Saturday, July 9, 2011

Colette Violet #2.

I had a really busy week. I seriously earned my pay and put in a few loooong days at the office.

So even though I almost finished my second Colette Violet blouse last Sunday, those last few steps went very sloooooowly. At one point, I think I was sewing on one button a night while watching All Creatures Great and Small, my favorite antidote to stressful days. Have you seen the television series? It's available on-demand from Netflix, and it's just ... incredibly soothing. Steve and I have watched the first two series (the later series aren't as good) so many times we pretty much have them memorized. Seeing the veterinarians slogging through farms in the Yorkshire Dales to deliver lambs in freezing sleet and mud never fails to calm me down and cheer me up after a hard week.

At least my clients don't generally need my help in the middle of the night.

And actually, this blouse would fit right into Skeldale house, tucked into a tweed skirt, don't you think?

Colette Violet.

With my second version of this blouse, I tried to remedy some of the problems with the first version. Namely, it was too big. When I made my first version, I cut it out in a size 6, knowing that Colette, unlike the "Big Four" pattern companies, sizes their patterns more like ready-to-wear clothes. But it still turned out really roomy, especially in the shoulders. So this time, I spent some time in front of a mirror with pattern tissue, trying to figure out what size I really am in this pattern.

Unbelievably, I determined that I needed a size 2, which is almost as ridiculous as when I had to alter a size 14 1/2 in a vintage Simplicity pattern to make it larger. If ready-to-wear sizes are meaningless, sewing pattern sizes are super-duper-meaningless.

But hey, whatever. It fits!

Other changes: I redrew the peter-pan collar to create a softer curve, and I used a much softer interfacing in the collar and facing. I skipped the back facing entirely and used bias tape instead for less bulk. (Note: I used my new buttonhole attachment to make the buttonholes and they look great! No, not the buttonholer I blogged about before; a different attachment, of course! It's a long story, and I'll post about it soon.)

I've had this soft cotton lawn (which reminds me of a vintage bed-sheet) in my stash for a long time. I expected this to be pretty difficult to sew with, because it so light and delicate, but it wasn't as bad as all that. But made up into a blouse, the look is really "shabby chic," isn't it? Like something out of Victoria Magazine, circa 1989. Remember that? I loved that magazine as a girl. Problem is, that's not really my style anymore.

Any ideas for toning down the twee prettiness just a smidge?


  1. Gosh I'm feeling like an underachiever -- firstly, I'm here reading your post instead of finishing the curtains in my living room that I have a rare 20 minutes to work on. I bought the material about 3 months ago and then tripped over the heap of fabric for about two months. Then I hired a sitter so I could actually work on them and got them almost finished. I hung them up in the windows to make sure they fit, determined they were just right and I would, you know, actually sew the seams together very soon, but just left them in the windows and we've been using them for a month. They are coming apart because they aren't, you know, sewn. So I should really sew them because the children are watching Dora. But I'm not. I'm leaving a long, rambling comment on your blog.

    I guess what I'm saying is wow! I can't believe you can resize patterns and use a buttonholer! I'm seriously impressed. It looks great.

    Perhaps you could tone down the prettiness by holding a preschooler on your lap while eating a bowl of chili?

  2. I don't think it needs to be toned down at all; I love it. However, I appreciate Betsy's suggestion immensely. Joe would be thrilled to help you un-pretty it.

  3. I almost had a heart attack every time Joe came anywhere near me while I was SEWING it. I'm that nice mom who says: "Joseph! Don't touch mama's sewing!"

    So that's another problem with it. It's unbearably twee, and I can't wear it within a ten foot radius of my child. Or chili. What a highly practical item I've created here.

  4. It's lovely and the fit is fantastic. My only modification thoughts would probably involve black piping or other skinny embellishment e.g. either side of the buttonhole placket. But that might be more of a during-construction thing.
    I haven't seen All Creatures Great and Small for years! But I did love it. My husband and I have long been addicted to Midsomer Murders, which I think has the same soothing effect :-)

  5. Also, Betsy, I keep saying I'm going to make new curtains for our kitchen, but it never happens, because that would be BORING. I get fidgety just thinking about those long seams.

  6. Jane: Good idea! I'm definitely not going to take it apart to add awesome piping, but ... well, next time!

  7. Wuhahahaha! I finished them! They are just perfect except for one crazy crooked wierd seam near the bottom of the one on the right where I had to attach an extra piece of fabric to make all the trees line up. But you'd only notice if you looked at them. And that's where the dog usually naps anyway.

  8. Betsy, awesome!! And hilarious about the dog-napping spot.

  9. Aaaw this is precious! I love it in a floral and it really suits you.


I love comments! I do my very best to respond to comments, by email or here, although I am often running late. I also try to follow and comment on my regular readers' blogs. So please let me know you were here!