Hi everyone,  it's Kathy here from www.sewdainty.co.uk, can you believe that it's August already? This month's project is The Peony Dress by Colette Patterns
I have sewn a couple of items from Colette Patterns before and I wanted to try another. I love their style and knew the pattern instructions would be simple and easy to follow. I was not disappointed, it's a beautiful design, and is fairly straightforward to sew. Colette categorise this pattern as 'easy' and I would perhaps recommend this to advanced beginners as there is an invisible zip to sew in which might be tricky for someone who is very new to sewing. Darts, gathers and easing in sleeves are the other challenges this design has.
As is often the case, this pattern has different options. You can choose short or 3/4 sleeves, in-seam pockets or without, and the option to make a cummerbund style belt. As usual I did a great deal of browsing through images of the Peony Dress on the internet to grab some inspiration, and opted for the short sleeved version. I decided to make it without pockets this time, which is very unusual for me, but I will explain later why I decided to do that. I also wasn't keen on the belt, so decided to skip that part too.
My fabric choice is the most gorgeous Cotton Chambray Fabric, with a floral print. It is beautifully soft and comfortable to wear, especially if the weather is warm. The floral print is subtle enough not to overpower the pretty design features of the dress such as the sweet little gathers at the waist seam either side of the front skirt. It also does not crease easily and is a dream to iron. This fabric is available in light, mid and dark blue options.
Because I had not made the pattern before I decided to make up a quick toile as I almost always do, to check if any alterations would be necessary. I was happy with it all, except that I felt the skirt was too 'A-line' for me, and did not flatter my shape. I pinned the skirt side seams on my toile to a more flattering straighter style and marked these on the paper pattern so that when I cut out my 'real' dress it would have a straighter skirt shape. I'm really pleased with how this turned out. This new skirt shape was the reason that I decided to omit the pockets, as I didn't want to add any bulk to this slimmer silhouette.
This dress has a very wide neckline, which runs horizontally front and back almost to the shoulder points. I wasn't sure if I would like this 'boat' neckline as I thought it would feel like it were slipping off my shoulders, but it is comfortable and doesn't bother me at all. I quite like it!
The fastening on this dress is an invisible zip down the centre back bodice. Lovely and straightforward. The pattern calls for a hook and eye to be sewn at the top, but I felt this would make it look like the zip had stopped short of the top so opted to leave the hook and eye out, and sew the zip right to the top neckline.
I finished the hem of the skirt by hand as I wanted the stitching there to be almost invisible. One of these days I will get around to working out how to use the blind hem stitch on my machine as hand stitching is a little time consuming, but I like the result it gives. There is no reason why it couldn't be machine stitched of course.
So overall, a lovely dress which I am very pleased with. I am excited to have made this in time for my holidays and will be packing this for sure!
Thank you to all at Minerva for the beautiful supplies which are listed in the side bar, I have loved making  this dress and would thoroughly recommend it!
Take care, and I'll be back soon!
Kathy x