Rooibos Flavour: Purple

Rooibos frontI’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”.

Rooibos necklineThis 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.  rooibos collar facingOn 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!
Rooibos pocket pipingAnyways…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. Rooibos backI’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?


6 thoughts on “Rooibos Flavour: Purple

  1. I’m very glad you took the time to make and review this pattern, because while I have several times admired the little collar and piped details on other people’s versions, I never thought it would be all that flattering on me, and it never appealed to me that much. I’ve never made piping or sewn with it either, so perhaps that’s part of my hesitation! LOL

    Lovely job, especially on the finishing details – I really think that’s what makes an ordinary garment extra special, and I’m sure it looks lovely on her 🙂

  2. I have this pattern and want to make it in a navy linen with red piping – at my slow sewing rate I wouldn’t hold your breath though! CLEVER purple patch – love it!

  3. Clever treatment of that “collar” and facing on the inside! I agree…with all those pieces and seaming in a floral print it is all lost. The photo gallery of real people wearing their dresses on the website is just sad looking…glorified aprons. Without piping this could have been any pattern. Does Miss V know how much labor is involved with making piping and installing it???

    1. Probably not, but I enjoy sewing for her, regardless of how much a PITA a garment may be. I don’t see her very often – maybe every 2 years – and finishing something well is always a pleasure. 😉


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