Friday, 16 November 2012

The Brave Peony

So I definitely have to work on hubby's photo-taking-for-sewing-blog skills.  In the approx. 2 minutes he will spend taking pics before work (resulting in about 10 pics and 1 usable one) the clothes always look awful!  This dress does actually look better on and fits better than these pictures would suggest!

Anyway here is the Brave Peony.  So-called because my daughter thinks it makes me look like Merida rather than because there is actually any real bravery going on (invisible zip insertion does not count).

It is made from teal suiting, which I largely chose because I liked the colour rather than the actual fabric.  I think this was possibly a mistake.

As I had made a wearable muslin already, I knew what adjustments I wanted to make.  I had already done a lot of lengthening -2.5" to the bodice and 3" to the skirt, and added a bit to the skirt waist too. 

I did a wide shoulder adjustment which I learned in my Anise Jacket works well for me.  However I do think I need to do some changes to the armscye as a result, but I'm not sure what.  You can see it pulls slightly at the armhole seam, although the shoulder is in the right place.  Can anyone advise on this?

I also moved the waist darts out about 1" as per Lladybird's post during the Sewalong.  Although the finished dress doesn't actually look as nipple-y as these pics suggest (but it was pretty cold out that day!), I think I messed up when trying to reshape the darts for a better fit under the bust as per Gertie's post and needed to shorten them a bit more.  After having resewn them a couple of times I decided to quit while ahead!  Anyway, I think this is a classic example of overfitting on my part - the original pattern would probably have been fine!  But I often feel that I have extra fabric under the bust with Colette patterns, perhaps as they are drafted for a C-cup and I'm a B.  I do love Sarai's designs though so I will probably persist in trying to get the bust darts right for me!

I also lowered the neckline 1" after reading Rochelle's post as I do feel the neckline is a bit choking on this pattern.

I will probably make another one now I have got closer to the right fit (damn you, waist darts!) but I think I prefer the short sleeved version - the long sleeved is a bit "classic" for me (although I did get lots of compliments on this dress when I wore it for the first time!).  Maybe a sleeveless one for the summer as I do love it in a cotton print!  And with the leftover fabric (I thought I had bought the right amount but I always seem to have loads left over when I make a Colette pattern, even with the extra length I have to add) the small person wants a Brave dress for herself!


  1. it looks like it needs an FBA to stop the pulling. that would give you more room at the bust. there's another possibility, seldom heard of, that can cause the pulling: the sleeve can be too tight in that area. you can check that out by unsewing that part of the seam and seeing where more fabric is needed. it also looks like the bodice is too long between the bust and the shoulders. i would say FBA to loosen it around the bust and then shorten the top from shoulder to bust and redraft the neckline and armholes which would then be too short for the sleeves. pin up those creases above the bust to see if that's the right answer for the top. unzip the zipper to see if that's the answer for the bust, and check out the sleeve/bodice pulling. it's a lot of work. do you love it enough? i would consider this a wearable muslin and enjoy it.

    1. hi barabara. thanks so much for your comment. i am confused on the bust fitting thing with colette to be honest, as i'm a b cup, and their draft is for a c. i feel like I take loads of ease out under the bust, so perhaps the fullness is just in the wrong place for me? as I'm tall i often add in length (by moving the bust darts down but maybe i'm just moving the darts without adjusting the bodice shaping and that is causing a problem. i don't adjust the back darts tho - maybe that is the issue as it would move the bust darts down below the level of the back waist darts therefore removing room around the bust?

      i think i'll leave it for now and wear it this winter and perhps come back to it in spring if i feel ready!

  2. I recently made this dress as well and had similar issues with the pulling from bust to armsyce. It's not the bust as I am an A cup and still got it! It ended up being the armsyce curve scooping a bit too much out for me so adding a bit back made all the difference for me, if that makes sense. I also used the same technique as you for the waist darts... It took me about 15 tries to get the length and curve right if that's any consolation! Anyhow I really like this dress on you. It looks good.

    1. thank you! it's good to see other people having the same problem (well not that i want other people to have problems but at least it's not just my body being weird!). if i make another version i might try that trick with the armscye - or i might file it under "not right for me" and move on!


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