Colette Peony Dress

Colette Peony

April 29, 2013 · 46 comments

Hello lovely readers! I fear I must start this blog post with an apology for my recent absence from the blogging world. I would love to say that I have been preoccupied with an exciting trip to an exotic faraway land but the rather more boring truth is simply that I got ill for a couple of weeks (violins cue now) and then have just been useless about dusting off my notebook and writing anything. I have, however, been doing quite a bit of sewing so have lots of new projects to share with you!

I thought I would start with my latest little spring dress, Colette Peony in an ivory cotton lace. Despite having admired this cute, super simple, 60’s inspired pattern since its arrival on the Colette website I have been pretty slow to jump on the Peony band wagon. Well wasn’t that silly- I LOVE this dress!

Colette Peony Dress

It is a subject often addressed in the sewing community that us sewers- (it upsets me greatly that that same word means something else really unsavoury but c’est la vie!) have a habit of making too much frosting and not enough cake. For those of you not following my analogy- too many special one of garments and not enough of the good old, wear it ALL the time stuff. Well I have been keeping this particular little habit in mind recently and it has obviously worked as this dress definitely falls into my cake category. Not a dollop of frosting in sight. In fact I think this is the lemon drizzle cake of dresses- no frosting but super yummy anyhow. Enough about cake- I’m sure you get the picture, I am going to be wearing this dress A LOT!

Afternoon picnics, christenings, baby showers… this is the perfect smartish spring day dress. I actually wore it last weekend to an event called Love Brunch held at the Kensington roof gardens- a beautiful club in Chelsea with an amazing roof garden that has real life pink flamingos (normally, although none were evident last weekend unfortunately, cue violins again please). It was a breezy, fresh sunny day and this dress worked perfectly because the sleeves stopped me feeling too much like I was getting all carried away that the sun had made and appearance and had consequently dressed for the tropics. As it turned out the roof was a bit of a suntrap and our friend Stef had brought a blanket (wasn’t that clever!) so we ending up basking in the afternoon sunshine. Of course the dress was fine for that too as the sleeves are only made of lace, clever huh? Not to mention very necessary in London, our climate is as changeable as my moods!


I actually had the lace left over from when I was making wedding dress samples for my potential wedding dress company that I never ended up starting. That is me all over unfortunately, in the words of the fabulous  Jo March ‘I make so many beginnings there never will be an end’.  This was quite some time ago so I forget where this particular stuff was from but I have often seen comparable cotton lace in the lovely Cloth House on Berwick street in London  if you are living within reach and ever happen to be in need of some. I underlined the bodice with an ivory cotton lawn from Fabrics Galore in Clapham (London) and used this same cotton to line the skirt. I underlined the bodice rather than lining it so that the darts, seams and zip would be nice and hidden. For more info on all the wonderful things about underlining have a look at this Threads magazine article.

Pattern-wise I cut a size 4 on the bodice because the pattern seemed to run pretty small on the top half- in all my other Colette creations I have been one or two sizes smaller so I would recommend maybe considering sizing up. I cut a 2 for the skirt and sloped the bodice to a 2 at the waist. I did have to make quite a few alterations to the bodice in order to get it to fit me well. The waist darts are very far into the centre and the bust dart was too high for me so I had to re-position both. I also did a 1 cm full bust adjustment and lengthened the bodice front and back 1cm on the lengthen/shorten line. The armscyes were too low on me and the sleeves were far too voluminous (my husband said they reminded him a bit of an angel costume, teehee!) so I raised the under arm point 2 cm and removed the correct amount of fullness from the sleeves so that they fitted the new armscye measurement.


The neckline was a bit gaping on me so I removed a 1 cm dart either side of the centre front  pivoting it into the bust dart. I also reluctantly lowered the bateau neckline slightly at the centre front – I love bateau necklines as they add such an instant vintage style but I have come to realise that they suit me lot better just a teeny bit lower. Also, comfort wise I’m kind of odd and they make me feel slightly claustrophobic. I wanted this dress to have an easy comfy fit so that I would want to throw it on in the daytime. Oh and the skirt was perfect in a size 2 which was a complete first for me- normally with Colette the size 0 is far too large on my lower half.

Obviously that was quite a few adjustments, having read other bloggers say the same I would recommend either measuring the actual pattern pieces or comparing them to a similar style pattern that fits you well before choosing your size with this one and just be prepared to pinch and re-pinch your toile a bit! I think it’s definitely worth the effort with this dress as it’s such a classic staple dress to have in your wardrobe! It is my firm belief that the 60s styles never tire! I plan to make up a short sleeve version in some lightweight seafoam green twill I have in my stash.

I decided to style my dress here with bright fun accessories. I love this bright pink Kate Spade bag- I feel that if Barbie owned just one handbag this may be the one! Hehe. My minty green shoes are Dune and my  pink lipstick is Revlon lip butter in Lollipop- could there be a better name for a lippie? I think not!

Colette Peony Bag

Colette Peony Pattern

Colette Peony Sewing Pattern

Have you made a Peony yet? Did you have any fitting issues?

Thanks for reading!

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