Monthly Archives: June 2012

Colette Hazel FBA Tutorial

Hi All!

So I thought I’d post a brief description of how I did the FBA on the Colette Hazel dress, in case anyone is interested in trying it out for themselves.

If you have done an FBA on a regular bodice, or kind of get the idea how it’s done, it’s essentially the same for the Hazel, only the pattern piece looks a bit different, and you have to adjust the adjoining pieces to match.

If not, there are some great FBA tutorials online, or in books such as The Perfect Fit, and Colette Sewing Handbook.

I always trace my pattern pieces and do the adjustment on the traced piece instead of the original, in case it doesn’t work or I wish to use the original again at some point.

First, you start with the Bodice Front piece, (the one that looks kind of like a triangle), and do the slash and spread as shown below:

Then, you must fill in the gaps of course, using scrap paper, and re-draw the bust dart. The sides and top must be straight and the grainline straight, so adjust as necessary if needed. Then match up the bodice side piece with the bodice front piece at the notches, and add length as shown on the bodice side diagram above.

I also had to add length to the bottom of my bodice back and bodice back side pieces as well, which I noticed when I did the muslin, so check those pieces where they join up to each other before you cut your fabric, and adjust as necessary.

Make sure you check the facing pieces as well, and make adjustments if necessary, so that they match.

I HIGHLY recommend doing a muslin for the bodice on this one, as it’s an unusual adjustment and many pieces mean many areas it may not quite work.

Also, as mentioned in my previous post, if you’re large busted you may want to consider making the straps a bit wider, as I found they were too narrow on me and didn’t quite look right. I made mine about 1/2″ wider than recommended, by just serging a smaller seam allowance, but you can do this without a serger, by sewing the smaller seam allowance and grading the bulk. Keep in mind if you do this, you may have to adjust the placement on the bodice a tad, so it might not match up to the markings exactly.

If you have any questions or anything is unclear please don’t hesitate to drop me a line! I’m happy to help in any way I can! 🙂

Sew Colette 2.0 – Hazel Dress finished

I did it! I finished in time for the sewalong! WHEW! That was the fastest I’ve ever made ANYTHING!

Here’s I am wearing it with a hoodie, waiting for the bus to go get fish & chips with my hunnie 🙂


The dress came together pretty quickly actually, after I figured out how to do the FBA. I only made a quick muslin for the bodice to test it, then worked out the minor stuff as I went along.

One thing to note for those of ample chest like myself, I felt the straps were far too narrow, made as per instructions on my muslin, so I made them about 1/2″ wider on this version, which also meant I had to fiddle with the placement as well. Also I felt the instructions to adjust strap placement should have come AFTER zipper installation because I definitely couldn’t get a fine tune beforehand.

Here’s me being silly, modeling the bodice:



The dress is cute, cool, and comfortable, and the first thing I’ve made and worn that I didn’t notice issues with after wearing! Hallelujah, I must be getting better!! 🙂 I’m definitely gonna make this again!

But next up is the Jamie Christina Mission Maxi – woo hoo! my first foray into knit territory! 🙂

Sew Colette: Licorice finished!

Colette Licorice Dress

Don’t mind my pasty legs lol but after an hour trying to shoot this thing inside, unsuccessfully, outside was the only way to go 😛 (here’s a closer up pic though, which shows the sleeves @ collar better)


This dress took me forever!! For a “wearable muslin” especially. In addition to my usual FBA, I shortened the sleeves and made them a bit narrower, which i like, cause otherwise there’s just too much bulk pointing to my chest, which doesn’t need emphasis lol.

I also shortened the hemline which turned out to be a bad idea. Too short now, by about an inch; although it might be ok with tights in the fall.

Then there was all that business with the lining, which I’ve already described so I’ll not go into that again 🙂

All in all I like this dress. The style is comfortable and pretty, and I’ll likely make it again 🙂

So… Sew Colette finally finished; albeit a month late lol. I learned A TON from sewing through the Colette Handbook. Fitting & altering patterns, underlining, lining, zippers, sleeves, making bias tape… I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m proficient at any of this stuff yet but I’m a lot less scared to tackle it now 🙂

I’ve also met a great deal of wonderful people through this, and I’m really looking forward to continuing the fun with Sew Colette 2.0!!

Already got my Hazel traced, pattern altered, and muslin cut!! See you all soon! 🙂

Licorice saved!!

Hallelujah!! It’s saved!!

By no means is it perfect but I managed to get it ‘wearable’; which is exactly all it was meant to be 🙂

As aforementioned I removed the old zipper, pinked the remaining shredded back seams, and reinstalled a new invisible zipper to the outer shell.

Then I added bias tape to each of the lining seams, and attached the other side of the bias tape to the (new) zipper, which added about a half inch on each side. (see below)

Turns out that little extra ease was enough to make it work! Yay!!


The zipper is still a bit wavy but not the horrid puckery mess it was the first go round. Here is the new improved back view:


I still have to finish the collar seam at the top of the opening, slip stitch closed the belt, and press everything but I’m really glad to have finally gotten the tough part done!

Pics to follow when I’m done, then on to Hazel!

oh the humanity…


Yes, that’s a zipper. Clinging on for dear life to the shredded remains of my Licorice seam allowance.

I was all set to finish Licorice yesterday and it was all going fine until I tried it on after the zipper installation – front: fine; back: an ugly puckery disaster 😦

All I can figure is that I should have cut the lining a bit bigger to compensate for the inherent stretch quality of the cotton gauze the shell is made of. I shoulda known!! *facepalm* I didn’t think of it cause it’s not a “stretch” fabric, but still. Duh.

So I detatched the lining from the zip and it fixed the problem but now I had lining hanging open at the back. No one would know but me, but I’D know, and it bugged me lol. So out came the zipper, and now I need a new one cause – well, you can see why lol.

I trimmed a little off the seam allowance and am attaching 1″ bias tape to my lining on both sides in the hopes that will even it out enough to work.

All I can say is,
wearable muslin? the verdict is still out…
… learning experience? definitely.

Surprises & Sleeves

I was so excited to get this in the mail today:


I won Handmade Jane’s giveaway & landed this lovely pattern – thanks Jane!! 🙂

I’ve got Hazel & a couple other summer pieces to do first but I’ve already got fabric earmarked for this as my first fall make:


Looking forward to a special trip downtown with my mum to shop for the perfect buttons for it as well!! 🙂

But for now I’m getting close to wrapping up the Licorice dress from the Sew Colette party – yeah, late… I know!! lol But check out my awesome sleeves:


This is my first “for-real” time doing set-in sleeves; actually knowing what I was doing, and I’m really pleased with the results! I had also made some alterations to the sleeve (which I’ll detail when the dress is finished) and I’m super happy with them – yay!!

Hopefully gonna try & finish this baby tomorrow! 🙂

Triple T’s

Tailor Tacks & bias Tape… three T’s that may be more on the tedious side of sewing but I’d like to take a minute to share some positive things about them 🙂

I use chalk to mark some things but for marks that need to show for awhile, especially after I’ve handled the fabric (like zipper marks) I’ve found tailor tacks work best.

I’m making the Colette Licorice dress and there are several collar pieces, all with small and large dots to be marked, for the tucks. So how to distinguish them? I decided to leave large tails for the large dots and small ones for the small:


I also decided to make bias tape for the first time, using my beautiful teal Bemberg lining instead of the crinkly gauze self fabric:


Hopefully I’ll have more to show soon!

Also I got fabric for the Hazel today:


My mum & I went shopping & after scouring the entire shop to no avail (unless you count the gorgeous silk cotton with embroidered border for $40/m which I was still coveting as we left) this soft, pink print was the only one we both liked – and lucky me; it’s technically quilt backing so it’s 107″ wide, meaning I only needed a meter!! 🙂 It was buy one get one free so I got a meter of another fabric for a project TBA, and that means my Hazel fabric and the other one were only $10 each – not bad!! 🙂