Completed project: Colette Peony

Ever since it arrived on the Colette website, I’ve wanted to try the Peony. I instantly fell in love with the simple sweet shape, the boat neck, the 3/4 length sleeves. So I’m happy to say I’ve finished my first (but definitely not my last) attempt. (Excuse bemused expression at husband antics with camera in first photo)

Peony 1

I decided to add piping at the waist, as the pattern notes suggest, and I’m really happy with the result. It makes it seem even more vintage-y for some reason. I’ve not done the belt that came with the piping – I’ve used my bow belt from the Betty Blue Beignet instead as the colours work so well together.

Peony 2

For fabric, I used a vintage bed sheet which I bought from a fair for £4. Yep. This dress cost £4 to make. If you count the pattern and notions then it was still less than £20!

Peony 3

Making it up was a wee bit more complicated than I thought it would be – but to be absolutely honest with you – it was all my own fault. Yet again I failed to make a muslin to check the fit. I picked out a size 2 on the pattern as it most closely fitted my bust and hip measurements (although the waist was a little on the small side for my liking) and cut away with gay abandon. I always justify this to myself by saying it’s a  ‘wearable muslin’ but who am I kidding? I still get surprised/frustrated/feel bad when it inevitably doesn’t fit perfectly. I should just do the groundwork first, make a muslin (even if it’s just the tricky bits like the bodice and waist) and make sure it’s right. But here it is: I am a sewing slattern.

Peony 4

It was only after I put in the zip and tried it on that I realised it was too big. The waist was at least an inch too big, which was really weird since my waist is not, I repeat not, 26 inches. No way. I’d already put my piping in around the waist so I thought I’d try another method of reducing the size without undoing all my work. Sewing purists – you may want to look away now…

Have they gone? Right. I unpicked the zip and cut the seam allowance off both sides at the centre back. I know – that can’t be the right way to do it can it? It must be breaking all sorts of sewing rules and I’ll be going to sewing hell where I just have to sew darts all day for eternity. But I did it and it helped a bit. So what if my side pockets are just a centimetre or two closer to my bottom? That’s fine – I’ll just reach further backwards to put my hands in. It’s exercise. Eliminates bingo wings. Fact.

Ah but it wasn’t enough. The waist still stood out a bit, making me look like a small child wearing her sister’s cast offs a year too early.It was time to unpick and redo the darts. Unpicking the piping was just a tiny a bit soul-destroying. I’m not saying there were tears dropping on Mrs Seam Ripper but there may have been a sniff or two. At this point I should also mention that Karen of Did You Make That stepped in after a plaintive comment from me on this site and gave me some great advice and tips on adjusting a toile and pattern. Plus, just talking to someone else about fitting issues seemed to lift the cloud and make it seem less stressful – cheers Karen!

Once unpicked, I increased the waist darts on the bodice, gathered the skirt a little more and put it all back together again. Amazingly – it seemed to work although there are some issues with the darts and the bust which I need to address. I also still think the neckline is a little too wide for my shape so I will definitely be making use both of Karen’s tutorial and Tilly’s tips next time. There will be a next time! This is such a cute little pattern. It’s really open to little personal touches and embellishments. I highly recommend it. Just be sure to measure up first…

Lovely label from Bridie

Hey diddly-dee – a country life’s for me

Hello lovely readers. I’ve just got back from the most amazing weekend. Ever. Fact. Well, semi-fact. It was pretty good as weekends go. And in all honesty I wasn’t looking forward to it as much as I’d hoped because:

a) An unfortunate date mix up meant my husband couldn’t come as well – entirely my fault.

b) Recent chilly temperatures had given me a case of the dreads.

What was I up to? I was glamping!

Well, to be honest I think glamping isn’t necessarily the right term for it because it was so much more than that. More like renting a log cabin in the woods. It was sublime. The weather was wonderful, the company was awesome.

We played silly games and drank wine like it was going out of fashion. We saw deer, sheep, pheasants, ducks, dogs and more.

We cooked a full english and a cowboy sausage stew using the power of fire and a bit of iron. We collected hot water and pumped it through a bucket in an outside shower and it was glorious. I simply did not want to leave – that is the life for me, my friends. I was made to be  a country gal. Perhaps one day…

So as you can imagine there was no sewing going on this weekend whatsover. I attempted a spot of crochet but to be honest the views and craic just distracted me from it and I quickly gave up again.

I am determined however to get back into my sewing regime this week. I still haven’t decided whether to make a simple calico muslin for McCalls 2401 or make yet another wearable muslin. You might recall I did a wearable muslin for it a while back, but had some fitting issues which I sorted out on the fly.  Ideally I’d like to get straight into making the real thing with my vintage Liberty silk but I’m scared that I’ll not update the pattern correctly (this will be the first time I do this) and the fit will be all wrong in a different way. But then again… there are only so many 2401s a country girl can wear. And I’m itching to get onto the Peony as well… ooh what to do, what to do? Any advice? I’m paralysed with indecision!