Out of Time Out

Let’s talk about Colette. Their pattern block is somewhat less than desirable for a large portion of the sewing crowd, but several years ago there weren’t as many competitors on the indie scene. Like many others I purchased a few Colette patterns. I loved their vintage inspired esthetic.

Then I made these patterns and they were pretty much flops. I blamed myself. As a largely self-taught sewer I figured I just didn’t have the skill. Now I know that I am not alone!  Colette patterns are notorious for their wide shoulders, odd sleeves, and flat butts. Ahhhhhhhh. It all makes sense now.

I am by no means an expert, but I think I do okay at getting things to fit. I like to experiment, but last year I got really fed up. You see, I attempted to make Colette’s Dahlia. Gosh I love the way the pattern looks on the original model. I’m linking the sew-a-long because Colette has changed the pictures on their site.

But making the pattern proved to be very frustrating. I’d searched pattern reviews and only found nice versions! But when I put on my finished dress the shoulders were so big they stood up and touched my ears. I was dismayed. I was upset. I knew someone who had made the dress and her’s turned out great, but mine was unwearable.

So I gathered the neckline, turned the binding under, and then stitched it all smaller. I still hated the dress. Pissed off and disappointed I threw Dahlia in a corner and forgot about it…until today.

I pulled it back out because I was going to use the skirt fabric along with my leftover yardage to makes a blouse! But I thought I should try on the dress one more time and photograph it. I put the dress on and well, it looks pretty good!


I mean sure, it’s not perfect. The neckline looks pretty crappy, but a cardigan is going to hide all those sins. Still a little wrinkled in these photos, but not bad over all. I remembered I really liked the skirt and waistband!


I have zero memory about what size I made or what alterations I made to the pattern. None. Oh well. I’m unlikely to try this pattern again anyways.

I do remember this fabric.

I’d bought it at Michael Levine’s for maybe $5/yard. It was labeled 100% cotton, but it probably a cotton/poly blend. I really need to throw a slip on underneath so the fabric glides more freely! But another reason this fabric stands out in my mind is because as I was watching Modern Family I saw Cam wearing a shirt from the same fabric!


Hilarious, right?

For now I’m just happy to come to peace with my version of Dahlia. It’s not what I originally wanted, but far from the wreck I saw in the mirror last year.




18 thoughts on “Out of Time Out

  1. I’m really glad you posted this because now I know it isn’t just me. I’m just getting back into sewing and have started with a couple Colette patterns. They are all huge in the shoulders on me. I’ve tried the Monetta three times, and can’t get the neckline right…neck lines are so wide, they slop right off and I don’t know how to fix the pattern. I thought it was just me and my weird body. But I am not giving up. Now that I know to expect it, I am determined to try the other Colette patterns I have, because I live the style of them. Next summer I’ll tacke the Rooibos dress. Oh, and I love that Cam’s shirt is made out if your dress fabric! Lol.


    • Yes, I find Colette’s patterns just have wide shoulders. I think now that I know more about how their patterns fit me I could keep using the ones I own. Just need to be prepared for the fitting work! And seeing Cam’s shirt was too funny!


  2. It is a pretty decent dress. After a few wears, you won’t even notice the neckline finish was not great! The waist is snug, how do you wear it/ Is there a zipper on the side?
    One idea could be instead of turning in the binding under, gather in the neck and put a fresh pipin / facing. It will look great!


    • Hi Sana! Yes, the dress has a side zipper. It doesn’t feel particularly snug. And yes, putting in new binding/facing would work well. I just don’t think I’ll ever bring myself to put in the work! I’m not great at gathering motivation to do alterations. And thank you!


  3. It looks cute! I have Dahlia hatred as well. I bought the pattern immediately and started sewing muslins. I’m different sizes at bust, waist, and hip so figuring out how to blend the she’s was a nightmare with the bodice gathers. I could n3ver figure out how to add to the neckline and it was almost falling off mt shoulders from the neckline being so wide. I also have a long torso and a hollow chest. I though I finally had things mostly figured so I cut into my good fabric only to have it turn out too small. I still don’t know how that happened, but it was all a big waste and got thrown away. SO sad because I love the design, but I still have no idea how to make it fit me, and it’s turned me off to their patterns in general no matter how cute they look. Each one I’ve tried has been a huge headache. Sigh.


  4. I applaud you for even trying Colette patterns. I’m a curvy sewist (bigger bust, thicker arms and a potbelly) and I don’t even bother because they all look geared for and marketed to thinner women.

    But your experience happens to me, too. Many times I’ve thrown a wadder onto my UFO pile and come back to it months or even a year or more later, tried it on, and thought, “This looks fine. Why didn’t I finish it?” Sometimes you just need to take a break from a project, I guess. Your dress turned out lovely, by the way. I love that shade of purple!


    • Thank you Jill! Most of my Colette patterns were purchased when I was a bit thinner, but I still really like their style, just not how they actually fit. So nice to pick up something that felt like a fail only to find it was a win!


  5. Your dress looks good on, it’s hard when projects don’t go well you’ve put time and effort in. I haven’t had much luck with Colette either.


  6. Thanks for the warning on Dahlia; I’ve loved the green version for quite a while and was inspired to try the plaid one they photographed, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Sounds like I should find something else similar instead.


  7. This dress is far from a disaster! It’s a lovely springtime fabric. 🙂 I haven’t tried Colette patterns but I’ll certainly be a bit more skeptical of them now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s