looking dress! Too bad creating it caused so many headaches--but what a great payoff in the end.

Cecili said...

Despite all these troubles your dress looks great! The fit seems very good and it allowed you to show your sense of style, you can be proud of the result :)

Sarah said...

I think you've done a brilliant job of it! It looks really pretty on you and I love the red piping and buttons! You red shoes?? To DIE FOR!!

I'm sure once the 'pain' of putting it together fades a bit, you'll love it more. :)

I find Colette patterns have about a squillion pieces, which I'm not a fan of. However, I'm going to give Violet - their new blouse pattern - a whirl.

Clare said...

Zoe it's gorgeous. None of the 'flaws' are obvious to my eye and you are rocking it hard with your new tat. Fantastic!

Kestrel said...

It looks fantastic! One of the nicest versions I've seen.

I was thinking I'd like to make the Ceylon myself, but after hearing about how long it took, and the issues you had, I might leve it a bit longer before I have a go!

Farah said...

funny that you should post this now - i was just thinking of giving this pattern a go. I have bad luck in fitting the Collette patters, so i was concerned, and this one looks so finicky i wasn't sure i wanted to try...
I think i will look for another pattern with similar styling. Love your finished dress though.

Alessa said...

I've been wavering between buying and not buying the Ceylon pattern... I think for now it's probably too advanced for me. Your version, however, looks very awesome! I love the fabric and the piping!

lizajane said...

Gorgeous! The red piping is fantastic. I'm definitely on a piping kick myself these days. I think it looks incredible on you.

Law said...

Zoe that dress is gorgeous!!!

Intersting points about the dress pattern though. I bought this pattern when i first started sewing (fantasy purchase) but i don't think i'll try it any time soon!

Law x

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Zoe your dress is gorgeous! I think quite a few people have found it pretty tricky to fit - glad you got there in the end, as the results are certainly worth it from your pics :)!

Jane said...

Beautiful! Definitely worth all the frustration with the pattern fitting. Love the fabric, buttons, piping and shoes!!!! x

christina said...

I really like your version especially the red details on the dark blue background! :)
And those fitting issues are invisible to me on your pictures.

Roisin Muldoon said...

So pretty! I do adore the piping. The Ceylon was one of the first Palette patterns I sewed from and in fact one of my first dresses - I love it but now I am a bit more proficient I can see the things I would like to do better, including the fitting at the waist. I'm going to make another for sure. I still wear the too big one - it looks great with a skinny belt, try a red patent one with yours and it'll be super cute!

seeks said...

I'm such a sucker for piping, and I am glad to know I'm not the only one who's head over heals for cotton sateen. I think it looks good, though I can understand the frustrations of an imperfect fit. I'll be sure to take on the Ceylon when I feel ready for the work, too. I love the pattern, but think it'd wallow in unfinishedness if I were to try at this point. Great job!

sundaycrafternoon said...

Totally gorgeous. And thank you for an excellent pattern review - I know that something as troublesome would sit in my cupboard half finished for a few years before I finally had the courage to tackle it again! xLotte

Nethwen said...

This dress is beautiful and from the pictures, flatters you. The piping and buttons really make it pop. And those T-strap shoes! It's looks as if you had them made to go with the dress.

Debi said...

Good to know the issues with this pattern as I haven't tried it yet. Your version looks fabulous. I can't believe you found that beautiful sateen material! swoon!

Tilly said...

Zoe! It is absolutely GORGEOUS! Well worth the headaches, which I remember all too well from when I made one of these (although my problems were caused more by me putting things in the wrong way round rather than noticing faults with the pattern). I love your fabric choice and the red piping is amazing. Love it!

Vintage Girl said...

I understand when you work on something and aren't happy with it. The good news is, you wore it and that means it's going to grow on you. Zoe, Thanks for your honesty about the pattern. I know this post may have been hard to write in some ways, but I personally appreciate you giving your true thoughts on the pattern, maybe the makers will look at these problems and resolve them. The dress is very pretty!

[patty the snug bug] said...

love the dots and the piping - and it's really adorable on you! The design of the dress is a bit tricky and this is one of the few Colette patterns I probably won't try out because of that, although I really loved Tanit-Isis' shirt version of the pattern!!

How did you respond to the dress-love you got on it's debut?? I always feel a little like I'm cheating when I get compliments on stuff I'm not happy with! I've gotten better at the "thank you" and gracious smile, but in my head I point out all the stuff that I don't think is great!

Gail said...

What is it with this shoulder design that provokes a ho hum reaction? I like your dress, but it reminds me a my recent venture into vintage that I wasn't thrilled with. Same shoulders!!

Tanit-Isis said...

It looks good! It took me two muslins and a blouse version to get this pattern fitted for me, and I'm only now gearing up for a full version. Though I can't say I noticed the gathering/yoke issues... I might be inattentive, though. ;)

karen ball said...

That is a beautiful make and you look divine. Perfect fabric choice and I love the piping. I'm a big fan of cotton sateen, too. £4? Bargain! I'm off to my local charity shop.

naughty little pony said...

Wow, beautiful!
By the way, have enjoyed all your recent posts so much. LOVE the bag.
xx hope to see you soon.

Miss P said...

Holler back from the Maldon massive...;) We just got back from Promenade Park actually!
Not a fan of overly complex patterns and loads of construction steps so I probably wouldn't even have attempted this. Love it on you though. Great find on th fabric!
Px

Sigrid said...

It' does look lovely on you. I think the flattering, piped neckline probably does a lot to distract from other fitting issues. I considered this pattern and your comments make me think it was right to look for something a bit more suited to my body-type and patience level.

Elisabeth said...

I adore this! It looks like it turned out great despite your quibbles with the pattern. I'd give it a month and it will grown on you :)

jessica said...

All those great details that took forever really make the dress! It looks SOOOOO amazing, I hope you find that you love it more as you wear it more!

Sky said...

Love love love!

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