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Finished project: Colette Patterns Peony Dress

October 10, 2011

As soon as I saw the Colette Patterns Peony dress I fell in love with it.  It’s so simple, but so beautiful.  It went right to the top of my sewing list, but there was just one problem: I was stuck for ideas.  I loved both of the versions showcased on the Coletterie blog but I wanted to think for myself and come up with my own ideas.  I decided to have a little colouring-in experiment whilst Little Tweedie was amusing herself with her toys, and this is what I came up with:

I was drawn to the brighter 80s inspired colour combinations, but also tempted by the monochrome version at the top left corner.  In short, the colouring in experiment didn’t really help me decide because I liked so many of them.  Then, as I was flicking through a magazine, it came to me.  I was seeing tweed, check, houndstooth… and I remembered that in my stash I have a small, hitherto useless remnant of houndstooth fabric from a market stall and I was sure it would be enough to make the belt.  So my final decision was to make the dress with black gabardine (nice and warm for winter) and use the black and white houndstooth for the belt.  And here it is:

Erm, yeah.  Change of plan.  My local fabric shop (Boyes) for some reason didn’t have any black gabardine in.  I’ve seen it there before in numerous colours, but I tried a couple of different branches with no luck.  But then, I rifled through the wonder that is the Boyes remnant bin, and found 2.4m of this gorgeous navy satin for £1 per metre.  SOLD.  My plans went out of the window because I am a sucker for a bargain.  This dress cost me £5.39 to make: £2.40 for the fabric and £2.99 for the zipper (I already had the thread, interfacing and button).

The pattern itself is suitable for a beginner, so I didn’t have any problems making the dress at all, and I made a few adjustments.  I lengthened the skirt, and I changed the sleeve pattern because I prefer the flared effect you get from cutting a straight sleeve (I knew how to do this from sewing my boat neck SewU Home Stretch tshirt).  I didn’t alter the pattern tissue itself, just measured out and cut slightly more around the sleeve pattern piece like this:

It doesn’t look like much of an alteration, but it makes a big difference.  You can see below it gives the illusion of being flared, a detail which I really like and works especially well in the satin.

The Peony dress - modelled by me!

As I was pinning on the neck line facing, I thought how nice the Peony dress might look with a collar – what do you think?

But perhaps my collar lust can be satisfied by the Licorice dress from Colette’s forthcoming book

The dress looks lovely with or without the cummerbund style belt.  Here it is without, modelled by the lovely Delilah:

I was very pleased with my zip/hook and eye closure.  You can’t get away with any imperfections on a shiny fabric like satin, but luckily it came together well, and I love how I ended up with a kind of zig-zag pattern down the centre back:

Adding a label was the finishing touch.  I don’t often bother to add them to the clothes I make for myself, but it is nice to do it from time to time.

Having made this version in satin, I’m not sure now about my original black gabardine idea.  The satin drapes so beautifully and feels so soft and luxurious, I can’t imagine making the dress out of anything else!  I think I will wait and see how other people’s dresses turn out, as I’m sure these will be popping up all over the blogosphere before long!

  1. October 10, 2011 11:55 am

    Wow, this is gorgeous and I can’t believe what a bargain your fabric was!

  2. October 10, 2011 12:07 pm

    Thats looks really great, and I really like the sleeves, as you say not a huge change but sometimes its subtlety that makes a real difference to how something looks.

  3. October 10, 2011 2:01 pm

    Wow- this is so lovely- classic and elegant. Great job!

  4. Chris permalink
    October 11, 2011 11:52 am

    Hello. Just found your blog while googling to see if anyone had made the Peony yet. I’m near Wetherby so recognised the reference to Boyes. Will subscribe and follow you, there seem to be so few people around here who sew!

  5. October 12, 2011 2:58 pm

    What a lovely dress! The flared sleeve is very flattering.

  6. tabathatweedie permalink*
    October 13, 2011 10:04 am

    Thank you to you all for your comments! 🙂

    Chris – I’m in the East Riding of Yorkshire, only been here a year but never come across any other Yorkshire-based sewing bloggers before!

  7. November 1, 2011 10:19 am

    This is a very lovely version. I’m just setting out on this make, so thanks for the blog post.


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