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.


  1. I'm just stepping into the Ponte arena, so I really appreciate your expeditions and learning. I agree with you that that the houndstooth is best. Silk jersey! `Now where did you source that?

    1. It's modal silk jersey (whatever that means) from the fabric godmother only a bright orange and rather nice plum left. Lovely feel but don't know how it will be to see.

  2. Hi Mags. I really like this style of dress on you. It looks great in both incarnations if you ask me.

  3. Hi Mags. I really like this style of dress on you. It looks great in both incarnations if you ask me.

    1. Thanks so much, it's a really comfortable dress to wear, one I'll make again.