Celadon Spring Dress

This is a bit of a departure – celadon! This is not my colour, but it’s also not my size either. 

Kid No. 3 wanted a grown-up dress, and this was what she picked: New Look N6696 in a celadon viscose challis. She’s a tween and this style was fashionable enough for her, but age-appropriate.

This is a slippery fabric to work with and not one I’d recommend to beginners. It’s slippery, stretches easily, and frays as you sew. But it’s also very soft and the drape is amazing.

Mostly as a reminder to myself, some tips that make this fabric a little easier to work with.

  1. Wash and dry the fabric (in the dryer) before getting started. It shrinks a lot.
  2. Cut using a rotary cutter. The fabric shifts a little too much with shears, and having everything start out very precise makes assembly easier.
  3. Mark generously if using chalk. The chalk rubs off very easily, and snips are impractical with the degree of fraying.
  4. Lay all the pieces flat and keep them that way as long as you can.
  5. French seams, rolled hems, and bound seams will keep things tidier on the inside of the garment. I zigzagged, and this was a mistake with this fabric.
  6. Careful with the iron – the fabric marks easily. But don’t skip the ironing, or the seams will look sloppy.
  7. Hang the garment overnight before hemming, as the fabric shifts. 
  8. Use a walking foot, or in my case the Pfaff IDT. It keeps the fabric nicely lined up while you stitch.
  9. Use a fine needle – I used a 70. 
  10. Use fine pins.
  11. Use a slightly longer stitch length.

The pattern is N6696, view B. View A has an open back, closed with a button, but I’m not sure that’s a great plan with this fabric. It would be cute though in, say, a cotton lawn. Challis is the first fabric listed by the pattern maker. That’s what I used. It also has a slit on the side, but that might have been a bit less age-appropriate.

I found the fitting of the pattern odd. I graded between a 10 on the top and a 12 at the waist, which should have made for a great fit. But I found that the top was good, a bit loose even, but the waist was still quite snug. If I were to make this again, I would grade to an even larger size at the waist. The neck was very high, to the point of being uncomfortable. I lowered the neckline by about 2cm. In the end, I cut 6 inches off the hem, so this pattern really had a lot of extra length, even with the shorter version. The sleeves also seemed a bit longer than the photo on the pattern. 

Assembly was great though. Had I used a different fabric, this would have been an easy project. As it was, with the challis and the close fit, it was a little more challenging. The instructions were good – accurate, and just detailed enough. The construction details are well-suited to the recommended fabrics.

This is perhaps the most invisible I’ve ever made a zipper. I also had good results with the bias binding at the neck, and a narrow hem on the skirt. With a different fabric, the results would likely be even better.

Will I sew it again? I’m not sure. This dress is not exactly my style, so we’ll have to wait and see if I get a request for another.


Pattern Review: New Look N6696 Misses’ Dresses available in sizes 6-18. View B.
Fabric: Celadon viscose challis.

Size: 10 graded to 12 at the waist.
Cost: Pattern: $10. Fabric: About $30.
Sewing Level: Easy, just not in this particular fabric.
Modifications: I graded between sizes, and lowered the neckline.
Results: Good. The design is lovely, but the fit was a little off.