eclair pt. 1: a quick overview

easter came and went so quickly i barely knew what was happening! i did that stupid thing i sometimes do and decide to sew outfits for all the kids for a particular event/holiday. the last time i did this was for halloween. since i seriously disappointed the kids by not making them christmas outfits (or new years outfits, or valentines day outfits, or st. patrick’s day outfits, or we’re-goingtoa friend’shouseforsome-random-occasion outfits…) i decided i could manage easter outfits. as always, time got away from me and i had to sew marathon style to deliver everything i had promised. but before i get to the kids outfits, how about a peek at mine?

for christmas i received colette patterns eclair, and thought it would be a perfect for easter. since it requires a good amount of fabric, i made sure to keep an eye out for a deal and fell in love with this cute floral print. i snagged up the last few yards of it at under $4/yd!!! it is a cotton lawn and feels so dreamy and soft, perfect for a full-skirted spring dress. is it just me or does this fabric have something of a liberty print vibe going on? 

if you haven’t noticed, i’ve become something of a colette patterns junkie. they have me so spoiled with their sweet packaging and hand-holding instruction booklets. i’m one who normally skips over the pattern instructions, but from colette i read every word whether i need to or not. a benefit to sewing from the same pattern designer repeatedly is that you quickly get a feel for what adjustments you will need. i know i have to cut out basically all the bodice shaping, so that’s what i did. i finally figured out how to do sba’s on darted bodices, so the princess seams threw me for a loop initially. on this bodice, the princess seams narrow to the center more than normal, so it took a bit of fiddling to get the shaping right without losing this (slimming!) design feature.

front bodice pieces

back bodice pieces

seriously. you don’t even want to know where the original seamlines were. why i don’t just start out with a rectangle and then add tiny amounts of shaping is beyond me.

as a personal preference, i’m not totally comfortable in a strapless dress so i added spaghetti straps. they don’t do anything structural, i just felt like they would be a nice insurance policy on account of my lack of boobage to keep this sucker up. also, my shoulder to bust measurement is shorter than average, so i just hiked the bodice up and added some length under so that the bodice hit my waist. all in all, i added a good inch and a half to the length of the bodice because i need the waist seam to hit under my ribcage. ya know, so i can breathe and whatnot. i think this pattern is a tad short-waisted anyways, fyi.

being a strapless dress, the bodice needs some solid construction to make sure everything stays in place so i underlined the bodice pieces with muslin. but, before i underlined the bodice pieces, i added some lightweight fusible to the muslin. this gave me the benefits of the fusible interfacing without having it directly applied to my shell fabric. i hate to risk the bubbling or weird creasing you can sometimes get with the fusible. yes, i could have just underlined in a heavier material, but i was using what i had on hand, and this worked out rather nicely.

against my better judgement i followed the “press seam to center”
directions… i don’t see the reason for this, i’ll definitely press
princess seams flat from now on!

i used a lightweight poly lining to which i added boning. the pattern suggests a sew-in caseless boning but i went with the good ol’ roll-o-boning from joann’s. it’s not my favorite, the plastic can be a bit unruly, but it gets the job done.

quick tip: bring a pot of water to a boil then shut off the heat. take the boning out of the casing and drop it in the hot water for about 5 minutes and it will magically uncurl!

also since i was dealing with an essentially strapless bodice i added a waist stay. the waist stay helps to anchor the whole dress so i don’t feel the need to constantly tug at it. even a well fitted bodice can start slipping.

as colette patterns is famous for, this dress has pockets! the full skirt hides them beautifully, but i strayed from the pattern directions slightly because i wanted to be able to press the skirt side seams flat. i’ll elaborate on what i mean here in my next post and give you a full step by step.

mmm… don’t you just love a neatly finished interior?

—lisa g

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