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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Christmas Dahlia dress

I may just find my way back into blogging through a backlog of sewing posts.



Here’s my sister’s Christmas present from last year—her first in her (their) new home in Washington, D.C. It’s a Dahlia from Colette Patterns, suitable for work (even if the cotton is prone to wrinkling). Fitting color choice for an environmental policy analyst, don’t you think?




The fabric is a cotton lawn from Robert Kaufman, which I purchased soon before Grey’s Fabric moved house and turned into Mercer’s. (It’s been almost a year and I still haven’t been to the new store, partly because I don’t want to be tempted when I still have so much of a stash to sew through—I bought more during the moving sale!)




Dahlia is not my favorite Colette pattern, to be honest; this was the first time I’ve had to second-guess anything. I suppose I’m skilled enough now that I can anticipate when and why alterations will be necessary, and in this case I do believe it’s a matter of a less-than-flawless design rather than making alterations to suit one’s own form.




If you sew this pattern, you will most likely want to make the following modifications:

Untitled1. Add shoulder darts at the top of the raglan sleeves so the yoke conforms to the shape of the neck and shoulders. (I followed Lime Scented’s notes and made mine 3″ wide and 3.5″ long. If you need assistance, here’s a tutorial.) If you don’t add shoulder darts—which ought to have been written into the pattern to begin with—you’re going to have a gappy-backed potato sack effect going on up top despite the bodice gather. In the course of my Google research I found someone explaining that it’s just very difficult to tailor raglan styles using woven fabric, so that’s why you don’t see them too often in sewing patterns.

2. Take in the sleeves by at least one inch. As designed they’re fairly baggy-looking, which detracts from the lovely feminine silhouette.

I’m very pleased with how this dress turned out. I was nervous about the fit—I tried it on as I was sewing (since I don’t yet own a dress form) and couldn’t get the zipper up, but my sister’s waist is much narrower than mine is, so it fit her perfectly. Whew!




Kate and Elliot are getting married in February. I’m sewing my dress, which will give me another fun project to blog about.


U Street Christmas 2015

Needlepoint by our Aunt Kathy.


2 Comments to Christmas Dahlia dress

  1. December 28, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    So the last two photos look like you were stalking your sister to get the shots! Nice work. She seems to love the dress and have a fella who does dishes!

  2. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    December 28, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    It’s a great dress! I love these photos and the dress!!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.