I’ve had this Colette pattern in my queue for a couple of summers now, and lo and behold, I get to make it for someone else! Don’t misunderstand: I am happy to fit it on a body other than mine. So much easier than fitting me and I still get to try this pattern.
This is dress # 3 for Miss V, and the polycotton fabric is a very pretty purple flowers print on an extremely lightweight broadcloth. It’s almost like an organdy, but more loosely woven and not as crisp. The pictures of the dress on Vintage Judy don’t do it justice. There are a lot of pieces in this design: a shaped midriff, a bodice with a cute foldover “collar” at the centre front, and shaped pockets integrated into a 6 gore high-waisted skirt. The line drawing is beautiful, but I must confess I’ve really not been that enamoured of any finished versions that I’ve seen. I think it must be the combination of wrinkly cotton stuff and the short lengths. Most dresses just look like a glorified apron. Please don’t hate me. There are one or two versions that appear to be made of wool or something more substantial that hang beautifully and the piping and details are done to perfection, but this is a fussy finicky dress to both fit and finish well. Especially with that piped “collar”.
This one looks skewed on the dress form, but Miss V has a 1/4″ difference between shoulder heights, so when it’s on her, it sits perfectly straight. Can I just tell you that I redid this bodice TWICE to get it so that I was happy with the piping? It was one of the fussiest things I’ve ever done, surpassing all the piping on smocked dresses. I’d rather hand stitch buttonholes, frankly. The pattern has a bodice facing, but I lined the entire dress in white polycotton broadcloth. Miss V wanted the dark purple contrast on the collar, and in order to keep the colour of the dress uniform (lining the bodice in the dark purple would have been very noticeable with the remainder of the dress lined in white) I did a little purple patch at the CF of the bodice facing. On the bright side, the piped pockets were simple to do, and the curved pocket edge is pretty. These pockets are very deep and roomy. Nice!
Anyways…the back of this dress is low, and it’s a beautiful silhouette. And the piping makes all the difference in this busy print. There’s a part of me that wanted to pipe the midriff section, too, so that the shaping and lines of the design would be more noticeable, but I thought that would be overkill. *shrug* Maybe it would’ve been a nice extra touch, but c’est la vie. It’s un-piped! I lengthened this dress considerably – by 10 inches. Miss V is petite, but the skirt on this was really short. I was surprised, and looking at all the versions on PR and around the web turned me off the short original length. I think it’s classier at knee length. I’m a little stumped by this dress, honestly. There’s something about the line drawing that just doesn’t translate to the actual garment. All the lovely pieces get lost in the fabric unless attention is drawn to them. I haven’t decided if I want a version for myself although it’s an extremely flattering dress in person. Miss V loves hers! From a construction point of view, if you ignore the collar piping, it was a relatively straight-forward garment to fit and sew. The instructions are lovely – all bound in a little book, well-written and easy to understand. But I think I’d have a dickens of a time altering the fit of this dress for myself. Have you made a Rooibos? Did you like it?