Tag Archives: colette sewing handbook

Completed: The Hawthorn Dress

26 Jul

Ok, before I go any further, let me just address the elephant in that room that is my hair in these pictures.

Hawthorn Dress

This is what happens when you put your hair up in Heidi braids (or, as much of a Heidi braid as I can manage with my length – or lack thereof) and leave them for 24 hours straight (yep, I even slept in ’em). When I took them down the next morning, my hair was a glorious lion’s mane according to the mirror. Looking back at these pictures… err, maybe not so much. Lying-ass mirror.

Hawthorn Dress

Another thing I should point out is that I’ve basically given up on trying to hide the camera remote.

deal with it

With all that out of the way – let’s talk about my dress!

Hawthorn Dress

This is the Hawthorn from Colette Patterns. GUYS, I LOVE THIS PATTERN. I love it so much, I’ve already planned two more versions.

Hawthorn Dress

I always always love the patterns that come from Colette – even if the shape of the garment isn’t specifically something I would wear (the Laurel falls in this category, although seeing everyone’s versions pop up during that epic contest has really made me reconsider what I think I can’t wear!), the styling of the photoshoots is just lovely. Of course, this is something I would absolutely wear – I love me a good shirtwaist, and this one has some pretty and unique details that set it apart from other shirtwaist patterns.

Hawthorn Dress

For my dress, I cut a size 0 based on the finished measurements. I did not make a muslin – just a quick tissue-fit to make sure everything looked right. For future dresses, I may shave a bit off the side seams as the waist is about 1/2″ too big. It fits fine in these photos, but that’s because I moved the buttons to compensate for the width. A quickie fix for sure, but definitely not want to want to do with every Hawthorn I make!

Hawthorn Dress

I also took about 4″ off the hem. It originally hit me at knee-length, but I like my dresses shorter 😉

Hawthorn Dress

I also changed the button position at the waist, as I plan on wearing this dress with a belt so I don’t want a button right by the waistline seam. I raised the lowest bodice button just a smidge, omitted the top skirt button, and slightly raised the next-highest skirt button to compensate for the gap. Hope that makes sense! I also added a hook and eye closure at the waistline to keep things smooth.

Hawthorn Dress

The only thing I don’t absolutely loooove about this dress is the bust darts – or, rather, the bust dart puckers. Yeesh! I tried to smooth them out as best I could, but my fabric must have a bit of poly in it because I was getting a bit of shine whenever I pressed them, in a most inappropriate place. Restitching the dart tips helped a little, but you can see they still need a little bit of work.

Hawthorn Dress

I just LOVE this fabric and I think it’s perfect for a dress called Hawthorn 🙂 Funny, I picked this up at my local fabric store during their biannual sale – it was in the remnants sections and heavily marked down (I think I paid $8 for a little over 2 yards). I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I bought it anyway – I mean, it has embroidered cherries on it! Later that week, Sarai contacted me and asked if I wanted to see pictures of the newest Colette pattern before it was released to the masses, and as soon as I downloaded those pictures, I knew I had found the perfect match.

Hawthorn Dress

My buttons are from the flea market and I have been hoarding them for ages. They are sparkly!

Hawthorn Dress

I love the tiny collar, but I will warn you that it was a bear to get to lay right – with the layers of the collar and the facing and the dress, that’s a lot of bulk! I understitched as much as I could, as well as tacked the facing down at the shoulder seams and back neck darts. This seemed to help, although my next go will involve some aggressive grading as well.

Hawthorn Dress

Anyway, I’m really happy with this dress and how it turned out! I can’t wait to try a sleeved version (won’t this look incredible in plaid?? Oh GOD, I love plaid), or maybe even redraft the collar for a more peter pan style. Lots of possibilities here!

As a side note – I’m QUITE a bit late to the party here, but I’ve recently joined Kollabora and I can’t get enough of it! It has totally filled the Craftster-shaped hole in my heart, and then some 🙂 Who else is on Kollabora? Let’s be friends!

Completed: Colette Pastille

12 Mar

Well you guys, I defeated the Pastille pattern! Wheeeee me!

I actually feel pretty good about this dress – I wasn’t totally crazy about it when I saw the pictures in the book (I think the coral color of the fabric – while lovely, just looks waay too much like the model’s skin. It would have been better suited for a lady with a darker complexion), but I think that the overall shape, if properly fitted, is actually quite flattering. And while it really lends itself well to a print, I think it would make a sweet little basic black dress, since the shape is unique enough in itself 🙂


Fitting… fitting this thing was weird. I already glossed over the process in my last Pastille post, but to summarize – while I pretty much *always* need a FBA, this pattern did not require one (didn’t figure that out until after I’d cut & taped all over the tissue though, arhghhghh!!). Actually, the finished measurements were just wrong – I cut a size 2 and the bust measurement was much closer to 36″, not the 34.5″ the book says. Consider yourselves warned!
The next fitting problem I had was with that damn back… I didn’t take any pictures of my muslin, but it billowed out all over the place across the upper back. I mean, it plain made me look like I had a hunchback. I eventually concluded that the upper back was longer than the front, so I did a 3/4″ swayback adjustment at the lengthen line that tapered to nothing at the side seams. That pretty much fixed it!


The rest of the dress fit fine with no other adjustments.

I actually tried to make this dress without the facings for my first go-round, but those sleeves are way too curved to handle bias tape. So back to facings (although mine are interfaced with cotton muslin, not fusible interfacing). I tacked them down as best I could since they like to pop out; sewing the trim at the neckline also helped. Rather than do fancy finishing work on the inside, I opted to finish the raw edges with a simple serged seam. I wanted the making of this dress to be quick & painless!

There *are* pleats at the bottom of the dress… I think doing those took the longest! I followed the handbook directions & thread traced all the lines, using different colors of thread for the various fold lines. It worked beautifully, but pulling out aaaaaall those threads was a pain in the ASS. No tips for making it go smoother (I don’t regret thread-tracing; it really did make lining up those pleats a breeze), just be prepared to spend some quality time with your seam ripper 🙂

You can’t tell due to my super duper busy printed fabric, but all the darts & seams actually line up perfectly. Just trust me on this one 🙂

I also would like to point out that my hair needs a dye job something fierce (I actually had a hairstylist examine my roots the other day & declare that I’m naturally dishwater blonde – which blew my fucking mind. I’ve always been a brunette, wtf?!). If you’re thinking, “Whatever, your roots don’t look bad!” that’s because I ‘shopped the shit out of them teehee 🙂

The dress looks best with a belt, in my opinion. Wish I had a yellow belt, but the one I have on hand is too neon yellow for this print & the thrift gods have been ignoring me lately in the belt department.



Pastille - neckline

Pastille - pleats at hem
The hem ended up being way too long for me, and I’d already sewn in the pleats, so I just flipped up the bottom of the hem & sewed it to the inside. This is why my pleats are at the very bottom of my dress. I think it worked out fine!

Pastille - zipper
I am really proud of how my zipper turned out! Basically perfect!

This whole dress was a great/cheap stash bust. Feels good to cull that shit down! I didn’t have *quite* a long enough zipper (I think mine was 20″ instead of 24″ or something), so I have to pull the dress over my head to get it on hahaha. Oh well!

So what do you think? Pastille – yay or nay?

Creative Mush

8 Mar

It would seem that I am not the only one in the massive sewing blogosphere who has had a serious drop in sewing mojo recently. This happens to me from time to time, and I can’t help but get angry when I realize I’ve spent the past 3 nights vegging out on my couch instead of working on awesome crafty things. Not even knitting! MEH!

Part of what caused this standstill is my current work on the Pastille dress from the Colette Sewing Handbook. I swear this stupid dress has given me nothing but a headache (and thinning hair from where I pulled the rest of it out in total frustration). For starters, I cut my pattern out in a size 2 and added my normal FBA since the bust size for the 2 is only 34.5″, and my measurements are a couple inches bigger than that. Lo & behind, when I made up my first muslin… the bust was too big. I ended up not needing a FBA at all! WTF? I actually did recheck my measurements, and indeed my bust has not shrank down to a 34.5″ so I’m assuming there is a misprint with the finished measurements. By the way, do you know how hard it is to correct a FBA back to flat when you’ve already hacked & taped the pattern pieces (no, I don’t trace – but maybe I should start! It’s a SIGN)? I mean, assuming you’re one of those weirdos (aka: me) who would rather pull the tape off & try to smush everything back together instead of just putting the scissors to it again.

Anyway, muslin #2 revealed that this pattern gives me a swayback. WTF v2.0? I don’t have a swayback and I feel like I would have noticed this prior – especially considering the Quasimodo-proportions I got in my muslin. Unfgh. Upon lurking the site forum, this is not unusual for this pattern (before anyone gets terrified & swears off sewing the Pastille, let me point out that I’ve seen many of these dresses made up and most people did not seem to experience the weird swayback – I think it’s just the way some women’s bodies are shaped. Boo that it had to be mine!). My adjustment was very simple – I cut horizontal line through the back piece, at the ‘lengthen or shorten here’ line, and overlapped the pieces at an angle so they were 3/4″ at the center back, tapering to nothing at the side seams. I made one more muslin and the problem appears to be fixed. Fingers crossed.

navy/yellow floral cotton/rayon
I am making the dress up in this sweet little printed fabric – it’s a lovely cotton/rayon blend, and the print reminds me of a feedsack. Not entirely my style, but hey, I’m open to branching out! I like the tiny yellow flowers. I’m really into yellow right now, if you can’t tell.

I made a big mess of self-bias tape and initially planned on finishing the sleeves & neckline with that instead of facings. Folks… I don’t think this pattern can be faced with bias tape. There are too many curvy lines for the tape to lay properly flat. Believe me, I tried. But hey, on the bright side – I have lots of pretty bias tape for some other project! Haha!

So now we’re at the point where I haven’t touched the damn thing since Monday. To be frank, I haven’t even walked into my sewing room since Monday. When I get too frustrated, it’s better for me to dump everything in a pile & just ignore it for a few days until the steam lets off. That, or hide it in the UFO box 🙂 I kid, I kid!

On the knitting front, I had a bit of turmoil when I finally started my sweater sleeves. I think this is the part of the pattern that the writer was referring to when she called this an intermediate to advanced knit – that shit is hard! Talk about total concentration! Not only am I knitting in the round (which, despite a few cozies, is still a relatively new skill for me), I have to follow a lace pattern *and* I’m working a bunch of short rows. And then the instructions dropped and just told me to “continue working short rows until you reach the marker,” meaning I have to either count or actually recognize what a short row looks like. Nope, no ma’am!

It’s times like these when I’m glad I have Mika to save my desperate ass every time I reach a confusing point in the pattern & suddenly turn stupid. Poor girl has gotten a lot of frantic emails from me, but she’s been super super helpful & I definitely would not have made it past the swatch stage without her guidance.

Anyway, sewing & knitting frustrations aside, I made an apple cozy over the weekend:
Apple Cozy
It is completely unnecessary & ridiculous, so obviously I love it a lot.

Who else is having a bummer of a week? Alternatively, who is having a GREAT week & would like to rub it in?

Look! A Mini-LT! (and a tutorial to make your own)

10 Jan

Look! I made a creepy line-drawing of myself!
mini LT!
Isn’t it just the cutest thing you ever did see? Ok, maybe not… it’s kind of creepy lol.

I was inspired to make one of these after reading chapter 2 of the Colette Sewing Handbook, A Thoughtful Plan. It is suggested that you make your own croquis to aid with planning out future sewing projects.

This is not normally something I would use – garments look sooo different on a bunch of stylized croquis than they do on normal ol’ bodies, plus, I’m pretty ~aware~ of how my body looks – so I didn’t see much of a point. But now little mini-me’s are popping up all over the internet, and I’m a sheep at heart so I took some pictures and drew out my own. Mine has a little outfit (bathing suit?) because I feel a little creeped out at the idea of a nakey me floating around the internet.

The book suggests printing your picture & tracing around the lines to create the croquis – which is fabulous, but I don’t have a printer at home and I was a little skeeved at the idea of printing out a picture of my undie-clad body on the office printer (or at Kinko’s! Oh God!). Hence, the all-digital LT.

And guess what? The process was pretty easy, so I made a bunch of screen shots so I could share the tutorial with you 🙂 And the best part is, you don’t have to have Photoshop 🙂 I used GIMPshop, which is a FREE software that is very similar to Photoshop (except free). Yay!

First, you are going to want to take a picture of yourself – in something very form-fitting (like leggings or a tank) or just undies. My actual picture was taken in a tank top and undies, hence why I picked a different picture for the tutorial 🙂 But you – you are going to want to wear something that shows your shape!

Some photo tips that I wish someone had pointed out to me:
– Stand in front of a plain (preferably light) backdrop. The less noise you need to edit out of the background, the better! This also makes it easier to see where you figure ends & where the wall (or whatever is behind you) begins.
– Make sure the camera is pointed straight at you, and not at an angle. My first croquis did not heed this warning, and as a result, she hashad very short legs (Had. I deleted her lol). Apparently I take my pictures at slightly MySpace-esque angle, which is great for outfit photos but not so great for croquis.
– Ensure that there is plenty of light & use a flash if necessary! It doesn’t matter if the picture is “blown out” or you are making a derp face – we are just dealing with the lines here, anyway.

Ok, so you’ve got your picture – tutorial time! These pictures are also located on my Flickr in their own set if you feel so inclined. Click through any picture to make it bigger if you need to!

I decided to use this clover picture as an example, saving y’all the pain of viewing an undies shot. You are all welcome. And again, I’m using GIMPshop. It’s free! And please note that I am by no means a professional when it comes to digital image manipulation – I just kind of hacked my way through until I came up with something suitable 🙂

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(I know, it should be “Croqui” not “Croquis,” my bad. I did not realize until it was TOO LATE!

I made myself wear the Pastille dress:
mini LT pastille
In the future, I will be drawing the actual clothes with a pencil & a piece of paper. It is hard to adjust the lines of the garment in GIMP to correspond with the lines of my body.

At any rate, I’m excited about my new little friend 🙂

Now – go print out a million little images of yourself & draw up a new wardrobe! Yay!

completed: the colette meringue

23 Nov

my first pattern from the colette sewing book! i’ve been itching to try this one, especially after sarai posted a tutorial on how to draft a waistband (which, in case you were wondering – easy easy!). also, SCALLOPS. i think i just jumped on the scallop bandwagon with this. they are a pain to mark, sew & press, but oooh they are so happy!

i used a piece of wool houndstooth that i got from lauren winter, during that awesome yardsale where i bought half of her fabric stash. this piece of fabric cost me a whopping 75 cents. everything else was already in the stash – the lining (a remnant left over from a dress i made 4 years ago – yeesh, do i throw anything away? well, it’s gone now. gone inside my skirt, i mean.), the bias tape, even the zipper & thread. 75 cent skirt, yo!

cutting this pattern out was… interesting. it calls for a lot of yardage, but i only had 3/4 yard of the houndstooth. it was 60″ wide, though, so with some careful folding, i was able to get my skirt cut out with practically nothing to spare. cutting off the top to make a seperate wasistband really helped, as it shortened the length of the skirt so that the skirt & the facing fit exactly at the 3/4 yard length. i suppose one could use a different fabric for the facings (on both the scallops & the waistband) if you were really running short. i had exactly enough, though!

i cut a size 2 in this, no flat pattern alterations. yay! i made a lot of “style” alterations, though – added the waistband, piped the waistband seam, finished the top of the waistband over the zipper with a tab (that was accidental… for some reason, my waistband was too long? bwuh?), added a short lining for comfort. i also finished the inside of the waistband & the top of the scallop facing with black bias tape, so it looks real pretty inside :3

if you want my honest opinion on this skirt, it alone is worth the $18 that the book currently costs on amazon. go get it!


meringue - back

meringue - side
you can see my waistband tab over the zipper here

meringue waistband
i really only added piping because i wanted to test out my new piping foot 🙂 verdict: omg how did i live without a piping foot???

meringue - inside + lining
the lining makes me so happy!

meringue - hem

my only problem now is that i don’t know what to wear to thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! the floral peony was supposed to be my ~thanksgiving dress~, but now i’ve got plaid & pants & scallops and man, i just can’t decide. i love having these kinds of problems, lol


one more thing…
my first bit of knitting!!
i learned how to knit (and purl!) last night! my new friend & fellow nashville bike rider, sarah, taught me over coffee. so pumped about my future cowl 😀