Tuesday 15 June 2010


My Polkadot Parfait

parfait full

I'm taking a very quick break from administering my sale to show you the Parfait dress I finished last week.

another bodice shot

I didn't actually make functional button holes because it had already taken me ten million hours, but sewed on two vintage round red buttons on each strap.

parfait mid shot

Neither did I add the pockets, although they are cut out so I might add them in future. I might even iron that crease out. Or make Steven do it.

parfait bodice

Although I did make a muslin bodice, it wasn't clear until the straps were pinned on that it needed bust darts to stop the gapping at shoulder and arm. I added two darts, one on the armhole and one on the side seam of the bodice. And an additional half inch tuck after the dress was completely done but still gaping. I've never paid this much attention to the fit of my store-bought clothes!

parfait back

For those of you who've read Fit for Real People (or those of you who like looking at circus freaks), check out how uneven my shoulders are with my right shoulder heaps lower than my left.

parfait side

But at least my back hem is even with my front hem courtesy of shortening the straps. And look, here's something you don't see everyday: no evidence of my bra. Any sleeveless garment from the store shows either my straps in the front or the band at my armpit.

I never did figure out the facing so I just bias binded it (just as well as I think it would gave been too low cut if I'd faced it with a 5/8" seam allowance). I had to mitre the binding at centre front, the finest sewing moment in my whole life. If I do it again I'm just going to line the bodice fully.

Another full shot
Steven: Work your Pocahontas retro hippie.
Me: Okay.

I like the dress, I think it's flattering, it fits better than I'm used to. But... I'm not sure when I'll make another due to the god-almighty time commitment. It was 30 pieces and 10 pieces interfacing, roughly 600% more than what I normally sew. And I do not like 5/8" seam allowances. Also (and I'm hoping one of you big girl sewers will tell my why) there are half circle drags under my bust in the waistband which bug me. But, overall, still a thumbs up :)


  1. Wow, wow, wow, that is just amazing - way to go. My fabric arrived this morning - a maga thank you

  2. very pretty! one day i may attempt a frock for me, but i think i'll stick to little girl at present cos she has no bust issues to deal with!screelds

  3. Oh wow. I'm not sure if my novice sewer eyes (sew-er, not sewage sewer :D) can handle all that expert sewing you're showing us. Hmm. If it takes *you* a godzillion hours to make this thing, then I wouldn't even want to dream of making that! :)
    And you get my thumbs up and wolf call as well!

  4. Wow it's stunning! Really suits you!

  5. Wow! That is an utterly gorgeous dress - it totally suits you.

  6. Oh, that's lovely!

    From having seen both you and your dress form, though, I think it could come in a little bit around your waist, which would make it (a) even more flattering and (b) that bit more vintage looking.

    And what's wrong with 5/8" seams?

  7. It looks beautiful! The fit is very good. Really nice work!! I thikn the underbust trouble is that since you are a smidge fuller figured than they draft for, your girls go down a bit lower. If you scoop just a bit out of that midriff section to accommodate you wouldn't have that, but I really don't think anyone but you will notice - I didn't until you mentioned it.

  8. Very flattering! What a great piece for summer and just strolling around smugly knowing your clothing fits better then 98.9876% of other people's.

  9. i'm barely a big-girl sewist :D but i have made two parfaits! if you ended up having to take bust darts, you may consider doing a small bust adjustment, even though your bust is not *actually* small. you may also consider going down a size in the whole dress--your dress looks like the first one i made, which i had to take in enormously b/c i read the envelope wrong and made a dress 1, 2, and 3 sizes too big in the skirt, midriff and bodice, respectively. oy! i'm not sure about the half-circles in the midriff (you can ask that question in the discussion portion of the flickr group and sarai is good about answering!) but it looks (to my very untrained eye) like if the whole dress was shifted down about an inch, meaning it would be a bit lower cut in appearance, the midriff would lay flat and the bodice would shape itself around the boobs. maybe? i really don't know. but that's what i'd try. and still? the dress is super cute!! i love polka dots. also, the second one i made was about 6x easier and faster than the first, for what that's worth.--lilybeth29

  10. Lovely frock. I wish I had a figure to wear dresses like that (and the skills to make one).

  11. Wow, that looks fantastic. Kind of gives me hope that I might eventually make mine. I am in awe of your mitred binding too.

  12. Lovely lovely dress. I don't know where you find the time. Thanks for the lovely fabric. Super speedy delivery. Very pleased. x

  13. It's beautiful, as ever with your creations.

    Where does one find a "parfait" dress pattern then???

    R x

    Oh... and as you will see I am back online so had to do without visiting IKEA each evening to get free coffee and free wifi :| LOL

  14. I'm afraid I barely begin to understand the technical details, but it looks great - and even I can imagine how much work it must be. Nice one!

  15. Gorgeous sexy dress! Looks very complicated. And I would be optimistic and think of them as under bust "smiles" rather than "drags.". I vote for Katie's advice, but who am I to comment on bust fixes, being a 34a...lower case a.

  16. I dream of a dress like this as a nursing Mother.

  17. I second anon's comment on the fit -- I think that the problem is that the straps are a bit too short and the waistline/bust is a bit too high up. But, I would say that you would probably have better success by choosing a smaller size in the bust and doing a FBA, since it seems to fit well across the bust but you've got issues at the armholes. The armhole problems may be somewhat solved with longer straps that let the dress sit a bit lower, too.