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Colette Patterns

  • Colette Phoebe in Linen

    I made a Colette Phoebe in Linen last summer, and finally had Bess take pictures of me in it! As you can see, summer is long-gone in Montana!

    What I Loved about the Colette Phoebe in linen:

    When Colette Patterns published the Phoebe Pattern, I knew I had to have one. I love the waist seam and the slightly a-line skirt. I also love the princess seam plus a dart for sizes 18 and up. Some of us need both a princess seam and a dart!

    Colette patterns seem to be drafted for my shape, so I made very few alterations to this pattern. I found it a full in the upper chest, but that was easily remedied by increasing the width of the seam allowances above the bust.

    Figure-Flattery (or not)

    Let’s talk a little about figure-flattery. Even though I know high necklines make my large bust look larger, I still made this dress. Just like the old days, when I bought ready-made clothes and I wanted things to look good on me because they looked good on the models in the catalogues, I had hopes that a well-fitted high-neck dress would look good on me. I don’t think it does. Jane and Bonnie say it looks good, but I feel self-conscious about my bust. I need a scoop or V-neckline to minimize my bust. Someday I will learn. Meanwhile, I will wear this dress from time to time because I love the color, and I love everything but the neckline.

    Colette Phoebe in Linen Kate pretending it's not below 0 degrees Fahrenheit in her Colette Phoebe in Linen!

    What about you?

    Are you ever hopeful that a pattern will work for your shape, even though you know deep down it won’t?

     

  • We Have Discounted All Our Ponte Knits! Check them Out!

    Why have we discounted all our ponte knits?

    In order to be more competitive on the world wide web, we have discounted all our ponte knits – forever, not just today!

    What the heck is ponte?

    Ponte is a fancy word for good, old-fashioned double knit. We carefully select our pontes from a variety of sources to ensure they are beefy, soft, and don’t feel synthetic. Ponte is a great first-time-sewing-with-knits fabric because it stretches cross-wise, but not length-wise. Also, its edges don’t curl, and it doesn’t show bodily lumps and bumps.

    We Have Discounted All Our Ponte Knits! Donna of the blog "I won't wear sludge brown" in a bright blue ponte dress

    Ponte is great for pants, jackets, skirts and dresses. I recently ran across a blog post by a British blogger entitled, “Cancel Your Gym Membership This Christmas – I’ve Found the Miracle Dress.” Of course, the Miracle Dress is made of ponte! And, it “only” costs $125.00.

    The Confident Stitch ponte knits now range from $9.00 to $15.00 per yard, so we’re talking bargain-city for a miracle dress. For instance, our Jalie Knit Dress uses 1.6 yards of fabric ($14.40 - $24.00), and our Colette Wren Dress uses 2.5 yards of fabric ($22.50 - $37.50).

    We have ponte in warm, cool, quiet and loud colors. They are all on this page (along with other knits). Check them out and make yourself a “Miracle Dress!”

  • Colette Negroni Men's Shirt in Buffalo Plaid

    Jason is sporting the Colette Negroni Men's Shirt made in a Robert Kaufman Buffalo Plaid with black pearl snaps. Jason is sporting the Colette Negroni Men's Shirt made in a Robert Kaufman Buffalo Plaid with black pearl snaps.

    A classic, structured men's shirt pattern can be hard to find.  Luckily, the Walden line from Colette Patterns features some great clothing and gear for the rugged outdoorsmen of the Pacific Northwest. They are also stylish looks for the less rugged among us! Bonnie made a sample of the Negroni, a classic button-up shirt that features flap pockets and some snazzy pearl snaps. Here are her thoughts on the pattern:

    Pattern description:

    "For men that like a classic, slightly retro shirt with a more modern cut, this shirt pattern is just the thing. The instructions will guide you gently through every step of creating a well-crafted casual shirt: felled seams, a lined back yoke, and sleeve plackets on the long sleeve version. Subtle details include a convertible collar (also known as a "camp collar") and midcentury style collar loop detail.

    This shirt can be made in a variety of fabrics, such as crisp shirting, warm flannel for winter, or cool rayon for summer. Check out the pattern info for more details and suggested fabrics.

    Version 1 has long sleeves finished with a placket and cuff. Version 2 has short sleeves."

    Pattern sizing:

    XS - 2XL

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    Yes!

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    The instructions were good, although Bonnie used a different technique than suggested for the flat-felled seams. (This is the benefit of 30+ years of sewing experience!)

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    Bonnie liked that it was a more slender cut than most men's shirt patterns, which gives it a modern feel.

    Fabric used:

    Bonnie used this beautiful (and manly) 100% cotton Buffalo Plaid from Robert Kaufman. It has a nice hand and is easy to work with. It does wrinkle some.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    For some fun detailing, Bonnie cut the yoke, pockets, flaps, and cuffs on the bias. Instead of using buttons, she used black pearl snaps to give it a good Western look.

    Bias details and pearl snaps make this shirt stand out. Bias details and pearl snaps make this shirt stand out.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes definitely, to both!

    Conclusion:

    The Negroni is a great update on a classic shirt. Bonnie liked the use of the flat-felled seams to create a more polished finish on the inside and allow for top-stitched detailing. The sleeve plackets were easy to place given the instructions provided and the pattern piece design worked well.

    We'll be sewing up a lot more of these for the fellas in our lives!

    buy-the-fabric-negroni buy-the-pattern-negroni

  • Colette Laurel Dress in Brussels Washer Linen

    IMG_7181 Bonnie's Colette Laurel dress from the side

    Bonnie, our seamstress, whipped up a Colette Laurel Dress in Brussels Washer Linen for herself a few months ago. She made Version 3 – the one with the bell sleeves. It turned out great.

    About Bonnie:

    You can learn more about Bonnie on our About Page, but I want to say a few words about her here. When Bonnie owned Custom Fashions here in Missoula, she was everyone’s favorite tailor. I am new to Missoula, but my husband Fred has lived in Missoula on and off for the past 40+ years, and although he is not the tailored-made type, he knew I had to get Bonnie to help out in the shop. After making Missoula look great for over 20 years, she now sews for herself and the shop mannequins. Her workwomanship is precise, and she knows which of our fabrics work for all of our patterns. We will all learn from the clothes she makes. Triple win!

    Bonnie's Colette Laurel Pattern Review:

    The Laurel was Bonnie’s first Colette pattern, and she has some tips for sewing the Laurel and Colette patterns in general:

    The pattern was a little wide and a little short for Bonnie. She suggests checking the finished measurements before cutting out.

    The bust darts are a little long – be sure to check dart placement before sewing them. Bust darts should not be noticeable, and they should stop approximately 1 inch from your apex. In Fit for Real People, Pati and Marta say, if you are very small busted, a dart can come to within ½-inch of your bust point. If you are full-busted, it should stop 1-to-3 inches from the bust point.

    Also, each sleeve bell is cut out of 2 pieces of fabric, and a seam is sewn along the bottom of the bell. The Brussels Washer Linen is a mid-weight fabric, and Bonnie felt the seam made the bell a little bit heavy. A good solution would be to either use a lightweight fabric for the inside layer, or to use the pattern pieces to create a new piece that could be folded along the bottom, instead of seamed.

    IMG_7184 The slightly bulky bell sleeve.

    IMG_7186 Colette Laurel Dress Pocket Detail

    Instead of a zipper, Bonnie made a key-hole opening in the back. She can still get in and out of the dress. If you’re intimidated by zippers, this dress could work for you!

    IMG_7188 Keyhole opening at the back neck -- No zipper!

    All in all, Bonnie is very happy with the dress, and working with the Brussels Washer Linen. Make sure to wash it and dry it before you cut out your garment – it does shrink!

    buy-the-fabric-laurel buy-the-pattern-laurel

  • Colette Peony Handmade Dress in Stretch Sateen

    colette peony sateen confident stitch Kate in her Colette Peony

     

    Colette Peony Sateen Confident Stitch Kate in her Stretch Sateen Peony

    Selecting the next sample to make is a collaborative effort around here. One of us has an idea for a perfect fabric/pattern combo, and we all discuss and decide together. Usually, Bonnie makes samples in her or Jane's size, since they are both approximately a size 6 -- the same size as our mannequins -- but, sometimes I luck out, and we decide to make something in a larger size. Enter the Colette Peony! You can find the pattern on our website here.

    Here are Bonnie's answers to the Pattern Review questions about the Colette Peony:

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    Yes, it did.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    I liked the style lines and that Colette Patterns fit Kate in the bust without any alterations. I didn’t like the height of the bateau neckline (too high), and I didn’t like the back sleeve cap ease. I lowered the neckline almost 1 inch, and took out approximately ¾” of the sleeve cap in the back.

    Fabric Used:

    Two black and white stretch sateens: Figure Eights, and Polka Dots. I liked using fabrics with the same colors but different designs for this dress. They were great to sew and fit with, but I narrowed the skirt a few inches because the lack of drape in the fabric made the skirt very wide.

    colette peony sleevecap alteration Bonnie increased the seam allowance for the the sleeve cap in the back to reduce fullness there.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    I lowered the neckline almost 1 inch, and took out approximately ¾” of the sleeve cap in the back. I also narrowed the skirt by approximately 3 inches.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes and yes. I really love the dress, and the alterations were not difficult.

    Conclusion:

    One of Colette’s original patterns, this dress is still in style and a great choice for those of us with hourglass figures.

     

  • Flashback: Sencha and Beignet

    I have had a difficult 2 months at work, so during this month's photo shoot with Andrea Jones, I pulled out some pre-blog makes. I found myself falling in love all over again with Colette Patterns' Sencha and Beignet

    Sencha in a lightweight voile, Beignet in a slightly stretchy heavy bottom weight. Photo by Andrea Jones. Sencha in a lightweight voile, Beignet in a slightly stretchy heavy bottom weight. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The Colette Sewing Handbook helped me take up garment sewing again. Sarai's description of simple pattern alterations was a revelation for me. Now, many books and classes later, I still refer to The Colette Sewing Handbook and feel thankful to Sarai for bringing home sewing to the hipster world (because I'm such a cool hipster! Hah!).

    The pocket placement is also wonderful. Photo by Andrea Jones. The pocket placement is also wonderful. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I also love Colette Patterns' detailed and clear instructions. They made me feel like a pro when I was just re-entering the sewing world. You can't see it, but the Beignet skirt has the most pro-looking lining, and Sarai walks the sewer through easy steps to make it.

    The Sencha top is so simple and so flattering. Photo by Andrea Jones. The Sencha top is so simple and so flattering. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    AND....One more wonderful thing about Colette patterns -- they are drafted almost exactly to my shape. Despite Sarai's wonderful alteration teachings, I don't have to alter her patterns at all.

    Another close-up. Photo by Andrea Jones. Another close-up. Photo by Andrea Jones.

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