It’s halfway through September and I’ve only just shown you my August makes nevermind told you about my September sewing plans but I’m here today to share with you one of my September makes (who said you had to blog stuff in order anyway?!). This is my version of the Colette Rue dress: their newly released pattern harking back to the vintage era. When Colette got in touch and kindly offered me the opportunity to sew a sample of the Rue, I was really intrigued to see how this style might work on me so I eagerly accepted. The result? A feminine frock with beautiful finishes — inside and out — and some really pretty features. Forgive how bright these photos are; the sun made an unexpected appearance this morning!
Choosing the fabric was a little tricky. I was trying to decide whether to sew a dress for the last vestiges of summer or aim straight for autumn. I’d like to think this heart chambray from Fabric Land satisfies both but we’ll have to see. This chambray is quite a loose weave so if it weren’t lined, any pulling on the seams would be a bit of an issue. You can see a little of this when you look closely but who’s looking that closely (apart from you lot, of course!). Otherwise, it was OK to handle.
Sizing and cutting
I cut a size 0 based on the finished measurements since I like quite a fitted dress.
Fitting and alterations
As per my usual process, I made a toile of the bodice (size 0) and was pretty happy with the fit out of the packet. However, I must say, there was a lot of head-scratching when deciding where the bodice seam lines should sit. To help me, I examined the photos Colette included of the finished Rue, especially that green stripey version where I could see the seam lines thanks to the piping. Do they sit across her bust? Underneath? In the end, I decided to leave them where they were: sitting across my bust. Thus, the only alterations I made were:
- Pinched 7/8″ out of the neckline of the centre front bodice pattern piece for the shell and lining (B and H) to stop it gaping
- Shortened the skirt pattern pieces by 2″ (D, E, F and J). After sewing, I further shortened the shell and lining by their seam allowance (1 1/4″ and 5/8″, respectively)
My general feeling is that Colette have subtly stepped up the quality of their pattern instructions, not just the style but the details, too. This is not to say they weren’t high quality before. There was plenty of detail previously too and they looked very professional but there’s even more now! Including directing you to many an online/video tutorial. Another thing I love about Colette patterns is I always learn something new. For example, the Rue dress has taught me how to make include a thread chain, a technique which elevates the finish to a professional level. This is something I’ve come to expect from them and I’m not disappointed with this pattern.
Hems: the hem of the shell is double folded and slipstitched. The lining hem is also double-folded but machine stitched. The collar and cuffs have all raw seams enclosed.
All seams: since this is fully lined, I decided not to finish the inside seams. (Sssh!)
Shoulder seams: the pattern has you enclose all seams inside the lining but I’m waiting to see this step in the sewalong as I could do with seeing some pictures. The diagrams in the instruction booklet would probably make it a cinch for many but I’ve seen this finish mentioned before and can never get my head around it.
As I mentioned at the beginning, whilst I like a fitted waist with a full skirt — and box pleats are one of my favourites — it was difficult to tell whether this really suited my style.
In terms of Rue’s design details: 1.) I love the bust pleats 2.) unless it’s cushions, piping is not my thing. I debated for a long time whether to include piping in this version anyway to experiment but opted to remain true to myself. I’m still not entirely sure whether the bust seam lines are where they’re supposed to be? Especially after seeing Sarai’s dark plaid version: I much prefer where those seam lines sit, but her bright silk version seems different. My understanding is the dark plaid version has an FBA, so maybe that’s what I need if I want the seam lines to sit under the bust. Similarly, the seam lines on Rach’s Rue seem to be below the bust too. I fully expect the upcoming sewalong to cover fitting, I was just flying solo. Adding piping would’ve been a visual reminder of my uncertainty about all of this. As it is, the seam lines aren’t too conspicuous. The chambray sits a little funny at the skirt’s centre back seam but I don’t think it’s too much of an issue.
After all that, the actual verdict? I’m definitely happy with how it turned out: it has a real vintage feel (which I’m not used to wearing so perhaps that’s what makes me still a little uncertain if it looks OK?) and I especially love the neckline; it’s so flattering. I think I’d like to hack the bodice with a pencil skirt; very Mad Men. I’m publishing this post after wearing her for a whole day and I must say, she’s been just as much of a pleasure to wear as she was to sew.
My vlogs! I’ve been so slow this month because life has happened! My August makes vlog is now live and my September sewing plans vlog is on its way.
What do you think to the Rue, will you be giving her a go?
Note: A copy of the Rue dress was given to me by Colette Patterns in exchange for my feedback (they did not stipulate I needed to blog about it). All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.