Colette Patterns' Rooibos pattern may be the perfect dress for me. The wide neckline, fitted bust, high inset waist and an A-line short skirt adds up to give my small-busted rectangular shape a little curve. Oh, it's love.
So I write to you today with not just one but TWO versions of the Rooibos. My test driving went well and I've serged off the seam allowances and am utterly delighted with it (er, them).
Rooibos, the first:
Sizing: I cut a size 2 for the Bodice and 4 for the skirt but found the 2 a tad too tight and the skirt awfully flared for the denim I was using for this dress. Even with the 2, I made a small bust adjustment, but had to reduce the seam allowances at the bodice to 3/8. I also increased the seam allowance at the bottom of the skirt to an inch, grading back to the original at the hip. And actually that's worth mentioning: This pattern doesn't seem to exactly mimic the model on the Colette Patterns site -- the waist and hip don't appear to be that fitted, but the woman has drool-worthy curves.
Alterations: I redrew the neckline to leave out the mini-collar. I wanted a super-versatile dress for summer that would go with everything. Plain denim it was. Luckily, I had it in my stash!
Zipper: Since there is so much ease in the waist and hip, I really only needed a zipper for a few inches in the bodice. A skirt zipper sufficed.
Hem: I wanted a mini-dress length, so I turned in the raw edge 1/4 inch and took a 2-inch hem. I'm 5'3" and I suspect this would be far too much on a taller woman!
Construction: Seamless. It took me awhile because some steps were new to me (rolling the bodice to attach the facing, creating the pockets etc.) but I'd really say this is an easy pattern with a lot of steps. More time than skill intensive.
A close up, showing off those great darts in the bust and those pockets! Love them. The pockets inside and the facing are salmon-colored. A little peek of color.
Love this low back. Didn't have to do a swayback adjustment because the midriff inset is so high.
So glad I made this one of my summer essentials, I'll wear this tons this season and I suspect with some tights I can wear it throughout the year.
Yes, it's a bit plain, but think of all the colorful cardigans and scarves and jewelry I can wear with it! The denim makes it a bit heavy for a summer dress, but the sleeveless-ness and the mid-thigh length make me feel like I've got a substantial dress that won't fly away on me.
Rooibos, the second
This was a little experiment. It actually started when I was fitting the first Rooibos and the size 4 skirt (yet attached to the bodice) dropped to my waist. I thought, This could make a great skirt! The wheels in my head started turning. How could I make many versions of this pattern without it looking like the same exact dress?
As of late, I've been obsessed with having a striped dress. I thought immediately of Shabby Apple's Eiffel Tower dress and Jessica of Green Apples' version of Kwik Sew 3758. Though I love both those dresses, there were things about them that I'd change if possible, the neckline of the Eiffel Tower dress and the tulip-esque skirt of the Kwik Sew pattern, which does nothing for my shape. So why not take a little whack at pattern alteration and see what I come up with?
The vision: A boatneck striped bodice with 3/4 sleeves and a flared A-line skirt with pockets. I used an oversized, thrifted Old Navy top.
And this muumuu someone gave me for free at the swap meet when I was home in Hawaii visiting family. It's a homemade dress, pinked seams and all.
Since I was using knit for the top, I folded in the bodice darts and traced the pattern. Then I cut it above where the darts would be and added 2 inches.
On the skirt, I subtracted two inches. I then folded in the sides to true the pattern. These two changes allowed the midriff inset to fall at my natural waist.
I used the sleeve pattern from Built By Wendy Homestretch's crewneck pattern, lengthening it.
And this is what I came up with:
Sizing: Using my lessons from the first Rooibos, I used a 4 for the bodice and inset (going up a size) with a small bust adjustment and graded down from 4 to 0 for the skirt pieces.
Alterations: Added sleeves, raised the back neckline.
Zipper: None! Thanks to the knit, I can pull this over my head.
Hem: Finished it using bias tape with a 1/4 inch turn.
Construction: The familiar parts went quickly. Figuring out the knit bodice was the hardest part, since it fits more generously in a knit. The sleeves originally fit perfectly and the stripes were all lined up, but the shoulders kept drooping and I wanted it a little tighter. So a gazillion tweaks later, it's better in a lot of ways, worse off in others. For example, there's some pulling in the bodice, but I can live with it.
I really like it. I like the stripes, the length, the sweep of the skirt, the pockets, the inset that feels like a belt across my waist. My only major beef is the black fabric. The muumuu seamstress seems to have used broadcloth, which I like for it's crispness, but it's prone to wrinkling and lint and is VERY see-through. I have a little black slip I can wear under the skirt, but I do wish it was nicer quality fabric, since my pattern-alteration experiment turned out to be wearable. :)
Either way -- reusing old garments and items in my stash -- it's quite a treat. And as much as I'm tempted to go out and buy good quality black fabric and re-do what I just did, this light fabric might be just what I need for summer. Besides, the Rooibos pattern isn't going anywhere and I've just started playing with its possibilities!
To the Rooibos!
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