Thursday, December 29, 2011

Collette Pastille Dress

I bought the Collette Pattern book purely for chapter 2: developing a thoughtful plan. I was not disappointed: it had just the right kind of advice I needed to hear.

She talks in her book about being curious and how that might lead you to make useful discoveries. Well I was curious, and my questions were, "am I too old to be wearing Collette patterns?" and "am I too fat to be wearing a sheath dress? (US size 14, European 44)"

Collette patterns have a lovely, youthful aesthetic. I thought perhaps I might be able to pull off the Pastille dress, if I could mutton it up a little. First off I broke up the neckline by pivoting out the FBA as gathers. Secondly, I lengthened the skirt, removed the knife pleats, converted it to an A-line and added some pockets.

The front bust gathers: the fabric is a vintage black and white polka-dot seersucker.

I then made my first running pass at the fitting.

Here is the first version, with some of the fitting issues resolved, but a few more adjustments required. The waistline came out and in - the more fitted I made it, the more unflattering it became. If I take in the waist, you can just see exactly where the Christmas cake went. Still, it does not hang correctly with the skirt so I need to do something.

Verdict? I think this dress has potential. The fitting is very difficult for me, and I do not know if I can achieve the perfection that they did with their model. However, I feel that if I can get into the same ballpark, I'll be happy.

Now excuse me, I'll just go and wear it for a few days before having another crack at it.


  1. It looks great!

    The models look well-fitted standing, but probably can't sit down the same.

    I'd bust a seam.

    I always need more ease in the tummy, just for lunch!

  2. You look beautiful! In fact, I am now convinced that I will be making my own, since like you, I am a size 14 pattern also :)


  3. Mary Nanna, I love your blog.
    "if I could mutton it up a little"
    Just my thought re Colette, if I had your way with words. There may be tea on my keyboard.

    I think this dress not only has great potential, but looks rather good already. I like how you have changed the bodice, very flattering
    and shapely, and the skirt hanging issue is invisible from here. Neither lambs nor mutton come to mind, and clearly you did not eat sufficient Christmas lunch.

    I added a 4 gore skirt to Parfait, and wear them (there are 3) all the time, despite feeling just slightly that it might be a better dress on a 20yr old. I am likely to become both older and fatter, so why worry too much about whether I can wear them now? It is sure to look worse in 10 years ;)

  4. This is really lovely on you! I love the fabric and I have to say that the fit makes you look great! It is very slimming and definitely not a nana dress. I have just made a fitted type dress and I am surprised how slimming it is ... I think it clearly has great potential!

  5. I think it looks great. I agree about the Colette patterns, but you have really made it work for our body type and demographic. :) Happy new year!

  6. I think it looks great on you. I love addition of the bodice gathers.

  7. It's lovely as are you modeling it! I also had some of the same questions come to mind when I purchased the book. I've only sewn the Merinque skirt so far, but have plans for the Truffle dress next.

  8. "Mutton up!" Love it!
    Sorry you failed I think this dress looks lovely and flattering not muttony at all.
    I do know what you mean though. I worry about looking old/demented/five-year-old but I'm working my way toward eccentric ..

  9. I know just what you mean! Collette patterns are lovely, but I am slightly wary of looking like an ageing, deranged kindergarden teacher rather than a lovely ingenue!
    You did a great job with this dress.

  10. It looks fantastic! And my thoughts are that you will look back in ten years time and think how silly your younger self was to think she might be too old for this dress... You look beautiful!
    Best wishes for a wonderful New Year, in creativity and in blogging!

  11. I love you Mary Nanna, so telling it like it is!! I am another one who typically looks sadly at Colette Patterns wishfully. I bought the book, with no pre-conceptions, and was so pleasantly surprised with the section on thoughtful planning. I think I already do it, so it was more of an affirmation than an revelation. I chuckle that it's precisely the chapter I NEEDED as a younger person, but I would have skipped right over it a few decades ago. I was in too much of a rush to read about thoughtful planning, much less actually plan thoughtfully.
    CUTE DRESS! and thanks for the postive example! And heck you are still a lamb, so go for it!

  12. Well, I think it looks pretty much fabulous. "mutton it up" cracked me up, too.

    word verification: "slyzest" This is when you're slyness gives you a happy passion for life. You have slyzest.

  13. -siiiiiigh-

    that would be "your". I stopped halfway through the sentence and didn't look at it when I started up again.

  14. I, too, think the dress looks great. I wouldn't try to fit the waist any more than you have; you need room to move. Sometimes I find myself getting hung up on every fold and wrinkle, but I have to remind myself that I am a regular working woman and need garments that work for me. This dress will work perfectly as you go about your normal routine. I think it's flattering and shapely on you and you should wear it with pride. As for the mutton and lamb thing, I struggle with that every day. One day I think I'm dressing too young, the next day I think I look frumpy. You look great in this dress and I think the neckline frames your face really nicely.

  15. I love your dress too - are you now going to call yourself MaryMutton instead of Marynanna?
    THanks for all the laughs during the year , look forward to your sewing and witty posts in 2012. Happy New Year.

  16. I don't think this dress, even in its intended look was too young. You look great in it! I pretty much think that with retro styles you have to think about who wore them then. This dress could have been worn by any woman at any time. What about it makes you think too young? I mean, I could see Helen Mirren, Dame Judi Dench, and Hilary Clinton all in this same dress, perhaps not in the original peach color. Don't talk yourself down, if we can't be our own cheerleaders then who better has a right to be?

  17. That is a very pretty dress. Looks like a perfect fit, too.

  18. I love what you've done to the bodice. The gathering reminds me a little of another Colette pattern - the Oolong dress. I really don't think all dresses need to be fitted at the waist. The bodice you have here is so nice, a waist treatment would detract from it.

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