I was worried that Version 2 of the Dahlia would be too inappropriately revealing for my advancing years but the black dress on the Colette website must have been made of something slinky for it to drape so attractively. My cotton lawn recreation had bit after bit trimmed off the bodice and still it looks kind of … frumpy.
The first sign of this not being the quick project I’d imagined came after the neckline bias was partially applied when I checked the back view in the mirror. The bra straps and the dress straps were so far from each other! Ugh, racer back! In a previous project – my much worn Frida dress – I saved the situation with bra keepers but that was clearly not going to work here where the fabric and the straps were thin. Instead, I measured the disparity and trimmed the neckline down by 7cm which seemed to do just the trick. The front presented a similar problem so I cut 3.5cm from each side (grading to the middle of which I only lost 1cm) to bring the dress straps in line with those of the bra. This gave me the chance to fix something else I noticed looked wrong with the bodice front: the instructions specify gathering fabric only at the centre of the neckline but this just makes the boobies look too far apart from each other 😯 I re-sewed the gathering stitches and distributed the fullness across the entire front neckline. Much better.
Finally, the armscye was too high and really cut in. I trimmed it down by 1cm and the dress was no more comfortable so I did it again, this time cutting another 2cm. That’s some change! If you ever have to do this alteration, don’t begrudge the time this takes as it’s quick and makes all the difference between the outfit getting worn or sitting in your wardrobe.
Oh yeah, and the zipper… Because the waistband has a facing, there’s rather a lot of fabric going on in the seams at either side of the zip and I struggle to get it pulled up and down in the waistband region – a problem I also have with my winter Dahlia. I thoroughly suggest you avoid this by handstitching the waistband facing to the zip fabric, which would also enable you to interface it for more structure.
After Nicky recommended a trip to Shoreham-by-Sea to see the houseboats, I pushed the kids into the car for a mini adventure mid-half term and that’s where these photos were taken. My son soon spotted his dream home!
The day was warm and sunny with a gentle breeze that, alas, seemed to fill up my skirt from below and make it rise around me like a lifebelt! Not that I want to put you off Dahlia, but be prepared to make some adjustments if this is going to be something better than a casual summer dress you can buy in a shop for a song. I’m so making this again out of some slinky black fabric so I can swing my way through summer 😉