FO: Rooibos dress

Pattern: Rooibos from Colette Patterns

Size: 2 for the bodice, 0 for the skirt

Fabric used: Wool crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics for the dress, black rayon crepe for the facings

Notes: Love how this dress came out!  The color is still not right – it’s emerald green, you’ll just have to trust me on that one.  This is the first dress I have made, and the second pattern from Colette patterns.  I would completely recommend this pattern, it turned out adorable.  This is not necessarily a style that I wear easily, but as it turned out the slightly empire waist made it flattering!   There were a few minor errors in my copy of the pattern.  The pattern itself was fine, but there were several places in the instructions where pieces are misidentified in the text.  The diagrams are all correct, and they were easy to spot.  I did do a small bust adjustment, as the cups on the bodice were too large for me (I am a B cup.)   I lapped the pattern 1/2″, and that made it fit perfectly.  I also did an alteration to the back for upright posture.  The idea (as I understand it) is that most patterns assume a slightly rounded back, whereas I stand all the time like I’m balancing a book on my head.  This effectively removed 1/2″ in the back, making it even with the front.

(Sorry for the wrinkles… I was sitting today!) I think my back is somewhat narrow as well, though my shoulders are not.   The shoulders are quite wide on this pattern – I sewed snaps into them to attach my bra straps to, because otherwise they do show, and I think on the second try of this pattern I will narrow them a bit.

If I make this dress again (and I plan to, after all that work on the fit – I can imagine it several ways!)  I will do a full lining.  The pattern calls for facings that extend partway down the bodice.  The facing shows through slightly – you can see the ghost of it in the first photo above.  The wool crepe is thick, so I’d imagine under a thin fabric it would show even more.  It’s also a little uncomfortable to me to have the facing end where it does.  The rayon crepe that I used for the facing ravels like crazy – I had to be very careful with my seam finishes, and even so there are a few places that I’m worried about.  The wool also ravels a bit.  This dress made me decide I needed a serger, so I am purchasing one off of Craigslist – I got a good deal!

I am still searching for a better way to preshrink wool fabric (without drycleaning… it’s bad enough I’m planning to dryclean this dress!)  I was not thrilled with the results of the dryer method – while it did shrink, it also fulled slightly around the edges of the fabric, and there are a few pulled threads.  No one but me would notice though!

I think this dress has a bit of a 60s vibe, so I paired it with a vintage broach (my Grandma’s) which matches it exactly!  My grandma had a ton of Sarah Coventry jewelry, and I’ve inherited the lot.  I love pins and broaches, the bigger the better!

We had what is (for us) an epic snow last night – six inches!  I tried for photos anyway…

This is closer to the color of the dress.

I learned several new skills with this pattern.  I learned to apply piping and an invisible zipper (both not hard, but I did get the special feet for my machine.)  I am so thrilled with my dress, and can’t wait to make more!

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45 thoughts on “FO: Rooibos dress

  1. I am making this very dress! Lovely to see your version. It suits a wool fabric so well and you have done a gorgeous job. I love the brooch with it.

  2. That looks absolutely gorgeous! I swear you could have stepped out of an old photo. You have such a gorgeous, old hollywood look. Love it and love the blog! Keep sewing!

  3. Love your blog. It is the first one I go to each day. Love to see all the progress. This dress is great and looks wonderful on you. You are my inspiration.

  4. Jessica says:

    So cute! The fit looks perfect. I am so enjoying your sewing adventures these last months. Love all the ‘in progress’ details and your careful report when all is done.

  5. Wow! That is so cute! I’m really impressed with all the alterations you made to get it to fit. It looks perfect to me. I hope you do make another one because it looks great!

  6. The piping on the dress is such a sharp accent! It looks lovely on you, and I think your grandmother’s pin is the perfect touch. I love vintage pins and need to wear my own more often!

  7. I learned to preshrink wool (o many years ago) by placing the yardage between two damp sheets and allowing to dry. Another way is to have dry cleaners steam the whole piece and allow to dry flat (don’t let them fold it). I’m enjoying your sewing adventures and maybe I’ll get inspired to sew up some of my material stash!

  8. The dress looks great on you! It is so satisfying to get the fit of a pattern just right. I have just started to really use my serger more – until now I was using my regular machine for everything except the hems, and using the coverstitch machine for those. Now that I’m getting interested in wovens, the serger is coming in handy for finishing all those ravely fabrics!

  9. The dress came out fabulous! The style and color really suit you. Aren’t you just walking on air when you wear it out? :)

    I LOVE the brooch and this is my favorite hairstyle yet. The soft curls look great.

  10. It looks gorgeous on you and you’ve done a great job – well done!

    I’m a patternmaker and love helping, so here’s a couple of minor tips for next time:
    – You might find that (if it is not too thick) a wool crepe facing won’t show as much, because it will behave in the same way as the outer bodice.
    – Because of your erect posture I would make the back bodice darts a bit longer, or even eliminate them altogether in conjunction with your previous neckline adjustment.
    – Because of your narrow back, scoop out a bit of the lower back armhole so it sits flatter – in the photo it looks like about half an inch could come off, but it might need less if you alter those darts.

    And congratulations on investing in an overlocker – you’ll never regret it!

  11. ooh so exciting to see this made up by a ” real ” person . It looks great on you. I have purchased the pattern and await it’s arrival…I would prefer it to be a little longer ….is that possible just adding length shouldn’t be a problem ? right !! :)
    I have a smaller top than bottom and I see what you mean by the shoulders being wide…any advice you can give I would welcome. I have made stuff before but the fit never seems quite right…so I end up rather disappointed…but I’m hopeful this is the pattern to change that ! great colour by the way :)

  12. Beautiful version of Rooibos! I am just passing out over the excellent fit. Can you tell me where you overlapped the 1/2″ on the pattern to make your SBA? If you are a B cup and had to make an SBA, I will most certainly need to as well. And thanks for the nice comment on my Macaron dress!

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