Monday, April 11, 2011

An Oolong in Strawberry Fields

It was such a beautiful day out today, really more of a summer's day warmth-wise, so I took the opportunity to take a few photos of my newly completed Oolong dress from Colette Patterns. The day was also quite windy, which you can see in some of these photos (cue big hair!). I bought this pattern last year, but only got around to it when I included it as one of my pieces for the CP Spring Palette challenge!

An Oolong in Dandelion Fields?

I used this coral-colored cotton lawn from Sew L.A. Fabric along with a local purchase of Bemberg rayon for the lining. I've dubbed this my "strawberry fields" dress both in reference to my favorite band and one of my favorite places in New York's Central Park. Before my trip to NYC a couple weeks ago I had this idea I'd take photos of me in this dress in Strawberry Fields, but I know this time of year all too well in the northeast and decided against it. This is not built for snow and frigidness! 

Anyway, back to the dress. I cut a straight size 4, which is standard for me with Colette Patterns except for the bodice (according to their chart I measure a size 0 up top so I'm really glad I made a bodice muslin before starting). The muslin I made for the Crepe wrap dress was a size 0 that tapered to a 4 at the waist & hip, so I guess you never know! (Oh, and I still have yet to cut into the fashion fabric for the Crepe...)

Close up. My attempt at a punch of color.

It was really bright outside so I had the idea of "umbrella as parasol" at the last minute, not taking into account the high winds. What you're not seeing here is me laughing at my foolish attempts to pose with an umbrella while the wind is racing right past me (notice the umbrella buckling under pressure?). I really just wanted an excuse to pose with a "parasol" :)

The entire garment is cut on the bias and, as other ladies have mentioned, cutting the fabric is the longest process in making this pattern. The Bemberg lining was particularly tricky since it's so slippery; I put long sheets of drafting paper under it to keep it from moving too much and used my handy Gingher serrated shears to do the rest. After letting the pieces hang for 24 hours, it all comes together quickly!

The dress is gathered at the bust (kind of tricky to see with this fabric). The neck facings are sandwiched between the shell and the lining and act as interfacing. It definitely helps to grade the seams once everything is sewn together, and then press the layers down after understitching. It's a bit bulky without it and I used 2 lightweight fabrics. Because of the lining, most seams are hidden (I serged all the pieces before starting).

Eek, my hair was exceptionally '80s today thanks to the wind.

Both fabrics work really well in this 80-degree weather. I didn't make any adjustments to the dress, however, I'm thinking I need to learn how to do a swayback adjustment. I think. The fabric bunches at my lower back, but not too, too much. Sometimes I can't decide if that's normal or if it needs to be fixed!

In short, I really love this dress design, and can see myself making more. I think it'd be nice in a basic black, but also a bunch of other possibilities! And, like always with Colette Patterns, the instructions were great. It's nice that the dress has no closures - no buttonholes or zippers to worry about. I find that I have to be careful putting it on over my head, but the bias cut allows for some stretch (phew!). 

I'm feeling good about actually completing projects lately, must keep on it! Once again I have to credit the Sew Weekly's UFO week for helping me get this project done. It was sitting there, 90% finished for weeks, before I got my act together and finished.

I hope you're off to a good week, with warm weather already there or soon on its way...!


  1. Great job, love the fabric :)

  2. SO LOVELY! I absolutely adore the fabric and the photos are great!!

  3. Very pretty! I have this pattern stashed away, but no pieces of fabric that are begging to be made into it.

  4. Looks fab!

    The bunching at the back is normal, it's even obvious on the model version in the Colette Patterns store. However, I still tried to fix it on mine and almost went crazy.

    Did you have any problems with the arms?

  5. Ooh it's fantastic I love the 40's feel of it and it looks like it's a great fit. The Oolong doesn't seem to be one of the most sewn Collette patterns for some reason. Your version has just convinced me to buy the pattern though- great job. x

  6. The dress is lovely!! I adore the fabric and the style looks fantastic on you - well done!

  7. This is lovely! I think I'm being won over by the oolong. I also love the umbrella as parasol. I actually made one from an umbrella frame.

    I also wanted to let you know I'm passing on the Liebster Award to you. Its for up and coming blogs with less than 100 followers. Check it out here:

  8. Beautiful work, I actually like yours more than the version used in the Colette Patterns Shop! The print makes it so much more interesting, I think. It really does look amazing on you!

  9. Thanks, everyone! I'm so glad to hear some of you would like to tackle this pattern - I think it could use a little more lovin'.

    @lsaspacey: Good to know about the bunching in the back. If the Colette model has it then that's good enough for me! I didn't have any trouble with the armholes, but I have stick arms ;) I did read on your blog the part about attaching the sleeves at an earlier step than the directions call for in order to get a cleaner finish - I will try that next time!

    @ladykatza: Ooo, thank you for that award! It sounds so official :) It's so thrilling to have 30 followers, I must admit (even if it is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things)!

  10. Lovely! You did a really nice job!

  11. It's lovely! Fits amazingly well and sounds like it was fairly simple to make.

  12. GORGEOUS! i'm bookmarking yours for when i start mine!

  13. A favorite rendition of this it!


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