My Quest for the Perfect Wrap Dress Part 1: Colette Wren

I have a favorite dress, which I call my hiking dress. I got it at an Eddie Bauer warehouse sale about 4 years ago for $4.  How do I love it? Let me count the ways! It’s easy, flattering, doesn’t wrinkle, and you can nurse in it. I wear it hiking, to weddings, and chase toddlers in 90 degree heat at the zoo.

Though I have been gifted the perfect dress, perfection is never enough. I want more. I have been on a quest to copy the dress ever since I had a vision of it made with this fabric from Peek a Boo Fabric Shop. I immediately ordered the fabric (it was on sale!) but then I was on the hunt for a pattern. (To see the dress I made with that fabric look here)

P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

I looked at about every wrap dress on the internet, but none were really doing it for me.

Finally I tried the Colette Wren pattern.  I made a “first draft” in this knit that I got for $1.50 a yard from the bargain bin at Girl Charlee. (PS feel free to use my referral link if you’ve never shopped there and are setting up a new account!)

P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

A note about Colette patterns – they are beautiful patterns and designs – however they don’t layer their patterns or offer printing instructions (eg print pages 11-12 for a style A bodice) – this means you pretty much have to print out the whole pattern to get your pieces, and there is a lot of wasted paper and a looot of time taping. I think I spent as much time taping as I did making the first dress. It isn’t a dealbreaker, but it is something I will take into consideration in the future! It gives me so much appreciation for designers who take extra steps to make life easier for their pdf pattern customers!

A note about this dress – it has two skirt options, a very full skirt, which I made, and really like. The fit isn’t great in the bodice, which is totally my fault. I should have done an adjustment for height, as I am just under 6 feet tall. I don’t hate the fit, but it is much less flattering than in the pattern photos.

Colette Wren Dress

I added inseam pockets to (wayyy too low it turns out, I mismeasured the drop of the bodice).I wish I had used wash away wonder tape by Dritz to stabilize the bodice and skirt – I think it would have made a nicer finish.

This design also it requires top stitching to finish – which is unfortunate, because my sewing machine just always mucks up on knits. So the neckline looks not so nice up close due to my technical difficulties – I have some new techniques I want to try but for now I am avoiding patterns that require top stitching in highly visible areas!

I decided the muslin version was good enough for me and made a version using this swim knit I got on clearance at Joann’s last summer.  The only drawback of the swim knit is if I put anything heavy (like a phone) in the pockets the weight stretches the fabric wayyy down.

P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

I get a lot of compliments on this dress – I think because floral is very in style – not because it is so well made or perfectly fit! I have some health issues recently, and I was way too tired to be sewing when I made this dress – that has not stopped me from wearing it all the time! The swim knit is awesome in cooler weather!

However, I will admit that usually when someone compliments a dress I’m wearing I say, “Thanks I made it!” but I am a little bit reluctant to admit I made this one 🙂

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