Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finished Project: Colette Pastille

My mom got me the Colette Sewing Handbook for my birthday in October and I have been itching to make something ever since! After the hustle and bustle of the holidays died down I decided I would tackle the Pastille dress.


Pastille is a basic sheath dress, its details are a sweetheart neckline and horizontal pleats in the skirt. I used this CRAZZZYYY cotton from Joann Fabrics, it was only $2 a yard and I wanted something cheap for my first go-round (It IS a quilting cotton, but I think that its weight and texture are ok with this pattern, plus, I'm one of those kinds of people that doesn't really care about the stigma of quilting cotton).


I also decided that I was going to do this 100% the "right" way, no shortcuts!  So I made 3 (THREE!) muslins before sewing the actual dress, finished all the seams on the inside, and did all the appropriate thread tracing/pressing/busy work.

The pattern is sized 0-18, I made a 8, but graded down to a 6 in the hips. The instructions were very easy, I hardly needed to even follow them! My major complaint is the fitting issues I faced with this pattern.  I was really hoping that this would be an easy fit, since Colette Patterns has a pretty good reputation but I had major issues with the back. It was quite baggy and I had to do a sway-back adjustment, something I have never tackled before! I went on the Colette Patterns Community Forum and learned a lot of other ladies were having this problem too. I think I have the back under control now, but it was still an unexpected obstacle.

I shortened the waist 1" first.  Then I made a 1.5" sway back adjustment. My method is delineated in the graphic below. I also graded to a 6 in the hips.  If I were to make this pattern again (which I probably am) I think I am going to lengthen the back waist dart to remove some extra fabric in the back, lower the bust darts just a hair, take the waist down just 1/2" or so (I think I took it up too high originally), and remove the cap sleeves since I think that the shoulders are too big for me anyway. I also see some bagginess on the sides of the dress, maybe I need to make a size 6 and do a FBA so that the dress fits my ribcage better? IDK. Also, I notice that my waistline pulls up at center front, what's doing that?


I liked that it was a simple, easy dress to put together, and that it is "no-nonsense," there aren't a lot of frills or design additions. That way it lends itself to be remade again and again, with the addition of your own details, to make a whole closet of dresses!

I think I am going to sew it again, I really want to refine it into a "go-to" pattern that I can rely on to fit every time.  I would certainly recommend it to others, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND sewing a toile/muslin first, since the back seems to be an issue for most sewists.

10 comments:

  1. looks great! You did a great job!

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  2. Wow- it's gorgeous! I really like the fabric you chose. I need to learn to sew!

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  3. (followed from burdastyle...) cute dress! the fabric is so fun and still looks really classy, especially when paired with the blue cardigan.

    i'm just finishing up a CP dress and i had a similar issue with having way too much room in the back. basically i took out room vertically in the back piece then re-drew my darts--ultimately tucking less fabric into the darts so as not to reduce the waist size or neckline. the extra room in the back might be what is creating a little bagginess at the sides. hope that helps!

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  4. Thanks everyone!

    @Elise: If you want to start sewing, I think that the Colette book could be a good place to begin. You have to know the basics about how a machine works and such, but it has pretty good tips for someone starting out. Plus it's a deal because you also get 5 full size patterns inside!

    @Lisa: Thanks for the tip, I think the back is just the bane of my existence! I'm going to try pinching out a little more vertically and see if that helps. Maybe I just have a narrow/small back?

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  5. Wonderful dress! It definitely caught my eye over on Burdastyle. Quilting cotton stigma be darned, it's really cute and a wonderful print.

    Thanks so much for drawing out your problems with the back fabric pooling-- it'll be helpful to keep in mind when I'm working up the Pastille next month for a sew-along. :)

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  6. Great dress! I want you to know that it's NOT your dress hiking up in the front, it's that the pattern is drafted for the sides to angle down. I had to change that on mine. Perhaps it was done that way to work for the larger C cups. I also found there was too much ease at the sides of the ribcage and had to take that in. Again, maybe because it was designed for a more endowed woman?

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    1. Ahh, good to know! I already cut out my second one, but I didn't make any alterations to that part since I couldn't really figure out what was the issue!

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  7. I love the fabric!

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  8. This is my first time sewing and i am having issues with back too, however my problem is that i have too much fabric at the top rather than the bottom of the back, what do i do?

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    1. Is it gaping open, like it's too wide? If so, then you can pinch it a little in the CB and measure how big this "dart" is. Then on your pattern, measure in this measurement and taper it to nothing at the waist. This might help: http://phatchickdesigns.blogspot.com/2008/07/fitting-tutorial-removing-neck-gape.html. If it is a vertical fullness instead of a horizontal fullness you might need a narrow back adjustment.

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