This project was a whole load of firsts for me! First time sewing with slippy, sheer fabric. First time lining a garment. First time working on the bias. First time matching prints. Phew! It was a steepish learning curve but well worth it. Réglisse by Deer & Doe is a breeze to sew and even easier to wear. It took me a bit of time only because of my ‘ambitious’ (for me) choice of fabric.
I bought the fabric (once again) last Summer in the local department store sale. Despite it’s synthetic (I think) content, I was just completely drawn to it. Of course then it languished in my fabric drawer for nearly a year, waiting for me to build up the courage to attempt to sew it and / or find a suitable pattern. I don’t recall what the label on the bolt said, but a flame test confirmed it’s plasticy content! It’s a very light, sheer, loose woven polyester chiffon with a crinkle.
I had my eye on Réglisse since its release, but was nervous about the full skirt. I held back on buying the pattern until a number of other, braver souls had tried it out. Looking through all the finished dresses in the Deer & Doe Flickr group, especially after the Réglisse sew-along, I knew my fears were unjustified. Réglisse looks amazing on all body shapes and especially in light, drapey fabrics. I think it was Eléonore’s wedding dress version that finally convinced me! Realising that the polyester chiffon would be perfect I hesitated no more!
But first, a muslin!
The muslin is made up in a unbleached cotton (Ikea’s Bomull – top tip for muslin fabric!). Heavier than the lined chiffon, but sufficient to test general fit. Having previously made Sureau in size 38, and realising now that it was a smidge too small, I checked the pattern piece measurements for size 40. Given that it’s a loose fitting dress, without a zip, I decided that size 40 would be perfect. I sewed up the muslin super quick and then nervously tried it on. Any sewer will know that feeling – you’ve spent hours and possibly many monies on sewing a garment, only to try it on a realise that it just looks awful on you! No such sinking feelings here! It looked great and the skirt wasn’t too puffy on my hips! I did decide however, to remove the cap sleeves and the tie from the collar, because I thought they looked a little too girly on me, especially since the fabric was already pretty feminine and floaty.
Now to the scary part – cutting out slippy fabric. Turned out to be a breeze with my rotary cutter and many cans of tinned beans as weights! What was going to be tricky though, was matching the print. At first I thought that the print was small enough to avoid doing that, but then I noticed how the flowers were in stripes, so given the central seams, I realised i was necessary. On the first attempt I matched the pattern beautifully to give a continuous pattern, only to realised what I wanted was chevrons… The crinkle in the fabric caused some problems with stretching and when two pieces were matched up pattern wise, there weren’t actually the same size. Argh! I got there in the end, and although it’s not perfect, I’m pleased with the results.
Next up – choice of lining. There was no way I was going to line such a lovely dress with icky acetate lining, so my original plan was to line it with a 100% viscose or cupro lining fabric. In the end, during this summer’s local department store fabric sale binge shop, I found some lovely, light cotton fabric in an off white. It was labelled ‘Gewebe’ which is somewhat ambiguous – my online dictionary translates it as anything from simply ‘woven’ or ‘fabric’ to more specifically ‘gauze’ or ‘mesh’. It’s certainly a ‘blouse’ fabric, and probably similar to lawn. Either way, it was light enough to use as a lining and the right colour!
I decided, given the sheerness of the fabric, combined with the darts and the centre seams, to ‘interline’ the bodice. In other words, I treated the layered fabric and lining as one piece of fabric and seamed them all together. To do this, I basted each pattern piece of the bodice and waist band in the chiffon to it’s corresponding piece in lining. I didn’t do this for the skirt, in order to keep the two skirts separate for free swishing and so that they would hang better. I then sewed everything together with french seams.
The armholes and hem are finished with homemade bias binding from the lining fabric. I removed the tie ends from the collar and sewed the ends into the centre seam. If I did this again I would cut the collar on the fold at this front point and have the seam at the back, so that the front point was all one piece and not attached to the bodice. I did scoop some fabric from the armholes and shoulder yokes to make them narrower, but I think I needed to take more from the yokes. The armholes are a bit gapey, but that’s not obvious in the pics thanks to my strategically positioned arms. You’ll notice that the waistband isn’t very gathered in my version. I tried it out with having the elastic shorter, but whilst the pulled in waist looked better, it made the skirt sit higher on my hips puff out a bit too much for my taste.
All in all, an awesome pattern. The loose fit makes it summery and feminine and the zip-free, chuck it over your head construction makes it so comfy and easy to wear! I’m currently searching for the perfect fabric for an autumn / winter version.