Sunday, 27 January 2013

Colette Patterns Peony Dress

AKA - When bad fabric happens to good people. 
Well, my Colette Patterns Peony dress is finished.  There aren't any modelled photos because I don't love it enough.  I do like the shape and colour, the fit is ok (more of that later); but as for the fabric - there are no words.  I mentioned in my last post that this fabric is a bit stiff, and after working with it for a while, I grew to despise it.  On Monday it came very close to being binned, but then I had the good sense to google "how to soften stiff fabric".  Basically the solution was to soak the offending item in a basin of water with loads of fabric softener for 24 hours, wash it, and tumble dry it.  I did exactly this, and it did make a considerable difference, but it's still not great.

The fabric is cotton poplin from Croft Mills, the colour is called Claret (it's darker in real life), and it was £5.50 a metre.  Here's a link, so you know to avoid it.  I used just over 2 metres, at least it wasn't too expensive.  But the thing is, I also ordered some polka dot poplin from the same site, and it is much nicer.
As for the pattern, I had read that a lot of people had issues with fitting the bodice, especially the bust dart placement, as the darts were a bit low.  So I went with a size 0 at the shoulders, and a size 6 from the underarms down.  I left the bust darts at the size 0 height, which was spot-on, but shortened them a bit.  I also took the front waist darts in a bit.  I did a FBA of 1.5cm, but I think it was a bit generous, and it was only after I'd finished it that I remembered that Colette Patterns draft for a larger cup size than most other patterns.  I lowered the neckline by 5cm and used the size 0 bodice length, but ended up adding 2cm to the length.
On the back I lowered the neckline by 4cm, and made the back waist darts 1 inch longer.  I also took 1cm off the centre back on both sides, which didn't seem like much at the time, but I went with it.  I wore the dress on Friday night to go out for my dinner, and I think I could take a bit more off the centre back.  I'll take the zip out, and re-do it at some stage, but at the minute I don't want to look at it!. 

I am very pleased with the sleeves though.  They fit perfectly, and are very comfortable.  Also sewing them in was a breeze.  I pinned, then hand-basted them, and sewed them in with my machine on the slowest speed.  And both were perfect on the first go!  No puckering, no having to unpick bits; so I was pleased with that.

All of that said, I really like the shape of this dress, and will most definitely make another one when I find a lovely fabric.  But I will be revisiting my toile first to tweek the fitting issues.
In other news, the snow finally melted on Friday (a whole week) - serves me right for buying a house up a hill.  A mile and a half down the hill, there wasn't a flake left by the middle of the week.  And I have also started the toile for my Sewaholic Thurlow trousers, but there isn't much to see yet.
Have a great week,


  1. The dress is very pretty even if it is in time out on the naughty step!

  2. How annoying that the fabric isn't very nice. It looks like a lovely dress though, so you could just call it practising for when you find your perfect fabric!

  3. So disappointing when it's not quite what you wanted :( It looks fantastic though. And the sleeves are very slick! Am really interested to see how you get on with your Thurlows - I love the style of them but the idea of sewing my own trousers scares me a little! x


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