Completed: A Cozy Wren Dress

17 Nov

I really love summer, but man, I LOVE winter clothes. I think most people in general just look a lot classier with some added layers, and I really embrace the opportunity to dress in head-to-toe black and pretend like I look chic and not at all like an angsty 15 year old wandering into Hot Topic circa 2001. I can and do look like a total slob in the summer time, but add a little windchill into the mix and I’ll dress like I’m heading straight into the office.

Colette Wren dress - front

So, today, I give you Wren. A pretty little transitional dress that works SO WELL with a heavy knit and sleeves. If I still worked in an office, I’d rock this shit every day.

Colette Wren dress - front

This dress is a story of fabric + pattern both acquired without any pairings in mind. I was actually sent an advance copy of Wren from the team at Colette Patterns – no strings attached, just as a gift. They made it very clear that they weren’t expecting a review post in exchange for the pattern. I thought it was a pretty pattern and I knew I wanted to make it up at some point, but I wasn’t sure what fabric. I love the solid colors they use for the promotional shots, but I rarely feel compelled to sew solid colors (which is something I’m working on, because lord knows I like to wear solid colors!).

In the meantime, I’d been eyeballing this black cozy knit fabric from Mood Fabrics (their description, not mine. But it is a black cozy knit. It’s also super sold out, and I can’t find a link to it. Sorry! I’m pretty sure I bought the last yardage. Not sorry about that!). I had my swatch and I knew I wanted it for… what? No matter, I bought 2 yards of it and figured I’d figure that shit out later.

It wasn’t until I saw Deepika’s classy black and white Wren dress that I had my aha moment of fabric and pattern marriage. As in, I totally copied Deepika’s dress. Thanks for the inspo, Deepika! I hope you are ok with being my twinsie 🙂

Colette Wren dress - side

Colette Wren dress - side

These pictures are borderline awful, by the way. I was waiting for the golden hour, and I think things got a little too golden. Oh well!

Colette Wren dress - back

The Wren dress is a lovely knit dress that features a surplice/wrap-style bodice, set into a closed skirt (aka, it’s not a true wrap dress). You have the option of adding either a gathered or a fitted, 6 gored skirt, and the bodice can be sewn with or without sleeves. My favorite part of the dress are the soft gathers along the neckband, which are so feminine and pretty (and you can barely see them for this print that I used haha oh well). The sleeves included in the pattern are just for short sleeves, but it’s pretty easy to lengthen those to whatever suits your needs. Colette patterns did offer a sleeve download when the pattern was first released – for both a long sleeve and a 3/4 sleeve – which is what I used here. I actually cut the long sleeves, but they were weirdly tight below the elbow. Hence, my elbow-length sleeves. All good here, though, because those long sleeves looked a little overwhelming with this print!

Making the dress was super super easy. Since it’s a knit, I whipped everything through my serger to piece it together, and used my twin needle to hem the neckline and sleeves and hem. I was a little concerned about the top gaping since it’s only hemmed (and not finished with a knit band, which is my preferred method), but I figured I’d give it a try and I have not experienced any gaping. The only thing I’d change in the future is to deepen the hem on the neckband – at 3/8″, it’s a little shallow, and I just think it would look better and the stitching would lie more flat if it was closer to 5/8″.

For size, I cut an XS based on my measurements. I’m really pleased with the fit – and this is straight out of the envelope, no additional shaving off side seams or anything like that. I will mention that the waistline is pretty high on me – and I’m of average torso length – so that’s just something to be aware of. It’s definitely higher on me than it is on the model or in the illustration, but my knit does have only a 2 way stretch so that’s likely the case.

Colette Wren dress - front

Colette Wren dress - back

The ~black cozy knit~ is pretty awesome! It’s a poly knit, which I’d normally stay far far away from in the summer months – but I’m ok with poly in the winter. It sewed and pressed fine, and it’s just a really nice fabric. It feels a bit like lightweight ponte, with a nice heft and weight to it. The design is woven, so the wrong side is pretty cool too. My favorite part is that the right side is a little fuzzy and feels like a cozy sweater. My other favorite part is the print- up close, I think the white design looks like a city skyline 🙂

Colette Wren dress - front

Here it is without the belt!

I don’t think there’s much else to say about this simple dress, so have some more photos:

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - front

I think the dress looks pretty classy – it would be awesome for all those fancy dinners and evening concerts that I don’t attend. HA! Or maybe just wallowing around on the couch, I dunno. Actually, my roommate and I are going to see Neil deGrasse Tyson this week and I’m TOTALLY wearing this shit for that. I am going to be so comfy while I simultaneously have my mind blown about the universe, wheee!

* Note: This fabric was given to me in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. The pattern was also given to me from Colette Patterns, as a gift and with no strings attached. Per usual, all the opinions you are reading here are my own!

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55 Responses to “Completed: A Cozy Wren Dress”

  1. Genevieve November 17, 2015 at 8:09 am #

    Very classy! You definitely have the perfect fabric for this pattern. I wonder if the waist seam was lowered that it might cause gaping at the neck??? I have a mock wrap dress patten, but this wren is really tugging at me to buy her….rrrgh! It’s those pretty little gathers at the shoulder 🙂
    Enjoy your pretty sexy new winter dress ;)!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:24 am #

      Thank you! That’s a good point about the waist seam placement preventing gaping – I would reckon that you’re probably right about that.

  2. sewsincity November 17, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    Love the fabric, and that pattern. The neckline has great detail!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:24 am #

      Thank you! I agree, the neckline is the prettiest part of the pattern 🙂

  3. Lodi Srygley November 17, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Your dress is wrentastic! The Wren looks like a great first serging project. Being a serger newbie (so far I just look at it and worry) I’m threadless. I see black on your dress. What colors do you stick too? At 4 cones a pop I’m going to need to limit colors (4 cones each ~ yikes!). Do you prefer/advise any particular brand(s)? Did you ever consider doing a serger/sewing techniques post? Your seam on the Wren looks like a nice thin one. A beautiful dress and inspiring post!

    • eteesan November 17, 2015 at 11:11 am #

      Hi Lodi, I have a very small sewing area so I had to limit my serger thread, too! My solution was to buy 8 cones, in 2 colors. For me, that was off white and deep teal. Off white coordinates or blends well with everything light colored that I sew, and is good for contrast on some darker colored and patterned fabrics too.Teal doesn’t exactly match everything, but I sew with a lot of blue, green, teal, and darker black/brown tones, and it looks good with all of those. If you are able to limit the color palette of your projects, it really helps limit the amount of thread you need! And, counterintuitively, I did try navy thread, too – but found it didn’t work with as many colors as teal, because it didn’t work well as an intentional-looking contrast. I think the brightness of the teal really helps!

      • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:32 am #

        I love the idea of using teal contrast! That sounds so pretty!

    • Ryan November 17, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

      I don’t have a serger myself but I’ve heard one trick, when you can’t match thread to fabric, is to use grey thread when sewing colors.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:28 am #

      Oh man. I hear ya on the cost of the thread – it can definitely add up! I prefer using a 4 thread stitch and I like all the colors (I need them ALL), so I just made it a point to buy a new set of colors every time I was at the fabric store. That way I built my collection slowly, instead of all at once (aka all that $$$ at once haha). If you just want a minimum of colors, that really depends on what colors you sew the most. Black and white for sure, and grey is a good neutral to blend with most anything. I also like having brown, navy, red, and cream/off-white. I like the gutterman and maxi lock brands.

      As far as doing a serger post – I’m afraid that wouldn’t be very useful on this blog. Most of my “serger skills” are the result of my particular machine, not me 🙂 tensions, threading – my machine does all that stuff automatically haha. I literally just push the fabric through and hold the pedal down 🙂

  4. puu November 17, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    wow, this is a great look on you! love the pop of red with the boots, too!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:29 am #

      Thank you! Love wearing red socks with an otherwise monochromatic outfit 😀

  5. shesewsswell November 17, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    Yeah for winter clothes!! We’ve had the endless summer in California… Lovely dress, I think perhaps I’ll give it a go. And yes, the red and black are fabulous together. Thanks again!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:30 am #

      Yeah, summer is like endlessssss here too! I don’t like being cold, so I’m not complaining too much – but I do like wearing my boots haha. If it could just go down to like, 60, I think that would be just perfect haha 🙂

  6. Thimberlina November 17, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    Looks fab! Mine was short too, I ended up adding 4cm to the bodice, then doing a 5cm sway back adj. really pleased with mine too and can’t wait to make another! 😀

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:30 am #

      I might try to lengthen the bodice next time too. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Tomasa November 17, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    Beautiful dress. Fits you like a glove. Gorgeous!

  8. Debra November 17, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    You look fantastic in your Wren and I love your fabric choice. I also love that you think it’s a winter dress 🙂 For me, that’s underwear. It’s 4pm in London, pitch dark, cold and pouring with rain. Wishing I lived where you live.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:31 am #

      Hahaha well come to Nashville! It’s still practically shorts weather here 😉

  9. Kyema Bialick November 17, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    AHHH I’m so jealous! First, I love the dress on you – fucking classy as fuck. I need it for work. Secondly I wanted to go to the Star talk SO BAD! But buy the I heard about it and all the “affordable-for-me” tickets were sold out. Have so much fun though. I’m completely jealous. 🙂

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Thank you!! I’m so glad we got to go see ol’ Neil – it was just as awesome as I expected. The tickets were def expensive, but SO worth it! It was a great experience for sure 😀

  10. carolinascallin November 17, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    What a beautiful dress! LOVE the knit, and the style. It is a bit high waisted, but that could be dealt with. Very nice, and it fits you beautifully! Like your hair color, too 🙂

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Thank you! I’m liking myself as a red head these days 🙂

  11. Lisa S November 17, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    I saw Neil when he was in Portland, OR. AMAZING!! I love him! Oh, and your dress is awesome. I was on the fence about the Wren but I really like your version so maybe I’ll give it a try. I do love a comfy knit dress.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      Comfy knit dressed are the best!!

  12. Deepika November 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    So chic! Love this on you and also psyched to be twinning with you 🙂

  13. Louise November 17, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    Your dress looks amazing Lauren, and I love that fabric!

  14. ellegeemakes November 17, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    The perfect wrap dress pattern! I struggle with fit on most…they gape where they shouldn’t but maybe…yours is so cute I just might have to copy it!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      Do it! Wrens for everyone haha 😀

  15. Pootle and Make November 18, 2015 at 3:45 am #

    This looks like the perfect work wear dress. Great match of pattern and fabric. Fab fit too. I wasn’t sure about this dress but am persuaded now by all the awesome versions in blogland.

  16. SylvieW November 18, 2015 at 4:42 am #

    Looks marvellous. I’m just about to make a sleeveless version, but now (feeling the cold), the 3/4 sleeves on yours look very nice.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:34 am #

      Thanks! I want to try a sleeveless version when it warms up again. Right now though, I def need the sleeves 🙂

  17. Becky Thompson November 18, 2015 at 4:57 am #

    You had me at Hello. I’m all over this. This dress just screams “Me, me, me!!” I love the different styles of skirt, sleeves or no, and the high waist. My high waist and I have a deal that if I accentuate her, she will do her best to hide any lumpies down below. She usually comes through too unless I get a brain fart and buy something super clingy. But I can see me perfecting this pattern into different looks and like you said, “Rock this every day”. It looks awesome on you. Great job!

    • Becky Thompson November 18, 2015 at 5:06 am #

      I just got the pattern!!! So excited. It will be the very first thing I make using the French European Dress Form I picked up at the 2015 Quilt Fest a couple of weeks ago. It should be here any day and I can’t wait to get started on my new winter wardrobe!

      • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:35 am #

        Yay!! That’s so awesome! 😀

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:34 am #

      Thank you!!

  18. Margo November 18, 2015 at 6:36 am #

    Wow. This looks awesome on you! It looks as though it wouldn’t gape either.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:35 am #

      After wearing it for the day, I can confirm that it does not gape!

  19. redflaminghair November 18, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    This looks super fab on you! I think the belt makes IT. I mean, it’s a great dress but the belt completes the look. Actually I just looked at the Wren pattern, like 10 minutes ago. 🙂

    I’m pretty afraid of the proportions of the dress, because I really hate the high-waisted things like skater dress, they look bad on me, I like dresses with normal, fitted waists.

    Anyway, what do you hould in your hand? Is it a camera-thing to make self portraits?

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:37 am #

      Thank you! I like the belt too 🙂

      If you can’t wear a high waist, you can always lower the waistline to better suit your proportions 🙂 i imagine it wouldn’t be too hard!

      Oh, and that thing in my hand is the remote for my camera ha ha. I have an older model that doesn’t work with the super fancy/tiny new remotes, so mine has a giant antenna! 😛

  20. natalie aka hungryhippie November 18, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    First, the dress looks awesome, you did a great job. Second, I am insanely jelly you get to see Neil in person–he’s our fave in this family!!! Cosmos is on our TV routinely. Have fun!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:37 am #

      Thank you! Not gonna lie – I freaked out a little (mostly internally haha) when he came on stage. Love that man! He’s so awesome:D

  21. Anonymous November 18, 2015 at 11:18 am #

    You look super-nice in this dress.
    talk about inspiring!
    Niel is soo much $$ here that we decided -no. He’s a rock star

  22. Megan November 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Very nice fabric and I love the dress design, however you look fabulous in everything. Lucky you! Congratulations.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      Hahahaha well thank you! 🙂

  23. B November 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    Suits you just perfect!
    Are you happy with the armlenght?
    I’m a very skinny size xs (I can barely refrain from calling myself non-breasted) Would you recommend me buying that pattern?

    Keep sewing! B

    • LLADYBIRD November 20, 2015 at 7:59 am #

      Thank you! I do like the arm length… I almost wish I’d gone a bit longer, like a true 3/4 sleeve, but too late to worry about that now 🙂 haha

      If you’re lacking the bust proportions, this might not be the pattern for you – unless you want to do some adjustments to remove the fullness in the front bodice. Colette patterns draft for a C cup, so you will need to adjust the pattern to get it to fit you.

  24. sometimessewist November 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    Great fabric/silhouette combo! I have some of the same knit; got it at Fabric Mart a year or two back. If I recall correctly, it’s a Maggy London fabric. Or if I don’t recall correctly, it’s just a really fab knit with great recovery. 😛

    • LLADYBIRD November 20, 2015 at 8:01 am #

      Oh, that makes sense if it is! It’s very Maggie London esque 🙂

  25. aem2 November 23, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    Yet another dress I want to copy off you. I’m wary of the Wren, though, since I am long-waisted and have what I like to refer to as a dainty bust — although I didn’t have an issue with the Macaron, so maybe? But also I need to thank you for mentioning Neil, because I did a search and it turns out he’s coming to Toronto in February. Score!

  26. Eryn @ StyleSewMe.com November 23, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    It looks great! That dress can be hacked into so many different versions, too.

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