MBM - Colette Patterns Peony, LBD version

At the close of the last post I wrote about my intention to get on and make useful basics, stuff that I wear day-in day-out. I was thinking denim skirt, button up shirts, wool pants.

After I  made  myself a Colette Peony back in May,  I made a mental note to make myself a black version eventually. As I was packing away the pattern a little over a week ago, though, it occurred to me that I would save a heck of a lot of time if I just got on and did it straightaway. So that is what I did. And, I suppose an LBD is the ultimate useful basic, isn't it?

This is made in a fine wool gabardine that I got for an amazing price on sale at Pitt Trading, only $7.50 a metre. Buy of the year, so far.

I simplified the make by omitting the neckline piping, and the satin bias binding on the waist and armhole seams that I did on the first version. This one is completely unadorned. The only change I made was to convert the gathers on the skirts to pleats, and move them to line up with the front waistline darts, which I like much better.

Because I was pretty sure of the fit, I raced through the actual sewing too. I constructed the bodice, sleeves and skirt, then I pressed all three bits at once, which saved a lot of time, just there. I checked the fit once, when I attached the skirt and sleeves. It took no time at all.

I didn't bother with the cummerbund belt this time, either. I made it for the red version. I puzzled my way through those instructions, and in the end ignored the instructions and went on instinct, which may or may not what was intended. I don't know. The belt was ok, but not great enough for me to want to make another one.

As I was sewing this up in black, it occurred to me that if you lengthened the skirt and sleeves, and redrew the neckline to make a jewel or even add a mock turtleneck, you have the perfect nun's habit. Costumiers for future productions of The Sound of Music take note!

I hope this doesn't look too nun's habit. Even though I have reservations about how much black suits me (not a lot, I'm afraid) I think I like this one better than the red one.

Meanwhile, in other sewing news, I've been asked by a friend if I would consider making her some curtains. She would pay me for this. I've said I'd talk to her about exactly what she wants, but at this stage I'm in two minds. Unlike a lot of sewists, I quite like home dec, and I am confident I would do a good job. But how much should I charge? And do I risk a friendship if the curtains don't come out exactly as my friend envisages. She's a pretty good friend, too, I don't want to risk it. Have you ever sewn for friends at their request, and was it a happy experience? Or not? Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated!


  1. Ooh that's a tough one - sewing curtains isn't difficult but it is time consuming and unwieldy, even if you don't mind sewing home dec. I've never charged friends for making things although I haven't done anything complex because I don't want to let money get in the way of friendship. Good luck deciding on a price, just remember custom drapes are really expensive and your time is really valuable so you need to get a good middle ground

    1. I know what you mean about the cost of custom made drapes. A quote I got to make curtains when we moved into this house had me dusting off the sewing machine in the first place. I ended up making 7 sets of curtains. I'll wait and see exactly what my friend has in mind.

  2. This dress is beautiful - so classic! You definitely don't look like a nun!

    1. Thanks Kelly - that's very reassuring :)


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