Macaron #2

A couple of months ago, after a very long hiatus, I decided to reenter the world of sewing.  The first thing I made was the Macaron dress by Colette Patterns.  Seems like I might have been biting off more than I could chew with this dress?  That’s what the salesgirl said, too. But did I listento her? NO I DID NOT!

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I plunged full speed ahead with this- that is, the full speed I was capable of at the time.  Which was glacial.  It was slow, it was painful, it involved a lot of seam ripping, hair tearing, and sending pictures of the sleeve pieces to my mother so she could explain the construction to me over the phone.  I am ashamed to admit that I DID NOT EVEN have fabric shears, and in fact cut out the whole thing with some old paper scissors (don’t ever do it, it was awful). Anyway, that’s a post for another day.  The subject of today’s post is my Macaron #2. Not being put off by my difficult first experience with the pattern, I decided to make it again. So without further ado, here it is:

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With quite a few other projects under my belt since the first Macaron, I found it significantly easier to sew this time around. The body is a gorgeous navy blue 100% virgin wool suiting that I bought in the garment district when I was in NYC last month.  I was meeting some friends there- but of course snuck off to fabric stores as many chances as I could get.  This particular place had some great reviews online but I was a bit disappointed when I got there.  The ancient, tiny saleslady kept following me around the shop pulling things down to suggest.  I really just wanted to be left alone….

My hangover was barely holding it’s own against the assault of flourescent lighting and bright prints, and this lady was showing me crap I didn’t want left and right.  As soon as I saw this beautiful suiting in the sale section I basically grabbed it and ran before she could suggest some “coordinating” hideousness.

Then I coveted it.  I pressed it, then left it out so I could admire it every day.  I showed it to people when they came by our apartment.  I made people listen to me talk about it.  I’m pretty sure I even  yammered to our receptionist about it.  I was also a little afraid to cut into it since it was so beautiful, but when I finally dared to after a couple of weeks it was well worth it.

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Ever since my first Macaron I had wanted to make another with a sheer yoke, so I found some matching silk chiffon downtown.  The chiffon was a real pain in the ass to sew.  I had previously made a Banksia blouse with silk chiffon so I wasn’t new to it, but that drapey blouse seemed to magically hide all of my errors.  This time there was no room to hide such sloppiness, so I had to buckle down.  I read some tutorials online which directed me to use tissue paper, and that was very very helpful.  I cut out the pieces inbetween two pieces of tissue to stabilize the chiffon, and I think it made a big difference.  The first time I cut them I did NOT do this, and though I tried to be very careful while cutting, the chiffon still got quite distorted.  I scrapped those pieces and got out the tissue after that.  I also used the tissue to stabilize the seams while I was sewing.  I’d had a lot of problems previously with the chiffon getting sucked down into the needle plate, and also with it gathering up behind the needle and puckering as a I sewed, requiring every seam to be smoothed and straightened out after sewing.  By placing tissue along the back of the fabric and sewing right through it, I eliminated both of those problems.  Afterwards I just ripped the tissue away gently.

I love the dress- it’s got to be my favorite thing that I’ve made so far. I wore it to the office the first day it was finished and received many compliments on it.  It’s probably too fancy to be an everyday work dress, but I had envisioned it as more of a party dress anyway.  Not sure what my next macaron will be…. maybe a lace yoke?

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My first Belladone

 

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I finished this dress a couple of weeks ago.  I made it from the Belladone pattern by Deer and Doe.  It’s a pretty simple design- a fitted bodice with a back cutout and an A-line skirt.

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When I first saw the pattern online I dismissed it pretty quickly. I didn’t like the color of the made up version on the model AT ALL.  It’s some kind of gross avocado green number.  But after blogging around, I ran across so many lovely versions of it that I decided it was worth a shot after all.

I made it from a sturdy grey recycled cotton for the body, and a red kona cotton for the waistband and bias facing, that I bought at  my local quilt/yarn/cutesy craft shop. My mom taught me how to sew years ago, but due to my relatively recent return to the world of sewing, I can still be a bit of a noob.  At the time that I made this dress, I was primarily frequenting fabric stores that didn’t specialize in apparel fabrics- the kinds of quilt stores I was used to going to with my mother.  So what I really wanted to make this dress out of  (I now realize that what I wanted was suiting)  was not available at this store, and I had no idea where to get it. I settled on this sturdy cotton, which I thought was sort of close.  I’ve since discovered the wonderful world of apparel fabric in Boston, which has been a vast improvement in terms of selection.

Nevertheless, I’m quite happy with the way it turned out:

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It’s turned into my go-to summer dress.  I’ve been wearing it constantly, both to the office and on the weekends. The fabric is pretty sturdy, so I’m not afraid to just throw it in the washing machine.  I really love the peekaboo affect in the back:

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And of course, I love that it has these cute diagonal pockets:

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It was really a breeze to sew- the pattern was very straightforward and it came together in a couple of weekday evenings and a Saturday morning.  I wanted to finish it in time to wear on a picnic that day, so I had a deadline to motivate me.

The only trouble I had was with a bit of gaping in the back. My impatient boyfriend was on hand to help with the fit, but he could only be prevailed upon to repin it so many times…..  And frankly, both of us were at a loss as to where to take things in to stop the gaping.  In the future, I’m really hoping to improve my skills at fitting (and by skills I mean um…letting out the seam allowance to squeeze into patterns where I’ve willfully ignored the size chart).   Also you can tell from the back shots that I didn’t line up the waistband very well in the back.  I still haven’t quite figured out how to do that with a zipper.