Pattern Review: Colette Wren Dress

I quickly fell in love with the look of the Wren Dress by Colette Patterns as soon as I saw it. I love wrap bodices of all types. I just think they looks so pretty and classy and just easy to wear for any occasion (which is my favorite type of garments, ones that are super versatile in how you can dress it up or down).

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I made a mock-up as soon as I downloaded, printed, taped, and cut out the pattern. I was so excited. I used some cheap poly knit that I save for testing knit patterns. I found it came together super quickly and easily and required only a tiny bit of alterations for it to be exactly what I wanted. (I donated the fully finished mock-up to a local thrift store because it needed a few alterations for it to fit me perfectly, but this first version will hopefully still get some love and wear!)

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The Colette Wren Dress is a dress pattern for knits with a faux wrap top bodice and 2 options for skirts (with extra add-on options), and options for sleeveless or short sleeves. The pattern is designed to be more of an empire waist dress. Empire style dresses don’t flatter my body, so I altered the pattern slightly for it to hit me at the natural waist.

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Basic Blue Bra

Alterations: I added length to the bodice, as I mentioned, to turn this pattern from an empire waist to a natural waist. I also used a full circle skirt instead of the 2 standard option included in the main pattern (a gathered skirt and a fitted pencil style skirt). I also added a tiny bit of length in the shoulders to lengthen the armscythes, but that’s just a personal preference and I only added a tiny bit of length, it hardly needed any.

My Final Versions:

V. 1: Black Scuba knit fabric, full circle skirt. I personally wouldn’t recommend using scuba, especially not for the bodice as it just has too much structure to sit right on the body (plus scuba usually doesn’t have a ton of stretch, and with no closures, a wiggle dance may be needed to get the waist over my shoulders when putting it on). The skirt has a ton of body and was very full, I loved the way the skirt looked. If I were to use scuba again, I would only use it for the skirt and use something else for the bodice.

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V. 2: Maroon/Mulberry ITY knit fabric, with all alterations mentioned above. I love this dress. It is definitely my favorite and most worn me made dress so far. The ITY is lightweight and has so much drape. This is one of those pieces that can be dressed up with some nice jewelry and a pair of heels, or dressed down with just a pair of sneakers. It drapes over my hips and middle so nicely, it passes the twirl test 100%, the sleeves hit me at just the right length, and the bodice hugs my body beautifully. After I made this one, I may have bought 3 or 4 more colors of this ITY knit to make more.

V. 3: Bright Blue ITY knit fabric and black lace fabric. with all alterations mentioned above, plus a slight shoulder mod: my front bodice pieces didn’t quite fit on the fabric, so I just decided to make it a style element and added a piece of lace lined with power mesh to make up the length missing at the top of the shoulder. This one fits beautifully just like V. 2, but I may have added a little too much length at the shoulder with the lace detail, as this dress sits a little lower on my waist than V. 2 does. I could just take it up at the waist a little and call it a day, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’ve worn this one a few times as well, but not as many times as V. 2.

So here’s my condensed review:

  • Pattern name: Wren Dress by Colette Patterns
  • Size range: XS-3X
  • What size did you make?
    • XS
  • What are your measurements, height, and body type?
    • I am 5’0″ and pear shaped body (with balanced shoulders). My measurements are: Bust: 31.5″ Waist: 23.5″ Hips: 38.5″ and I am a 30B bra size.
  • What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
    • As stated above, I added length to the bodice (about 1.5″) and added height to the armscythe. It took a very short amount of time, the pattern includes lengthen/shorten lines to adjust the length.
  • What fabric did you use?
    • Scuba, ITY Knit
  • What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
    • The construction process was a breeze, I whipped up a dress in a day. The instructions were very detailed without being too wordy and were very easy to understand (perfect for newer stitchers!)
  • How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
    • I love the fit of the pattern, it was very well drafted. I do think it works well for my body type and could work for many other body types as well.
  • Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
    • I have a few more planned and will likely make more than that too. I don’t think I will make any other changes to the pattern, though I may try the other skirt or sleeve add ons. (I’m thinking a cotton lycra long sleeve Wren for fall winter!) I am looking to make the fitted skirt for a more formal style dress, I’m just looking for the right fabric to make it with.
  • Do you have any advice on this pattern for other sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
    • My main advice would be to just read through the instructions before you start, use the suggested fabric for the pattern, and double check the finished measurements given for the pattern to make sure you’ll be making the correct size. The Colette Blog has a bunch of posts that are great resources for finding the best fabric, sewing it up, making alterations, and hacks and add ons. Also, check out the hashtag #colettewren on instagram for inspiration and other peoples versions.

Pattern Rating:

Size Range (1-5): 5
Instructions (1-5): 5
Construction Process (1-5): 5
Final Fit (1-5): 4
Overall Rating (1-5) + Explanation : 4.5 overall I love the pattern, the alterations were for my personal preference for fit and style. There are very few pattern pieces (5 pieces total: front, back, neck, sleeve, skirt) The dress can be made in many different fabrics and many different styles. It’s quick to sew up but with enough steps in the process to keep things interesting. It’s a versatile pattern in the sense that the final piece can be dressed up or down in daily wear. There is a large size range available for the pattern as well which is great. The pattern is available in both printed and digital download. The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 out of 5 was due to having to make alterations and due to the price of the actual pattern (I understand that it’s an indie company and that makes patterns cost more, but it still makes my wallet sad, alternatively, you could sign up for seamwork and use your credits to purchase the PDF pattern, which ends up a little cheaper).

So, if you’ve been thinking about or just eyeing the wren dress but weren’t sure about it, I definitely recommend giving it a shot. With very few alterations or using the add on options, I think it could work for just about any body type.

(I am not affiliated with Colette Patterns or Seamwork Mag at all (but I’d be totally happy if they wanted to make me an affiliate lol), I just really like this pattern and wanted to review it and put it out there. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

 

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#mmmay17 last full week recap!

Lots of repeats this week, but that just shows me the things I’ve made and love and obviously need to make more of!

SO here’s the recap:

Monday: Maroon/Mulberry Wren Dress in ITY knit from fabric.com

Tuesday: Cropped plantain tee with cap sleeves and vneck in a rayon knit from fabric.com

Wednesday: Short sleeved Hemlock tee in a periwinkle lightweight sweater knit that I got for free from a Church destash and a me made bra

Thursday: Moneta Crop top out of the same periwinkle sweater knit

Friday: Me made undies

Saturday: me made bra

Sunday: Seafoam plantain tee with vneck in a rayon knit from fabric.com

So a pretty successful week. I’ve finished a lot of sewing, finished knitting a shawl, and started a new shawl and am nearly finished with a pair of socks I’ve been knitting.

I’ve started my Sew Over It Mia Jeans shorts in a charcoal ponte roma knit. I just need to hem them and make a button hole and stitch the button on. They’re just as I wanted them to be and are definitely a much better fitting version of the rtw ones that I loved. I’ll post more in depth about the pattern and the shorts once they’re finished.

How are you all feeling about me made may?

#mmmay17 #22

Confession time: I didn’t get dressed until maybe 4:30pm today.

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I definitely enjoyed the freedom of not having to get dressed in anything other than a baggy tshirt today. So I took full advantage of that for most of the day before finally throwing on this dress. This is my mulberry/maroon Colette Wren Dress that I’ve worn already for me made may. It’s almost as comfy as just wearing a baggy tshirt, but not quite.

I finished 2 items for an order and packaged that up to ship it out. I also started work on another order and that one is about half done now. I did a little more knitting on my shawl. I had the cat who was being a big lazy butt today.

She woke me up from getting in the basement window (our bedroom is in the basement and she has to jump from our bed to the dresser to the window, and of course she wanted the window by my head). Then as soon as I was up and about, she decided to cry at me constantly and then when I didn’t pet her enough (I’m not cruel, I did pet her for a good while), she decided to jump into the middle of the bed and lay there near our pillows.

She’s not allowed on our bed, except to get in the window, we’ve had to put an old sweatshirt at the bottom corner of the bed because we couldn’t keep her off it, but today she didn’t want to stay in that spot. So I literally had to roll her onto the sweatshirt because she wouldn’t get up when I nudged her to move, so I just started rolling her. It was hilarious, but now our bed has quite a bit of cat hair on it… again… My allergies do not approve.

My anxiety was a bit better the first half of the day, but as usual, it escalated as the day went on. I also encountered something I didn’t really anticipate this week, due to being distracted with the current issues I was experiencing last week. I had a lot of urges today to relapse, having the house to myself for most of the day. I have a really major issue with “opportunity” relapses, where I can get away with it and not have anyone around to notice it. It happens every time and no matter how much I prepare and try to prevent it, I always fail.

So I had a lapse today. But that also shows just how degraded of a mental state I was in that I couldn’t even hold out 1 day of being by myself before I caved and lapsed. I’m not sure what this means for the rest of the week. I have plenty to do, but that doesn’t mean much for that part of my brain that wants to relapse. I’ve been having trouble the last few months with thoughts of relapse and very bad body image, but this was the first time I 100% gave into it. So I’m not really sure what to do now or where to go from here. But it’s not promising considering all the things that will be happening over the next month and a half, and how anxious I will be because of that. So, there’s that.

Anyway, what have you all been up to? Have you been doing anything different with the impending end of me made may? Have any more plans for progressing your me made wardrobe either now or once me made may is over?

#mmmay17 week 2 overview/recap

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Recap of Week 2 of Me Made May.

Day 1: My blue wren dress, I love this pattern and need to get working on more, I have the fabric for 2 more and have another bit of fabric coming in for one more.

Day 2: A Stone Grey waffle/thermal knit long sleeve plantain tee with a me made bra and rtw leggings and undies. super simple and comfy, basically my daily uniform: comfy tee and leggings

Day 3: My red with white hearts sweetheart halter neck dress, very 50’s pinup girl. I love love love this pattern and have made 3 so far, I have many more planned.

Day 4: A light grey vneck short sleeved plantain tee with me made bra and undies and some rtw leggings. my daily uniform, as usual.

Day 5: Road trip! Periwinkle short sleeved hemlock tee with arm bands instead of sleeves, me made undies and rtw leggings.

Day 6: me made undies with rtw dress.

Day 7: seafoam plantain tee with me made undies and rtw leggings. my favorite me made top yet.

Overall not bad! There’s definitely a trend that I need to take advantage of and make some more clothing for my daily uniform. I’ll definitely be making more plantain tees, short and long sleeve hemlock tees, and I need to get my butt moving and make some leggings.

I have a few new shirts I’ve finished making during week 2 that I will most likely be wearing this week. I’ll mainly be working on etsy orders as I’ve got quite a pile to get through and ship out this week. I need to cut out some neck and arm bindings for some shirts I have mostly finished, so I may do that and get those done with week as well.

How has your me made may pledge been going? Is it harder than you thought? Have you discovered which patterns you reach for over and over again?

Me Made May And The Very Inevitable Mess

So day 8! Today was another Wren Dress by Colette Patterns, this one is also an ITY knit, this time in a bright blue, but I also added a small black lace panel at the front shoulders.

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I’m also wearing a me made bra that happens to match, color-wise, pretty darn well. The undies are rtw.

I love this dress pattern and fabric combo. I really can’t rave about it enough. It’s super slinky and drapey and can very easily be dressed up or down. I can throw on a pair of sneakers and run errands, put on a pair of boots to feel a little bit more stylish and put together, throw on a blazer and be “work ready”, or put on a pair of heels and maybe some jewelry for a more semi-formal event. It’s just that staple dress, like the “little black dress” everyone is always trying to find, except I’m not limiting myself to all black (though I’ll probably be making one of those too 😉 you can never have too many versatile dresses in your wardrobe)

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I did the same adjustments for this wren dress as my previous one, except I added a little extra room in the shoulder, as I didn’t care for the purple one being so close to me underarm (it wasn’t tight, but I don’t like my clothing to be touching my armpits… I guess I just have very sensitive armpits? ha). So I added a little length to the top bodice and neckline piece. I used the added space at the shoulder as a color block panel and used black lace lined with a power mesh so help prevent the lace from ripping later on.

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And now to explain the title of this post. After I took these pictures, I made myself some food. And being the not so graceful person I am, ended up spraying the skirt with pomegranate juice. I immediately took the dress off and rinsed it in the sink in cold water and it’s now hanging in the bathroom to dry. hopefully it doesn’t stain! I’ve only worn this dress one other time since I made it in March.

So only time will tell if I saved this dress or not.

But if you’ve been thinking about getting the wren dress, I highly recommend it, despite the hesitations I have about colettes patterns (that’s a whole other post), this one I do think is worth the money. Just be aware of any adjustments you might want to make (like adding length to the bodice so it’s not an empire dress anymore). I do think it’s totally worth it and very versatile. I’m thinking about using the bodice pattern to create a wrap crop top or even a cardigan and add a waistband with a tie.

I might have also bought some more fabric for another wren dress… Sorry, not sorry. At least this next one won’t be a solid! Stay tuned to see that one.

#Mmmay17 Week 1 Round Up and Overview

So week one of me made may has come to a close and I can definitely see gaping holes in my me made wardrobe already. Now, I’m not very surprised at this, as I’ve only starting making clothes for myself in august/September of this last year. So I don’t have many things finished, and a bunch of things I finished, either didn’t fit, or I used the wrong fabric combination for the pattern. So my me made wardrobe is very small.

I already knew I needed more tshirts and needed to start making some leggings, as I practically live in those. I have quite a few dresses, which is fine, but the weather is a bit too chilly still for me to be wearing lightweight dresses every day.

Recap: Top Left: Day 1:  Deer and Doe Plantain Tee in a Seafoam Rayon Blend knit fabric with a curved hem and a vneck, a me made blue stretch lace bra with a pair of rayon spandex blend stretch lace edged thong. Rtw Leggings.
Top Middle: Day 2: Upcycle/refashioned velvet dress with pockets! Paired with the same rayon spandex blend fabric and stretch lace edging but in full bikini style panties.
Top Right: Day 3: Deer and Doe Plantain Tee in a Marled Navy and White Light Weight Sweater Knit (similar here), with a curved hem and cuffs on the sleeves. rtw bra, panties, and leggings.
Bottom Left: Day 4: Colette Patterns Wren Dress in an ITY Knit in a mulberry/maroon color, full circle skirt bottom, lengthened the bodice by a couple inches. Hand knit socks, and rtw bra and panties.
Bottom Middle: Day 6: Deer and Doe Plantain tee in a lightweight pastel blue burnout jersey, lengthened with a curved hem and a vneck. rtw leggings, and panties. me made bra.
Bottom Right: Day 7: Colette Patterns/Seamwork Magazine Perry Dress as a crop top, paired with a rtw skirt and panties, blue stretch lace me made bra.

So I made it for 6 out of 7 days. Which is pretty darn good. I missed day 5 due to mental health, and just wore my standard rtw leggings and oversized tshirt.

I’m seeing a lot of dresses in the next week or repeat outfits. I’ll be traveling next weekend to Tennessee by car for a wedding, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to document my outfits or wear me made items for those travel days. I’m working on a dress to wear to the wedding that I’m hoping to have finished before we have to leave, but that depends on when my new sewing machine comes in.

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Overall, Me Made May has made me realize that I really like comfy cozy clothes that aren’t really noteworthy or instagram ready. And my me made items are more in that instagram ready zone, mostly. The clothes I make are more in line with how I’d like to dress: pulled together, while still being simple, easy, comfy, and can be mixed and matched easily or dressed up or dressed down. My problem is actually wearing clothes like this in my day to day life, I feel like I’m “Wasting” these outfits because on most days I never leave the house and hardly leave the basement. So I guess I have more of a mental block with my style and clothing choice than anything else. It’s made me take more time in getting ready and more mindful with picking out my outfits.

I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that I’m taking more time with what I’m wearing, I’m sure my boyfriend thinks it’s a good thing haha. But it’s interesting. I’m hoping by the end of the month it’ll be a little easier and more streamlined, less hassle with trying to put outfits together.

What have you all discovered in the first week of me made may? Have you made any discoveries on your personal style choices verses your sewing choices?

May The Fourth Be With You!

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!

For today’s me made outfit, I chose my wren dress in an ity knit in a maroon/mulberry color. It’s super lightweight and drapey. I love this dress and the combination with this fabric I think is just perfect. It’s very simple and can be casual or easily dressed up, so it’s perfect for my everyday wardrobe.

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I’m also wearing a pair of socks I knit. These are a teal blue with lots of little cable details. They were definitely my most challenging knits so far. I used Loops and Threads Brand Woolike yarn in Teal Lake. And my Hair bow was made by my sister, it has Darth Vader in the center of the bow, perfect for Star Wars Day! And I’m wearing my galaxy bra and undies, because Star Wars Day haha.

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I made a few modifications on the wren dress pattern. First, I swapped the skirt out for a full circle skirt, as I find that the most flattering for my shape. I also added length to the bodice so that it hits at my waist. The Wren Dress pattern was originally something like an empire waist bodice, which isn’t flattering for me.

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I’ve cut out a bunch of things to sew when my machine comes in. A Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt, a Colette Patterns Moneta Crop Top, a pair of Patterns 4 Pirates Peg Leg Shorties, and a Deer and Doe Plantain Tee Tank Top.

Clearly I am anxiously awaiting my new sewing machine. According to the tracking, it’s still another 3 days away. I’m just itching to get started! I’m not sure what else I’ll cut out and get ready for sewing, but I’m sure I’ll find more things to start on, I do have an over flowing fabric stash, after all.