Sunday, 14 February 2016

Two Colette Wrens!

Last time I made 2 of something (the Orla) I ended up not liking either.  Not so with the Colette Wren ... I like both (though my favourite is the houndstooth).

I made my first one in houndstooth ponte from Girl Charlee at £9.95 per metre.  I really liked this fabric, however, I've worn the dress about 5 times and it is already beginning to pill at the front, a little disappointing.  The weight is good for this style.

I like the fit of the dress (it actually doesn't look quite as snug in real life) and it is very comfortable.  I cut the size medium (my measurements are bust 38", waist 28" and hips 37" and the size medium is pretty good.

I added 2" to the length to make it more suitable as a work dress.

This has already been worn to work with a black jacket on quite a few occasions.  Version 2 is made in teal ponte roma

I am high waisted, and usually have to shorten the bodice by 1".  You can see from the photo above that the waist is high even on me.  I think that would be a real problem for most people and you could easily need to lengthen it by as much as 2" (looking at the photos this version could have done with an inch).    As you can see I prefer the dress with a belt (it hides the tummy a bit).
The pattern comes with a short sleeve, or sleeveless.  There was a free pack available in the USA for a long sleeve but I drafted my own just by extending the lines which makes this a really cosy dress.

You can see the gathered detail at the shoulder.  This was slightly thicker fabric and it did make the gathering a little challenging.  Although you can't really see here I changed the neckline by adding a bound neckline (following Depeeka's advice) and then stitching it with a twin needle.  I think this made the neckline more stable and less likely to stretch.  I also took my usual 5/8" out of the width of the shoulders and added a few stitches at the neckline wrap to make sure that it stays decent!

It isn't very easy to get the waist nice and flat as you can see below, though it did press out a little better in the end. 

Overall I really like the pattern.  The instructions are very clear as usual in Colette patterns, although I don't think I would recommend this as a first knit patter because of the gathering at the shoulders and all the layers you have to deal with at the waist.  Am I the only one, though, who doesn't really get how Colette  chooses to present their patterns, the dress on the cover looks pretty boring!  I'm going for version 2 next with the full skirt and short sleeves, made in silk jersey.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Colette Phoebe and McCalls 6649

I'm sure there will be lots of Colette Phoebes hitting the blogasphere soon, as Colette is currently running a sewalong.  Unfortunately I had already nearly finished mine before I knew the sewalong was coming.

I picked this pattern because I rather liked the Colette version

.... and I think mine looks pretty similar.  Hopefully it doesn't look too much like a school uniform.  As you can see I chose to only have 8 buttons rather than 10.    Because I really don't like high necks which feel a little restrictive I dropped the neckline by 3/8" front and back, which gives a little extra room.  I also raised the waist by 5/8" (I usually raise by 1" as I have a high waist).

I particularly like the fit in the back.

The fabric is a most gorgeous  teal coloured stretch velveteen with 5% spandex.  It's £14.90 per metre and I managed to squeeze it out of 1.5 metres.  The stretch meant that although it is quite fitted, it's still very comfortable.  I bought the fabric because of the colour and the stretch, however, I hadn't really thought that it might actually be quite similar to velvet to sew!  This meant that you have to cut everything in the same direction, you have to be very careful with pins, and pin in the seam allowances and if you unpick it is going to show.  I also realised you can only iron on the wrong side and I also did this on top of a towel to try and prevent the nap getting squashed on the right side.

I cut a size 10, but actually the front piece doesn't quite line up with the princess seam, so I could have done with a little more room in the bust.  I graded to a size 8 at the waist and skirt, but then tooke another 1/5" extra off all the seams to make the fit a bit snugger.

Looking at the pattern I think I expected this to be a really easy sew but it was a bit more challenging than I expected.  You are dealing with a lot of layers at the front waist (5 where there is the overlap) and with this quite thick material lining up took patience and I don't really like the finish at the inside waist.  I'm also not used to sleeveless lined bodices where you have to be careful to get the lining absolutely right.  In retrospect I wish I had lined the whole dress, because at the hem the velvet tends to stick to your tights.

I chose to do an invisible zip which looks great on the right side but I just couldn't work out how to make a really nice job on the inside, but it's OK.  In summary though I like this dress and I will wear it to work.  The pattern instructions are clear and easy to follow.  (The lining is teal not green but the lack of light has changed the colour).

I'm wearing my phoebe with a McCalls 6649 in Atelier Brunette Hirondelle, which is lovely fabric to sew and wear.  I really like this pattern and this is my third version.

I think Colette patterns are probably my most used indie patterns, and I am on a bit of a Colette roll ...coming up the Wren!  Have you sewn any Colette patterns?