Meringue à la Dolce Vita – Colette Patterns

No I’m not talking about an Italian dessert… But a skirt! A skirt! Me who almost never wears one ! Well,… sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone, to open up new horizons!

Pattern

Meringue Skirt  from “The Colette Sewing Handbook“.

I love this book, it’s one of my must-haves: clear, well-illustrated. It covers many aspects of garment sewing and 5 Colette patterns are included!

Meringue is an A line skirt and what makes it stand out is its scalloped hem.

The difficulty of this pattern, otherwise rather simple, is the scalloped hem that requires precision and patience. To sew these “scallops” I, as the instructions advise, traced the stitchlines on the fabric as guides and I sewed very slowly with a very short stitch length (1mm).

I’m pretty proud of my invisible zipper, which is invisible ! But honestly, following the book instructions it’s really a piece of cake to have a good result!

Fabric

When I saw the pattern I immediately knew it was made for my “La Strada” fabric (it is also found under the name Dolce Vita) by Alexander Henry. Or rather that my fabric was made for this pattern. This happens to you too, right? It’s so good when it’s obvious!

It’s a quilting printed cotton. I love this fabric, I used some to make a bag for a friend (Japanese-Bag – Grab Bag) and I had since been waiting for just the right pattern to use up the rest of my precious.

La Strada par le designer de tissu Alexander Henry

La Strada – Alexander Henry

Changes

I made ​​the skirt in a size 8 with no design or fit adjustment whatsoever.

I haven’t altered the pattern, but I knew immediately that the hand of my fabric wasn’t quite right for this skirt. So I underlined it.

I could have lined it the traditional way, but I felt that underlining the front and back pieces would work better in this case.

I used a synthetic black crepe for that and I am happy with the result.

Mishap

Not in sewing… In tights ! I snagged the two pairs I put on that day… The only two that I had in my drawers… That’s why you see a beautiful snag on the pictures ^ ^.

Photos

Pics of the meringue skirt worn at the bottom !

Jupe Meringue - Colette Patterns

Meringue – Colette Patterns

feston

Scalloped hem detail

Détail feston again

Scalloped hem – detail again

Détail fermeture éclair invisible.

Invisible, invisible zipper \o/

A gauche : aperçu de la doublure - A droite : parementure de l'ourlet festonné.

Left : underlining – Right : hem facing

Meringue skirt - Colette patterns

Meringue skirt – Colette patterns

 

Oui j'ai fait nawak avec les photos !

Had fun with pics

Meringue - Colette Patterns

Meringue and Jasmine – Colette Patterns

 

Jupe Meringue et blouse Jasmine - Colette Patterns

Meringue skirt and Jasmine blouse – Colette Patterns

Elle a craqué !

Everything will be fine, stay calm !

I’m glad I waited to use “La Strada” fabric, I love the combination of this fabric with the Meringue pattern !

Black Jasmine – Colette patterns

This is my second Jasmine blouse. The first sleeveless version can be seen here : Sleeveless Jasmine.

 

Pattern

The Jasmine blouse from Colette Patterns, is cut on the bias with bust darts and center front and back seams. The pattern offers variations of sleeves and collars.

I sewed version #2, the one with the shorter collar and, this time, with sleeves.

I used size 10 as usual for me with Colette patterns

Blouse Jasmine (je pense la faire sans manches)

Jasmine Blouse

Fabric

A beautiful Balenciaga fine black silk crepe, purchased from Étoffes des héros.

Crêpe fin noir, Balenciaga

Crêpe fin noir, Balenciaga

Ma-gni-fi-que ! Fluid and light, a joy to wear !

But a horror to cut… Well that was to be expected with silk crepe : sliding in every directions and trying to escape from the table at every opportunity.

I managed by cutting through a single thickness (that’s what’s instructed in the pattern anyway for front et back pieces) and spreading the fabric over my cutting mat. To cut I used my rotary cutter to move the fabric as little as possible.

Adjustments

As with my previous blouse, I raised the bust darts by 1cm (3/8″). As I had already made the changes on the paper pattern the first time, it was ready for this blouse, yay!

Like for my first Jasmine, I replaced the neckline facings with a bias binding to finish the neckline seam. I’m not a big fan of facings and this technique is a good alternative in this particular case. I used the same tutorial as for my sleeveless Jasmine : Jasmine bias bound neckline on “My Messings” blog.

Future alterations

For the next blouse…

Interface the back collar pieces because the collar is wavy every time and it’s bugging me !

Aesthetically I find the sleeves cuffs too big on version #2, arms “float” inside, so next time I should reduce the length of the cuffs and gather the lower edge of the sleeve to match OR mix the views :  the short collar from version #2 with the sleeves from version #1.

Pics

I’m really disappointed with the photos! Black AND silk I already find difficult to take good pics of and… I’m no pro. The blouse is 100 times better in real life, I swear!

I won’t show you full length pics because I reserve them for the post on the Meringue skirt I was wearing with the blouse that day. 😉

jasmine blouse colette

Jasmine blouse – Colette patterns

Détail manche

Sleeve detail

Jasmine blouse - Colette patterns

Sleeve detail – Jasmine blouse – Colette patterns

 

Jasmine Colette - Détail col

Jasmine Colette – Collar detail

Détail col - Blouse Jasmine

Bias binding instead of facings – Jasmine blouse

Hum photo prise le bras tendu...

Hum… photo taken with my arm stretched out…

Jasmine colette patterns

 

Just a little peek at the skirt !

 

 

Colette Patterns Sale

A quick note to let you know that today, Friday November 23, and today only Colette Patterns offers a 30% discount on its patterns, just like last year for Black Friday. Enjoy it HERE.

Prices shown do not take the discount into account, it will appear and will be automatically calculated at the payment step.

I already have 10 Colette patterns as well as the book “The Colette Sewing Handbook” which contains 5 patterns and is a true goldmine for beginner (or advanced) seamstresses… But I could not resist making a small order for two additional patterns: The “Iris” shorts and the camisole-slip “Cinnamon“.

Iris colette- Version avec boutons

Iris shorts

patron colette caraco

Cinnamon : camisole + slip

I ordered the printable/downloadable versions, which means that I saved the shipping fee (remember… I’m in France!) and the patterns are already in my possession!

FYI : For downloadable versions each pattern costs $12. With the discount it came up to a total of $16.5 (= 13.5€)… Pretty good for two patterns !

 

Sleeveless Jasmine – Colette

The pattern

Jasmine blouse by Colette Patterns.

This blouse in cut on the bias and has no closures. The top is shaped with bust darts and seams at the center front and center back.

I made version 2, the one with a shorter contrast collar, in a size 10, as usual for me with Colette patterns.

Blouse Jasmine

 

Fabrics

  • For the collar : it’s the same red microfiber as in my red Sencha.
  • For main fabric : I’ts a lightweight and soft Indian cotton, bought in Delhi, in a Kilol shop. The stripes on the fabric were hand block printed. There are some imperfections but nothing too dramatic. (I have some pics of hand block printing on my French blog : Tissus Indiens.)
tissus indiens

It's the 2 in the middle

Oh course the purpose of using stripes for this blouse, cut on the bias with center seams, is to create a chevron effect.

“Hand block printed” is nice but don’t expect the stripes to be really straight. This, plus the fact that some stripes are in groups of 4 and other of 5, made cutting the pattern to get the stripes to match at centers, a challenge.  

To achieve it, I laid down the pieces on the fabric differently from what is suggested in the instructions. Here are pictures of how I did it, for those interested (clic to enlarge) :

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Aligner des rayures couture
Fold the fabric width-wise matching stripes.

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Jasmine colette rayures

Cut out the pieces through both layers. Respect the straight grain.

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Adjustments

Almost nothing ! The bias cut is great for that ! Especially at the back where the center seam allows for the top to skim nicely over the curves of the back.

  • Bust darts moved up by 1cm and that’s all for the adjustment.

Design wise, it’s pretty obvious, I think :

  • No sleeves ! I wanted to finish the armholes with bias binding so I cut out the seam allowance there. I thought I might have to raise the armhole but it looked ok : no bra showing !

 

My misadventures

The very small tube that needed turning out to create the loop to keep the collar in place. It was just impossible for me to do it following the pattern instructions. I either didn’t understand something or I’m just not good at it. So I did it by hand… I had forgotten how it’s easiest sometimes to simply sew by hand !

The bias on the armholes : I checked twice that their stripes were in the same directions for both armholes… And I messed up ! …And I didn’t do anything about it.

Jasmine loop

The small loop

Finishes

I didn’t finish the seams inside the blouse. No, I did not forget, It’s just that fabric cut on the bias doesn’t unravel.

I didn’t use facings to finish the neckline, I used bias instead following the instructions of this great tutorial : Jasmine bias bound neckline. And I found that it’s a cleaner finish than a regular facing, and easier to wear too.

I wanted to finish the armholes with a red bias binding, the one I used to replace the facings, but this red was too different from the one on the collar and the one on the stripes. It’s ok inside the neckline because it doesn’t show too much but it bothered me at the armholes.  So I made my own bias binding using the main fabric.

Conclusion

I’m really happy with the matching of the stripes at the centers ! It was a bit frighting at the beginning but, as it’s often the case with sewing, it’s not that difficult when you take your time.

The pattern is fast and easy to sew. The only thing that you really need to be careful about, to get a good result,  is the collar and matching the notches.

I find that the no sleeves version of the Jasmine is great for a fast and stylish tank top.

I will make regular versions, with sleeves, for this autumn and next spring because these are really cute !

Photos

These colours are hard “to get” in pictures (for me anyway), the truest shades are the ones on the loop picture above.

Jasmine colette patterns

Hum I've got to find another way to pose...

Sleeveless jasmine colette

Jasmine - Front

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Sleeveless jasmine back

Jasmine - Back

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Bias detail on armhole

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Collar and bust dart on the right.

The bias binding used in place of the facings.

Chevron effect at the center front.

 

Red Sencha – Colette

Here is my red Sencha blouse from Colette Patterns. This is my first sewing project for the “Palette Challenge SS12″.

To read more about the premises of the challenge: Moodboard 2012 Palette challenge and Patterns & fabrics – Palette Challenge SS 2012.

Pics at the bottom of the post.

 

Pattern

Patron Sencha - Colette patterns

Patron Sencha - Colette patterns

Sencha is a 40’s style blouse with 4 tucks in the front and two in back. The back closes with buttons or snaps (well not on my version …) and leaves a small opening at the bottom. The design varies at the neckline.

The blouse is loose above the waist and adjusted through the tucks below the waist. This allows to easily tuck the top into pants / skirt.

The pattern is rated as “beginner” but I do not recommend it as a very first project because there are a lot of hand sewing (hems of the sleeves, the placket,…) and the instructions don’t indicate when you need to finish some seams. It’s not a big deal but it might unsettle a new seamstress who might forget to finish the seams altogether.

The instructions are, as usual with Colette Patterns, very clear and well illustrated. There are no major difficulties in sewing a Sencha.

I made version 3 with the keyhole neckline.

 

Fabric

tissus indiens

Microfiber 2nd from the left

A lightweight and drappey fabric is probably best to get a nice flowy effect for the top of the blouse.

I chose a red microfiber fabric that feels like washed silk and is very soft. It is not lightweight but has good fluidity.  (2nd from left in the picture)

It is so comfy that I’m thinking of buying some more in another color to make a pair of pyjamas!

 The red is really hard to get right in picture… I tried to do my best for the pics below. It’s frustrating when it does not show as beautifully in pics as in reality.

Adjustments

I started by making a muslin, in an old sheet, as usual. I was happily surprised to see that the front did fit fine. The size (10) selected according to my full bust measurements was perfect. From what I’ve read Colette patterns are drafted using a C cup as a base. I’m a C cup so it seemed pretty accurate to me, no need for a FBA, hurray !

Even the waist was at the right spot without adjustment! And being short wasted, it’s an adjustment that I do consistently.

Blouse sencha colette

Back

#1- The problem was in the back !

So the pattern is supposed to have a little extra length at the back as you can see in the picture on the left from Colette. But on me the muslin had a huge bubble at the lower back and the back was also much longer than the front.  And since I never wear my tops tucked in, which would have covered up the problem, I made a swayback/flat derrière adjustment.

This is a very common adjustment for me but for this project I had to take out 5cm at the center back (instead of the usual 2-3 cm). But finally le top length is even in the front and in back.

To make the swayback adjustment I had to cut the back pattern at the center back : the center back runs down the middle of the buttons.

As a result I didn’t reattach the button placket (I’m lazy like that sometimes) and sewed the center back closed.  I’m able to pull it over my head mainly because of the neckline in view 3 and an other alteration I made (see#3).

For positioning my back pattern on the fabric I used the original grainline and placed the top of the blouse (above waist) on grain which means that the tucks were now off grain.. It didn’t seem to cause any big problem.

#2- I did create a slit at the lower center back. I liked this detail on the original back pattern.

#3- The neckline was really too high for me, I felt like I was being chocked.

So I simply took a larger seam allowance when sewing the facing to the neckline (not around the keyhole) : 1” instead of 5/8 inch. As a result it enlarged the opening of the neckline And my discomfort was gone.

Finishes

I liked the result of the blind hand-sewn hem on the sleeves so much that I did the same for the lower hem of the blouse.

My misadventures

I cut my finger while using the circular cuter to cut the fabric… Fortunately, the fabric is red. This is the first time it happened to me and I will make sure that this is the last !

I sweated like crazy trying to turn the ties… And I gave up… and winged it with a visible stitch line. I really need to invest in a tool thingie to turn such small ties.

Photos

I blurred my face on the lasts pictures… Because I really need to stop making stupid faces in pics (well in fact this was all my DD’s fault ^^ she was telling jokes ! ). And let’s face it (or not ah ah) I don’t feel comfortable putting my face out there on the web yet.

Sencha colette patterns

Very red Sencha (less in real life)

 

 

Sencha colette patterns

Sencha worn by Georgette

décolleté trou de serrure et les liens "à l'arrache"

Keyhole and its "winged" ties

Invisible hand-sewn hem on sleeve.

 

front: 4 tucks, I love the effect.

 

sencha colette plis

Tucks again, yes I do love them :)

 

Slit at the back.

I'm very serious, aren't I ?

Red sencha colette patterns

More relaxed here ^^

Patterns & fabrics – Palette Challenge SS 2012

I’ve finished planning my Colette Palette challenge !

After a close inspection of my wardrobe, I realized that I had quite a lot of summer linen pants, capris,… But not many tops to associate them with. That’s why I chose to make 3 tops for the challenge to fill the gap in my summer wardrobe. And two dresses, because in summer dresses are always so great and easy to wear !

So here is what I plan on sewing for the SS 2012 Palette Challenge :

Colette palette challenge

Projects for the Challenge

 

Reminder of my moodboard:

palette challenge summer spring 2012 colette

Palette challenge spring-summer 2012

Fabrics

Transparent black crepe (too transparent ^ ^).

Two prints purchased in India (at Kilol). They are in cotton, very soft, lightweight, hand-printed in Jaipur. I have some pictures of artisans printing fabric in Jaipur if you’re curious about the technique : you can see it there (on my French blog).

A red microfiber that feels like washed silk to the touch, veryyy soft.

The fabrics will go perfectly with this scarf, and for a good reason, it’s a dupatta that I bought along with the Indian fabrics.

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tissus indiens

Indian print, microfiber, Indian print, crepe.

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Dupatta inde

Dupatta

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Patterns

Of course you can choose any brand of patterns for the challenge, but chose I personally picked  only Colette patterns … With the stash that I have I thought it was about time that I put them to good use!

Clic to enlarge

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Jasmine (I'll probably make it sleeveless)

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sencha colette

Sencha

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Hazel dress (2012 collection)

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Peony dress

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Taffy (Pattern from the book "The Colette sewing handbook")

Honestly I’m pretty sure I won’t have the time to sew everything by June 10, because apart from the dress Peony I have not yet sewed any of the patterns. Which means I’ll have to make muslins for each of them and most likely adjustments. Anyway if it is not finished in time, no biggy, I’ll already have the projects planned for latter this summer.

Moodboard 2012 Palette challenge

Here is my moodboard and my colour palette For the “Spring-Summer 2012 palette Challenge” at Colette Patterns.

Palette challenge spring summer 2012

I picked these green and red colors as a starting point because I already had them in my fabric stash.

I’m in the mood for stripes, palazzo pants or butterfly pants (yes black even in summer) in a 70’s style.

There inevitably will be an Indian influence, because I intend to use fabrics purchased in Delhi. So there will be Indian prints. I’m not a print addict, I generally prefer solid colors so it might be a bit hard to manage this for me but it’s a challenge eh ^^.

This is not the most summery color combination but that’s what I want right now ! But, I promise,  I won’t use wool or fleece.

The collage is an inspiration, and not to be taken literally. I will never wear shoes with heels as high for example (I’m pretty sure I would fall before the second step).

Next week I’ll show you my projects choices : patterns and fabric.

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

To learn more about this Challenge check out Spring-Summer 2012 Palette Challenge 2012.

Peony : Back to School !

Pattern


This elegant bateau neck sheath dress is simple to sew, with added interest from a fully removable cummerbund style belt which can be made in a matching or contrasting fabric, closing with a single button in back. Version 1 has 3/4 length sleeves, a contrasting belt, and in seam pockets. Version 2 has short sleeves, a matching belt, and no pockets.

Pattern Sizing:

0 – 18
I made a size 10 all over.
I was *very* happily surprised that the fit was good in the front without any adjustment (I’m a 36C).

 


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yep ! Hopefully !

I made version 1 : 3/4 length, pockets, no belt.

 

I do think that the belt would really pull the all look together, but with my short bust I usually avoid them at the waist because I find that it makes me look even more top heavy (and I have enough of that!). I might try it someday though, you never know.

 

About the pockets : They are the perfect size, for once I didn’t have to enlarge them.

 

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes instructions and illustrations are crystal clear !

But even if the pattern is stamped beginner I would not recommend it to absolute beginners (=not for a very first dress to sew) because of the 8 darts (that you might have to adjust), invisible zipper, etc…


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love that it looks like an easy dress to wear. I’m fond of dresses with pockets and the neckline is really nice too.


Fabric

tissu prince de galles

Prince de Galles

Prince of Wales check in polyester…. I know, I know, but I really wanted a Prince of Wales check Peony and this was the only thing in my stash (I’m on a no buy challenge for fabric !).

I bought it several months ago at 3€ per meter so the dress, fabric wise, only costed me 6€.

I didn’t really bother trying to match the pattern (I’m lazy like that sometimes). I only matched it at center front.

This fabric was not the best choice for this pattern. It’s a bit too drapey and shows everything you have underneath… You know, those things you don’t want to show…

The fabric was not ideal for the darts either… I had to sew the waist darts again (and again) with curvy legs. It’s the only solution I found to avoid puckering at the top of the darts, with this fabric.

 

Pattern alterations

  • Sway back/flat derrière adjustment (3cm)
  • Shorten the bodice by 1,5 cm
  • Shorten the skirt a little
  • Redrawn the center back of the skirt, it was too curvy for my body
  • Didn’t insert the zipper, the fabric has enough stretch to put the dress on without it. And after all the back adjustments I had made (short waited, swayback, center back skirt), I was a little lazy and didn’t want to have to recalculate the zipper length… I know not that much work ^^

The bust darts were at the right place, but I’ll have to move the vertical waist darts out just a little (1-1,5cm) for a more accurate fit next time.
I did have to sew the waist darts again : they were very pointy (fabric’s fault mostly). Sewing them with curved legs fixed the problem.

Next time I’ll also make a small adjustment for my forward shoulder.

I will also redraw the neckline so that it’s just a little lower in the front and covers the shoulders a little more to hide regular bra straps.

 

Conclusion

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I already have other peonies in mind.
Yes I would recommend. Don’t overlook the muslin stage for the top !

This is a solid pattern and I’m really happy with it ! It’s my first Colette and it won’t be the last.

Peony Colette Patterns

Peony - Colette Patterns

Peony Colette Patterns

Peony Colette Patterns - I love pockets !

Peony Colette Patterns prince de galles

Mimine the cat attacks !

Peony Colette Patterns

Not matching !

Peony neckline décolleté bateau Colette Patterns

Peony neckline

facings and shoulder darts (back et wrong side^^))

No zipper in the center back.

 

Gathers on the front