Completed: The Cadbury Ceylon

Do you ever get a thrill of excitement when you put on something you made? I did when I put on my completed Ceylon this morning. Not even a chilly January day, taking photos in front of curious tourists by the Sheldonian Theatre, could dampen that feeling! I finished this dress very late in 2013 and it was the item that completed my 20:20 challenge, although it is not the last to be shared with you. 

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I have wanted to make this dress for a long time. Adam bought me the pattern as a Christmas present in 2012 and it sat patiently while I looked for the right fabric and decided on whether to add trims and other design features. I looked for inspiration from other bloggers and the ones that called out to me most were those made in solid colours. I do have a soft spot for solid colour dresses. However, I wanted to add a little bit of detail and chose a lilac thread for the edge stitching and button holes. I used the purple fabric I bought in Croatia. I'm not fully certain what it is but it feels like a medium weight cotton with a bit of stretch. It was very easy to work with. It cut easily and glided through the machine. The only problem I noticed was it can mark if you press it with too high a heat, I had to use a lower setting than normal with cotton. I've also discovered it creases easily so please excuse the slightly crumpled look in the photos. 

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Like most Colette patterns, it was straightforward to make. The instructions were clear and I didn't get lost once. It doesn't follow the conventional way of piecing a garment together by matching the right sides. To stitch the pieces together you press under the seam allowance, overlap the pieces and then edge stitch together. It is an easy way to create a dress but take your time on matching the pieces together. Luckily I have managed to get an even distance on all of the pieces. My seams are finished with an overlock stitch in the same lilac thread as the edge stitching. 

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I did deviate from the recommended number of buttons for the dress. The pattern calls for 16 buttons. I wanted to make fabric covered buttons and the ones I had were one inch instead of 3/4 inch. I decided to drop the number to 10. This is the first time I have tried to make fabric covered buttons and ouch! My thumb nails were sore for a week after completing them. I definitely think there is an art to creating them and you certainly need a lot of patience. However, these were a breeze compared to the button holes. Yet again, my machine gave mixed results. It did a few perfectly, some were half completed and some less than that. I must have ripped out about six of them before deciding to finish off the incomplete ones by hand. It took a while but it was more satisfying than continually ripping out the thread. It also took the stress off the fabric. I don't know why I'm having these problems. I make perfect practice button holes in exactly the same fabric and interfacing combination but as soon as it touches the dress, it all goes wrong. Does any one have any suggestions or have similar problems? 

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I managed to get the fit just about right. I graded out a size between the bust and the waist. I probably should have done a FBA but it seemed a little too complicated with the different pattern pieces and I had started sewing this at a stressful time at work. The midriff pieces at the front don't quite match up at the bottom and I didn't realise this until I tried it on. I don't think it is too noticeable and is probably because I didn't pay enough attention in matching the pieces at that point. Something to work on if I make this dress again.

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I really like the small amounts of gathering, they are a lovely finishing touch, and I love the interesting neckline. Normally I hem skirts and dresses to hit at my knee but this dress is about 10cm longer. Usually I feel very self-conscious with longer hemlines but it feels right with this one.

Overall I LOVE this dress. I feel great in it and I can see me wearing it a lot right through until spring!