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.)

 

Packing and Prepping

My boyfriend and I leave for California tomorrow. We will be there until the 25th, so I’m not sure what my posting schedule will be like while I’m there. But in the mean time I’ve been working on more projects.

I finished 2 pairs of leggings, using the Patterns 4 Pirates Peg Legs pattern with the contoured waistband. I had to take some length out of the leg and the waistband because they were clearly made for a much taller person than I (being only 5’0″ that isn’t that surprising).

The first pair is a black mystery knit that I found at a church destash for free. It’s nice and thick and has a similar feel to athletic leggings and has quite a bit of stretch in both directions. My second pair is a grey and black chevron print fabric I purchased not long ago from Denverfabrics.com, it’s a double knit 58% Polyester 30% Rayon 10% Nylon 2% Lycra blend. They feel very nice and thick, they have a good amount of stretch, though I almost feel like I should/could have sized up for this pair as there’s a bit of a wiggle dance to get them on over my hips.

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They feel nice on, but definitely feel closer to athletic/compression leggings due to the thickness and how fitted they are. I lined the front waistband with the same fabric and this might have been a mistake as it has made it thicker and less stretchy. I knew it would lessen the stretch some, but I guess I didn’t realize by how much.

So for my next pair, which I’ll be using a black athletic “performance” fabric from Joann’s. I think I’ll size up for those and take a bit more length off the leg around the knee area (As it’s a tad loose there) and a tad more off the height of the waistband since they still sit high on my waist.

I’ve spent the day packing and folding laundry. My boyfriend has decided he was going to get his hair cut and dyed blue and save packing all for tomorrow morning before we have to go to the airport for our flight. We have an evening flight, but still, that’s cutting it pretty close. My clothes are packed, I’m taking my favorite 2 handmade tshirts: my seafoam plantain and my purple hemlock; and my maroon wren dress, my charcoal high waist shorts from the Mia Jeans pattern, and some handmade undies and bras. Everything else is rtw.

I’m packing a pair of socks to knit on and my current shawl WIP, the Zostera shawl in Loops & threads woolike ice blue and denim blue. I plan to visit a local yarn shop while in California, so I may start something new while I’m there, or on the flight home.

What do you usually pack for vacations? Do you have a me made vacation capsule? If you did, what would you include in your vacation capsule wardrobe?

The Start of Preparations and a New Pair of Pants

This week has been more laid back and had more planning than actually doing. Though a lot still got done.

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I went strawberry picking. It’s become a yearly tradition for us. This year we picked just over 6 pounds worth, less than last year, but there were a lot more people there this year! Plus we went a tad later in the season, so there were less to choose from. But we still picked a lot of wonderful and flavorful strawberries. I’ve been looking up recipes to use them up while also snacking on them daily. I love going fruit picking, we are hoping to go blueberry picking next month, or when the boyfriend and I get back from California this month. We missed the blueberry season last year, so we are keen on getting there on time this year.

I’ve finished an order this week, a Harley Quinn bra and underwear set. I have another order cut out, but haven’t sewn it up yet, I’m hoping to get that done tomorrow. I’ve put my shop on vacation mode this week as well. My boyfriend and I leave for our vacation to California on Friday of next week, so I didn’t want any last minute orders coming in that I wouldn’t be able to get done on time.

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We will be in California until the 24th or 25th, I forget which day our flight home is at the moment, but I have it written down somewhere. And besides, my boyfriend has all that information and is in charge of making sure we are in the right places at the right times.

I also finished those Sew Over It Mia Jeans from the City Break Capsule Wardrobe Ebook. I used a black ponte roma fabric I purchased from Joann’s a while back. It’s gloriously soft and plush and has just enough stretch for them to be easy and comfortable. I would change a few things on my next pair for a better, more comfortable fit though.

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First, the changes I made to the pattern: I graded from a size 8 at the waist, to a size 10 at the hip (both on side seams and center front and back seams) I originally used the size 10 for the legs, but had to take them in, so next time I will grade back down to a size 8 for the legs. Also, the back leg pattern pieces are wider than the front leg pattern pieces, which seemed a little odd to me, but I haven’t made many pants and not any in a while. Next time I’ll narrow the back legs and add a little to the front legs, especially in the knees and just above them in the quads, because right now they pull a little too much when I bend my knee and bag out in the back of the knee. I also shortened the legs by a few inches, so they hit just the right length at the ankle for me, like they are meant to according to the pattern. I may also add a bit to the back rise, as they pull down a bit at the center back.

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Overall, I can definitely see myself making many of these. The pattern is great, the instructions are thorough and clear with many pictures, and they are quick and simple to make. There are only 5 pattern pieces, 6 including the pockets (which I skipped). They go together quick and I had these done within a day.

I’ve been working on a few other things as well. A grey bralette that will go in the shop. and I’m working on a new design, a black satin bra/bralette that I’m working out how I want it as I got.

I have been baking this week as well. As I mentioned earlier we picked a bunch of strawberries so I’ve been playing with recipes. My birthday is also on Sunday, so I’ve started prepping desserts for that. My boyfriend, his parents, and his sister and her husband will be celebrating with me on Sunday, we’ve planned a healthy dinner and desserts. I’ve decided on a nectarine and zucchini salad with herb pesto, a fruit and arugula salad (all kinds of fresh and dried fruit, arugula, cucumber, avocado, sunflower seeds, and blueberry or strawberry balsamic dressing), roasted vegetables, and some oven baked fries. For dessert I’m prepping classic strawberry shortcakes (so biscuits, coconut whipped cream, and sliced strawberries), coconut shortbread-strawberry-coconut bars (think homemade twix but with strawberry jam instead of caramel), chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate cookies (either by themselves or for whoopie pies).

I’m pretty excited. I had my boyfriend try the biscuits (which, as all of my recipes are, are gluten free, vegan, and grain free due to my allergies) and he liked them! I was shocked, expecting him to not like them, but he actually said he thought it was a good dough, I didn’t even have to ask him! So that’s very exciting. We’ve tried a lot of recipes and there have been many that don’t pass the boyfriend test and only very few that have. So it’s nice that I can possibly add another recipe to the tried and true pile.

This coming week will be prepping for the trip, packing, and enjoying time with people this weekend. My boyfriend and I will be going out to look at houses tomorrow. So hopefully we like the area because we are very seriously looking into moving there within the next year. It’s a cute little lake town north of where we currently live.

Now to try and pick what to pack and which knitting projects to bring with me for the trip. I have 2 shawls and a pair of socks on the needles right now (along with a sweater that’s kind of on hold at the moment) so I’m not sure which ones I’ll take and which I’ll leave. I also know we will be stopping at a yarn store while in California, so I need to decide if I want to prepare for that as well.

Do you have anything exciting happening in the next couple weeks?