Friday, September 9, 2011

Autumn Watercolor

Ottobre Design - Woman, Fall Winter, 5/2011 #15

Pattern Description: The simple, minimalist style of this dress is always trendy and interesting. Admittedly, they also require a little more attention from the sewer as they need to be carefully tried on and fitted. The body-hugging silhouette of the dress is produced both by the pattern design and by shaping it by pressing during construction. The waistline is raised slightly above the narroest part of the body. The skirt has contouring darts at the waist, and the slanted bust darts start at the side seams of the bodice.

Pattern Sizing: Ottobre sizes (similar to Burda) 34-48. As I was using a woven, I made a 40.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? The shape was the same. Their dress is a nice, quiet, well-bred gray. Mine is not.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Ottobre's instructions are fabulous. You don't even notice the lack of illustrations, and anyone who has tackled even one Burda pattern would find these a breeze.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked that it was basically a blank slate for any print that I decided to throw at it. Ottobre's patterns aren't always exciting at first glance, but upon further study they're actually very good starts to a lot of interesting garments. Another nice thing about Ottobre is that many of their pattern pieces can be swapped - the 4 dresses in this issue have interchangeable skirts, sleeves and collars; only the bodice is consistently the same, so if you get the bodice fit right, you have a lot of options to play with.

I also liked the neckline - nice and wide, a flattering look, without having to worry about the depth of a Burda neckline. Sometimes it's just nice to go to work and not worry about flashing too much cleavage at the wrong lawyer.

Fabric Used: Cotton voile purchased at PR Weekend Chicago at Fishman's Fabrics. I waffled about the purchase, but several PR members, including Sherril Miller, basically strong-armed me into it. (Thank you, ladies, you were right).

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: No changes other than tweaking for fit. Ottobre patterns tend to fit me without a lot of manipulation, which can be a nice change of pace.

The dresses in this pattern series had some nice vintage touches, but the only one that is really structural is the dart at the back neck/shoulder which I think makes such a difference in fit. The inside facing is cut without the dart, and makes the neckline lay beautifully.

I had issues with lining the dress - not technical issues, but color. Because the cotton voile is somewhat sheer, my first choice of lining (black) made the print muddy. Brown wasn't much better. I scrounged through the lining stash until I came up with some ivory, which brightened the light parts of the print.

I did not line the sleeves. The sleeve is fitted, and I was afraid that it would be too snug if I lined it, so I turned the bodice lining under at the armhole and hand sewed it to the seam allowance. I also hand sewed the skirt and sleeve hems, and attached the lining to the invisible zip. Lots of hand-sewing on this dress, but the fabric was so lightweight that I knew any machine stitches would show, and not in a good way.

Despite my print being somewhat (!) busy, I decided to add some embellishment to the neckline. I purchased a jacket a few summers ago at a yard sale, specifically because it had these brown wooden beads sewn around the neckline and down the front. The jacket was white pique and filthy; I cut the beads off and have kept them all this time waiting for the right project. I thought that they suited the fabric, which despite its watercolor effect is not shy and retiring at all. The beads weren't too heavy, and they're hand-sewn down and tacked to the facing, which has a heavier interfacing than I would have normally used specifically to support the embellishment.

The embellishment doesn't go around to the back neckline because Lily the sewing room cat made off with 3 of the larger pieces. When they resurface on the sewing room floor, I'll add them. Or not; I don't actually miss them despite having made fun of RTW tops with embellishments that stop at the shoulders.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely recommend both this pattern and Ottobre generally. It's not an exciting looking magazine if you're used to a steady diet of Burda or Patrones, but it's full of good, basic, useful patterns that can be used in a variety of ways. Since I got the bodice fit the way I want, I'll definitely be using this pattern again.

Conclusion: I was told that this pattern had great potential to be dowdy, but I think fit and fabric can win out any time. I'm happy with my dress, and I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this one.

17 comments:

Lori said...

Gorgeous dress, the embellishment on the n.eck is perfect

Dilliander said...

Definitely a success, it looks great!

Ruthie said...

Great dress! Love the neckline detail and the print. And got a giggle from the cat antics :-)

Janine said...

this is certainly not dowdy . Those colours really suit you , your friends were right.

annie said...

Very good-looking. Love the beads.

Vicki said...

Lovely dress. Looks beautiful on you :)

Eileensews said...

Very attractive and flattering dress.

Connie said...

Love it ! The fit is perfect, and the neckline is a great touch. To think I passed over this issue!

SEWN said...

Ok ok I will admit that I'm the stupid person who said it would look frumpy. And I will admit I was wrong. The dress and you look smashing!!! Love it and may make it myself. The beads are gorgeous--nice touch.

couturearts said...

Beautiful dress! I love the embellishment at the neckline.

judidarling said...

Isn't it lovely that a garage sale find can add just the right touch. This fabric is lush and perfect with your coloring, a great transitional piece for Autumn. Brava!

Nancy K said...

Wonderful dress with great fit which makes this dress, that and the print of course. That blank slate makes this a perfect tnt pattern.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

A great basic dress always needs the designer's inspiration to make it extraordinary and I think you've more than met the task!

I love the print you chose as well as the embellishment! The dress is simply perfect!

Isabelle said...

What a great dress - it really looks perfect on you, in every respect - shape, style, colours!

Laury said...

Is there a "right" lawyer to flash cleavage at?

Cennetta said...

Love it; the style and colors.

Sherril said...

Karen, I'm just thrilled I could be a part of making this gorgeous creation happen. It looks lovely on you and the embellishments? Brilliant!