This is the dress I wasn’t going to make. Colette Macaron…
To be honest when I first discovered Colette, it was the dress that least appealed to me. Then I saw a few versions which I really liked… like this one, this one and this one. It’s a problem the sewing blog world – you end up trying things you never thought you would!
When I saw Cuckoo Chanel’s ‘muslin’ version, I tipped over from the ‘maybe’ make into the ‘going to’ make. It was totally unintentional to use a purple yoke as well – I couldn’t find the right tone of hot pink – how many tones of pink are there in the world??!!
Me, being typical me, had little or no faith that Macaron would work on me but I decided to participate in the Colette Sewalong 2.0 anyway. Colette Patterns looks va-va-voom on curvy girls and retro groovy types – but I don’t think I fall into either of these catagories. Alas. I cut a size 0 and then took a bit out of the sides and cut the back pieces slightly narrower as that seems to be my biggest problem with Colette.
This is a very very bright fabric choice for me, a bit ‘toucan’. I choose this fabric because it is a light-weight cotton voile but dark enough not to be transparent – ie great for an unlined summer dress. And at $5 a metre, if Colette Macaron was the disaster I was sure it was gonna be, I wasn’t going to be heart-broken. Given that I had already decided it was going to be a disaster, I took little or no care with the finishing so it’s a ‘dog’s breakfast’ on the inside. I’m rather cross with myself for not being a little bit more positive about 1) my abilities and 2) how things can look on me, Yes, I know I should listen to all of you more often (note to self: those that read your blog are smarter than you who types it).
I decided to finish the neckline with contrast bias binding instead of facing, I stupidly did not cut enough seam allowance (or any…) away from the neckline. So I then discovered I could not get the stupid bodice over my head (I like to think it was because I have a big brain… LOL not). Minor problem…
Rochelle of Luck & Lucille was bemoaning her snug neckline (in addition to the Sewalong deadline) – which I sympathised with and behold – we had a Macaron extension! Hooray.
As I was not convinced about impeding future sewing success with this project, I decided to throw caution to the wind and create a keyhole back opening – without any instructions whatsoever of course. I simply cut a teardrop shape and then stitched bias binding over the edges. It’s not perfect but it works. I can get the dress over my head – which seemed the more important issue.
The fit isn’t quite perfect across the back but overall I think the fit is pretty darn good! So I’m not going to wail and give myself a hard time.
The invisible zipper went in perfectly and is pretty much invisible – funny that… and I machined the hem. I usually hand stitch my hems but decided that a machine hem was fine as this is destined to be a casual frock.
I also ditched the pockets – yes yes I know we cannot live without pockets. However this fabric is so light that I felt it would puff out the pleats excessively and then it comes to a choice of puff over the stomach with pockets or streamlined without pockets – I am shallow enough to live without pockets.
What I love most about this dress is the sleeves. I think they are gorgeous, such a lovely shape and don’t look like shoulder awnings, a term so aptly coined by Pretty Grieviences, in fact I think they are the best thing about the pattern. I’m hoping I can translate them onto another dress pattern or two. I love how they are constructed (each sleeve has two pieces which are stitched together along the edge and then turned right sides out – no hemming required), the curved edge and the way they hug my arms without being tight.
I much prefer this skirt with its deeper pleats than the skirt of the Hazel… might be worth trying a Hazaron in the future. Although I’ll be adding a little more length next time – this is a little bit too short and frisky for me… :-) and perhaps lengthen the bodice as well.
Is this my favourite dress ever? No. However I do like the shape (with a longer hem), it’s a lovely shift dress and I could imagine this in a sober black and grey for work. Given I’ve made the Crepe and Peony (unblogged) and the Hazel, I would rate this the best Colette pattern I have sewn so far.
Great instructions, easy to sew, nicely drafted and cutest sleeves ever.