Saturday, May 14, 2011

Miss Poppy, Queen of May: Colette 1001

Hello, kittens! Sorry for the radio silence around here. Did you know that making sewing plans when you have finals and a looming book deadline is futile? I wish I'd gotten that memo. For the last two weeks, I've stared longingly at my sewing table, wishing I were pleating a skirt instead of re-memorizing the location of the pudendal nerve.

Thankfully, my schedule is wide open for the next few months. I'm positively gleeful thinking about all the projects I can finish! First up on that (very) long list was my lonesome Colette Macaron. Y'all, I don't know why it took me so long to get to this dress. It is so cute! This may actually be my favorite dress I've ever sewn.

The reason for this love lies in the fit. If you're an hourglass shape and haven't sewn this pattern, please go buy a copy! You will not be disappointed. The combination of the tulip skirt and fitted waistband makes for a divine shape. My waist looks infinitesimally small in this. Who doesn't love that?

Even better, putting this dress together was relatively painless. The skirt is symmetrically pleated, with pockets hidden in the outside front pleats, while the bodice is four parts - faux-sweetheart neckline, contrast top, contrast waistband, and sleeves. It sounds like a lot of detailing, but Colette's instructions are thorough and easy-to-follow. The trickiest part was attaching the bodice pieces to one another. If left to my own devices, I would have done the traditional Put right sides together and stitch! method. However, Colette's instructions instead have you fold a hem on the sweetheart piece, then edge stitch it to the contrast piece. While a little more labor-intensive, this does prevent the sweetheart piece from becoming uneven.

Another thing to rave about on the Macaron is the sleeve design. The shaped sleeves not only add visual interest, but may be the most comfortable sleeve shape I've worn. I may add these to a few other non-Macaron dresses in the future. They're both easy and adorable - a perfect combination.

Overall, this is a fantastic pattern. With my summer sewing plans forming, I'm already envisioning a few more iterations of this dress. With the two fabric combination, it's going to be great for using up stash fabrics that I only have a bit of. Plus - come on! - how could I sew just one of a dress that looks this cute?

Things I Changed:
  • Substituted a lining for the neckline facings. The last time I used this white pique, the facings were visible on the outside of my garment. Keeping that in mind, I opted for lining the upper Macaron bodice. I made doubles of the two contrast pieces and treated them as a traditional lining, which I catch-stitched to the inside, covering the seams. Not only did it get rid of facings, but the finish is much neater!
Things I Will Change Next Time:
  • Switch out the invisible zipper for a traditional one. With really fitted bodices, I find invisible zippers to be a bit flimsy. There are probably better quality ones than Coats & Clark, but I'm limited to what's on hand at JoAnn's, which always feel like they're about to break without a lot of ease. I love the fit of this bodice, but it is a bit tricky to zip up, so traditional zip it is!
Tricky Steps & Suggestions:
  • Attaching the bodice pieces together is a bit difficult, as I mentioned above. Have a tailors chalk or maker on hand to mark the seam allowances and you'll find it much easier!
  • Don't be afraid of the pockets. The idea of inserting pockets into pleats sounds complicated, but if you follow the Colette directions, it will be a breeze. My only advice is to be very careful when slashing your skirt piece - it would be very easy to get overzealous and cut too deep.
Fabric Used:
  • Shell: Italian poppy print pique from Satin Moon Fabrics in San Francisco.
  • Contrast: White pique from Hancock Fabrics.
Outfit Details:


  1. Another Stunner, Mary! That poppy fabric is super cute and you've just reminded me to get on to making another macaron :)

  2. That looks so great on you. I love the look of her patterns but so don't have the body type for them so fitting is a nightmare.

  3. The dress is fantastic. I have never thoguht much of the pattern, but I have seen so many cute versions out there. Yours may be the straw that breaks the camel's back so to speak. It is officially a must have.

  4. Oh my goodness gracious, your dress is fantastic! That floral fabric is gorgeous. Great work! :]

  5. Wow! That looks fantastic on you! Well done!

  6. I'm going to look so, so unstylish next to you at RWA! Loving this on you. Fab. U. Lous.

  7. Very cute! I still haven't finished tracing my Macaron, but it's definitely on my to-do list...

  8. Love the style, shape and color of this - this is a fantastic dress!! I may just have to go snag this pattern - the white makes your fabric pop and I love that!

  9. im a total newbie in sewing. not having much success to be honest. that said i made a muslin for this and was surprised, as you mentioned, at how easy this was given the detailed instructions! i have a large bust so i made a 10 with 2" fba. my top fits all wonky. im going back today and tracing an 8 for everything but the front top bodice and top yoke, which i will trace in 10, and see how that works. kind of nervous lol. i think i'm going to flat line because my fabric is flimsy and i am a little worried about thigns like "facing" and lining a bodice 8^O. i love your version and appreciate your detailed review :D