Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Colette Rue (and Pattern Release!)
Have you ever applied for a job where you * kind of * lied about how good you were, and then got hired, and then realized that you probably shouldn’t have lied in the first place because now you are in the thick of it with no fucking idea what you have to do and you are slowly dying inside because everything you ever thought about yourself is one big distortion of your true reality and purpose? Really? Never?! Oooooh kape. Nevermind then.
I made a thing! And it was before you even had a chance to also make that thing! Welcome to the world (and to my closet) Rue by Colette Patterns!
Ok, let’s start from the v beginning. Hi, my name is Natasha and I like to sew. I also have an unfortunate obsession with buying fabric and a credit card that just does not stop me from spending too much money (who would have thought?!). Recently, Cotton + Steel released their collection with Rifle Paper Co. and lets just say it has not been good to my wallet.
However, it just so happened that I had filled up my fabric stash at the exact same time that Colette Patterns was doing a call for pattern testers. Hello fate, it’s me, Natasha! Now, let’s get back to that whole opening sentiment. The call for pattern testers stated that this pattern would be at an intermediate skill level. I looked deep into my heart and said, ‘uh yeah of course I am an intermediate, have you seeen my friggin’ button plackets? helloooooo duh intermediate rite hur yasss’. With my superior skill level being established, I clicked send on my email and considered myself truly accomplished. And then they replied with this:
A beautiful fully lined dress pattern with sleeves and an invisible zipper.
Sooo, yeah, if you are looking for me, I am hiding underneath the table hugging my knees to my chest and repeating ‘everything will be ok’ over and over in a raspy monotone voice. That’s, like, a lot of shit to accomplish in one pattern, guys. Like, a lot of brand new to me things that I will inevitably have to not only accomplish, but succeed enough at to send my pictures back to Colette aka a team of professional seamstresses who do this for a living * under the table rocking intensifies *. However, I had agreed to test it out and I needed to abide by the ethical code set out for all people who lie on an online application for a something they are not qualified to get. New skills, here I come!
Now, first things first, the pattern calls for medium weight fabrics, including, you guessed it, quilting cottons. I don’t know if the staff at Colette was just joshin’ around, but if they don’t think that every single pattern tester’s dress will me made out of Les Fleurs Fabrics, they is wrong hunnay. I used Tapestry, Black, from the Cotton + Steel Les Fleurs collection purchased from my pals at Dinkydoo Fabrics (yes! they do bolt-cut fabrics too!)
The pattern calls for a bit more fabric than I originally had purchased, so I hoped I could make it work. I had 3 yards of the print, and I had to layout my pattern pieces differently than suggested in the instructions as I had a directional print. I was truly holding my breath when I was laying everything out, but I managed to just screech in with a little bit extra. Ooh, by the way, the cutout side pieces are Kona Cotton solids (quilting scraps to the rescue).
From the beginning, I knew the lining part of this dress would cause me the most troubles. I, unfortuantely, do not have a lot of experience or patience when it comes to slinky, slippery fabrics, and as it turns out, that is what all lining fabrics are. I purchased my 100% Rayon Bemberg Lining at Fabricana in Coquitlam. It has a good weight to it, which I thought would go well with the dress. I also incorrectly assumed that it would be easier to work with than the super duper slinky fabric choices in the lining section. But, you know, hindsight is 20/20 and all that jazz. The lining pieces are cut and constructed the exact same way as the exterior pieces, which meant that the darts, gathers, and pleats that are so easy to accomplish in a quilting weight also had to be finished with this slip-and-slide of a fabric. Ugh, I even hate reminiscing about the process. Why, lining, do you have to look and feel so good while been so hard to work with?! WHY GOD, WHY?!
You keen cats will notice that I forgot to cut my lining shorter than my dress pattern. Good eyes, Sherlock’s of the sewing blogisphere. I ended up cutting it down right before hemming it. The one true #blessing of a wonky hem on a lining piece is that no one will ever find out.
I had originally cut 3/4 length sleeves for the dress (I had chosen Version 2 of the pattern). However, after setting in one sleeve, I didn’t really like how it turned out. Although I feel the bodice is a good size for me, the sleeves ended up being a bit too small for my super buff totally toned rock star arms, and they had an adverse effect on the back of my bodice.
Ok ok, avert your eyes from that BALLIN’ t-shirt tan and look at that weird ass pucker! I couldn’t stand for such an attrocity, so I ended up unpicking and moving on. Farewell, too small sleeve babies, you puckered in the back, and gave me a weird shoulder rolls in the front, and you will not be missed.
However, I did ultimately get to practice sewing in a lining with a sleeve, and considering that took me two full evenings to create and unpick, I thought I should share with you the beauty of my lined bodice. Oooh, fancy skill learning, Natasha.
While I toiled night after night on this dress, I truly and honestly didn’t think I was going to end up with a garment worth wearing in the end. My ultimate downfall was my lackadaisical attitude towards the lining construction. I had started the dress thinking ‘oh, well if the lining looks shitty, no one will notice’ without thinking that an ill-fitting bodice would literally affect everything about the final garment. The wonky lining affected the top stitch around the neckline (which I ultimately unpicked) and the bodice fits around my waist oddly in a way that is very noticeable for me when I wear it. However, (and hold on to your butts people) after wearing the dress a few times within the past week, I am 100% totally and utterly infatuated with my final garment and I will probably wear it a gazillion times over and again.
Here are just a few of my (are you singing it yet) favvooourite things:
The lining of the dress feels soooo dreamy while wearing it. Like, for all of the shit I just made you read through about how much I hated this lining, it does feel like an angel is caressing my curves as a sashay side to side.
I was originally very concerned with what my husband now refers to as ‘boob ruffles’, aka the pleats on the bodice, as I am not really a ruffly type of gal. However, they end up adding a really nice definition to the front of the dress without being overbearing or taking away from the fabric pattern at all.
UM HI HONEY, are you LOOKING at that invisible zipper? NO CAUSE YOU CAN’T EVEN SEE IT BECH. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I died inside when my pattern ended up being slightly off after completing the zip. I was mostly mad because up until the final stitch, I double checked everything a million times and it always turned out perfect. Eh, glitch in the matrix, whaddya gonna do? In this photo and from this close, it definitely looks messy, but because the pattern is already so busy, from a normal human distance away you can’t even tell there is a problem. Which is good, because everyone should be a normal human distance away from me at all times. #shade
Something I didn’t take a picture of, but also completed for the first time was a hand-sewn blind hem stitch. One of my favorite parts of quilting is being able to sit on the couch and hand sew my binding, as you know the end of the project is almost near and you will be able to sit back and enjoy your completed work of art. Same thing goes for the blind hem stitch, and it’s ✨super sneaky✨ as you can barely see any stitches from the exterior shell piece, which I also deeply enjoy.
Initially, I don’t know if I would have ever chosen this dress pattern ‘off the rack’ because I would have negged myself into thinking I didn’t have all of the necessary skills to complete it. However, I am so so glad that I pushed through and completed this pattern because I feel like I have learned a lot from one pattern alone. If you are looking for a skill boosting pattern that end up looking totally fabulous, look no further folks. Cause like, for real, this beech did it. Thank you so much to Colette for making my first pattern testing experience so fun and full of #lifelessons.
If I have inspired you to make your own Rue (I hope I have) head over to the brand spanking new pattern release for it today on Colette Patterns.