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Two Colette Chantilly dresses… and a giveaway!

December 4, 2011

I made my first Colette Chantilly as part of my April Challenge, and it was a challenging experience, partly due to the lining fabric I had chosen, and partly due to my own inability to tell left from right.  I was using the floatiest, lightest, stretchiest and most prone-to-warping lining fabric in the world, which, once stitched, was so delicate it could not be unpicked.  It’s lovely and soft to wear, but it was extremely difficult to work with.  Also, the gathering went wrong – you know when you start gathering and then, snap!  So I just tried to fudge it with only one gathering thread (because I am lazy) and that was wholly unsatisfactory.  It caused me to shake my fists and cry out to the sewing gods WHY WHY WHY, but they were probably considering smiting me by that point for committing crimes against the laws of sewing.  Then, to make matters worse, I got myself all confused about sides.  You know when you get mixed up with left and right?  (Just humour me here, please!)  Because when you’ve got a lining facing in and a main fabric facing out – the left and right are harder to figure out, especially if you’re an idiot like me.  You can’t just hold it up any old way and say “Yeah, that’s the left side and that’s the right side”.  You’ve got to hold it up against yourself as it would eventually be worn.  You’ve got to label it, clearly, as I’m sure you, dear readers, would have done in the first place.

But then…it was done.  My frustration with myself was over and could be forgotten.  I started to enjoy wearing the dress – I even wore it to one of the four weddings I attended this year with a fancy, swishy petticoat underneath (see below).  The dress has been admired by all who have seen it.  And did I mention it is comfortable?  Because it really is.  IT DOES NOT DIG IN.  IT DOES NOT RIDE UP. That sort of thing is important to me.  There’s even room for cake expansion.

My first Colette Chantilly dress

A few months ago, I bought the Colette Éclair pattern and 4m of suitably wintery cotton lawn to make it with, intending the dress to be my Christmas dress.  But then I started drafting my pattern for the Vertigo dress (and a post on my progress with that will appear in the next month or so, I promise), and I realised I didn’t need another boned, corset-style dress, so I set the Éclair pattern aside for now and decided to use my fabric to make another Chantilly.  I figured it’s pretty, it’s comfortable, it’s versatile – it’s everything I need from a Christmas dress.  I’ve already made it once before, so I know what to do, and I know it will fit!  Yes!  What could possibly go wrong…?

NOTHING!  I didn’t make any mistakes, I didn’t get confused, it all went smoothly, and I’m over the moon with the finished dress.

The new Chantilly modelled by Delilah. I haven't got a photo of me wearing it yet.

The hard work really was worthwhile, and I love my two dresses – they’re pretty and comfortable and flattering – but I’ve now decided I’d like to send the pattern to a new home – to someone who wants to make this for themselves.  I traced the pattern, so it is uncut and in very good condition.  If you think you would like to win it:

1) Leave a comment on this post telling me what your most challenging make so far has been

For bonus entries, you could also…

1) Tweet about your entry using the hashtag #threadcarefullygiveaway

2) Visit our facebook page and leave a comment there (

3) Blog about the giveaway with a link back to this post

The giveaway is open worldwide and you can enter until Monday 12th December at 18:00 GMT.  Don’t forget to leave your email address.  Good luck!

PS. I can’t promise that the winner will receive the pattern in time for Christmas – it all depends on the postal service, the weather etc.

  1. Yamie permalink
    December 4, 2011 11:00 pm

    Pick me! Love the dresses

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 8:41 am

      Thanks Yamie 😀

  2. December 4, 2011 11:25 pm

    I love both your dresses and I definitely can sympathize about left vs. right. That’s been one of my most challenging makes is trousers for precisely that reason. Even with the SAME pattern, I’ve sewn up the legs inside out and to each other..not one, not two but on three separate occasions! hahahha. Guess I’m not a very visually inclined sewist 🙂 Definitely count me in for the giveaway as I’d love to try this dress!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 8:42 am

      Hi Debi. So glad to hear I’m not the only one who gets confused! I’ll remember to label the pieces extra carefully if I make trousers!!

  3. Marian permalink
    December 5, 2011 12:52 am

    Lovely! My most challenging make was a self designed and draped wool jacket. For some reason, I wanted it to bubble like a cocoon even when unzipped AND I picked plaid. Trying to figure out where the lining and the garment should attach at the hem was beyond confusing when I had no idea if it would turn out right. Of course, when I finished and put it on, the shape was so unflattering that I rarely wear it.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 8:44 am

      Hello Marian. That sounds like a very challenging project – no wonder you struggled! What a shame it didn’t turn out right after all your hard work.

  4. December 5, 2011 7:06 am

    Ooh, I’ve wanted this pattern for so long! I love both of yours 🙂 My most challenging make has to be the Beignet skirt. The pieces all look so similar and my fabric didn’t have a noticeable right side. I had to label the pieces really carefully!
    Ashley x

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 8:45 am

      Hi Ashley. Ooh I fancy making the Beignet too – I’ll have to make sure I label my pieces properly like you did!

  5. December 5, 2011 7:10 am

    I also tweeted about it on Twitter! 🙂
    Ashley x

  6. December 5, 2011 9:26 am

    Making a shirt dress for ED, it should have been fine but a bit like you I confused left and right and ended up messing up the placket by sewing the left one on the right side etc and had a very odd curve to the neckline. I ended up taking it off, swopping it over and sewing on top! It worked and no-one will ever know but I did throw it across the room when I realised (after I had trimmed the seam allowance and cut the curves)!!!!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 8:47 am

      Hello Louise! That sounds tricky, but don’t you just love it when it turns out ok in the end and no-one except you will ever know! 😀

  7. December 5, 2011 9:50 am

    I have done that confusing left and right thing before with dresses and with trousers. I am hopeless at remembering to label pieces. I love the two dresses you have made – they are so pretty.
    My most challenging make so far… um, maybe making my Uniform Project dress. That had sparse instructions and lots of pieces, lining, princess seams. Somehow everything I did on it went wrong, I attached peices back to front and had to get very busy with the stitch unpicker. Even with making a muslin I got the fit wrong. It is still languisingin the wardrobe, waiting for me to realter the huge neckline.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 8:49 am

      Thanks Minnado. That dress sounds complicated! I hate altering things, so I can understand the whole lurking-in-the-back-of-the-wardrobe thing. I hate having to go back to a finished project – it’s so demotivating!

  8. December 5, 2011 11:27 am

    Ooh, so pleased to have found your blog, thanks for leaving your comments Tabatha and hooray, another red wedding dress girl! I’ve now got 9 Colette patterns (plus the Sorbetto) so you could say I’m a fan! Your Chantillys are gorgeous, I love both your versions and plan to make one in the spring whether I win your pattern or not. But thanks for the opportunity.
    My most challenging sewing project was definitely the silk lining for my Oolong dress, the fabric was such a nightmare I had to give up in the end and underline the dress instead! x

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:01 am

      Hiya Jane! I can’t wait to see your Chantilly when you make it. Lining the Oolong with silk must have been tricky – but I love your finished dress and underlining is just as good!

  9. Dottie permalink
    December 5, 2011 12:02 pm

    My most challenging piece was the Roobios dress, also from Colette patterns. I’m a novice seamstress with delusions of grandeur, and I thought that if I just took my time I would be ok (since Colette patterns are a dream!) Well, patience is not one of my virtues. I made a complete mess out of the muslin and figured I’d forge ahead anyway. I probably wouldn’t have finished without the sew-a-long posts, but the dress looks decent enough (as long as you don’t look to closely at the seams, they bear witness of vigorous unpicking and restitching!)

    I love the Chantilly pattern, it seems like it would be flattering in every size! It is so sweet and fun, and I especially like your polka dot version!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:06 am

      Hi Dottie. It’s a good job the sewalong posts were there to help you with the Rooibos dress. I made one too and although I wear it a lot, the fit is far from perfect – I need to refer back to those sewalong posts before making another I think!

  10. Summer permalink
    December 5, 2011 12:19 pm

    I have only made baby clothes, but in the new year plan to venture into sewing for myself. I find many things challenging, but the biggest challenge to date was tackling sewing curves for the first time when I placed the halter straps on my nieces new dress. I had neglected to make those handy marks or notches that are suggested (for a reason, apparently). It worked out. I sewed curves!

    I love your blog and new Chantilly dress (as well as the “old” one)! I’m in a sewing desert as far as friends who sew or shops that give lessons, so I’m combing the interwebs for good sources!! I’ve added you to my reader!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:08 am

      Hello Summer and thanks for the add. Baby clothes are a great place to start – everything on a smaller scale and no darts! Hurrah! Keep up the good work.

  11. December 5, 2011 1:00 pm

    I love your dresses, they’re both so lovely. I’m currently in the middle of my most challenging dress and trying hard to persevere and not throw it in the bin! It’s a Butterick maternity dress. In fact the pattern is pretty simple but I chose to use jersey and I regret it, the curling, the curling! And I can’t unpick stretch stitch! I’ve lost my perfectionist tendencies and am instead trying to forge ahead with wonky seams and terrible stitching, I’ve given up all ideas of nice seam finishes – it’s jersey, it won’t fray! I’m dreading the hemming …..

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:18 am

      Hi Alice. How’s your maternity dress coming along? I hope it isn’t lying crumpled at the bottom of the bin! I sympathise about unpicking stretch stitch – I made my daughter a tshirt the other day and had to unpick the zigzag stitch from around the neckline – she’s only a toddler so it wasn’t a big neckline, but it took me AN HOUR!

  12. Nicole Tobin permalink
    December 5, 2011 2:11 pm

    Both dresses look great! The most difficult thing I’ve made this year is a toss up between vogue 8701- the dress- it wasn’t so much the pattern was difficult, but the lining was super hard to work with- so hard inf act that i gave up and just used velvet ribbon to finish the edges instead, and also the fit was tough- i ended up taking the neckline in by 8+ inches (it may have been my fabric growing?) and Vogue V1239 – which is one of those patterns that you just have to trust that the patternmakers and the instructions know what they’re doing. It also turned out very well, but i have some reworking i want to do- such as moving the button that i put in a bit higher, so it’s a little more modest and work friendly.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:37 am

      Hi Nicole – wow, that first Vogue dress sounds like a very tricky make! Hope your alterations to the second dress work out.

  13. Mitzou permalink
    December 5, 2011 2:29 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway. My most challenging experience was my first FBA on a Colette Macaron. It turned out fine in the end but I think I drafted and redrafted the pattern 6 times before I finally got it to fit right. In the midst of the process I thought of quitting sewing for good and I had to pause for 2 days before I picked it up again. I still dont understand it was only then that it went well. After reading your post I think of making another version just to have my own NOTHING goes wrong experience…

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:39 am

      Hi there, well done for getting the FBA right on the Macaron. I really need to give that a try on my Colette Rooibos dress. Sometimes putting it aside for a few days does help – at least when you go back to the project you’re a lot calmer!

  14. December 5, 2011 2:42 pm

    My biggest challenge wasn’t one dress, it was fifty-two. I decided that I was going to make a dress a week for a year all on the budget of a dollar a dress. As of now I’m on number forty-seven, about a month behind and very burnt out. I’ll be happy when I can sew something just for me, take my time and use fabric I love, not just what someone gives me.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:40 am

      Yes, I’ve (recently) been following your progress – bet you can’t wait til it’s all over! What an achievement, though!

  15. Rebekah permalink
    December 5, 2011 2:51 pm

    I would love this!

    • Rebekah permalink
      December 5, 2011 2:52 pm

      I kind of find everything challenging, as I am new to sewing, but the hardest thing I’ve done so far is to install an invisible zipper an hour before the dress had to be worn. Stressful!

      • tabathatweedie permalink*
        December 13, 2011 9:42 am

        Hi Rebekah – that does sound stressful! So easy to make a mistake when you’re under time constraints as well 🙂

  16. December 5, 2011 3:43 pm

    Wow, your two versions are really nice. I love the fabric of the first one. They make me really want to try this pattern!

    My most challenging project has been the dress I made to wear to one of my best friends’ wedding. It’s a 50’s inspired dress with a V-shaped back. I drafted the top myself from a 50s pattern I had already made, fully lined it and added a full gathered skirt. It took me some time to get the right shape for the neckline and v-shaped back. Also dealing with the lining fabric was a little tricky (it was my first time). And I added small beads to the neckline the morning of the wedding. ^^; It ended up being nice, but not as nice as I hoped, so if I ever get the courage I might modify it in the future. But it was interesting sewing-wise.

    Thank you for this giveaway. 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:42 am

      Wow – that sounds amazing!

  17. Priz permalink
    December 5, 2011 3:45 pm

    This is a wonderful giveaway! I have not had the pleasure of trying out any Colette Patterns as I believe they require a certain amount of skill I have not developed, but there’s a first time for everything so with the pattern in hand there would be no excuse!

    Thank you for the chance to win.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:44 am

      Hi Priz. I agree with Abby (below). Colette patterns are superbly written. They are very clear and there’s help online too if you need it.

  18. December 5, 2011 7:02 pm

    @Priz, if you’ve sewn with any pattern, you have enough skill to try a Colette pattern. Their directions are wonderful, like mini sewing tutorials, and if anything is unclear, there’s usually a tutorial on their website that goes over it. I would definitely recommend trying out one of their patterns.

    My most challenging make so far is still my first one. Without any sewing experience to speak of, I made a fitted, boned, fully-lined, strapless, sweetheart neckline dress. Umm… What was I thinking?! With some experience in fitting behind me, I’d like to make that dress again…in a better fabric! I’d also love to make every single pattern Colette Patterns has come out with, so thank you so much for the chance to win this one!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:44 am

      Hi Abby. That is indeed an extremely challenging first project!!!

  19. Head Ov Metal permalink
    December 5, 2011 7:05 pm

    Your dresses look fabulous!

    My most challenging make has been long sleeve blouse with rayon challis.

    I’m working on Colette’s Negroni now.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:46 am

      Thanks! I’m also working on a Negroni for my husband’s Xmas present – the third time though so hopefully will turn out OK! Hope yours does too.

  20. Susan permalink
    December 5, 2011 7:09 pm

    Can international people enter? I’m make a parafait dress at the moment and while I need to tweak the muslin a touch for my small upper body, the fit looks great and my husband even loves the muslin version. The Chantilly is on my ‘to buy’ list and winning a copy would just be amazing. I love the version with the petticoat. I would make that just to wear to an afternoon tea to stop being a Mum and to be a lady! Susan

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:47 am

      Hi Susan. I love the Parfait dress so much! Hope it turns out well after your alterations.

  21. December 5, 2011 7:09 pm

    Gorgeous dresses, both of them!

    My most challenging make has to be trousers. I have done a few, most completely unwearable. My Bombshell Dress was also a challenginf make but quite successful with Gerties guidance.

    Thank you 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:19 am

      Thanks Suzy! I love your bombshell dress – it looks fantastic!

  22. sunshineskies permalink
    December 5, 2011 7:16 pm

    Your dresses are beautiful!

    My most challenging make has to have been the long regency corset I made last year, it was a real challenge for me and I was never able to get it the way I wanted it 😦

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:20 am

      Ooh that does sound tricky! Good experience though! 🙂

  23. doihavetothink permalink
    December 5, 2011 8:48 pm

    I love your Chantilly dresses, but especially the floral one!!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:21 am

      Thank you very much! I think the floral one is my favourite too although the grey one is getting a lot of wear at the moment.

  24. December 5, 2011 10:30 pm

    Both your versions of this dress are just beautiful and I’m thinking polka dots for Christmas too. I took away to a retreat, a boys shorts pattern. Unfortunately there was an errata on it that made the shorts a inch larger on the back pattern piece and I had cut out two pairs. I couldn’t work out what I had done wrong and wasted heaps of time. A Colette Jasmine top is my next project.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:22 am

      Hi Rachel. That sounds so frustrating! I’ve got a Jasmine ready to sew but the cold weather is putting me off. Guess it’s nice and warm where you are though!

  25. December 5, 2011 10:35 pm

    I’d love to win this pattern – I’m living in rural Japan for a year and it’s so hard to find any sewing stuff 😦
    Anyway – a mother of the bride dress… it was horrible… the MOTB was super nice and cool, but the dress seemed to keep changing size, a couple of days before Christmas (stress!) and I was trying to pack my house to leave town! It all worked out in the end though!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:23 am

      Hi Caroline. That sounds extremely stressful. Glad it all worked out OK though!

  26. December 6, 2011 3:16 am

    Gorgeous!! I love them both; you’ll look great on your new Christmas dress!!

    My most challenging dress so far is one I am trying to recreate from a dress I saw online. The top part has pleats in chiffon and it has been an absolute nightmare.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:24 am

      Pleats, chiffon – very tricky! Hope it’s turning out the way you’d like!

  27. December 6, 2011 6:04 am

    Please count me in for the giveaway. I just got my first Colette Pattern, and it’s beautiful. I’d love to add Chantilly to my collection. My most challenging make so far has been a maxi dress cut on the bias with ruching on the waist. It took me so long to figure out how to make the ruching flattering and get the zipper into the bias. But, I finally succeeded, and it’s one of my favorite garments I’ve sewn!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:25 am

      Hi Amy – what a great success story! Well done!

  28. Rebekah permalink
    December 6, 2011 5:34 pm

    I posted on your FB wall.

  29. December 6, 2011 8:58 pm

    I am so in love. I already have the Chantilly pattern, and now want to make it up straight away! Seeing your first one has me decided on using some blue floral already in my stash … now whether I get round to making it straight away is another thing …..

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:26 am

      I’ll look forward to seeing your floral version when it’s done!

  30. December 7, 2011 4:08 am

    Oh, my! What pretty, pretty dresses! I love them both and the addition of the swishy petticoat under the first version is oh so feminine!

    My worst make this year was my first version of my Easter dress. It was a vintage pattern that just did not want to be made (missing facing pieces nothwithstanding) I ended up wadding it as it was a totally unsalvageable loss.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:27 am

      Hi Sarah. What a shame your dress didn’t work out! Blame the pattern… 😉

  31. Imaan permalink
    December 7, 2011 6:02 am

    Count me in please!

  32. December 7, 2011 2:32 pm

    These are both so beautiful! Thanks for the lovely giveaway– I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a while!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:28 am

      Thank you! It is a lovely pattern.

  33. Lisa C. permalink
    December 7, 2011 4:27 pm

    Your dresses are beautiful! Also, I totally want that petticoat 🙂

    My most challenging project so far was the purse on the cover of Sew Serendipity Bags…hemming and then gathering 8 yds of fabric? UGHHH! It turned out pretty great but I will definitely never make it again! So much time and sore eyeballs 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:28 am

      Hi Lisa. 8 yards! That is a lot! Glad it turned out well though.

  34. Elena Cresci permalink
    December 7, 2011 7:29 pm

    Absolutely adore both these dresses – particularly the first!

    I think my most challenging make so far was a pair of shorts I made the Summer before last (it’s been a while since I could dedicate as much time to sewing 😦 *sigh*). They were high waisted, pleated and from a vintage pattern. I had to resize said pattern so they would fit! Managed it alright in the end though, woo hoo! Sadly, they’re made in a quilting cotton so they’re a little bit on the stiff side and I don’t wear them much as a result. Boo!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:31 am

      Hi Elena. Good work on the fit of the shorts. Now you have made them successfully you could try them again in some more suitable fabric maybe!

  35. Sarah permalink
    December 8, 2011 2:02 pm

    Beautiful versions of the dress. I love seeing other people’s fabric choices for inspiration. I’d love to try my hand at this dress, and a free pattern would be a nice kick-start! Thanks for offering it.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:32 am

      Thanks Sarah 🙂

  36. December 8, 2011 3:59 pm

    Probably the most challenging thing I’ve made recently was a costume for my daughter, and that was all the fabric’s fault! But I’ve lots of challenging things in the queue, including jeans and a fitted jacket, ’cause I’m crazy.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:33 am

      Hi Christina. I suppose most sewing patterns are challenging in some way 🙂 Good luck with the jeans and jacket.

  37. Lyudmila permalink
    December 12, 2011 2:38 pm

    Lovely! My most challenging make was a self designed and draped blazer

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 9:34 am

      Hi Lyudmila. That sounds difficult – hope it turned out nicely in the end!

  38. Lyudmila permalink
    December 12, 2011 2:39 pm


  39. Lyudmila permalink
    December 12, 2011 2:40 pm

    Fan Thread Carefully = Lyudmila Sizova

  40. Melissa permalink
    December 13, 2011 4:37 am

    I’m still a beginner, but I’m an adventurous one, so when I thought, “I’m sure I can make myself a dress, I’ll just cut out a dress-ish me-ish shape, sew it to another one, put some snaps down the front, and there you go!” Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s only been worn a couple times, with a cardigan over. That was about 7 months ago and since then I’ve started from scratch, really enjoying learning proper techniques and dreaming of what I’ll make someday. I fitted and made a successful bodice of a 50s ish housedress that just needs a skirt now. I would love to try the chantilly!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 13, 2011 8:07 am

      Hi Melissa – thanks for your comment! Good luck with your 50s dress. Unfortunately I didn’t enter you into the competition for the pattern as by the time you had commented it had closed! Thank you for commenting anyway, and better luck next time.

  41. January 2, 2012 7:23 pm

    OK this is embarrassing but I haven’t really sewn many things that I considered challenging. I guess the pleated dress I made for my 3 yo a couple years back? BUT, I would like to make THIS dress my challenge!! I freaking LOVE this dress! It’s perfect. Besides, I just went red with the hair color so I could use some new sassy dresses! 🙂

  42. February 3, 2012 2:00 pm

    First time on your blog – and loving every bit of it!
    One of my goals for 2012 is learning how to sew and seeing all your beautiful creations makes me even more excited. That floral dress is just gorgeous!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 6, 2012 8:05 am

      Thank you Patricia! Good luck with your 2012 sewing – let us know how you get on!


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