Colette Parfait: The First Impressions Dress

Today I’d like to share with you my latest dress creation, which I also contributed to the Sew Weekly last week for the “Literary Inspiration” challenge. To read more about how the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, inspired my colorful Parfait dress, you can read the post here!

I’ve called it “First Impressions” because the print reminds me a lot of Dorothy’s first glances at the magical land of Oz. I thought, once she returned home to “the gray, dry prairies” of Kansas, that she might have picked a colorful print such as this one to remind her of her adventures there.

As I said, this is the Parfait dress from Colette Patterns. It’s a great sundress and I managed to sneak it in over the last days of summer. I’m not crazy about wearing boots like most people I know – I think it should be sundress and sandals season all year long!

For this dress, I used this beautiful Japanese double gauze that I picked up a couple of years ago in Los Angeles at a now-closed store called Home Ec in Silver Lake (a shame, such a cute store). The birds and flowers have a watercolor look to them, and the fabric comes from the Nani Iro collection by Naomi Ito. I have the same fabric in a different colorway, though this is the first time I’ve worked with double gauze.

Conclusion? It’s really interesting to see how the two layers of fabric are stitched together; it has a very spongy feel that was fun to work with and even more fun to wear! Handmade Jane’s Parfait gave me the idea that this fabric would pair nicely with this dress pattern.

Because the fabric is sheer I underlined the bodice and skirt pieces with white voile. I probably didn’t need to do that for the bodice, but since I used the voile for the midriff facing, I thought fully underlining the dress would make for a clean finish on the inside. I decided to omit the pockets from the final dress – even though I have the pieces cut out – since I wasn’t sure if they would make the dress a little too cutesy.

For the buttons, I felt a pop of color was needed to match the large red flowers on the skirt so I went with these deep red ones. I agree with past reviews that un-buttoning the straps isn’t necessary to get in and out of the dress, which meant I stitched them shut and left the buttons to only be decorative. They’re sewn on with off-white thread so the buttons resembled flowers. 🙂 An invisible zipper at the side seam gives you nice shape at the waist and bodice.

I don’t know how clear this is, but I’m clicking my heels three times in this photo because there really is no place like home! Dorothy’s shoes are silver in the book, in case you’re not familiar and are wondering where the ruby red slippers have gone. 🙂

The dress came together so very easily once I worked out the fit. As usual, Colette Patterns has great instructions and drawings, and I can’t believe it took me this long to sew up this pattern! Such a fun summer sundress. I used three different sizes for the bust, waist and hips; the only further change I made was to take the upper portion of the bodice in ½” more at each side seam. In the future I’d adjust the center portion of the front midriff piece so the seam line runs along the underbust rather than above it. This is a problem I come across in store-bought clothing, but no more!

And, finally, what Oz-inspired dress of Dorothy’s would be complete without a reference to “the road of yellow brick”, as they say in the book? One of my favorite details is adding seam binding to hems and I happened to have this yellow one tucked away in my drawer full of notions. Though I like to whipstitch hems with or without underlining, it’s definitely a lot easier to do so with that inner layer!

You can also get a peak at the white voile underlining. I wanted something that wouldn’t make the gathered portions of the bodice bulky, and this voile did the trick. As an aside, I wish it was pronounced “vwahl” instead of “voyle” – it would sound so much prettier that way, if you ask me.

And now it’s time for “Toto” and me to head on back to Kansas! My grandmother asked what was wrong with the brick and I had to explain to her the color was changed through the computer (saying “Photoshop” would have only complicated things). She said, “Ah, I thought it looked very strange!” In case you’re wondering, Toto is played by my buddy, Jepetto. He’s my cousins’ dog and he was kind enough to clear his schedule so he could add authenticity to my photo shoot!

I’ve already worn the dress to work and it’s very comfortable. Actually, after these photos were taken (in the Miracle Garden located in the East Village), my cousin and I took a nice long walk over to SoHo to eat at a little Italian place. The dress went from sewing room to reality straight away, which is sure to make any seamstress’ day! It certainly did mine.

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19 thoughts on “Colette Parfait: The First Impressions Dress

  1. It’s beautiful Amanda, and thanks for the mention! I agree that double gauze is the perfect fabric for the Parfait, I’ve worn mine a lot in the few days of hot weather we’ve had in the UK!
    The fit is so flattering on you and I love the yellow seam binding (and yellow bricks!) x

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  3. That’s worked out so beautifully on you… I have some of this fabric too, and I love it so much that I just haven’t been able to commit it to a specific project. I had kind of assumed double gauze was for tops, so it’s great to see it works so well in dresses too.

    • I know what you mean – I have a bunch of fabric that I can’t bear to cut into, but one day I finally said I’m going to turn this into a dress. Go for it, you’ll be very happy you did!!

  4. A lovely, lovely dress! I adore the fabric – it works perfectly with this pattern! The touch of red in the buttons is a beautiful addition, and I agree with the not adding of pockets – it lets the fabric shine instead. The puppy is most adorable!!

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