Summer Dahlia

Colette Dahlia Version 21 Colette D1 Colette Dahlia Pattern EnvelopeI 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.

1 Uh Oh, back of Dahlia V2 in the mirrorThe 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.  1 Trim 7cm off the neckline backThe 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. Colette Dahlia Back ViewFront neckline trimThe 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.

1 Armscye acheFinally, 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.

1 MitraljezAfter 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!1 Ideal home exhibition

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 😉

1 mumm

Shoreham Houseboat Grand Entrance

1 cat botherer1 summer dahlia plus cardie

18 thoughts on “Summer Dahlia

  1. Your version looks great and I love the lollilop tree fabric but this is one of those patterns I got over excited about when it first came out, bought the PDF, stuck it together, cut it out and then went right off the idea.

    • Thanks Lynn.

      Well I love that you call them lollipop trees! That’s exactly what they are. I loved this fabric and bought 3m within moments of laying eyes on it but I’ve yet to make it into anything I’m crazy about.

      As I’ve said before, I think this pattern might suit you. As you’ve done most of the hard work in putting the PDF together, it probably wouldn’t take you long at all but read my advice about the winter one (i.e. the shoulders) and maybe the skirt needs lengthening to just below the knee.

  2. Your version turned out much better, at least more honestly than theirs. No way they got those straps with that pattern, judging by the tech drawing.

    I have a new plan: I only buy per the tech drawing. And if there isn’t one, I don’t buy. April Rhodes, talking about you….

  3. Very pretty dress, just goes to show that perseverance pays. I’m not sure at all how they could have made the black dress out of the same pattern but as you say maybe it’s just a different fabric.

    • Jersey? Well why didn’t I think of that! Then you wouldn’t need a zip and it would drape also. If you have the pattern and fancy a double-make, let me know and we can compare results.

  4. Well done you, for getting the fit just right. When things start to go wrong for me, the item normally gets put in a carrier bag and tucked into a drawer. The idea is that I will tackle it another day, but that day doesn’t come. You, on the other hand have a lovely summer dress.

  5. I didn’t buy this pattern because both of the designs looked not very bra friendly but this is a simple and clever way to make it work. I do like to nose at house boats, I have a friend who lives on one and it’s such a romantic idea.

  6. Love the day trip, but you were lucky with the weather. I worked in Brighton for years, but never managed to get to Shoreham.

    I really like this dress – not frumpy – but it seems like a fussy make which is off putting. I love their model photo and think this would look great (now you have perfected the pattern) in a dark stone washed/peach skin silk – forest green, charcoal or deep red perhaps?

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