A Colette Patterns Penny Dress

Colette’s latest pattern The Penny dress is a complete knockout. This beautiful dress, with its flattering silhouette and traditional features, instantly stood out when it was released last month and I just had to make it!

I bought some fantastic vintage-style cotton lawn from Fabric Godmother with a crazy but awesome cocktail glass pattern earlier this year. At the time, I also thought it would be perfect for the Edinburgh Frocktails evening in September. I cocked up a bit when I bought the PDF pattern, as it cost £15 to get it printed – this is no small pattern! I really should have waited and bought it from a UK retailer, which would have saved a bit of cash.

I made a very quick calico toile to test the fit (in a size 6). I had to move the waistline darts to the centre, raise the bust darts higher up the bodice, do a small bust adjustment, and finally shorten the length by three inches. Cutting and preparing the pattern pieces took a staggering four hours, but after that, progress was very quick and I finished the dress in a weekend. This is partly due to how enjoyable it was to sew – I couldn’t stop until I had finished.

So first off, I just want to say this pattern is totally amazing – hats off to the ladies at Colette, you have done a stellar job. Penny is beautiful inside and out. After a few tweaks the fit was great, and the finish is just lovely. The attention to detail is so impressive, however, the order of construction and switching between versions is a little unusual, but just trust the pattern – everything is covered. I particularly liked that there is ‘proper’ collar for Penny – I’ve spent so many hours practising and perfecting collars that I want to use my skills. Flat collars are easier, but don’t look as good!

I have two teeny tiny criticisms – almost insignificant. The first is that the instructions get you to finish the edges of the skirt (with pockets) first, and then finish the edges of the bodice after you have attached the waistband – I would suggest holding off finishing the skirt seam allowances and then finish the entire length (complete with pockets and waistband) in one go, as this looks so much better when using an overlocker. I also found the placket a wee bit confusing, as the instructions are a little vague at this point and I had to do a practice one. Perhaps I was just over-complicating it, as when the penny dropped (no pun intended), it was easier than I imagined.

When the dress was finished, I had to alter the suggested position of the poppers as the upper waistband was hanging loose, and I also added a popper at the top of the placket as there aren’t any fastenings here at all!

But honestly – in my opinion this is the best shirt pattern release of the summer and you need to make it now. Have a round of applause, Colette!

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  1. September 7, 2017

    What a striking shirtdress! I’ve been really impressed with this pattern. The pattern photos look fantastic and you did a great job picking a fabric that lives up to the styling that Colette put out there. That belt is so pretty and I love the idea of a martini print!

  2. Alexandra Troutman
    November 29, 2017

    Thanks for such a great review. I too am having trouble interpreting the placket instructions of version 2. Do you happen to have or know where there might be a more detailed explanation of this part?

    • Georgia
      December 5, 2017

      Thanks Alexandra, I don’t I’m afraid. I just tried to work it out as best as I could – although I am not sure I got it 100% right. I’d recommend another popper for the placket as it didn’t have any fastenings at all. Good luck!

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