What We Made: Volume 7

This month we made easy to wear dresses and separates.
11

anna

Who: Anna
Role: Technical Writer/illustrator
Pattern: Archer Shirt by Grainline, Wyomme Pant by Named
Fabric: Organic cotton double gauze (shirt) 12 0z cotton denim (pants) both from Bolt

What was your original inspiration for this project? How did it come to be?

I was envisioning the ultimate casual Friday outfit, for my inspiration. I had the denim in my stash for a while, and since it is very heavy duty, I knew I had to make something a bit looser fitting so the fabric would be comfortable on my body. When i came across the Wyomme pant at Bolt, I got straight to work. Although I love a good challenge, and making pants, what really drew me into the Wyomme pattern is that there is a button fly instead of a zipper fly. This makes the pattern come together very easily.

As for my shirt, one day while organizing my closet, I realized I only own one proper button up shirt. Every other top I have is either a knit or sweater! I had made the Alder shirtdress last summer and loved how the pattern and fit came together, so I decided to give Archer a try. I really like how the Archer sewed up, and with some minor tailoring I developed a shirt pattern staple that I’m already planning to make more of.

How do you plan to wear it?
Together! But also, since these patterns are wardrobe staples, they are very easy to mix and match with other garments in my wardrobe – like pairing the pants with all my knit tops.

What did you learn?
That making an outfit like this takes some serious time. One of my previous jobs was working with denim and making pants, so I am used to that sewing time frame – it took me about a month of steadily working on the pants for them to be completed; with fitting and general sewing.

For the shirt, however, it took a bit longer than I expected. I have made a few men’s shirts in the past, which on average took me a few weeks to complete, but perhaps because this was the first women’s shirt I made, and more tailoring and fit came into play, this took me a bit longer. Hopefully the second go around won’t be as tedious.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud that I made a whole outfit that goes together!

wallis

Who: Wallis
Role: Patternmaker
Pattern: Wren dress by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Blue and coral ikat knit

What was your original inspiration for this project? How did it come to be?

When I started seeing finished Wrens with long sleeves, I knew it would be a nice dress to wear in the winter. I bought the fabric during a Black Friday sale and once it arrived, thought it would be the perfect weight for this pattern.

How do you plan to wear it?
I’ve been wearing my Wren with fleece-lined tights and ankle boots, but hopefully the weather will be nice enough soon to lose the tights and wear some strappy sandals.

What did you learn?
I had some trouble cutting out the pieces because the print on the fabric wasn’t printed on grain, which is why the print on my dress is not even. At first it really annoyed me when I was done sewing it up, but then I realized that most people don’t even notice. Next time I’ll work a little slower with fabric printed off grain. I also learned that clear elastic is much better than regular elastic; it’s far more comfortable and worth the extra few cents per yard.

What are you most proud of?
I started working at Colette right as we were finishing up Wren, which is a hectic time to jump in on a project. After stepping away from the pattern for a few months, I was able to approach sewing it with a fresh mind.

peony

Who: Taylor
Role: Graphic Designer
Pattern: Peony dress by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Yarn Dyed Cotton, find similar fabric here

What was your original inspiration for this project? How did it come to be?
Spring was my inspiration. I’ve been thinking a lot about items I’d want when the weather is warmer and Peony just stood out to me. I love the boat neck, as well as the cute but tailored look of the dress. I had actually been planning to use this fabric for an Inari Tee from Named Patterns. Then Meg suggested playing with the direction of the stripes and I was completely sold. Peony and stripes are a match made in heaven!

How do you plan to wear it?
I plan to wear it casually with flats or clogs along with cute jewelry and my hair up to show the boat neck off. I really love dresses that are simple, but make you look put together and effortless. The Peony definitely does that for me.

What did you learn?
I learned that making a pattern bigger to be looser doesn’t necessarily mean you just make two sizes bigger. Ease is a tricky thing to master! I kind of wish I could go back in time and start closer to my measurements, because Peony is a flattering dress that really flatters curves. Here’s to trying next time around!

What are you most proud of?
The creativity behind this garment is what got me really excited about sewing it up. I was excited to work with a bright and fun fabric, as well as tailor it to my taste and preference. I’m also proud of how I really thought about how I want to wear this in the future. I know I’m going to be very thankful that this dress is less fitted when it’s the middle of July.

taylor-sway

Pattern: Sway Dress by Papercut Patterns
Fabric: Echino Huedrawer Sateen

What was your original inspiration for this project? How did it come to be?
The inspiration for this project came first from the fabric. I saw this fabric and fell in love with the dreamy, abstract scene and ended up buying a few yards with the idea of it being a flowy dress. I’ve made the Sway dress before and knew it would really highlight this print.

How do you plan to wear it?
I plan to wear it through the spring and summer with flats and cardigans. It’s such a busy pattern I don’t plan to pair it with too much else!

What did you learn?
I learned from my first round with the sway dress that it was a bit shorter than I am comfortable with, it also has a lot of volume and I wasn’t sure how much I really liked. This version helped me see where my preferences lie. I had a great time doing the adjustments for it and really fitting it to my taste.

What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of myself for going with such a bold pattern. I’ve written previously about how I feel that my taste of fabric may not always line up with my taste of RTW garments I purchase, but this was the best of both worlds for me!

Haley Glenn   —   Editorial Director

Five years ago, Haley left the apparel industry to join the world of home sewing. She has been empowering women to sew ever since – first through years of in-person teaching at Sew LA, and now through her writing at Colette. Haley writes tutorials and articles on our blog, teaches sewalongs, and writes and edits for our magazine, Seamwork.

More about our writers

Comments 11

Amber

Anna, did you make your jeans because they are doooope! Love them.

Amber

Nevermind, I see that you did stitch them up :oP

Gosh, I wish I could sew!!! One day.

Sonia

Thank you for sharing, all of the clothes are fantastic. It’s good to know the timescale for Anna’s outfit, my archer took a week of almost full time work, and the fit was relatively simple, but well worth the investment in time. I love reading about everyone’s individual approach to sewing.

My Handmade Space sewyourtv.com

Nice denim outfit! The archer shirt and wyomme pant look great together. Great job!

Michele vintagethrifter51.com

Love all the outfits. You all should be so proud of the beautiful things you made. As I am a hardcore dress girl, I especially love the dresses. Congratulations on your beautiful sewing.

Liz

Really love these posts. So inspiring! Many thanks.

Kristen

I’m glad to see Anna’s timeframe on her 2 pieces, especially for someone with experience sewing similar garments already. I often read other blogs where it feels like things move along SO fast, and I sometimes feel like I shouldn’t even bother trying to sew something because I have limited time and apparently sew very slowly, not to mention the amount of time it takes to adjust fit and all that. My expectations may be unrealistic, though, and it’s just nice to see a more reasonable-feeling project time.

Lisa H

I loved reading this post; thank you all for sharing your sewing experiences. Like some of the other comments, it’s refreshing to read that not all garments are sewn up in 3 hours and that even after finishing a garment, there may be a couple of little things that the maker would change next time, ie: print placement and fit.

Also, a huge thank you to Taylor for acknowledging that a looser fit doesn’t just mean making the garment two sizes bigger. It’s always a great reminder to take the time to adjust where needed, not just all over.

Finally, I love that you showcase garments made from patterns other than your own. Often I’m looking for a particular style, and it’s by luck that I’m able to find what I’ve been searching because you have let the clothes/designs be the star, not the pattern brand, ie: Taylor’s Sway dress by Papercut Patterns.

Robin

Love that you all chose prints!

Shannon

Taylor’s Peony is very cool, and I’m inspired and heartened by her proudly displaying and you featuring a garment with a fitting misstep. I’m a perfectionist and always get caught up in the fitting process. I’ll abandon projects when I’m too bogged down in the third muslin (when honestly the second muslin is fine and infinitely better than what you can buy in RTW) and abandon that for a nice forgiving knit project (I think that’s how I made my beautiful, simple, compliment-magnet Myrtles). I feel like I somehow have permission to sew something centimeters away from a perfect fit when a sewing company features a gorgeous dress where the stated lesson learned is to be more careful with fitting. (And who besides sewists and the dwindling population of people who get tailor-made clothes will notice the shoulders being loose?) Thank you.

And thank you for the stripe inspiration, too. I’m going to play around with the striped cardigan that I’m planning as my next project and now really want to make another striped dress. Stripe creativity instead of stripe matching. :)

PsychicKathleen tarotbykathleen.com

I am continuing to struggle with a good fit as well. I understand well why people get caught making the same pattern over and over since it does take a couple of “practice” runs to get that fit just right! I love all the garments you’ve made but my favourite part is reading what YOU’RE the most proud of in your process.

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https://blog.colettehq.com/projects/what-we-made-volume-7

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