Completed: Colette Peony Dress

It’s finished!  It’s finished!  My Peony is finished!  Now if only the sun will come out!

I actually finished this last week, but between gloomy weather and the fact it’s dark when I get home, photos have been a challenge.


Me and my sewing buddy, Millicent. Hmm…she’s suspiciously taller than me!

I started this dress back during Sew Colette, before the group went on hiatus for the holidays.  I had a difficult time fitting the bodice. Honestly, I almost gave up on this dress. But I’m so glad I didn’t. The fit turned out pretty good, I think.

My biggest trouble was with the sleeves. I thought I worked out at the muslin stage, but when I sewed them into my final dress, they just weren’t working for me.  They looked okay, but felt tight and restricting.  So I ripped them out, and went sleeveless instead. This is better for wearing with a cardigan anyways, which is what I always wear at work.

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen that I found at a local shop.  Depending on how you look at it, you may see dots or stars.  I really like it, and I think the extra stretch helped the bodice fit.
Peony Details
Peony Details

Here’s the insides:
Peony Details
Peony Details

I lined the skirt with red Bemberg rayon.  I also made some bias strips out of the lining fabric, which I used as a hem tape.  This fabric was fiddly to turn into bias tape, but I think it’s a lot nicer than the stiff store-bought stuff.
Peony Details

I tried a few new techniques on this dress.  First, I used bias tape as a facing for the armholes. After I nixed the sleeves, I didn’t feel like drafting an armhole facing piece. The bias strips worked really well. (I also made this bias tape, using the same contrast fabric from the neck facing.)
Peony Details

Second, I did a Hong Kong finish on the edge of my neck facings.  I used some of the red lining bias strips for this.  I really like this finish, and plan to use it again.
Peony Details

Third, I put in a centered hand-picked zipper.  This worked just as nicely as the lapped versions I’ve been doing recently.  Actually, it might have even been easier!
Peony Details

The sun peeked out for just a minute this afternoon, so I tried to capitalize on it for a quick outdoor shot.


This dress took me a long time to finish, and I’m happy it’s done. Now I can move on to my next project! Here’s a small sample of the fabric I cut out last night:


Slow Progress

The past two weeks have flown by with very little sewing happening. My dog Abby had surgery and it’s thrown my schedule out of whack. She’s recovering slowly (surgery is hard when your almost 16!), and things are starting to get back to normal. I finally sat down yesterday and made some progress on my Peony dress.  I was hoping to finish it for my birthday (which is today) but that didn’t happen. Oh well. I did finish the bodice at least. Now I just need to sew the skirt and put in the zipper. I pinned everything together last night, and I’m liking it so far!  Here’s a peek:

dress progress

Sew Colette 2.0!!!

The Sew Colette fun continues with. . . Sew Colette 2.0!!

I’m really excited about the next generation of this sew along.  All the details can be found on Erin’s blog, Sarah’s blog, or Rochelle’s blog – the three lovely hostesses.  If you haven’t participated in a sew along, I recommend joining in on this at some point!

The first project is the Hazel dress.

So far, I’ve only downloaded the pattern and taped it together.  (The pattern is also available in print, but I was impatient and wanted it now!)  I’m planning to still trace it because I think it’s easier to work with my tracing paper than the computer paper I printed the pattern on.

I also made a quick croquis.
Hazel Croquis

I still have to figure out what fabric to use.  I really like the idea of using a border print, but I haven’t found the right one yet.  Or maybe stripes?  Ahh, I just can’t decide!