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!
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:
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.
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?