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).
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!)
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.
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.
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?
- 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.
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.)