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January 3

Colette Pattern Love

I’ve been trying to recall how I originally learnt of Colette Patterns, and unfortunately I just can’t remember.  What I do know is that her pattern, Macaron (also one of my favorite treats) was the first pattern I knew I wanted to make, ever.  I bought it when I didn’t even know how to sew, and it was my aspiration to learn how just to make this dress.

And make it I did, along with Ceylon, Lady Grey, and soon to come next is Crepe.

Having hijacked my mother’s sewing machine, I knew I could teach myself (to some level) to sew, I really wanted to learn correctly.  I then found out about The Needleshop from Design*Sponge in May last year and so I began taking their sewing 101 course, followed by tote-bag, Pajama Pants, Buttercup bag, zippered skirt, hand embroidery, piped pillow, placemats and napkins, box cushion, and then the upholstered ottoman.

*Whew*  It was a busy, productive summer.  :)

So somewhere in the middle of these classes, I decided that I knew enough to make my Macaron dress.  Boy was I wrong!  :)  It does fit, but I picked out a rough, stiff fabric and it wrinkles really easily.  I learnt my first lesson: Fabric choice can make or break your project.

And here’s a close up of the bodice.

I need to make another version with better fabric; It’s too cute a pattern to not have this dress in regular rotation.

After reading some more blogs I decided it was time I make my next dress, the Ceylon.  This is the first project I completed that I remember being proud of.  I wasn’t as afraid to start altering the pattern to fit my body (crazy idea now, right?!), and I started making muslins after each pattern alteration I did to make sure the fit worked.  I also started tracing patterns at this point instead of cutting them all out; this decision has saved my butt on many occasions.  heh

I think this dress almost fits me to a ‘T’, but I didn’t know much about finishing at the time, and the inside really shows that.  This is such a great pattern, and after all of the fitting work I did, I need to remind myself to make a second one for this upcoming summer.

I think my best sewing accomplishment, hands down, is the Lady Grey coat.  I never dreamt that I would make a coat for myself, let along a tailored coat, especially after only knowing how to sew for a little less than 6 months.

And check out this bound buttonhole (using Gertie’s excellent instructions of course).

I’m really proud of this coat, but I feel I really can’t take full credit for this success since the fabulous Gertie was the one who instructed me through it in her sew-along.  I originally found her site through Colette Pattern’s and I’ve been hooked and read her site daily.  She makes such great new and vintage items, and I always learn something new after visiting (how to use horsehair braid, boning, what draping is, etc.).

I think one of the key reasons I got such a great fitting coat in the end was by using a similar fabric for my muslin.  Since my coat is a woven tweed I selected a waffle weave muslin that had a similar bias stretch as my main fabric.  During this project I really learnt how to analyze my muslin’s fit better than I had done so before.  It also helped having made two Colette Patterns before undertaking this coat; I had a rough idea of some of the same changes I knew I had to make on the pattern, before even making the muslin (shortened waist, narrow shoulders, grading from different sizes on top to my waist, to my hips, etc.)

Next up on the list is my Crepe dress.  It’s in muslin stage at the moment so I don’t have any images to share yet, but here is the fabric that I’ll be using.  I love this voile by amh.

The Crepe Dress is another one of Gertie’s sew-along undertakings.  While the dress is an easier to sew project than a tailored coat, fitting still remains one of my challenges.  I continue to learn the how making changes on a flat pattern effect the shape of the fabric garment, but reading the ‘real people’ fitting books has helped me dramatically.

I’d like to end this post with saying an official ‘Thank You’ to Sarai of Colette Patterns.  You made me want to learn how to sew, and I love it!

  1. lizajane / Jan 10 2011

    Wow, you have made such beautiful things! Your Lady Grey is fabulous. I love the grey and white fabric you chose.

  2. Amanda / Jan 13 2011

    You just started sewing 6 months ago? No way! I’m also sewing along with Sunni (Trousers) and Gertie (Crepe) and I’ve seen your stuff on Flickr. I started sewing a year and a half ago and I agree, Fit for Real People has made a world of difference for me!

  3. Vicki Kate / Sep 25 2011

    I was reading your reinforced V for your Burda skirt and decided to have a look at your Redux Macaroon and then wound up here! I love your Lady Grey – it’s stunning. I’ve been sewing for about 6 months as far as garment making is concerned, but keep psyching myself out about the Lady Grey… Maybe I should just go for it?!

    • Liz / Sep 26 2011

      Aww, thanks so much Vicki! You should definitely go for the Lady Grey! It’s a really cute pattern. I followed along with Gertie’s tailoring SAL that was last fall together with my mom, and we had a lot of fun. :)

  4. Jessie / Oct 9 2011

    Love your Lady Grey! It looks amazing! I too am a huge Colette fan. Their patterns have given me so much confidence and I’m still surprised when I make something and it turns out. Glad I stumbled on your blog from Tilly’s.

  5. Mmeg / Oct 11 2011

    I think I must have missed the post on your Lady Grey but good gracious! That is a beautiful piece! I adore all of your details and the bow belt is perfect :) Well done!

  6. puu / Oct 13 2011

    fabulous lady grey–i think it may be one of the best i’ve seen yet, and the bow belt is a super-cute touch that really works with the whole look. congratulations on such a great coat! (i also tried tailoring a mere 6 months into my sewing life…it taught me so many things…so keep it up!)

    and that bound buttonhole is totally gorgeous.

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