C1017: The Green Peon(y)

Colette Peony 5

Finito! The Peony dress made it’s appropriately flowery debut on a day trip out to indulge one of my favourite weekend activities – visiting Open Gardens. For those that aren’t in the know, Australia’s Open Garden Scheme sees the countries finest green thumbs open their private gardens for a day or two for flora enthusiasts like myself and Mr poppykettle to walk through and admire.  

Colette Peony 7

I’m super pleased at how it turned out. The bodice is nicely fitted yet comfy enough to be worn all day. I took inspiration from the Colette Dress ‘Pastille’ in the pleats and lace – although I’d recommend if trying this to do it on a straight skirt and not an a-line one! Thankfully, being stretch fabric, I could ease in the differences without too much fuss. 

Colette Peony 6

Made from a 97% cotton and 3% spandex blend in a colour way called ‘Barbados Oregano’ from Tessuti, and a white cotton batiste for the bodice lining bought from Clegs. I used white rayon seam binding on all the fabric edges, which was a labour intensive process but which gives such a lovely result! I’m still head over heels in love with the cotton batiste lace I bought from dishyvintage used at the hem and sleeves.

Colette Peony 9

This garment marks a bit of a turning point for my sewing skills – the first thing I’ve made where I’m equally pleased with the inside details as I am the parts that the rest of the world sees.

Colette Peony 1
Colette Peony 3
Colette Peony 4
I’ve nicknamed it the Green Peon. Is it wrong to refer to such a pretty thing by the name of a craven Warcraft character? Funny thing is, since I’ve taken up sewing there’s been significantly less squabbling over who gets to use the xbox… nowadays he plays and I sit at the dining table sewing and offering advice on his lack of technique…

Colette Peony 12

I ended up making this dress a size 12 at the shoulders, down to an 8 at the bust point, a 6 at the waist then back to an 8 for the skirt. Talk about a lot of sizes. Even still, I had truckloads of fabric left over, and still downgraded the waist slightly.
The back of the pattern booklet says for a size 8 version 2 dress you’ll need 3 1/8 yards of 45″ wide fabric (or on my case, 2.85m of 115cm wide fabric). I bought 2.8m of fabric that was 118cm wide, and only used 1.8m of this. Mind you, I lined the bodice instead of facing it (and from a different fabric not included in the 1.8m mentioned), but even including the facing pieces, I would have used just under 2m. So now I have a remnant that’s a little too big to justify throwing away! 
Besides having rather a few frustrations with the fit of the bodice (see here if you care to read more), and taking a horizontal dart out of the back to get rid on some bunching, my other quandary was with the sleeves. Mine kept having a bit of pointing actions going on, as opposed to Sarai’s, which seem to be delightfully fitted:
Peony Sleeve Toile vs Sarai Peony Sleeve

So I pinned a dart out of the sleeve, adjusted my pattern and I ended with a result I was slightly happier with:

Colette Peony 11
If I make this again, I’ll probably substitute a different skirt. The gathers at the front aren’t the best if you’re wanting to downplay your stomach area. Also, a-line skirts are more difficult to hem than a simple gathered rectangular skirt! All in all, I’m loving my dress, so hopefully if summer hangs around a little longer, I’ll get to wear it some more :)


  1. Wow – you look amazing and your sewing skills are great. Gorgeous colour on you and appropriate for visiting Open Gardens (one of my favourite things to do too). I just love the detail of the lace and pleating – so worth all the hard work.

  2. Brilliant dress and super photos. Your construction and eye to detail is amazing, as is the fabric and lace choice. You will get a lot of wear (and comments) from this dress.

  3. So pretty! I love the colour and all the details. The pleats/pin tucks and lace are inspired. You look really pretty in this dress and did a great job sewing it.

  4. Wow, what a lovely dress! the pleats and lace are fab(and I don't normally like lace on clothes for growm-ups!) Hope you get to wear it lots!

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