Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be given the lovely Colette Sewing Handbook as a gift. For those of you familiar with Colette patterns you will know how beautifully presented the little pattern booklets are- well the same is definitely true of their book.
It is filled with fabulous sewing tips and comes with five exclusive Colette patterns. I have just got around to completing my first one- the Colette Pastille dress that is featured on the cover.
I made up the dress in a really warm wool fabric in an icy blue/ green colour that I bought online from Stone Fabrics. I also decided to add a lining to the dress and lined it with some of Truro Fabric’s superior lining. I love their lining as it’s really nice to work with, completely anti-static (so doesn’t cling to hosiery at all!) and is breathable so really comfortable to wear.
The pattern came up quite big- I made the size 0 and the top half fitted perfectly but I had to remove a total of 6cm from the hips. To do this I removed 1.5 cm from the front and back side seams from the hips all the way down to the hem and sloping up to zero at the waist.
I also slightly reduced the dropped shoulders as I have very square shoulders that just kind of propelled the capped sleeves straight out and made me look like a cross between someone from the 1980s wearing huge shoulder pads and someone going to outer space! I have had to do this previously with a vintage pattern with similar shaped shoulders so it wasn’t really a surprise.
Because I draft a lot of my own patterns I am in the habit of always making up a calico toile before cutting my fashion fabric so these little modifications were no trouble; I just marked them on the calico and then transferred them back to the paper.
I didn’t include the pretty pleats that are featured at the hem of the dress on this version as the wool I was using was quite thick and I thought they may end up too bulky.
After I had completed the dress I made a self-covered belt to wear with it. I LOVE making these! They are so quick to do and I think they add such a vintage feel to outfits. I couldn’t find the buckles anywhere in the UK so I order mine from A Fashionable Stitch– she has a great selection of different shapes and sizes and the shipping from America takes no time at all. Her blog is lovely too- check it out!
I am so happy with my Pastille dress. I think it’s a great wardrobe staple and suitable for so many different occasions, day or evening. I will definitely make this dress up again in some other colours; I think it would be super cute with a little co-ordinating cropped jacket.
I would also highly recommend the book- I think it would be a particularly good addition if you are new to sewing as it provides lots of clear instructions for adjusting patterns to fit. It’s also just a really pretty book to own. I am looking forward to trying some of the other patterns.