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Fall Palette Challenge Week 4: Like a shiny copper penny


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Last night, Kenn and I were walking home from dinner and discussing (as husbands and wives often do) what we think each of us will be like in 10 or 20 years. He declared (as husbands often do) that I will be a very elegant lady.

When I think about how I’d like to look as a more mature woman, an outfit something like this comes to mind: somewhat slim skirt, pretty silk charmeuse blouse, saturated colors, interesting jewelry. Throw on a cashmere sweater and I’d say I’m good for the next 30+ years.

I know silk charmeuse is a slippery, tricky thing to sew, but few fabrics have such a fluid drape, luxurious hand, and the incredible color depth that you get with charmeuse.

In fact, I was originally planning to use the matte side of this fabric for my Jasmine blouse, and reverse it to make the collar shiny. But I just couldn’t get over the rich coppery-pumpkin of the shiny side, so I ended up doing that instead. It’s like a bright copper penny. I wish it were easier to photograph!

My advice for sewing charmeuse? Use a spray stabilizer to keep it from sliding all over the place, and be sure to change to a small needle so you don’t put runs in your fabric. I used a 65/9 for this blouse.

By the way, I really like the way this blouse looks and feels when tucked in. The bias cut makes it slim, so it feels less baggy around the waist.

The skirt is, of course, the new Meringue pattern from The Colette Sewing Handbook! It’s done in a red cotton twill. I don’t know why, but I really like this skirt in red. I’m thinking about doing another modified version in red wool in the coming weeks, with added patch pockets.

So that’s it for this week! Anyone else sewing something fun?

Some other posts you may be interested in:

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 36


What a beautiful version of the Jasmine! The colour is so rich. I really must overcome my fear of sewing with expensive and slippery fabrics!

I’m with you on the style choices for your later years. I like to try and purchase items which are classic and stylish but try very hard to avoid looking old lady-ish. I think it’s about how you put the outfit together though.


I think it’s all about letting your personality and individuality shine through, no matter what your age.

Have you guys seen the street style blog, Advanced Style? The subjects on there are so inspiring!


I love everything about this. That pumpkin color is to die for and the outfit just looks great on you!

I love the Jasmine pattern; I started sewing it Sunday but haven’t had time after work this week to finish it, unfortunately. Thank you so much!


That silk is beautiful – almost a distillation of autumn in fabric form.

Thank you for the hint about spray stabiliser; I wondered what the active ingredients of the Sullivans stuff might be – writing from the UK, I’m fairly sure you can’t get it here? Please do correct me if wrong other readers!


I don’t have any on hand, but I know it’s pretty similar to spray starch. My understanding is that Sullivan’s is less likely to scorch when ironed, but otherwise I think they’re kind of the same.


I know i am really late in joining this blog- and not sure if anyone will be reading comments for this old post but to answer the question- I am a newbie so I do anything i can to make the sewing process ted bit easier. I wanted to test drive a new serger i just purchased(did i mention I am a total newbie?), and wanted to make a thin narrow scarf out of chiffon. I ran into similar problem of tricky fabric. I had a stash of different stabilizers at hand(i am one of those who tend to BUY everything, before i even knwo what to do with them:). The original “Solvy” light weight water soluble stabilizer by “Sulky” brand had fine print “tip’ section on the package it came with. It says to dissolve the Sulvy stabilizer paper in water- with certain ratio(mine came in a roll… and I cant remember the exact ratio as i no longer have the instruction paper). But it should be on their (sulky) website. Also the stabilizer to water ratio depends on your fabric. i just rember it was super easy. Though similar to fabric starch spray, main difference i noticed was 1. it did not distort the fabric grain(so long as you dont over apply newly made liquid stabilizer). 2nd, it only needs to be applied in sections where you need it. it dries really fast- thus ironing is not necessary to “stiffen” the fabric(i also found this to be helpful in not distorting the fabric grain). Hope this helps. I think u can do this with any water soluble stabilizers..? not sure. it’s very economical b/c you can adjust the ratio according to your fabric size.


CamberwellGal – I don’t think this stuff exists outside the US. Maybe they have such amazing varieties of sewing aids because of their strong quilting traditions? After Sarai mentioned it, I searched and searched the web, but only found it in US sites – and they won’t ship overseas :(. i shall have to wait till someone comes – or goes there on holiday! If anyone in Europe knows of something similar, please shout out!

Lauren – how funny! I noticed the waistband too, and thought oh no! and went hopping back to the first pics posted. Sigh of relief – no waistband. Waistbands don’t suit me. I had to remove the waistband from Ginger… I am short waisted and look wierd with anything with a band – in fact, most of my pants and skirts are just below the waist…. Sarai – it is so cool that you post these tutorials for adjusting stuff in this way – it’s great that all us different types can do the things the way we like:)….


Thanks Sarai and Francesca for your thoughts on spray stabiliser/starch… Yup, I recall that starch, liberally applied, scorches.

My first job, as a teenager in the 90s, was as a chambermaid in a country house hotel (really a country house, but with the added excuse to keep ‘staff”!), and involved starching and ironing all the pillow cases (aka massive over-starching and smoking out of the window in the old servants quarters in the attic) at the end of the morning, in a bid to avoid having to polish the downstairs floors by hand. Fortunately linen has a fairly high burn point…

Francesca Polishing the floor by hand? No wonder you worked so hard on starching the linen! Shades of me in my first job in reception in a hotel where I used to make coffee in the kitchen and stand on the stairs to the wine cellar smoking out of the window :)

lisa g

love the color *and* outfit combo. it’s young, fun and timeless all at the same time! so pretty!


I love it. I’ve been thinking of an orange blouse to go with my red skirt too, but it takes exactly the right shade of orange to balance and I haven’t been able to find it.


Yes… the color of this blouse is closer to the first picture than the brighter ones. I think the effect of red and orange is kind of sunset-y, especially with a little gold jewelry in there.

Anna | Mormor hade stil

Love your outfit! Orange and red go very well together (assuming you match the right shades) and you look gorgeous.


that color pairing is absolutely wonderful- looove it! the meringue looks like you added a waistband – is that modification in the book, or something you might be covering in the future? i prefer my skirts with waistbands :)

also, i love your shoes & omg that gold floral bracelet! the whole outfit is just the most perfect little package.


So perceptive! The original pattern doesn’t have a waistband, but we wrote a tutorial for the blog on adding one (using this skirt), so it will be up here at some point!


OOOh! I can’t wait to get started on Jasmine! I’m absolutely loving it and it looks so wonderful paired with the skirt!


Super cute!


Can’t wait to start sewing the Jasmine blouse! My pattern has arrived just yesterday, I’m already busy with making a muslin…

Laura Isabel

LOVE that color combo. I know the Meringue skirt is all about the scallops but I’m assuming it’d be easy enough to do it without them.


Totally easy. In fact, the next version I do will be without scallops.


I am a beginner sewer, Why do people make the pattern out of muslin first?


A muslin is basically a test garment. If you make it out of (inexpensive) muslin before you cut up your nice fabric, you can test out the fit and decide what adjustments you need (either to fit you better, or for personal preference) before you sew. It helps you get a much better final result!

If you’re interested, my forthcoming book has lots of information on this subject! Not to be a pushy salesperson or anything, the book might be of interest to you, though. :)


I pre-ordered it so I am excited! Thank you so much!

Le Petite Hoot

Oooh! I’m a sucker for a blouse with any kind of tie or bow at the neck. Paired with a cardigan and (for my wide hips ;) ) an a-line skirt. That’s one of my favorite classy looks. Love it, love it, love it!


totally delicious blouse—and I love your shoes! You look wonderful. Whatever we’re wearing in 2041 can’t have anything on this.

Thanks for the tips on sewing silk charmeuse—super helpful!


Gorgeous! I hope I can find colors as rich as those here in Virginia. Truly loving the Meringue skirt.


I am so so excited for your upcoming book. I have been obsessed with scallops lately and cannot wait to get my hands on the meringue pattern. I have plans for a polka dot Sorbetto that may have scallops too if I can manage to squeeze them out of the little bit of fabric. I love your outfit and think you are already very much an elegant lady. :)


“as husbands often do” – You’re crazy! and lucky! I’ve NEVER met a husband who, when thinking about his wife in 10/20/30 years, would say he thinks his wife “will be a very elegant lady.” I think you have the right mate.

The color of this blouse is gorgeous! I started following your blog after finding a couple tutorials on your site for the crepe, which is the only dress I’ve ever made for myself that I LOVE. I wore it to every wedding/party this summer and danced and danced in it. Thank you so much for making a pattern I could sew without modifications


Haha, I guess I am lucky in that he knows what I want to hear!

I’m happy to hear you love the dress, that’s wonderful! I think the Peony is very flattering as well.


(continued-my little lady started hitting buttons) and that fit. Thank you for making a pattern that fit people with bellies and boobs.

Is the peony as forgiving? I love what a blank slate it is and really want to make it in a HUGE floral.


Wow, Sarai! What a stunning blouse! It’s really beautiful and luxurious and it looks great with your red Meringue skirt :)


Wow–I would have never put that combination of colors together myself, but I love them! You’re right, the skirt looks amazing in red (I’m thinking of making one up in green cotton of some sort myself… ;) )–it gives the scallops a fun edge.

I had to chuckle a bit on your musings regarding dressing as a “mature” woman. Lately I’ve been thinking over the same thing! My mom and I discuss fashion a lot, and it’s interesting to hear her perspective on dressing in her 50s versus mine (mid 20s). Although I know I’ll eventually loose some of the very fitted, body-con pieces (e.g. pencil skirts) I love to wear now, I think I’ll retain a bit of my love of vintage and romantic styles. If nothing else I have a killer collection of vintage sweaters and a growing one of vintage costume jewelry! A girl, at any age, can’t go wrong with those. ;)


This is definitely a head-turner of an ensemble. The colors are so autumnal, but not in a harvest dinner sense…just very rich and flattering. And I think it would definitely age gracefully. My husband and I discuss aging well all the time, and it’s really inspired us to add regular exercise to our healthful eating. I’m about to sew up a pair of Clovers in a red twill, so excited! Oh, and that style blog? Amazing.


Sarai – you have no idea what this post has done to me! I went to the biggest fabric store in Malta looking for the right shades of deep coppery orange and red to get the same effect – no luck – and then spent most of today hunting on line – but it’s so hard to know you’re getting the colours you actually want :(…


Hi Sarai,
I love your red skirt!
Have a good evening!

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