Wren Dress by Colette Patterns


Wren dress by Colette Patterns, made by the petite passions


This Wren dress came into being mainly because I fell in love with a knit fabric and then had to find a way of wearing it. I saw a beautiful viscose fabric from The Splendid Stitch for £11.20 per metre. I  immediately ordered two metres before looking around for a pattern. Once the fabric arrived I decided to look for a wrap dress because it draped so beautifully. I was very tempted by Named’s Olivia, Hot Pattern’s Weekender and Sew Over It’s Ultimate Wrap Dress…..until the Wren came out. The key feature that attracted me to the Wren was the faux wrap structure. I have found that wrap dress can be liable to slip or gape on my frame and having a faux bodice would help eliminate this issue. I went for Version 2 of the dress with sleeves and a gathered skirt. It turned out to be a good move as this dress was easy to construct and wears really well.

Wren Dress by Colette Patterns


Pattern and Instructions

The instructions come in a handy booklet, with lots of links and signposts to help articles on the internet. I had not used a twin needle for sewing knits, or clear elastic before and had to use the extra help features both in the booklet and online to figure out what to do….and I did get the hang of both once I got going with them. Luckily the design of both the pattern and the fabric are quite forgiving so it isn't obvious where my gathering has been more or less successful. This fabric was really easy to sew with which helped massively. I do thoroughly recommend that you also check out The Splendid Stitch - Amy was super helpful to me when I was trying to find a suitable pattern for this fabric. It's a firm favourite in my fabric shopping haunts (and you can even sometimes find a little discount code too).

Wren Dress by Colette Patterns

The pattern is printed on tissue pieces, and the sizing guide on the back gives enough information to figure out which size will fit best. I transferred the pattern using carbon paper and a tracing wheel, rather than cutting out individual pieces to help preserve the pattern. The instructions, labelling and notches on the pattern pieces are minimal, but it is clear how to construct the garment using the instruction booklet. There are not a lot of pieces so this is not a long process. The only thing I would think more carefully about next time would be the skirt pieces, and where they fall in the pattern as I think this could have been better planned by me when I was cutting.

Alterations

I didn’t make any fitting alterations this time as I wanted to see what the dress looked like in its original form. One slight adjustment I had to make was to the skirt because I hadn’t pre-planned how the pieces would fall into place. If I followed the instructions (I think...) the front of the dress would have looked quite strange with a clear join due to the movement of the pattern on the fabric. So I switched the back and the front pieces so that the front was one large piece and the back contained the joining pieces. This doesn’t seem to have compromised the fit too much, and looks more professional.

Wren Dress by Colette Patterns


Conclusion

The finished dress looked better than I expected it to in many ways. The shoulder detail and front neckline are flattering, and the sleeves are also comfortable and well fitting. This dress is perfect for spring and summer and moves really well. I am not as keen on the back neckline (and this might be purely personal to my body shape) as I feel it makes the back and shoulders look broad. When I wear this will probably also attach a ribbon belt of some kind – again this might just be down to this particular dress as this pattern needs some breaking up in the middle, and I think it looks more professional. My waist is fairly narrow, and I like how this dress accentuates my better features. It is also very comfortable to wear. I will also probably take up the length and experiment with something shorter (maybe even a skater style) and more summery.
I did like how simple this was to sew! Now that I have used a twin needle and stretch as you sew techniques once, my next Wren dress will definitely be even easier, and I am keen to try the sleeveless version in a stiffer knit fabric. I would definitely recommend this pattern, especially if you are beginning with knits. I would recommend that you have a go with the Agnes top (and online workshop) first though to cover some basics of working with knits. If you are looking to compare my finished Wren here I am – I am 5ft tall, UK dress size 8-10, and my body shape is (generally) hourglass.


I’m on the lookout for fabric recommendations for future Wrens so please share! 
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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking and delicious food.
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