The Colette Patterns sewing handbook has been, without doubt, my single most useful sewing resource to date. It’s not an exhaustive guide to sewing techniques and practices, but it is a brilliant beginner’s book and has plenty of photos to help you along the way (something I found sorely lacking in the first sewing books I bought when starting out).
One of the things which drew me to this book was the range of projects it included, especially the dresses. However, while I had some grand plans for these patterns, I didn’t actually get around to trying them!
Recently, I’ve been reviewing my old pins on Pinterest for sewing inspiration and came across this simple Kate Spade dress. I love the softness of that grey, and the simplicity of the silhouette coupled with the more dramatic neckline. It struck me that the Colette book’s Truffle dress would be a good match for this style if you left off the drape/wrap front part.
I have some lovely grey suiting fabric left over from the vintage pattern skirt I made a few months ago. One side is a darker, smoother finish (this is the side I turned out for the skirt) and the other side feels like brushed cotton and is a much softer shade. So I’ve used that side as the right side for this dress.
This was a really simple make: I cut my size based on the finished garment measurements and find it a good fit. The upper back is a little bit loose so I’d probably take it in a smidgen there when putting in the zip next time around.
One thing this dress could use though is some pockets. I considered adding them but left them out in the end as I thought they’d show through this soft fabric on the outside and make it all lumpy.
I looked into different beading techniques for building a dramatic neckline akin to that Kate Spade dress, but this fabric is really soft and I don’t think it could actually support that kind of finish without sagging.
I’m considering coming back to this dress and adding some embroidery along the neckline or part of the skirt. Ingrid of We The Sewing posted this handy guide to adding embroidery embellishments on her blog recently and I’ve earmarked it for future use. I really want to start adding more finishing techniques to the simpler items I sew to give them a bit more edge or personality.
Skills learned: I’ve made lined bodices before, but this is the first time I did the push-the-back-through-the-front technique and it does give a lovely smooth finish (if you’ve clipped your curves and graded your seams properly beforehand!).
Recommend pattern?: If you’re starting sewing and looking for a great guide, then I couldn’t recommend the Colette book enough. And if you have the book, then this pattern is great for learning how to line a bodice and insert an invisible zip in a lined bodice. It’s a simple pattern for a nice staple dress and, though probably not worth buying the whole book for alone, it is a brilliant addition to the book.