Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sad Parfait

This is such a sad story ~ the Parfait dress that went wrong. I don't even know where to begin.

For starters, I decided the Japanese cotton/linen strawberries print I'd ordered from Hart's Fabric last year was perfect for the Parfait dress ... after already cutting it out for a vintage shift pattern. Oops. That should have been where it all stopped.

But no, I was determined. I cut the pattern pieces out, checked my bust measurement against the instructions, and proceeded to cut as many pieces as I could. All I needed was another yard. So I checked Hart's Fabric's website - no luck. I wasn't dissuaded. I called their store and the most helpful woman on the planet actually tracked down the last two yards in their warehouse. I thought it was meant to be. At $20 a yard, I should have maybe thought a little harder?

**This is where a rational person would have made a muslin. Apparently, I have lost all reason and like wasting time and money. Although, in my defense I like to say I don't have time to make a muslin as I barely have time to sew in general.**

While I was waiting for the extra fabric to arrive, my son spilled a Sprite all over the cut pattern pieces. Tissue paper and Sprite don't go well together and the pieces that were most affected were the bust and midriff. I have no idea if that's why it doesn't fit me right or not. I managed to dry them and they seemed fine. But it doesn't fit.

I cut it out over Christmas break and finally got around to putting it together this weekend, with both of my kids underfoot.

I don't know where to begin on what's wrong with it? It's a lovely dress. If I had a much bigger chest (36C here) and was shorter and thinner, it would fit. Maybe. There's some weirdness where one side of the front didn't match the back.

I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but the back of the skirt is off-balance? One side was almost two inches wider than the midriff when I went to attach it, so the seams across the back are off balance. I made adjustments to even it out, but couldn't do as much as it needed.

And when I finished putting the midriff/bodice pieces together, the back on one side was notably wider than the front. Odd.
I do love the details, though! I added some ivory piping to the bodice and pockets and I think it adds a little structural detail among all the busy-ness. It made making changes a lot more difficult, though, so this is where a muslin would totally have come in handy.

Part of the problem for me is that I didn't make any adjustments for my height (5'11"). With almost every other commercial pattern there is a point in cutting out the fabric where I add two inches to the bodice for my height. This pattern's pieces never mentioned it, and I must have thought by adding an extra inch to the straps I was making enough of an adjustment.

I was wrong. I should have cut the midriff sections much wider so the skirt started lower on my body. Like where a wasitline would be.

And I should have added a few inches to the length.

I'll probably tackle the Parfait dress again someday. Probably with a much cheaper fabric. And in a much bigger size. With the small bust adjustment. And adjustments for my height. Man, when I write all that it kind of seems like maybe I won't put myself through the agony again?

Oh, well. Live and learn. I should give this blog a tagline - the impatient sew-er who refuses to make a muslin.

Here's to some frustration-free, successful sewing in the future~


  1. That dress is darling! I'm sorry it doesn't fit! Ugh!

  2. How depressing. That strawberry fabric is so cute it seems such a shame to waste it. Could you not redraft and start over the midsection bit, making it a couple of inches wider? That's assuming that the stripey fabric is easier (and hopefully cheaper) to come by...

    Otherwise, notwithstanding the lack of fit, the dress looks absolutely gorgeous. Such a nice combination of fabrics.

  3. So sorry and you had a perfect fabric combination too. However, I do believe that the midriff is supposed to be higher than your waistline. How about showing us a picture of the dress on you and perhaps Sarai (the maker of the pattern) can give you help in reconfiguring it to fit. She's very helpful like that! Just email her.

  4. I know this is late in the game, but what if you added a lace hem to add length to the dress? Something like this that Casey did??
    Just an idea!!