Tag Archives: Colette Patterns

Colette Fall Palette Challenge Wrap

3 Jan

With the end of the year also came my self-imposed deadline for the Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge and whilst I barely completed half of the original plan, I still consider it a big success.

It all kicked off with the collection of inspiration images on a pinterest board. These formed the basis for a fall colour palette. I loved the changing leaves against smokey blue skies.

The colours were quite a departure from my previous wardrobe which was dominated by blues and greys and other muted shades. I was only able to bring 20 kgs of luggage to the UK so it was a fresh start to my wardrobe. You can see the change below – the photos on the left are from Self-Stitched September 2010 and on the right is everything I made in 2011.

In terms of garments I started with a very limited wardrobe so it was expanding on the basics.

It was fun to start experimenting with croquis, which have now developed into my own mini-me version.

Here are the successfully completed garments:

The Seasonally Inappropriate Sorbetto // The Colour-blocked Blouse // Double-knit Jenny Skirt // Linen Rooibos Dress // White Lace Tee

And the items that didn’t get made:

The Pants: I’m part way through the fitting process with both the Colette Clovers and the Wide-Leg Pants but as anyone who’s attempted pants knows – it’s a long and frustrating process. So right now, we are on a break.

The knit top: I found it was cheaper and easier to just buy one – I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel 😉

The blazer: This is about 80% done – it just wasn’t inspiring me.

The dresses: Are still on the cards at some point this year but they’re cross seasonal so it doesn’t matter if I put them off.

The biggest thing I realised is that I need to feel motivated in order to sew. I steadfastly refuse to let it become a chore or something I have to force myself into. The result is that the less exciting items got pushed to the back of the list. It’s something I need to think on how to remedy.

Still, the palette worked well which is why I still consider the challenge a success. Most of the garments I sewed that weren’t part of the original plan were still consistent with the palette.

The Toast Tunic // The Christmas Macaroon // The Burda Blouse // The Brumby-blue Dress

I’ll definitely take part in the Spring Challenge when it rolls around.

My new colourful wardrobe.

The Toast Tunic

2 Jan

At what point does a Sorbetto stop being a Sorbetto? I’m not sure of the answer, but I do know Colette’s free tank top pattern hasn’t let me down yet.

One of my favourite discoveries in England has been the phenomenon of the Toast Catalogue.

Toast is clothing/homewares store that stocks simple designs in beautiful quality fabrics. Their campaign shoots are just stunning and have made them their own niche in the world of catalogues.

They are (somewhat humorously) described in the Guardian as

“[being] synonymous with an idyllic, relaxed and creative way of life where people breeze around their Venetian palazzo or Scottish bothy looking beautiful. The catalogues are famous for their photography, shot on location in Lapland, Argentina or Sri Lanka. And Toast customers from Notting Hill to the Outer Hebrides buy into that way of life when they order their Fair Isle wool socks or their faded floral silk dressing-gowns. “

Toast Catalogue

One of my favourite items are their kimono-sleeved tunic dresses which they do in several fabrics, so it was a natural leap from my kimono-sleeved sorbetto to this dress. I widened the neckline, added cuffs and lengthened it straight down.

The problem is that it was so quick and easy to make… now I want more in silk… and wool…  and velvet… sigh.

 

A Vintage Christmas Colette Macaron

12 Dec

This is my second version of Colette Pattern’s Macaron dress although the first, which you can see here, was really a wearable muslin. For this version I finally got to use this lovely vintage cotton floral twill I found at a cool vintage fabric store just off Brick Lane, simply called The Shop.

Image via thevintageguidetolondon.com

Every Thursday they get new deliveries, and while it’s not as cheap as a charity shop find (they specialise in fabric not clothing) there is plenty to hunt through and it’s still quite reasonable.This was a 3 yard length although very narrow (35in) and it cost £6.50.

I wasn’t sure what t0 do with it but I think the vintage feel of Colette Patterns make a nice fit and I needed something nice but still warm and comfortable for Christmas Day. The red and green of this print don’t shout Christmas but sort of give it a subtle nod, like Joni Mitchell’s River*, not a Christmas song as such but it sure evokes the season.

 I made a number of changes with this version:

  • I kept the FBA in tact (detailed FBA posts here and here) but I shortened the darts under the bust by one inch.
  • Lowered the neckline by 5/8in as I felt a little choked by the high neck.
  • I had a problem of the bodice pieces not matching at the side seams of the last version so I adjusted the edges to make sure they were exactly the same length.
  • I widened the midriff band to 3 1/2in.
  • Made the skirt wider. I love the tulip shape of the original but I wanted something looser and longer for this to be a winter version.
  • Lastly I lengthened the sleeves to elbow length and added a cuff inspired by Adey’s version of Vintage Simplicity 3074 on the Sew Weekly.

And in the end it’s the little things I love most about this dress, the cuffs, the pockets set into the pleats and the sweetheart bodice. I’m so glad I gave it another go and now I have something to wear for my very first English Christmas!

*Any excuse to include a little Joni.

Honey, I shrank the sewists!

2 Dec

If you follow many sewing blogs, prepare to see miniature versions of bloggers (check out mini-Joanne, mini-Ali, and mini-Marie) popping up all over the place as the Colette Sewing Handbook is shipped worldwide.

One of the many fantastic activities included in the book is creating a personalised croquis for sketching inspiration. I’ve written about my love of ursa major’s curvy croquis before but I couldn’t resist playing with one of my own.

The basic premise is to trace a photo of yourself in tight-fitting clothes. To make it easier I printed the photo and scribbled on the back in pencil before placing another sheet underneath and drawing over the top of the photo. The result is a true to scale version of yourself in all it’s glory.

For me this was a  positive activity but I know body image is a really personal and potentially emotionally-charged area. If I’m being honest, (and I really try to be on this blog) my own feelings about my body change on a daily basis. I was raised in a feminist, body-loving hippy house-hold but I also know what the outside world says about other bodies like mine so whilst I try most of the time to be kind to myself, sometimes those nasty voices get in.

Now what does this have to do with making a croquis, you ask? Well it’s a little like stepping on the bathroom scale. If you’re the type of person who sees the number and it sends you into a self-hating hurricane, skip this activity and download one of the many cool croquis available for free online. I chose to give myself a little pep-talk, install definatalie’s ‘No Diet Talk’ blog badge, then dove right in.

And you know what? I actually really love my mini-me. I expected to feel those nasty twinges about my hips but instead I got a series of a-ha moments like, Holy Cow that’s why pants are nearly impossible to find or make.

I’ve found that the longer I sew the more inclined I am to look at myself with a sewist eye rather than a critical one. I don’t feel bad about my hips, I’m much more interested in what adjustments I can make to get garments that fit… it’s like crazy pattern-making sudoku and I love a challenge.

Thoughts that popped into my head:

  • No wonder I have to add like four inches to any crotch length.
  • My pelvis seems to tilt so I think that the front crotch curve will be a very different shape to the back crotch curve.
  • Having a full bust leaves very little waist height.
  • My back length is proportionally short but being 5′ 10 the actual measurement fits most patterns.

I’m not really a pear or an hourglass. I’ve decided that my body-shape will here-forth be called the snowman as it’s like two spheres stacked atop each-other.

So from a fitting perspective it really get’s you thinking about possible alterations you might need.

From a design perspective, it’s quick and easy to see which shapes and silhouettes you like on your body.

Pants are a bit of a mare as anything that sits below my natural waists slips down to that groove between my high and low hip, but I think the bootleg works ok.

One final use… De-coding deceptive vintage pattern illustrations like this one (from Amy’s lovely give-away) on my sewing table at the moment.

Fall Challenge: The Seasonally Inappropriate Sorbetto

11 Nov

I love this fabric but it is entirely unsuited to the season. A super light weight silk cotton, I purchased it in June with the intent of making a light and floaty summer top. When you see the fabric up-close you can tell the cotton thread is the warp and is a more maroony red than the silk which runs across the weft and is more a burnt orange so it’s nice and breathable with a saturated colour.

The shop I bought it from was my local fabric store in Onehunga and is an Auckland legend. Antique Fabric and Lace have the self-proclaimed “largest range of Beaded Sequin Motifs in the world”. Like a museum they only display a small proportion of their collection at a time and still check out the walls.

I can’t even explain the mix of things you can find here, just look closely at the pictures and you’ll get the idea.

But back to the top…

It’s the trusty Colette Sorbetto pattern, of course, with some alterations.

I split the front and back pieces in half horizontally then slashed the bottom piece in four places from the hem to the stitching line and spread them each an inch apart. The fabric has a nice balance of drape and body so I wanted almost a circle skirt effect. The gaps were filled with tissue and seam allowance added to the midriff top and bottom.

I only had 1.5m of the fabric but it’s quite sheer so I was very lucky to eck out an extra layer for the top of the bodice, the rest is finished with bias strips.

Unfortunately when I tried it on it felt too shapeless and it was too late to add more darts. Instead, I added two black ribbon ties under the bust where a waistline dart would form and when they’re tied they produce  just the right shape.

So there it is, and I think I may be in denial about the cold weather. Still, with a cardigan I think it will still get some wear… silk is warm right?

(Braving the cold)

Fall Palette Challenge: White Lace Tee

19 Oct

Number three on my Fall Palette Challenge wardrobe may be my most favourite item this year.

It’s a simple white lace kimono sleeved tee, based off Colette’s free Sorbetto tank pattern. I raised the neck front and back then used this tutorial from Analog Me  to draft the kimono sleeve.

The lace is a cotton found on Goldhawke Road which the proprieter swore had also been purchased by buyers from top shop (hmmm, take that with a grain of salt) however at only £4 a meter it was a good deal. The underlining is a slinky synthetic twill that feels really soft and would be a nightmare to sew if it weren’t together with the cotton lace.

I cut the lace out first then squared the edges of the lining on the cutting board securing with pins. With the lace on top I used more pins to hold it in place before hand-basting around the edges and along the dart legs. Once the basting was in place, cutting the slinky fabric was easy and the rest of the top was sewn as one layer.

What I really like about it is that the simplicity of the pattern meant I could spend more time on things like this and french seams and hand-tacked binding. The details combined with the silkiness and weight of the fabric means that this feels like a quality garment even if it only cost £7. It’s something about the heaviness of the fabric that reminds me of trying on expensive clothes, I think.

This may be my favourite Sorbetto yet.

Liberty Tee: Colette Sorbetto

6 Oct

So you know that word game, fortunately/unfortunately?

Well it’s quite fitting for this project, so here goes.

I needed to make a muslin for the white lace tee in my fall challenge wardrobe.

Fortunately, I am using Colette’s Sorbetto Pattern which I’ve made previously so the muslin is just to check the fit of the sleeves.

Unfortunately, I strongly dislike making muslins that will be thrown away at the end of a project.

Fortunately, I was reading g r a i n l i ne and saw Jen’s cute new Scout Woven Tee Pattern which she’d made in a Liberty of London fabric.

image source: g r a i n l i n e studio

Unfortunately, the pattern would have to be graded up 4 sizes to fit me.

Fortunately, it reminded me I had a scant metre of tana lawn from the Liberty remnants bin. (Yes, I made a muslin from Liberty fabric).

Unfortunately, it really was scant so I couldn’t add any length to the Sorbetto bodice and I had to have the patterns going opposite directions on the front and back.

Fortunately, I managed to squeeze it out of the fabric.

Unfortunately, I cut it the wrong way and wound up with two left sleeves (which is so much worse than two left feet when it comes to sewing).

Fortunately, they still set in okay.

Unfortunately, I attached the bias binding for one sleeve to the wrong side and had to unpick it.

Fortunately, I distracted myself from the tedium of un-picking with my pretend husband Jon Stewart and the Daily Show (seriously he’s the only person who has me laughing in a room by myself. Wit and intelligence is hot!).

Unfortunately, I was so distracted guffawing that I went and sewed the binding on backwards again.

Fortunately, third times a charm and I really liked the finish.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough bias binding to finish the hem the same way to preserve as much length as possible.

Fortunately, Allison C. posted this tip for baby hems last week and it worked a treat.

Phew, done! And I love it.

 

Fall Palette Challenge: Colour-blocked Blouse

29 Sep

Second item of my fall challenge wardrobe done!

This blouse is perfect for the change of season. It’s nice and loose for the freak scorching day like today but can easily pair with cardigan and trousers too.

Man! I always remember lipstick after the fact!

The Pattern: A Colette mash up of the Sorbetto tank top and Macaron sleeves.

Size: 16 with 2 in full bust adjustment.

Fabric: Swiss-dot synthetic. I learnt the hard way that it wasn’t cotton by melting a hole in one sleeve. Luckily there was enough to re-cut. The blue contrast is a crepe-polyester lining fabric. I like that the colours are similar but still contrasting.

Alterations: So I went a bit off the beaten path from the original Sorbetto pattern. After making my peter-pan sorbetto I thought it would be nice to make a button-down version. It turned out to be quite straight forward although it takes a little time thinking it through.

Here you can see all the pieces I cut from the original form. The sleeves came straight from the Macaron pattern as planned.

Thankfully they set-in perfectly due, I guess, to being cut off the same Colette block.  The joy of these sleeves is the pretty scallop edge which I piped with the contrast to show the detail.

You can see it better in this pic, I think.For the back, I cut two of the yoke and used the fancy rolling trick from making my Rooibos Dress to ensure the edges were finished top and bottom. The back has a pleat  for ease.

On the front, the button-hole placket has piped edges and large matching buttons although the damn button-holes were a nightmare so lets not look too closely at those.

All things considered, this was a lot of fun to make and I’m sure it’ll get plenty of wear.

( P.s. Anyone else refusing to let the summer of the Sorbetto die?)

Colette Fall Challenge: The Patterns

28 Sep

Hey lovelies,

Thank you for all the kind comments on the sneak peak yesterday. Today I have the actually patterns and fabrics I’ve chosen. Some are already in the stash and some may prove elusive – ochre coloured double-knit anyone?

These show up pretty small but if you click on each one they’ll expand in a new window.

 

P.s. The fabulous curvy croqui I used came from Amarina at Ursa Major. She kindly offered them free on her blog so click through for the details along with some serious style. To create the rest of the images I used the free paint.net program (I could put a quick amateur how-to together is anyone is interested?).

Sneak-Peek: Fall Palette Pattern Choices

27 Sep

Pattern choices made?Hells yeah!