Oh my Dahlia

Sewing, Sewn No Comments
Pattern:  Dahlia Dress by Colette Patterns
Size: 6
Fabric: purple gingham cotton from my stash, polka dot rayon lining, bought locally
Alterations: – added some cm to the shoulder part so the neckline would cover my bra straps
– added shoulder darts to prevent neckline gaping
– lowered neckline by 3 cm, lengthened bodice by 2 cm
– shortened skirt by 4.5 cm
Notes for
next time:
– shorten bodice by 0,5 to 1 cm and slightly take in the bust
– line bodice for a cleaner finish
– stabilize zipper area on both the shell and the lining fabric
Make Again? Yes! This is such a beautiful pattern.

Excuse the bad pun. I just couldn’t resist …

So, after spending all of december working like a madwoman, I rewarded myself to a small sewing class in order to make Colette’s Dahlia dress. Since my first attempt at a Colette dress (the Laurel) ended as a desaster, it seemed like a good idea to give them a second chance – this time with professional help.

So I basically used the class for fitting and pattern adjusting. I’ve never been so happy to see fitting issues on a muslin (nothing more disappointing than taking a fitting class only to have your muslin fit perfectly).

First off: If you experience shoulders that are falling off in your Dahlia muslin, note that the instructions have you gather the front neckline as almost the last step. It’s easy to overlook and dive right into crazy pattern adjustments as a result. Ask me how I know …

Colette Dahlia Dress in Gingham | naehzimmerblog.de
Please note the killer props and hilarious pose

Fitting Issues: Neckline and Sleeves

With the front gathered, the dress sat much better, but the neckline was still gaping at the shoulder part and the bodice was too short. I also wanted to take in the shoulders by a few centimeters to cover the part where the bra straps sit.

After around 2 hours of adjusting and redrafting, the shoulders were still slightly gaping. The teacher then made me choose between completely redrafting the bodice and sleeves or just adding shoulder darts. I chose the latter and turned out to be a good decision: The darts blend into the plaid fabric and are barely visible.

Dahlia Dress Shoulder Darts
Shoulder darts were required to prevent gaping.

Fitting Issues: Skirt

My muslin only included the bodice, so the fact that the skirt was too long came as a surprise. Sadly, shortening it also meant the kick pleat had to go – it was cut down way too much.

One thing I learned the hard way was that you should always stabilize the zipper area on both fabrics. Otherwise your delicate lining fabric might get eaten by zipper teeth, leaving evil holes.

I didn’t line the bodice area for lack of patience and and fabric, but next time I would definitely consider it. The zigzag-finished sleeve seams kind of bug me. I just love a clean finish.

Dahlia Dress Back and Details
I added piping at the waistband and one (!) in-seam pocket

Dahlia Dress: Insides
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of polka dot linings.

Dahlia Dress: Insides, Shoulder Details
Note to self: Fully line the dress next time

Dahlia Dress: Insides, hem
Wide bias tape on the inside of the hem

However, let’s not forget that this is my second handmade dress. It is beautiful, it is definitely wearable and I’m insanely proud! It already got worn a lot, but mostly on the weekends or to dance class. Sadly, my school is far too casual for these kinds of clothes and I’m not ready to go all dresses and crazy patterns and colour explosions yet.

Sewing this dress was so much fun. The Dahlia is such a beautiful pattern. I’d love to make it again some time, maybe in a solid and/or with a full skirt. It might also look great as a top.

Have any of you made Dahlia dresses? Any problems with the neckline?

Dahlia Dress in Gingham