Cruella de Ville

I was in two minds about the name of this post – should I call it Wine and Roses and should I call it Cruelle de Ville. As she’s always been a bit of a heroine of mine I decided on the latter.

I found the fabric on a recent trip to Ditto’s in Brighton. They still have it on their website. I’ve been wanting to make a digital print dress for a long time but haven’t found one I like. Once I saw this I immediately knew was destined for a shift dress. The fabric is cotton, I think a sateen, with a bit of stretch, not so much that you have to use a stretch pattern, just enough to make moving around a little more comfortable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMarianna recently made a lovely lace shift using the Laurel pattern, so my original thought was to use the same pattern. Unfortunately I have a bit of a problem with Colette patterns which generally just don’t work on me. This one was no different. On my toile I got a good fit across the shoulders and bust but somehow it all looked a bit wide. The lower part of the dress was just weird and made me look like I had the most enormous hips. So I started again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis time I used my block which I have turned into a simple dress pattern with long darts front and back and small bust darts. All I had to do was to make the dress up with the bust darts in place but leave the other darts unsewn. The advantage of this is that the pattern on the fabric remains virtually in tact. I rather like the boxy shape it gives me in the middle but it has enough fitting around the shoulders, bust and hips to ensure it doesn’t look like a tent. The one bit of Laurel I went with was the neckline (yes buying the pattern was a bit of an expensive mistake when you consider I only used the neck line).

Once I had decided on the pattern making it up was relatively quick (three weeks of toiles and adjustments and general fiddling around and then one afternoon to make the dress).

IMG_0579The PDF file that you can download to go with the Laurel pattern described how to use bias binding to face the neck line. Coincidentally I came across this tutorial from Ami about how to use my bias binding maker at roughly the same time. I’ve had one of these for a while but the instructions on the back were rather misleading (ok incorrect) about the width of fabric to use and I hadn’t managed to get any decent binding out of it. Ami’s tutorial is wonderfully clear and helped me work out where I was going wrong. Finishing a neckline in this way is my new favourite thing. It’s quick and simple. produces a lovely finish and you don’t have problems with facing flipping out when you put the dress on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe discussed the dress as a family and agreed that it looked like there was wine all down the front and the negative/positive print on the back gave it a Cruelle de Ville look. It’s a very comfortable dress and I feel quite smart in it. I have a friend who says the trick is to get the best fabric, I think she’s right; you don’t need complicated designs, the best dresses are just dependent on a good fit and a lovely piece of fabric.

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8 thoughts on “Cruella de Ville

  1. Oh the money I have wasted on patterns that just aren’t right for me! It’s too painful to dwell on. On most of these occasions I should have known better (most recently I bought Rite of Spring shorts pattern and it’s horrid on me, and I really knew it would be for reasons I won’t bore you with here). However, you could never have known Laurel wasn’t going to fit you well enough to warrant spending money on the pattern. Sometimes you just can’t tell.

    I had to take out a crazy amount of the back, the neckline, and goodness knows what else, when I made my Laurels. Any other fitting issues and it really wouldn’t have been worthwhile.

    Your dress is lovely! I really really like your fabric and would rush to Ditto online if I wasn’t worried I’d already spent far too much money recently (including some vintage heated hair rollers…WHY?). Drat!

    You have done a brilliant job of in fact drafting your own pattern, and it looks very chic on you!

    • Thank you. I can’t believe the shorts would look so really horrid on you.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with fit problems with the Laurel pattern The problem is that I don’t really enjoy altering patterns. I don’t mind making a toile and spending a bit of time fixing it but there is a limit to my patience and I soon loose interest if it proves too difficult.

  2. What a beautiful fabric! And now you can admire it while feeling a million dollars in your fitted dress. I like how the print seems to have depth as well as colour.

    Shame about the Laurel (but you’d be able to get most of your money back on Ebay if you decide to sell).

    Will you be making a spotted white and black fur coat to match?? 😯

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