Greetings pretty little robin’s eggs. A neighborhood robin nicely made a nest down low enough to the ground to give us a vantage point, so I’ve now seen robin’s eggs in their pristine, unhatched form. They’re darker than I expected!

So what do I have for you today, in this bleak blogger-less world? None other than a new garment to reveal! I’ve finished my sample of Colette’s Violet! I made up a straight size 18 (no pattern adjustments) from some lovely pink voile. The fit is a bit off, but not so much that it’s unwearable!

Since this is a sample for the shop, I wanted to make the pattern with no pattern adjustments, sort of a first-run muslin!  I used a wonderfully silky pink voile – I think it’s Anna Maria Horner. I really like the color and the simplicity of using a solid for this blouse. The solid pink shows off the little details I added – piping on the collar and the sleeve hems and self covered buttons.

As regular readers know, the style is a bit out of my realm of comfort – a loose fitting button up blouse with no waist definition?? I was quite taken with the collar, though and I LOVED this shirt when Sarai made her version for her Spring Palette wardrobe!! Since I made a size 18, the shoulder and neck area is a bit too loose, while the bust and hips are a bit too tight! For a next version I think I’ll go down a size to smooth out the shoulders and reduce the floppy collar (it’s hard to see in the photos, but it sort of hangs away from my body.) You can see in the photo below that the drape just is  a bit stunted – look at all those wrinkles in the shoulder!

While the shoulders are a bit too big, the bust, waist and hips are a bit too small! The buttons aren’t gaping, but they want to! I if I cut a size smaller (Grrr!! Why don’t I start tracing patterns??) overall, then add two inches to the bodice with an FBA, that will help. Because there are no vertical darts, the two inches I add to the bust with an FBA will also be added to the waist and hips. I believe I’ll also add another two inches to the hem of the shirt so it’ll flow over my booty a bit better and not have all these crazy wrinkles! The biceps could also use another inch or so.

How I wore it…

The blouse works really well as a layering piece and with a belt! Here are a few different ways I tried it out… first, it’s adorable under a cardi! That collar is just my very favorite!

Also nice tucked into a high-waisted skirt. There’s plenty of length!

I think this is probably my favorite. With a little belt action I’ve got my waist back!

Construction notes

Even with the slightly off fit, the blouse is really wonderful. It was easy to make – there is a back yoke, but only one piece, so no confusing layering and turning required to finish the inside of the yoke. The most difficult parts of the construction were worrying about sewing the collar and the upper and lower points of the center front so everything is symmetrical. Of course, I added the difficulty of piping, so that created more trouble for me. I also had a terrible time getting the stitching right – lots of skipped stitches. I think it was the weight of the voile that was the problem. I tried brand new needles starting at size 8 and going up to size 12. The size 10 provided the best results, but there are still a few skipped stitches. Boo.

My main problem with the piping is that when I made it I forgot that the width of the bias strip that gets caught in the seam is pretty important. I just cut 1” bias strips, wrapped some very thin cording and sewed tight with a zipper foot. When It came time to insert the piping in the collar, I realized that since the seam allowance/extra tape that was on the piping wasn’t a consistent width AND wasn’t 5/8” (my seam allowance) I couldn’t just sandwich it in between both the upper and lower collar and stitch at 5/8”. You can see that I got it pretty symmetrical, but there is definitely some wonky stitching going on.

I ended up basting the piping to one of the collar pieces so I could make sure that it was attached with a nice curve and no odd angles. Then I very carefully stitched the collar piece with the piping to the unpiped piece, using my fingers and eyeballing it to stitch along the piping since I couldn’t rely on the seam allowance markings on the throat plate. At the end I could see a lot of the stitching on the piping from when  I’d made it, so I went back and ripped that stitching out where I could see it. A good press and steam and the holes went away!

I had to clip to DEATH to get the collar to curve nicely! Like, every quarter inch or so. I topstitched the collar so that the finishing would match the sleeves. On the collar it’s decorative, but it was necessary on the sleeves. The topstitching made me angsty, as it’s hard (for me) to get a nice, smooth stitching line when going around curves! I used the blind hem foot (the one that has the adjustable screw thing to move that piece from side to side) and a 1.5mm stitch length. On the curviest part of the collar, I went SUPER slow, mostly using the handwheel. It turned out alright, although it’s not perfect enough from my OCD!!

I’ve never worked with piping and garments before – I’ve only done piping for home dec sewing – and didn’t bother to read up on the subject, so I’m not sure if my sleeve treatment is the normal way to do things. I put the piping on the right side of the sleeve (the outside) and serged them together with a wide 4 thread overlock stitch. I turned the serged edge to the inside, pressed and edgedstitched to keep in place. I would have liked it to be a bit more finished and perhaps could have sandwiched the piping between the shirt and a bias cut strip, then turned in the strip and edge stitched, hiding all the seam allowances under the bias strip. It would have been cleaner, but this works too!

Another view of the outside of the sleeve hem.

And now the inside of the sleeve hem…

There are pretty little gathers at the center back under the yoke. And the sleeve cap is generous, so there are some gathers there as well, without going into puffy sleeve territory! I sewed my gathers more like tucks, but I don’t mind how it looks!!

The hem is just a simple narrow finish. I think the instructions outlined a method I see a lot in Kwik Sew patterns and for some reason I find sort of difficult – turn up 5/8”, press, then tuck the raw edge under so that it’s in the fold and press again, then topstitch the fold down. I don’t know why, but I find this so hard! It’s easier for me to do two narrow folds. I think the Colette/Kwik Sew way makes it easier to keep the hem straight, though…

The hem from the inside…

I used MULTIPLE seam finishing methods on the shirt, which is sort of funny. I started working on the construction while I was at work, so I used the serger for a lot of the main seams. I don’t have a serger at home, though, so I did a french seam when I sewed the arms before setting in. Of course, french seams (at least for me!) and set in sleeves don’t mix, and I really wanted the inside of the shirt neat, since the voile is so thin. I ended up cutting bias strips and encasing the armscye seam in the strips.

The front facing.


The last word

[I’d forgotten I’d swiped the charming the format from Sew Weekly ! It’s back!]

fabric: Anna Maria Horner (I think) cotton voile. Dreamy.

pattern: Colette Patterns 1015 – Violet

notions: 1 yard Stacy Shapeflex woven interfacing from pellon, 12 half inch fabric-covered buttons (seven in use, the rest rejects. I have the worst time covering the smaller buttons!), 2 yards teeny tiny piping cord

time to complete: 1 hour to make piping and cut bias strips for inside finishing, 30 minutes cut and fuse interfacing. Probably three or four hours total for sewing. The sewing was quick, the futzing around with the piping was not. Without piping, I’d say this’d be a four hour project from start to end.

likelihood to make another?: I’d like to try another, I really love the collar and would like to tweak the sizing and see how I like such a relaxed cut!

curvy girl score – 6 (out of 10) The pattern instructions and cute details get a solid 10, and in some ways I suppose I could have given a higher curvy girl score, as the Colette patterns are drafted for a larger cup size and the relaxed fit makes ‘fitting’ so much easier. As far as style, though, I think the blouse needs accessorizing to make it flattering for my body shape . So, worn loose, I give it a 6. Worn belted, tucked or with a cardi, I give it a 9!

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