This may be the simplest and most satisfying garment I’ve sewn this year! Now I understand why this pattern has cult status!
This is a straightforward pattern which I would recommend for anyone who is new to sewing with stretch fabrics. It is one of those patterns that quickly becomes a staple in your wardrobe; it’s hard not to fall in love with a pattern that is as comfortable as it is elegant.
Do be prepared to spend a little longer cutting your pieces for this make, especially if sewing with stripes (as I have). I love this cotton jersey which I picked up from Jenny Stitches. For the stripes, I did not cut on the fold; instead, I laid the pattern piece on the fabric and traced around it with chalk before flipping the pattern on the reverse and tracing around it again. If you’re new to sewing with stretch fabrics, I’d use a plain fabric or one that doesn’t have stripes, at least.
When sewing with stripes, there are always some little compromises that have to be made. It’s also worth noting that the way the florals repeat on this, I gave up all hope of matching both the roses and the stripes; the stripes are more obvious so they were the important ones. The side seams and arm seams are perfectly matched – as are the pockets, I might add. Yes, it has pockets – this automatically raises any dress pattern in my estimation.
I’m quite proud of how everything flows. If the skirt was a straight rectangular piece, I’d have ran the stripes of the skirt vertically to contrast with the horizontal bodice; however, the skirt pattern pieces have slight curves which wouldn’t have worked perfectly so I decided to keep the lines running in the same direction. The waistline of the bodice is almost perfectly straight which is where the eye is drawn, so I’m happy with all those little successes.
While I have an overlocker, I sewed this up with my sewing machine. I love the satisfaction of ‘slow sewing’. It is also easier to sew the skirt with pockets on a regular sewing machine than it would be with the overlocker.
The actual sewing of the dress is uncomplicated and doesn’t take very long.
A couple of things to note:
- The skirt has to be gathered to fit the bodice; the pattern calls for the shirring technique to elasticate the waist – which I had never done before. The pattern instructions do not give a lot of assistance so I turned to Google and found an excellent tutorial (with pictures) by Sew Abigail which you can find here. It’s quite a satisfying technique.
- Colette patterns always recommends the use of a twin needle to hem – and there are lots of videos on YouTube that will show you this technique more clearly than my words ever could – but, personally, I use the triple stretch stitch on my machine which works perfectly. It may not be as decorative as the twin needle, but it is perfectly serviceable. Worked perfectly on the neckline, too. This is the first time I’ve simply hemmed a knitted neckline; usually there’s a neckband involved. Look how tidy it is!
Once you start working with stretch fabrics, it won’t be long before you’re as comfortable sewing hem as you are wearing them. I am going to make a few more of these, I am sure. I might even break out the collar expansion pack for a little variety.