Sunday, November 13, 2011

Colette Peony: round one complete

I went back to the Colette Peony, and this time I got it done!   I ended up tossing the first version of the bodice I made (well, actually, I used it to dispose of a dead bird that had crashed into the living room window ...) and just re-drafted the thing using my old standby Butterick 6149 as a guide.  From the armpits down, it's pretty much 6149 -- I was not even close to filling out the bodice as drafted!  From what I understand, Colette patterns are drafted for a C cup.  I'm a B, so I expected it to be a little loose, but clearly a larger under-bust measurement is expected as well.   Rather than twiddling with dart size and placement, I just took the easy way out, and more or less got away with it.   I also brought the neckline in on the sides about 3/8", and scooped out the front neckline about 5/8" because (not to be dramatic or anything!) I felt like I was choking in the first version.

Needs a haircut.

I think it's perfectly wearable as is, but the fit in back needs work.  Deeper darts at the back neck, and maybe shortening the bodice length in back will help.  It also feels tight when I extend my arms forward, so I need to figure out the best fix for that.  And eek, as drafted the skirt is pretty short!  I finished it with self bias binding so that I wouldn't lose any length, but as a work dress it's pushing it.

There are some neat little details in the design that I love: like the neckline, and the two gathered areas in the front of the skirt.  It looks early 1960s-ish to me.  And the belt -- I'm not that big on belts in general, but I love this one!   I need to do some re-drafting on it: it's too loose, and expects you to taper in at the waist, which I don't, so it's sitting a little low.  But I love the design, and will use it to make belts for other dresses too.  I actually made it twice:  the first time I tried to use the main fabric for the gathered part, and it didn't gather nicely, so I did it again using the lining fabric, which happily is a really good match color-wise.

The dress fabric is Tencel twill, purchased from the clearance area at JoAnn's last year.  I made a skirt from it already too, and have enough for one more garment, probably.   The lining's a poly-cotton lawn.  I expect to make another Peony at some point, from aubergine lightweight suiting material.  I'm not sure I want the longer sleeve as originally planned, as I like moving my arms a lot, and do not wish to feel constrained.  :)  In fact, I might go sleeveless.

While pondering the sleeve question, fitting changes, and other deep earth-shattering issues, I have pretty much finished another dress.   I had been away from my vintage pattern stash too long, so I dove in and came up with a nice 1950s mail order pattern.  I can already tell that I'm going to love it!


  1. I think it is lovely - well done! I do not think it is short at all, and think it will be a great work dress. Looking foward to seeing more of your sewing.

  2. It looks lovely on you. You're not the only stitcher who's had to fiddle around with the bodice. But every version I see looks so fab it's making me want to try it anyway! x

  3. The dress is gorgeous! I think the fit is perfect for your slim figure and the print is soooo nice, so sweet. Fabulous!

  4. This looks great Andrea, really elegant! I'd love to try Peony myself, but so many people (whose version I adore) had some serious fitting issues...which is putting me off a little! I definitely think that by shorting the length of the bodice, your fit will be perfect by the way ;o)

  5. Thanks, y'all! And Marie -- fitting the bodice was much easier when I didn't start from scratch ... I've found having a couple of patterns that do fit to be incredibly helpful. Also, the fact that the belt's sitting so low is what makes the bodice look long. ( I meant to take a photo with no belt, but forgot.) So the easiest fix is just to make a new belt!