Colette Ceylon dress

The Colette Ceylon dress was another pattern that I stared at for a while...thought about it.....waited....and eventually bought.  I liked that it had a vintage vibe without being costume-y.  The thought of putting in all of those buttons and buttonholes made me cringe.  I ultimately decided just to do it, because I thought it had potential to be flattering and even though it was a dress, it's kind of a shirt-dress and I could wear it to work and actually get some use out of it. So here we go!
So many buttonholes!!
I made a muslin of the bodice first - I've yet to have a fitting issue with Colette, but I'd been having issues with tops being tight across my ribs.  I cut a size 6 and the muslin fit well, not too big but it would have room to button it up. So on to the real thing.

My fabric is a purple textured midweight wool from Fabric Outlet in SF (also available at their online store here).  It was $20/yard but I bought it during their semi-annual storewide 40% off sale back in October. It's a really nice weight for a dress, and has a pretty drape to it.
Pretty textured purple wool
The pattern is labeled "intermediate", but I think the construction is fairly straightforward. The pieces are stay-stitched and then pressed down along the seam allowance, and lapped over each other instead of sewing right-sides together.  This adds an element of difficulty I guess, because ripping a seam could leave visible holes, but other than that, there aren't really any tricky elements. It takes a little longer to make sure everything is lined up when  you're overlapping pieces - especially when you're sandwiching the bodice in between the yokes.
The instructions are well-done, although they jump around in places (assembling the bodice goes to sewing up the skirt back which then jumps to attaching the skirt front to the bodice), but its not a big deal.
Things were going well until I had the dress mostly assembled. I had too much extra fabric in the bust. I thought maybe it would be better once I sewed the front to the back, but it wasn't.
Wah - wah.....Not a good look.
The muslin did not have this issue - I'm guessing the wool has a softer drape than the muslin, which is a bit starchier. So it looks like I have nice deflated boob balloons. I pinned and basted for a while, and eventually just made a tuck along the bottom, sort of a wedge where I pulled out the extra fabric. The end result isn't terrible, and the fact that its designed with gathers sort of camouflages the tuck. It looks better than the deflated balloons, so I'll go with it! If I make this again in a softer fabric, I will do a small bust adjustment on the pattern.
Better than before.
I used these pretty wood painted buttons I purchased on Etsy here; they were fairly large so I only created 12 buttonholes instead of 16. (Actually, I created 13, because I was having a brain fog kind of day, so I had to rip one out.)  The idea is that the bright buttons distract from the bodice issues!

I shortened it a bit, maybe an inch or two.  I definitely could have cut a size 4, now that I've been wearing it for a bit and walked around in it.  (Or maybe a 6 bodice with an SBA, and a 4 midriff and skirt).  The size 6 is fine - fairly close-fitting but not tight, so it feels pretty comfortable to wear all day.  Its not too big, and I can have a few beers at happy hour later without any fear of bursting my buttons.
Sorry, all the full length front pics were blurry! Apparently my facial expressions were making my photographer laugh.....

Because of my frustration fixing the bust, I was feeling 'meh' about this dress when I finished it. But now that I'm wearing it, I love it!!  It's frustrating to make a muslin and then still have issues. (At one point I threw a tantrum and said fuck it, I'm done with this, only to go pick it up and go back to it about two minutes later.)
Sometimes my sewing is R-rated. Why do you have to go and ruin a good time, saggy bodice
I like the way it looks on - I think its flattering, and I wasn't sure if it would be because it is almost a drop waist, which I don't wear.  I didn't think it would be the kind of pattern I'd remake over and over, but I'm so happy now that I'm wearing it I may plan a summery version!

Ceylon and I are friends again.


  1. Your 'on the fly' SBA worked well! Cute dress and the fit looks great.

  2. I wouldn't have noticed any problems in the end if you hadn't showed me. I love the look. The color is great especially with the color of your hair and skin.


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