Whoohoo! It’s a miracle! I’ve finally finished my Peony Dress by Colette Patterns!

Sewbon.com :: Sewbon Colette Patterns Peony Dress

I signed up to make this dress at a 2 part class that Fabric Bliss, my fav local fabric shop and sewing studio, was teaching. The Peony is labeled at a beginner level, so I thought it would be the perfect dress to make as my first “real” garment. I’ve sewn PJ pants, a couple of skirts, and a handful of baby pants before, but this garment presented a whole host of new challenges for me. A bodice! Darts! Sleeves! Invisible zipper! Pockets!

Per the usual, I spent lots of time Googling and looking at other blogger’s posts about their Peony experience. After reading all these other posts, I was scared! It sounded like folks had a really hard time with the fit of the bodice. Spoiler: I, too, had a really hard time with the fit.

Sewbon.com :: Sewbon Colette Patterns Peony Dress

I went with a lavender colored Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton because I like the drape of the fabric (and the price point). I like flowy dresses and didn’t want anything too stiff. I considered a fun print, but was a bit nervous about trying to get the print to line up.

For homework, we had to cut out our pattern pieces. I cut version A for the bodice and skirt but cut the short sleeves of version B. I have seen some adorable sleeveless Peony’s on the web and was tempted to go that route, but the allure of learning how to sew sleeves won me over.

Sewbon.com :: Sewbon Colette Patterns Peony Dress

The class was broken up into 2 sessions, 3 hours each. In the first session, we assembled our bodices and worked on the fit. I shorted my darts but after trying it on, I decided I needed to move my darts as well. Thank goodness there was a wonderful teacher on hand to help me figure out how to adjust my darts! We also attached our sleeves, but I accidentally sewed one on inside out. Whoops!

For homework, I had to seam rip my darts, move them out about 3/4 of an inch each, and fix my sleeve. I also had to assemble the skirt and pockets. I decided to go for “extra credit” and make some piping too. The pattern suggests adding piping, and since I had never made piping before, I figured I should try.

Sewbon.com :: Sewbon Colette Patterns Peony Dress

In the second class, I was still working out some of my fit issues. I ended up hacking (I’m not sure if there’s a more formal term for what I did) a couple inches out of the back, tapering down to the waist.  We then finished our necklines (I dropped mine a little bit as I felt like it was choking me) and attached the bodice to the skirt with the piping I made. We also inserted our invisible zippers! I’m super excited that I didn’t have really any big problems with mine! Just sewed a bit too close in a couple places and had to seam rip so it would zip/unzip.

As class ended, I had a couple of thing I needed to finish at home. I had a little gap in the back at the end of the invisible zipper that I needed to stitch up, I needed to hem the dress, and I decided I wanted to look at taking the shoulders up a bit. Then weeks and weeks passed and my Peony just stared at me, hanging unfinished in the closet.

Sewbon.com :: Sewbon Colette Patterns Peony Dress

This past week I finally pulled it out and finished it! I started out doing a blind hem on this dress, but it ended up looking pretty terrible. So, I seam ripped it out and just did a regular hem instead. Also, I decided to leave the shoulders as is. Truth be told, my seam ripper and I were a little tired of this dress.

Overall, I’m really happy with how my first “real” garment turned out! It was quite the learning process and I’m excited  to take my new dress making skills and tackle the Laurel next.

Big thanks to my big sister Laura of Laura Murray Photography for taking these pictures of my Peony Dress up at Lake Dillon in Colorado.