Tag Archives: Colette Patterns
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Next New Colette Pattern: Hazel!

11 Apr

Here’s Hazel, the second of the two brand-new Colette Patterns sundresses that I had the pleasure of testing for their new new spring/summer line! I love this pattern; when made with striped fabric, you get this very cool radiating lines effect. It is not quite so apparent in my photographs, but check it out in the gorgeous red and white example in the above links, or Sarai’s blue and white from her South America photo montage! Such cool stripes!!!

Anyway, here’s what I did for my tester version with a very lightweight pinstripe black & tan linen that I had on hand. The stripe effect is much more subtle, but you can still see it well in person.

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A couple of you mentioned how the silhouettes of the two new dresses looked quite similar so I tried to take some pictures to demonstrate the differences; please enjoy my dorky demonstrative poses below:

The similarities between the Lily and Hazel patterns are mostly limited to the straps, which as far as I can remember are pretty much identical. Also the waist hits in about the same place on both dresses. The back of the bodices are constructed in a similar manner, with princess seams rather than darts, and center invisible zipper. Everything else is constructed in a completely different manner. While Lily has a very traditional princess-seam construction, albeit with clever and flattering angles, flaps, and pockets, Hazel is an entirely different animal!

I haven’t made anything at all like Hazel before. Her bodice consists primarily of one big triangle cut on the fold, which has darts in the sides (overall effect a bit like the Superman logo, you know, the blunted triangley shape? cracking myself up), flanked by bias-cut trapezoids on the sides. Sarai is going to do a tutorial on how to do FBAs/SBAs on The Triangle because it is a little unusual! (I gather there’s going to be an actual sewalong too! I’d like to give this another go with that tutorial because as you can see I didn’t quite get there myself…) The other main difference, is the skirt is much fuller. It maybe isn’t as apparent in the heavier fabrics, but with this really lightweight linen, I think you can see the difference of the fuller, gathered dirndl skirt, versus the pencil skirt on the Lily. Pockets on Hazel are hidden in the side seams, in the fullness of the skirt.

The pattern recommended using three rows of gathering stitches to get good control on gathering the skirt. I’d never actually done that before, although I remember that popping up either on the Coletterie blog or in their email tips, Snippets, I can’t remember which. Wow, I’m a believer now- I don’t want to gather any other way!

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Ah, one last tip about the Hazel, you know what that triangle does, along with the side panels reflecting light in a different way? SLENDERIZING. Now, I’m a bony broad and not trying to say I’m not, but my midsection is without a lot of definition with regards to waist. Check it out>>>>>

See the optical illusion there? Eye thinks there is a nippy-in waist thing happening there! Rock on Colette Patterns! Sarai is so clever with these things!

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p.s. My grandmother‘s name was Hazel. I am a little goofy sentimental about that name!

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New Colette pattern: Lily!

10 Apr

In previous rounds of pattern testing, Sarai has asked testers to spread the word on their blogs, and I’ve never had a blog to help spread the word until now! Today was the launch of the spring/summer line at Colette Patterns, and I had the pleasure of testing the sundresses, Lily and Hazel.

Today I’ll share my test version of Lily, which is the princess-seamed dress with the flap-detail that wants to turn any figure into an hourglass. After all, as I believe I have mentioned, mine is a straight-up block, the rectangle on the Vogue envelope, [and granted, in the testing run the goal is making sure all the moving parts work the way they should and notches line up for your ease of use later and all that good stuff, not craft a perfectly-fitted dress for my later use, but fitting issues aside…] and I think you can see that the dress is trying its very darnedest to show my shape off to its best advantage!

I used a crazy soft cotton ikat, which may just be my favorite fabric ever. The periwinkle was a very very last-minute addition, literally after all the blue was cut I changed my mind and went with this peri fuji silk as contrast. Depending on my mood I wish it were navy or ivory or red or mustard or flaming chartreuse, so really, periwinkle is probably as good as any! I absolutely dote on the solid-color apricot in the samples they posted today, though, scrumptious!

Here is the back with tiny little kick pleat!

I would love to say I'm woman enough not to be off-put by my winter-white skin...

And, being me, with my lack-of-waist sensitivity (why did the white squares have to come together at the waist anyway?), I tried it with some belts. I think it would look great with a really narrow, solid navy belt, which I don’t have. But I found what I kind of like it with this big olive sateen cummerbund belt I made with the Peony pattern (cute covered button in back on that one); it’s in keeping with my whole more-is-more aesthetic, you know:

Final thoughts on Miss Lily. This dress is quite simple to make being mostly straightish lines except the main bust seams; it is only a little time-consuming in that there are a lot of pieces to cut and work with. However, because it is princess-seamed, it is easier both to fit initially, and for my purposes now, to go back and alter later! But the flaps on bodice and pockets go in super easily, nothing tricky or weird; simpler I think than the Rooibos pockets actually although similar concept.

Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, Regular-Bra Friendly! 😀 Forgot to go strapless for the photos, but you really can’t even tell. (Granted at my proportion the apparatus isn’t as architectural as at the more generous sizes, so that may not go for everyone, I just realized.)

Also, the first Colette sundresses to have back zips, if that makes a difference to anybody- both Lily and Hazel have them (invisible).

I’ll return with Hazel next!

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Bad Kitty, and the Black-Tie Silk Peony

12 Jan

Sorry for radio silence, guess who ended up in the hospital and had to have emergency surgery with an infected cat bite on her dominant, nay, let’s say sewing hand. Yep. WTF. Apparently there’s this wealth of popular lore out there about cat bites that has up til now escaped me, but somehow in a lifetime of being an animal adorer (cat owner my entire adult life, not to even start on dogs), I didn’t realize that one can end up so sick so fast, or that there is such a hazard there.

Peabody participating in Me-Made-May 2010

Peabody’s a unique one, though. She wandered into my back yard in 2009 a starving, matted, plaintively begging little 5-month old stray at a time when I was least able to resist her, after having recently lost a beloved elderly, soul-matey cat.  I most definitely believe in adopting rescued animals whenever possible; all but one of the pets I’ve had have had lives elsewhere before they came to me, and you expect that there might be baggage that might turn up, but Peabody does kind of take that to the next level sometimes.  She has some little quirks, including some territorial tics I never experienced with cats I had previously; one of which (office chairs with arms!) I ran afoul of in the excitement of installing my lovely new computer monitor.

In any case,  I don’t need to have a complete rehash of the situation here, but that is where I’ve been and what I have been doing, and I have at least gotten to a point where I can do some typing, but hand sewing is not in my immediate future, boo!  I really wanted to get cracking on winter coat and there was a whole lot of pad stitching on the immediate agenda.  Perhaps it’s a sign I should go RTW route???

On to happier things, I owe some pictures of my “black tie Peony”:

Colette Patterns Peony in black silk dupioni, with the accompanying cummerbund belt (backwards) in silk charmeuse with vintage glass buttons and bias self-loop closures. I chose dupioni for the dress because I knew from previous experience that I really like to take advantage of the flattering A-line of the Peony skirt by using a fabric with maximum body- the dupioni was an absolute delight to work with, and wear. Mmmm, rustly!

The only change I made to accomodate the dupioni was I had to do tucks instead of the gathering in the front upper skirt; the gathering was almost too subtle for the dupioni in a way, and after several tries I wasn’t getting a good result, so I opted for tucks instead.

As for the slippy charmeuse of the belt, who knows what I was thinking. I even went off script and added extra fabric to the front-front panel, thinking even MORE gathered pearly-white charmeuse would be even greater, but it’s really not. What actually IS greater are these pearly vintage glass buttons, and I adore how that part of the belt looks with the button-loops, so I just spun the belt around, let the cummerbund part drape at the small of my back and had the buttons at the front, and loved it.

Actually one of these days I’m plotting to make a second back half, and replace the cummerbund-part with another button part so it buttons at both center front and center back.  Too much?  I don’t think so, I love the button effect that much!

Not liking the cummerbund bit this go-round: it’s not the pattern’s fault.  I have a version I did in sateen that I love (big self-covered button on the back, so cute!), but it just didn’t work out the way I did it in the charmeuse.

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I keep trying to get away from these hallway pictures with the bad lighting but after the dress’s maiden voyage to a holiday gala concert, I managed only the most hilarious pictures:

I kind of love the spooky-Wednesday-Adams vibe, I just wasn’t looking for glum pictures in a dress that makes me happy!

Or perhaps you prefer apparently trying to form an S-curve with body in admiration of my own belt:

Did I mention I managed to fit a subtle vintage crinoline under there? Helped to accentuate the fullness in the skirt. Actually one of my mom’s that came to light in her big move earlier this year. Our family are sartorial packrats indeed but you’ll hear no complaints about that part of it from me!

Admittedly a black silk dress isn’t the most light-spirited or frolicsome- there’s something almost inherently nineteenth-century-mourning in the way the fabric rustles or something, it’s an odd association,  but it’s really a feel-good garment for me regardless.

As is my previous Peony which I might as well post a recap picture of here for funsies:

Self-Stitched-Sept 2011: Yarn-dyed cotton Peony

This is just a “homespun” cotton from JoAnn’s, yarn-dyed black & tan cotton, but cut on the cross-grain to give it more body and really take advantage of the pattern shape- I think it really brings out the hourglass in the pattern and the woodgrain effect in the fabric.  Love it, if I do say so myself.

Pretty sure this exceeds my typing ration for the evening; more sooner!