Colette 1012 Slip Dress

Since moving to Santa Cruz, I have been searching for a locally-owned lingerie store that carries a wide array of sizes. One day recently, I stopped by Amoureuse to have a look around. They don’t carry bras in my size, but while perusing the racks, I fell in love with a white cotton nightgown that had some hints of heritage sewing but was still simple and elegant. It reminded me of something that Grace Kelly may have worn, so feminine but sexy in a sweet kind of way. Again, it wasn’t available in my size, but it inspired me to make my own version. I typically don’t wear nightgowns, so this was a delectable treat for myself, and my husband. (While sewing it, I couldn’t help but think of a damsel in distress, a la Alfred Hitchcock, running from danger through an empty house, in a nightie…)

Pattern: Colette 1012, Cinnamon

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 0-18. I cut a combination of sizes 16 and 18.

3/4 View

3/4 View

Back View

Back View

Description: Bias cut slip dress (version 1) or camisole (version 2) has a pointed front midriff and gathers at the bust. Double straps loop through the front bodice and attach in back. Each design is quickly made with only six pieces, and with extra tips included, provides a good introduction to sewing on the bias.

Fabric: I used white linen (55% linen, 45% cotton), and two different types of cotton lace.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It did, however I added lace and pin tucks, so my version is slightly more embellished.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Colette Patterns are all very easy to follow, and include technique tips and how-to’s, which I find extremely helpful as an advanced beginner sewer.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This pattern is very versatile, and lends itself to variations very easily.

Bodice Pin Tucks

Bodice Pin Tucks

Lace and Machine Pin Tucks

Lace and Machine Pin Tucks

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I added a lace insert above the hem, as well as a few rows of machine pin tucks. I also created a two-piece pin tucked bodice. The separate pieces made it difficult to line up the pin tucks, and retain the chevron shape. If I had it to do again, I would use just one piece and fold it to the correct angle.

I am still learning out how to correctly fit garments to my figure, and this is no exception. There is some armhole gaping in the front, and I am not sure if it is due to the bust panel being a little large, or perhaps the back panel is a little too wide. You can see the gaping from the front and side views. Next time, I would also add a bit more ease to the high hip/tummy area.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Eventually I would like to sew the slip dress version again, perhaps in a cotton voile or a silk. I would also like to give the camisole version a try. It’s a great pattern. I would highly recommend it to others.

Vogue V1120

Pattern: Vogue V1120, by DKNY

Pattern Sizing: AA(6-8-10-12), E5(14-16-18-20-22). I cut size 22.

Description: Loose-fitting, A-line dress has front and back stitched pleats, lined raglan sleeves with stitched pleats, back neck slit with fabric button loop closure, tie ends at side back seams, side seam pockets and hem facing. Length is 1″ above mid-knee.

Fabric: Black Dotted Swiss, 100% cotton; Tahari Satin, 97% polyester, 3% spandex

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It certainly did.

Were the instructions easy to follow? This was the first garment that I had made using one of the Big Four pattern companies. The instructions were very straight-forward.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I had read that this pattern had a lot of ease, but wanted to ere on the side of caution, so I cut size 22. I think I may have been able to go with a size smaller, and still have a flattering effect.

3/4 ViewPattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Because the fabric that I chose is slightly transparent, I added a lining. I wasn’t exactly sure how to approach this, so the dress is fully lined. I may go back, and remove the lining from the sleeves, as it adds a little too much body and bunches slightly at the end of the sleeve. Also, quite by accident, I omitted the back neck slit.

I made a muslin, and fit it with the stay stitches around the neck pleats in place, so when I removed them on the actual garment, the fit was off. The neckline was way too droopy, so I resewed the stay stitches, and added about a dozen more small pleats to get the desired shape. Had a used a smaller size, this may have been avoided.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I really like the dress, but I don’t think I need add another to my wardrobe. I would highly recommend the pattern.

Grey Garden Blouse

I have finally sewn my first blouse! It was quite a daunting project to take on because I do not fit into any standard sizes. But once I started grading the Wenlan Blouse from BurdaStyle, and really took the time to absorb pattern construction, it made perfect sense.

My initial blouse muslin was not flattering at all. Coupling the high neckline with a yoke that ended above my bust line was absolutely awful. I also didn’t think that I could pull off the fluttery sleeves. So, I lowered the neckline, elongated the yoke and found sleeves that I thought would be both suitable and comfy.

The first sleeves that I drafted were tent sleeves, in a similar feel to the original sleeves. Sometimes I get a little too generous with my measurements and add a bit too much ease to my patterns. The tent sleeves looked like huge bells, and were pretty tight in the underarms. After a few more botched attempts I discovered a handy-dandy tutorial for Drafting Sleeves for Basic Bodice Block, and it worked like a charm.

My complaints about this pattern variation are few. I was so excited about adding defined pleats to the front, that I added too much fabric. This makes the garment seem a bit frumpy from the side view, but perhaps a fabric with a bit more drape would solve that problem. Also, if I make another version, I will try a swayback adjustment to add some definition to the back bodice.

All things considered, I think this is a wonderful first attempt at a blouse.

Building Forts after the Storm


Capitola Beach, October 17, 2009

The first storm of the season — the biggest in October on the Central Coast since 1962 — pounded Santa Cruz County with heavy rain and high winds Tuesday, knocking down trees and power lines, flooding roads, closing schools and state parks, touching off mudslides and forcing evacuations.

More than 10 inches of rain fell in parts of the county, with wind gusts approaching 50 mph. Santa Cruz Sentinel (10/14/2009)