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.
What about you?
Are you ever hopeful that a pattern will work for your shape, even though you know deep down it won’t?
I've been wanting to make a Merchant and Mills Top 64 in Brussels Washer Linen for ages. I love the little pockets on the front of the top, the raglan sleeves, and the simple lines. I decided to make this English pattern look like a baseball shirt because I am so international.
Pattern: Merchant and Mills Top 64
Pattern Description: The Top 64 can be interpreted as a workwear garment, an artist's smock, or a smart jumper. With in-seam pockets, it is Merchant and Mills' feminine take on the style and function of a fisherman's top.
Pattern Sizing: British sizes 8 to 18. I made a 16.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes!
Were the instructions easy to follow? YES!
What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern? Like all Merchant and Mills patterns, I loved the drafting. Each piece fit together perfectly.
Fabric used: Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer Linen in Purple and Black.
Pattern alterations or changes you made: I selected my size based on my bust measurement, and the bust and shoulders fit perfectly. The size 16 hip measurement was too large, which was easy to fix with bigger seam allowances. I narrowed the hip area by 3 inches.
I decided to make the sleeves a different color than the body. I’m glad I did – the contrast showcases the raglan sleeves and slims the body of the top.
I didn’t need to lengthen the sleeves and I’m six-feet-tall, so others may need to shorten the sleeves considerably.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely. We have so many fabrics that work for this shirt! I want one in plaid flannel, lightweight wool, tencel...The Top 64 works on its own as a shirt, but can also work as a sweater-like second layer.
Merchant and Mills patterns fit my body and my lifestyle so well. This top looks great with jeans, which combined with the wash-and-dry ability of Brussels Washer Linen, makes it a welcome addition to my wardrobe.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I have a few "tried and true" (TNT) patterns, and The Sewing Workshop's Liberty Shirt is one of them. Not only is the shirt well drafted with interesting details, but Linda Lee also guides us through its construction in her Sewing with Silks Craftsy class, a GREAT class. I have made this shirt in a stiff silk from China, and in a lightweight rayon. Today's version is made of Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer Linen in yarn-dyed red. Brussels Washer is 55 percent linen and 45 percent rayon. It's washable and dry-able, but it does shrink. My Merchant and Mills Factory Girl Dress is also made with Brussels Washer Linen, and I have washed and dried it many many times. I wish I could claim that the rayon keeps the fabric from wrinkling, but you can tell from the photos that it does not.
The only alteration I made to this pattern was lengthening the sleeves. Looking at the photo below, I think I should do a small Full Bust Adjustment. The buttons across my bust are gaping a little. Or, perhaps I just need to make sure a button is located at my bust point (much easier!).
Because this was the third time I made this shirt, it came together quickly and smoothly. I cut and mostly sewed it at the sewing retreat I attended in March. It was a great antidote to my struggles with fitting the J Jeans.
I don't consciously put patterns on my TNT list, or plan to make multiples of them, it just happens. I'm sure it will happen again with this one. I think my next Liberty Shirt will be a lightweight, drapey fabric. Perhaps even silk!
Do you have TNT patterns? Do you love how quickly the go together?
Here are the professional pics of the jacket I made at the same time as the dragonfly jacket. For each step, I watched Janet Pray on Craftsy, and then took the plunge with both jackets. By the end of the process I was getting a little loopy. I would catch myself wondering why Janet only had to sew two cuffs when I had to sew four. Ummm......Perhaps because I was making two jackets?
Both jackets are getting a lot of wear. I love the fit of Jacket Express. My only alteration was to lengthen the sleeves by two inches. Janet's instructions on Craftsy are great, and so are the written instructions that come with the pattern. Islander Sewing Systems patterns each come with well-illustrated instruction booklet with clear drawings and an innovative order of construction.