Est-ce que c’est Parfait?


Oh HAI! How are you? I’ve been sewing up a storm lately, and this is just one of the dresses I finished this week. It’s a Colette Parfait, with one major difference…

Colette Parfait dress, turned maxi!

It’s a maxi! I haven’t worn a full-length dress in a decade or more – Even my wedding dress was short! I’ve been pretty fascinated by the trend though, and Pinterest convinced me to give it a try. 

Colette Parfait dress, turned maxi!

Now I’d like to pretend that I entended the skirt pieces to make a maxi, but truth be told, I was short on fabric (Who knew maxis use so much fabric?!) and it’s actually just trapezoidal panels cut free-form to make the most of the yardage. The original skirt is 6 flared panels… this is 5! Thank goodness the busy print hides the bizarre asymmetrical seamlines!

Here’s my breakdown of this dress: The Good, The Bad, and The Lazy!

Colette Parfait dress, turned maxi!

The Good

  • I love the fit of the bodice. It’s a proper sundress, but there is no gaping and the curved waistband is really flattering. 
  • The straps are nice and wide, and cover bra straps perfectly!
  • I bought this fabric on my Ottawa Street Blogger Meet-Up… Sarah made me buy it! She was totally right – It’s a perfect print for me, and like I said, it hides all the sewing flaws! 
  • It’s a light-weight cotton, so it flows nicely. This dress would not work so well in quilting cotton! 

Colette Parfait dress, turned maxi!

The Bad: 

  • This is the most complicated bodice I’ve sewn yet… and I found it really couter-intuitive! The facings are the oddest shapes. I was going to be clever and sew a lining instead of using the facings, but I quickly realised I didn’t understand the construction process well enough to do that. I went with facings instead, but grrr. Annoying! They don’t flip up once I’m wearing the dress, but as I put it on they flip all over the place!
  • I always have trouble with the back bodice on Colette dresses, but I though that since this one was just a tiny straight band, it would be ok. Nope! It has two darts in it which create a very puffy bubble shape on me… I basically had to add giant top-down darts to fix the shaping from the bottom-up darts in the pattern!

Colette Parfait dress, turned maxi!

The Lazy: 

  • OMG, just LOOK at how many threads I have to pick loose after endless rounds of basting! I am so lazy about finishing. Even now the dress is sitting next to me with a pari of scissors, ready to trim, but I’m blogging instead. Bad Gillian!
  • The zipper. Guys, I strained my back trying to wiggle in and out of this dress… literally, back pain for days. Because I’m too lazy to put in a zipper. I eventually gave in (after the front centre bodice ripped!) and unpicked a side seam for the zipper… but when I finished the dress and basted it up to check the fit I though, “Well, I’d only have to struggle into it once in a day…” and promptly sewed it up without a zipper. It’s a serious production to get it over the, uh, ladies… I’d like to say that I will go back and add a zipper one day, but I probably won’t!
  • Straps. Too many pieces, plus button holes and buttons… screw it. I cut straight straps instead and sewed them on in one piece!
  • The hem. I’ve decided to call this one a “design feature” for “added durability”… instead of measuring and trimming the hem, I turned it up THREE TIMES into a  deep 5cm hem. That’s a lot of hem. I’m hoping it helps me not to put a foot through the dress! 

Colette Parfait dress, turned maxi!

All that said, I like this dress a lot. I’m planning on wearing it tomorrow for the first time (once I trim those darn threads!) The pattern was a great fit, and everything became clear when I just followed the instructions. I’m thinking of sewing it again for a wedding I’ll be going to in the fall.

Have you tried out the Maxi trend? Back at the end of Me-Made May, it occurred to me to try hosting a Maxi-Skirt Sewalong. I thought it would be a perfect project for a lot of people: You can adapt any pattern, there are tons of tutorials online, and it’s a very wearable trend. I kinda dropped the ball though, and didn’t get it going. Summer is half over now, and so many bloggers have blogged about trying out maxis over the last month that it all seems a bit moot! (Let me know though, if you think it would be worth a try!)

I’m fascinated by the intersection of sewing blogs and fashion: In some ways we are very insular (We are collectively always going to love a fit-and-flare 50’s dress!) , but I’m always surprised when I go shopping to realise how on-trend we are about some things! The Grainline Scout  T, the Wiksten Tank… this summer’s hot patterns are just like what is in stores!

How about you? Do you sew with shapes and colours that are tried and true, or do you flirt with fashion from time to time? I’d love to hear what you think!

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