True Bias Colfax Dress

Hello my friends! How are you? Summer has hit us over here in beautiful British Columbia, and this weekend was a scorcher. We managed to get out and do some fishing on Sunday, but it was almost too hot for me. I'm not very heat or sun tolerant. Can you tell by my pasty white skin? LOL. Anyway, let's get on with chatting about my beautiful Colfax dress. I feel like I have a lot to say here so maybe grab a coffee (or beverage of your choice) and let's get down to it.

I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for Kelli's latest True Bias pattern: the Colfax dress. When I first saw the line drawing, I wasn't quite sure how this dress was going to look on my figure, but I really liked the cool yoke detail, and I really loved Kelli's samples (she sent her testers a few pictures before we sewed them up). Anyway, long story short, my tester version did not turn out well. I went against my internal compass, and skipped the FBA, which was a big mistake. When I finished my dress, it had these horrible diagonal lines from my hips to my boobs, and it hiked way up at the front. It did not look good, and I was not happy. So very impulsively, I chopped it off into a top. Better, but still not great, and I now, really wish I wouldn't have chopped it off so quickly. Don't get me wrong. I think this pattern acutally makes a great tank too, but because of the fit issues I already had, my tank wasn't much better than the dress was. And I really wish I would have worn the dress a bit before chopping it off, because sometimes after something sits for awhile or you wear it a bit, your opinion of it can change (like today when I looked back at the tester photos, it really wasn't so bad). Anyway, I still made lots of notes for Kelli, and I think my tester info was still helpful, or at least I hope it was.

So, even though I was unhappy with my first version, I really wanted to make another one for 2 big reasons:

  1.  I felt really guilty about not having a nice version to blog about. Now before we go too far here, Kelli does not ask her testers to blog, or do any promotion whatsoever, but when you really like a pattern (or even a designer), don't you want to blog about it, share it with the world, and support said designer? I do. I mean, I always keep my opinions on this blog honest and completely genuine, and I don't like being told what to do on my blog, so I will never say anything I don't want to. But like with anything I make, I really wanted to tell you all about the Colfax dress, and I didn't want to have to show you my poorly represented tester version. Plus, when a pattern is first released and I'm thinking about buying it, I always want to see it on real bodies, and different shapes and sizes, not just the photos the designer showcases, and I thought that's probably what you would want too. So I kind of felt like I was letting you readers down as well. 
  2. I liked the design, and I didn't want to let it defeat me. Sounds silly right? I knew in my mind that if I just sucked it up and did an FBA, I would probably be happy with this pattern and it was so silly that I didn't do it in the first place.  I think I have a lazy/stubborn gene in me that usually stays dormant but occasionally overtakes me, and for some reason, it did the day I made my first version of this dress.

So here we are with my "good" version.  I'm not sure if you guys know this about me, but I'm really sucky at sewing with shifty fabrics. But, you know what they say: practice makes perfect, and if you don't try, you can't practice, so expect to see more shifty fabrics from me in the future. 

This fabric is a rayon challis, and while it's really soft and not slippery, it still shifted around on me a lot. I really should have starched it while I was ironing it, but I didn't. (I recently read on Anya's blog about this cool fabric stiffener, which I really need to try STAT. PS: Anya is an amazing sewist from Calgary!! If you haven't already, you should check out her blog - she's awesome!) Anyway, while shifty, I thought this fabric would be perfect for this pattern as the print has sort of a retro shift-dress feel, and I thought a more flowy fabric would lend itself well to this pattern. I should also mention this fabric is super special because Katie sent it to me. I know I've said this before, but sewing people are the best!

Okay, back to the dress, I chose my size based on my high bust measurement, which is a size 8, and then I did an FBA. It was soooooo easy!! Why on earth did I skip it before? Ugh! Kelli has tutorial on her website as part of the Colfax sewalong if you want to check it out.  Anyway, I did a 1.5" FBA which adds 3" all around and it worked out perfectly! The fit is so much better and the front no longer hitches up. I didn't end up shortening this pattern at all, so watch out tall girls, you may need to lengthen it a bit.

I made a huge boo boo on this dress while I was sewing it, but it was totally my fault -  I sewed the yoke onto the wrong side of the dress and cut my slit down the centre before I even noticed. YIKES!! It was such a pain to unpick and resew, but I got it, and my yoke is only slightly wonky, so it turned out okay in the end. 

Anyway, I'm really happy with this dress, and I think I will wear it a lot. It's really comfy and perfect for throwing on with sandals. I don't love this style as much as I love the Southport, because I think I need a bit more waist definition than it provides, but it's light and easy to wear, so I'm sure I'll reach for it a lot this summer.  I might also try it with a belt and see if that changes my mind.  

Thanks for hanging in there with me guys. I hope you're having a lovely week! I'll be getting up early tomorrow to watch some dudes dig up our backyard and fix our water/well problem, or at least I hope they can fix it - finally. Wish me luck!