After the wedding, which despite being small still took a lot of time to prepare and some stress, we both got a cold. That is, J got a cold and I got what I for a few days feared was the return of pneumonia. Turned out it was "just" a severe case of bronchitis and I was ordered complete rest. As in "not even emptying the dishwasher"-rest. I spent a few exceedingly boring days on my back, but thankfully I have now progressing to sitting in the sofa stage. And sitting up means that I can actually hand sew and I'm not quite as bored now. My inner puritan is having a merry time, though, telling me that I ought to be able to do a little, but I have been told off by all my near and dear to not listen. So I try not to and is now working through all the blog posts I have not read in a while, answering mails and sewing. I'm currently working on a brown hat that is turning out somewhat more extravagant than usual and I have finished a dress. Hence this review.
The Parfait dress is the second pattern I purchased from Colette Patterns. The first, the Jasmine blouse, is reviewed here
I have said it before, but I say it again; Colette Patterns are the most beautiful patterns I have ever behold. And practical too. The pattern envelope, with the design drawn on the cover, is really a booklet that very clearly goes through the pattern and how you sew it all together. At the back is a pocket for the pattern and there are also space for your own notation. Pretty and easy to use!
The Parfait dress is described thus:
A versatile dress designed to be worn as either a sun dress or layered over a shirt or blouse as a pinafore style in cooler weather. Features a gathered bust and flattering curved midriff that fits snugly around the high waist. The straps and gathered pockets fasten with buttons. Skirt is a gently flared six-gore style. Closes with a side invisible zipper.
Colette Patterns doesn't make retro patters, but they do have more than a little of a vintage feel to them. The Parfait looks very much like a 40's dress with the bodice made of several pieces with bust gatherings toward a snug midriff. The dress has a rather high waist and if you are long-waisted you might want to consider if you want that. It is also much too short if what you want is a true 40's style. Well, the short is much too short for anyone who want their skirts at least knee-length and that is just about the only negative things I can say about these patterns. The feel is that they market themselves to twenties something, but not everyone wants their skirts that short either. It's not difficult to lengthen a skirt, so I think the patterns are worth their money anyway, but it feels slightly silly to have to lengthen a skirt with so much as 15 centimetres to get it below the knees.
The dress is marked for intermediate sewers, but I think that even if you are fairly inexperienced you might succeed anyway. Just work slowly and make proper use of the tips and trips in the booklet. You do need basic sewing skills though, like setting a zipper. There are rather a lot of patterns pieces for the bodice, but I felt that even if it took a bit longer to make it, it wasn't more difficult.
I made my dress in a polka dot rayon, black on white, that I have had in my stash since I bought it in New York in 1996. I have always had a picture in my head that looked very similar to the Parfait, so it was a given thing to do. It was quite slippery to work with, so I pinned and basted everything, which of course took up extra time. With a fabric that behaves better, you might not need to baste. I encountered to troubles while making it, the patterns pieces went together with no fuss.
I did some alterations- don't we all? I already mentioning making the skirt longer, but I also made the midriff slightly longer as well. Being naturally high waisted I didn't need to add much to make the waist rest at my natural waist. I also shaved of an inch around the waist to make the fit a bit snugger. As this is meant to be a party dress more than a sun dress I have omitted the pockets and I also elongated the shoulders straps and omitted the buttons. I also omitted the gathering at the top and instead made irregular pleats to make it fit my bust better without sagging. I also raised the front 4 cm to prevent my bra from peeking out.
It's a cute dress and I already plan to make it again in cotton, this time with buttoned shoulder straps and the cute pockets. I noticed that those pockets look a lot like the ones on this skirt, which originally was a dress made by my grandmother Greta in the late 40's. I don't think you will be disappointed with this pattern if you try it.
(I'm in no way affiliated with Colette Patterns and have purchased the pattern myself.)