Our first stop was this strange place:
It's a light sculpture currently open for visitors in front of Antwerp central station. The whole thing was really cool, but I loved finding this dragon! It sort of feels like walking inside a very strange bouncy castle, and the shapes make for a surreal atmosphere.
I started to get very hungry (and cranky) after this, so we quickly got food at the store and proceeded to stuff our faces:
Home-assembled veggie burgers and chips. Ow yeah.
After this feast we decided to find a nice spot to photograph my latest make. The Chantilly dress by Colette Patterns was on my list for a very long time, but when I made a muslin it turned out I didn't like the bodice on me. Boo! It looks lovely on so many others, but I just don't like having so many gathers all over. So after pouting for a bit I decided to skip the top gathers and draft a simpler bodice. Here is the result:
I kept the skirt and the midriff piece exactly as-is, but drafted an overlapping bodice to replace the gathered pieces. Sewing this up required a bit of extra thinking since I wanted to line the bodice and I had no instructions whatsoever! Making it up as I went turned out to work pretty well.
I gave the back a low scoop, a feature I love in summer dresses. And if it gets colder I can still cover up. Yay! And how great is this location? It's right underneath a highway just outside of Antwerp. I love how the environment contrasts with the sugary sweetness of the dress.
Speaking of sweetness, this is probably the girliest garment I've made in a while. The fabric is a double gauze by Nani Iro, and it's just perfect for summer. It looks and feels pretty luxurious, but makes you feel like you're wearing pyjamas. Love love love.
The dots are scattered over the fabric, and sort of fade out near the borders. I cut the entire dress on the cross grain to play with this, and love the effect it has on the hem. The Chantilly skirt is proving to be one of my favourite ones: it has the poufiness of a dirndl skirt, but drapes a bit nicer and twirls a lot better because of the curved hem.
See that face? That's a happy face. I like this dress. A LOT.
It's even suitable for awful modelling. (My boyfriend insisted on using at least one of the shots of me horsing around)
Now! I though some of you might be interested in how exactly I made this variation, so I made a really quick tutorial. It's not very difficult, but having someone else do the thinking for you is nice, no?
COLETTE CHANTILLY VARIATION
- a basic bodice pattern without seam allowances, preferably with just one dart at the waist. If your pattern has a bust dart, rotate it to the waist as well.
- pattern piece C (the midriff front), also without seam allowances
- tracing paper, weights, pens, a ruler, scissors, tape,...
Mirror your pattern pieces so they are a full piece (as if you would cut them out of a single layer of fabric). Make sure to indicate the center front.
Fold and tape the darts on the bodice front as they would be sewn, and place the midriff front on top. Adjust the width of the pattern pieces to fit your waist, and trace the curved line of the midriff front on the bodice front pattern piece. Cut away the bottom part and discard this.
Open the darts again. You can now draw a new neckline. I simply marked the point where I wanted my neckline to be at the center front, sketched until it looked ok and drew the final neckline with the help of a french curve. Make sure the overlap isn't too big, to avoid pulling!
Now turn the darts into gathers. I used this method, and found it worked pretty well. Measure 1,5 cm alongside each dart leg and make two new notches. That's all! The fabric is going to be gathered between these two notches.
The final step is to make corresponding notches on the midriff front piece. Make a notch at the center front, and measure the distance from the center front to the first dart leg (which is where the dart would be if it still existed. Now measure 1,5 alongside this mark again, and make notches there. This is where the extra fabric will get gathered into. Make a notch indicating the center front on your bodice pattern piece, check if the shoulders and sides of the back bodice still match up, add seam allowances everywhere and you're done!
I'm not that good at explaining things, so if there are any questions, feel free to ask!