Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Colette Wren knit dress, version 1 and 2

  A little while ago, in planning a travel wardrobe, and having about 1.5 metres of a very pleasing waffle merino,  I was in search of a knit dress pattern with sleeves which required not-too-much-fabric. I was completely astounded that searching through my enormous collection of envelope patterns and Burda magazines failed to give me any results other than the pure pleasure of fantasizing about completely different garments and using up a lot of post-it labels. How is it possible to own huncreds of patterns and not find something that exists perfectly in the mind's eye?

With some internal muttering at the thought of having to tape sheets of A4 together, I spent the rest of the morning pattern browsing on the internet and eventually decided to try the Colette pattern Wren. I've made a few Colette patterns previously, with mixed results, but this is the first time I have used one  by downloading patterns from the Seamwork site using credits from my magazine subscription.

I loathe fitting garments with knit or stretch fabrics, as the degree of stretch between fabrics can be so different. However, for this pattern, there are a lot of seams in the panel skirt version, allowing post cutting changes, and having a wrap top, again it is possible to tweak the positioning of the wrap in addition to taking in or letting out seams.
The front bodice construction is very clever, with an inset panel on each side of the neckline that can be tweaked to give a close fit at the centre front and to provide more or less cleavage cover as desired.

Naturally, having planned carefully to allow pattern changes, I found that I didn't need to fit very much at all, which was very pleasing.

Version 1 is made of a cotton-lycra medium weight knit (Stretchtex, but no longer produced, unfortunately).
Fitting involved a square shoulder adjustment,  a little taking in at the waist and letting out at the back skirt princess seams after making a size larger in the skirt than in the bodice. I usually have to enlarge the sleeves, but did not need to for this pattern. I chose to cut the front centre panels a little shorter than the pattern lay out, and to stretch them slightly as I sewed them, so that there is no neckline gapping in any position, and the neckline is relatively high.
There is a little pulling at the empire waist, due to increasing the wrap over (which I adjusted in later versions)., but the dress is quite wearable, albeit with a petticoat to prevent unsightly clinging.I hemmed the skirt and sleeves using a coverstitch and the rest of the garment was sewn on my conventional machine using a 3 step fine zig-zag. I reinforced the shoulder seams with woven selvage, and the waist seam and neck edges with lingerie elastic on both versions.
 DSC08775 (2)
 The photos were takens when I went out for breakfast on the Redcliffe Peninsula with my mother and my younger daughter, and I felt very suitably dressed for this activity.

DSC08748 (2)

Version 2 is from the relatively heavy merino waffle knit from the Fabric store in Brisbane. I bought this fabric about 2 years ago and have not seen fabric of this weight very often. I will snap it up if I see it again, as this is a very pleasing weight for a dress, not too thick, nor too thin and clingy.
I did not have quite enough fabric for the dress, but fortuiously, I found some co-ordinating scraps of a rayon knit from Knitwit of about the same weight which I thought looked quite good as a contrast insert. I also lengthened the sleeves.


Sue said...

Lovely frocks. Interesting how the skirt looks fuller on the first version. Maybe it is a fabric thing?

SewRuthie said...

what lovely dresses! you have such a beautiful hourglass figure with a tiny waist and these show it beautifully.

Tanit-Isis said...

It looks gorgeous—and much better on you than the pattern photo. Well done!

Debbie said...

You look terrific in these dresses; the shape really works well on you. I'm with you on the adjusting for stretch challenges. I now tissue fit, which can even work for stretch fabric, and includes allowing a full one inch (2.5cm) at the fitting seams for adjustments. So far it's worked well. If you have a Craftsty subscription it may be worth considering, or the next time they have a free weekend you can just binge watch.

Sewingelle said...

What they all said about this style and how flattering it is on you!

Vicki said...

They look great and fit so well.

colesworth said...

I have a couple of lady skaters that I love to wear through our 'sub-tropical winter' but they seem plain compared to the wren with it's interesting wrap bodice. Both are geat but I really like the contrast one ;o)