Colette Lily

It didn’t surprise me to learn that the Colette team had Sophia Loren in mind as they worked on the Lily design.  With its close-fitting lines and a nod to the 1950s, this dress would perfectly accommodate a siren wiggle.  But it wasn’t wiggling I had in mind when I bought the pattern –  honest.  I was drawn to the diagonal pocket pieces, particularly emphasised in the contrast version 2, and thought it clever that they shout: “Look! HIPS!” at the same time as giving said hips a slimming effect. Like!

Fabric and Supplies Used

There’s a Colette guide to choosing the right fabric for Lily here.  My ideal would be to make it out of a hard silk crêpe in two block colours and to line it.  It’d be a dress I’d wear quite formally, with a wrist dripping in jewels, the Colosseum in the background and youths on Vespas riding by…  But this particular Roman holiday probably won’t ever happen so I decided to give the pattern a try with 1.5 metre of peacock print lawn and some scraps of tea-dyed cotton.  If it looks familiar, you may have seen it used for Jasmine which I made last summer and in which I was featured as Coletterie‘s Seamstress of the Week the other day (thanks guys!).  It‘s a lighter than recommended choice but it worked, though it doesn’t really go with the boots I’m wearing nor with the autum season we’re in! 

Much as I like it, rest assured that my new dress is  going into hibernation for a good 6 months…

The supplies list specifies a 22″ zipper which, for my height, would have reached the kickpleat.  I trimmed it to 18″ (45cm).

Sizing and Modifications

I used the “finished garment chart” to opt for a size 4 bodice joined to a size 6 skirt (in “body measurements”, I’m a 6).  I figured not much ease would be needed at the top.  Although the pieces joined up at the centre to side panel seams, there was an excess of 0.5cm on the sides:

I trimmed this away in a straight line from side waist towards the widest point of my hip which is 10″ (25cm) below. 

I call this fitting shortcut my Saddlebag Adjustment!  I had to do the same in grading pieces J and K (Skirt Side Back and Skirt Back) so that they widen from 4 waist to a 6 hip at widest point only.    

Tips and 

Pattern Pieces There are 16 pieces to this pattern, A to P.  Until the project is finished, keep them close by in an alphabetical pile.  That way, if a tailor tack slips out or you aren’t sure which way around a piece goes, you don’t have to rummage around for long.

Straps These were the most time-consuming part of the project as I couldn’t get them to lie flat against my shoulders and they seemed a bit short.  Next time, I’ll cut the pieces 1″ longer and leave wide gaps in the neckline for insertion at a later stage.    

Length Length of a skirt is a bit like salt in cooking: add to taste.  At 5’4″ (164cm), I’m not tall but even so feel that Lily could have covered a bit more of the knees, and the thread veins round the back (you can’t photo edit those in real life, you know…)  This is exactly how I felt the last time I made New Look 6459: here’s a great and flattering summer dress that with the benefit of hindsight and a few extra inches could have been the perfect dress.  Consider adding a few inches then taking them off later if not needed. 


10 thoughts on “Colette Lily

  1. This dress pattern has really grown on me and I think it’s going to be the next Colette pattern I add to my ever-growing collection!
    I love your fabric, the fit looks great – and thanks for such a detailed review!

  2. This is a lovely version and that colour-way is just great with the tea dye fabric picking up the accent colour on the fabric. Yes, I have the same trouble with skirt length, I always have it in mind when cutting and add a chunky hem of about 2 1/2″ that allows for some tinkering! The fit and length looks great on you.

  3. Thanks to all for the lovely compliments 🙂

    The other day, a friend finished her dress and also found it shorter than she’d have liked it so now I realise it’s a common niggle, I’ll adopt Annie’s “policy” always adding a chunky hem!

    Don’t know why this happens so often. Is it fashionable for dresses to finish just above the knee? Or is it just that being way out of one’s twenties 😉 makes is ok to show the knees but is somehow more elegant not too?

  4. I also like the diagonal pocket pieces. The beauty of this summer dress is in its simplicity and may work beautifully in 2 plain contrasting colours.
    However, the boots put me off.
    Another thing, male Romans consider it quite normal to pinch females. My personal experience!

    • 😯
      Surely more enlightened attitudes have caught up with the Romans too? Or have they entirely fallen under Berlusconi’s spell?

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