Colette Aster

1 Colette Aster side view1 Front ViewBack in May when Colette introduced their latest pattern, a few critics commented that Aster was unambitious and sadly lacking those vintage-inspired details that once differentiated Colette from the ‘Big 4’.  I needed a blank canvas on which to experiment with collar design so I bought the downloadable version ($12) and tested it by sewing Version 1 using some dyed calico that had been festering in my stash.  No frugality was spared in the making!  The large buttons were ripped off an old Boden shirt.  I think they contribute to a very ‘Eastern totalitarian regime’ look that I can’t help returning to from time to time.  Even the blue is the exact shade of the envelopes used during my 10 years of growing up in Yugoslavia (there was never much variety in the stationery available – that is a capitalist affectation!)

Ignore the too-tiny collar which would have been more in proportion had it been 5.5cm instead of 4cm deep but I ran out of fabric.  Next time I make Aster, I promise the collar will steal the show!

1 Colette Aster YokeI don’t consider myself a beginner so I was quietly entertained during the sewing process when Aster showed me a couple of new tricks!  Firstly, the all-clean method of sewing the yoke so that it looks the same on the inside as on the outside.  colette aster yokeThis is unofficially called the Burrito method and is nowhere near as complicated as this diagram suggests.  If you want to give it a go but without Aster, Grainline Studio does a Burrito tutorial here.

1 Tuck bias binding into placket

Secondly, I picked up this smart method  of finishing the neckline with bias binding, the ends of which are tucked into the placket on the inside of the garment.  It’s not difficult to do neatly but ensure you tailor-tack the clipping point accurately.


  • A good fit.  I achieved this by cheating somewhat: I went down from 6 to 4 (I’m cup B and Colette patterns are sized for a cup C) which saved me from the shame! hassle of having to do a small bust adjustment.
  • It’s so quick to make, thanks to the bias-bound neckline.
  • The variations offered by the three versions mean that you can create quite a few wardrobe staples, none of which need to be as bland as my muslin.

1 colette aster technical drawing


  • This is the umpteenth time it’s happened but there just isn’t enough length in those gathering stitches that round the sleeve cap.  If you look closely, see how much excess is at the sleeve back?  That’s because I couldn’t line up the apex with the shoulder seam.   I suggest you extend the gathering stitch area by an inch on both sides and you’ll have more control when attaching the sleeve.
  • Hemming instructions are oddly taciturn.  Don’t hem at the end as instructed.  Use my method as it’s easy and looks better.  Important: you need to go through these steps before sewing the vertical seams of the placket!
1 Fold under seam allonwanc

Fold and press placket as in the instructions but don’t stitch. Fold and press the 1.5cm (5/8″) Hem allowance

Fold half the hem allowance under and press. Pin up to the placket. Clip corner. Make a small nick in the bottom of the placket fold to reduce bulk when it is folded in the next step.

Fold placket along pressed edges and pin. Stitch entire hem including the placket. Finally, stitch the vertical seams of the placket.



I’m impressed by this unassuming number.  It’s well-fitting, easy and versatile.  And I learnt something.

I leave you with my Worker’s Elbows pic!

1t Colette Aster Back View

23 thoughts on “Colette Aster

  1. I like this! It’s suitable for many different environments (though your description was entertaining :)). There’s a colour that Gianni refers to as “carta da zucchero” because it’s the exact colour of the packet that sugar always came in when he was growing up (a somewhat deeper blue than that of your shirt).

    I’ve never tried a Colette pattern, but this seems quite versatile, especially with a bit of personal customization. You do a great job with your tutorials, Marianna, so thank you for taking the time to share your findings. I look forward to seeing the scene-stealing collar.

  2. Great shirt and so frugal Marianna! I reckon the collar is fine and is probs personal preference, but very smart. Can you elaborate on the bias to placket application please? That looks to be very handy. Since seeing a lady wearing a very unflattering top which had its CB pleat inverted I’ve been making mine outwards, again personal pref. great colour. I can count to 10 in Yugoslav, having partnered some Yuogoslav boys in dancing!! Skills eh?!

    • Ok, imagine you’re hemming with bias binding. With a skirt, it’s end to end (I’ve written a tute at the end of this post ). Here you begin the same way, right side bias binding to right side neckline but stop short of the placket, then press to the wrong side, stitch 1cm in and tuck end of bias tape into the placket on the wrong side of garment. It’s not the most sophisticated of shirt-sewing methods but it’s accessible to beginners and unlike with Deer and Doe Sureau ( which has a similar neckline, it eliminates the need for facing which so often flips outward with me.

  3. Nice shirt fitting. Your tiny collar reminds me of a time I made up a Burda magazine shirt pattern and forgot to add the seam allowances. I’d like to say that was the only time I did it but I might be lying. Haha!

    • Oh how funny, that’s exactly the sort of shortfall you’d get if you forgot SAs! I’ll think of you (with a smile) every time I wear this 🙂

  4. When I saw the first photo I immediately thought ‘I like it!’. I like the colour and the fit and it just looks so neat. I see what you mean about the collar could be a little bigger but I still like it. I need to make more plain coloured clothes – I very rarely buy rtw in prints but, when I sew things I seem to gravitate towards that sort of fabric – must be the patchworker in me. Anyway, I think the burrito yoke looks good and I must try bias binding necklines on wovens – I use that method with knits so I shouldn’t have a problem. Like you, facings get a life of their own when they’re on my body – it’s like they’re trying to escape or something. I feel your pain with the elbows – my knees are getting a bit like that now too 🙁

  5. This is not an item of clothing that I had thought I wanted, but I can now see that it is well worth having. I am also not normally someone that likes to tuck tops in, but seeing various images in Google, I think that is the way I would go, and perhaps with a drapery fabric. I used the burrito method when I made a grainline and loved it. Add to that, the neckline looks easy. Yes, you have inspired me, Marianna. Thanks.

  6. A perfectly wearable blouse in a lovely soft blue. Great. Maybe the collar is a tiny bit too small, but it’s beautifully made. Uniforms and Utilitarian can be nice as you show here.

    Thank you for the tips. I am struggling with a bias armhole at the moment and this was a real help. And for heaven’s’ sake your elbows are beautiful – let’s not give ourselves any more unnecessary body anxieties!

  7. Liked pattern so much have ordered a copy, hope it turns out as well as yours, usually avoid blouses! Thank you also for your helpful tips.

    • Good luck Lesley (great to hear from you)! You could, like me, make it out of calico and dye it if you like it (just remember the thread won’t take the dye unless it’s cotton).

  8. This is indeed the prettiest Aster. I bought it because I’m loyal to Colette and then I got depressed by all the indifference toward it. I didn’t see many versions of it and was waiting to feel happy about it. This is it: I’m happy. I would love to know what collar you used or whether it’s your own. I wonder if a longer pointed collar, a la 1960s, would be cool.

    Very very nice!

  9. Hi,
    I am sewing my 1st Colette pattern… the Aster blouse.I have had to do a few tweaks .
    1) FBA…..very successful
    2) Lower one of the shoulders for my shape
    3) Having to alter sleeve cap because of the shoulder alteration
    Apart from that it is looking very good and I will certainly make it again.I like the shape of the neck.A change from my usual style.Just what I’ve been looking for. So, I’ve very nearly finished and it has been worth the extra effort.

    • Well done Valerie, it sounds like you’ve done a very specific alteration. It’ll be quicker and easier next time too.

      • Thanks Marianna,
        Altering sleeve cap has been my biggest problem but I’m working on it.I thought I had it right .On looking at it with fresh eyes today I found I had taken out too many gathers
        from the sleeve cap comparing it with the shoulder and sleeve that was ok.
        As you say it will be quicker next time around.

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