Dresses, The Monthly Stitch
Comments 19

Dahlia – My Christmas Dress

 After my frenzy of downloading, sticking and gluing, and sewing which lasted 2 days and resulted in my most favourite dress to date, things slowed down.  Well, not so much as slowed down, things came to a grinding halt.

I was daunted, to say the least, by the hemming of this frock.  I’d not ever hemmed anything with an kick pleat, or any pleat if I come to think of it.

Dahlia Dress Colette 6

After much googling, I gave up for a few days and made a Coco for my sister instead.  After all, this Dahlia was only intended to be a muslin, hopefully wearable.  I was a little disappointed as it is a bit tight around the tartan band, but, and this a a BIG but, I woke up on Tuesday morning, put on my bestest M&S underwear and tried on my Dahlia.  Whoop Whoop! It zipped straight up without so much as me having to go blue in the face breath in. So that was it, I decided to bite the bullet and get hemming!

I’d read Colette’s New Guide to Sewing Hems, which gave me a few pointers, but I couldn’t find a specific tutorial anywhere for just what I needed.  (I did afterwards, HERE, thanks Sam!).

So, here’s my photos of how I did it, i.e. where i snipped and trimmed.

Hemming Colette Dahlia 1

I measure 1 1/2 inches up and snipped the hemmed. Once I’d done this I restitched over the seam line to where I’d cut to, to give it a bit of extra strength.

Here you can see where I trimmed the bias tape to reduce bulk in the folds.

Here you can see where I trimmed the bias tape to reduce bulk in the folds.

And here's where I snipped away at the seam allow, again to reduce bulk and any ridges.

And here’s where I snipped away at the seam allow, again to reduce bulk and any ridges.

Check this out - It almost make my want to wear my new frock inside out!!

Check this out – It almost makes my want to wear my new frock inside out!!

And before I go ahead and show you the rest of the photo’s from the photoshoot with a not so enthusiastic 12 year old in the garden, here’s the outside of my hem, close up:

Now this looks a crazy close up photo, and don't my tights looks weird, but this colour is the nearest to any other of what colour my frock actually is.  And isn't the him invisible!! I wish I could say the same for my zip!

Now this looks a crazy close up photo, and don’t my tights looks weird, but this colour is the nearest to any other of what colour my frock actually is. And isn’t the hem invisible!!

So here we are, a few pix of me in the garden:

Dahlia Dress Colette 4

Dahlia Dress Colette 5

Dahlia Dress Colette 1

Dahlia Dress Colette 6


This is the first time I’ve used a ladies Colette Pattern.  I LOVED making this dress!  It went together so easy, especially as there’s no sleeves to set in.  The instructions were really clear, but maybe not quite beginner.  I’d say more an adventurous beginner!  I mean, growing Dahlia’s in your garden aint for the faint hearted!

I had 2 fitting issues.  My bust measures 1/2 size smaller that my waist and my hips measure 2 1/2 sizes smaller than my waist.  That sound’s terrible, as if I live on doughnuts and full fat coke!  Lets start again.  My hips are 2 sizes smaller than my bust and my waist is a bit bigger than it should be.  Yup, that sounds better!  I’m putting it down to stopping smoking so not overly concerned (8 months and 4 days!!).

So I went with my bust size, no FBA or SBA needed here for these average girls, and graded the hips 2 sizes smaller.  I left the waist same as the bust as its only 1/2 size bigger, but boy does that 1/2 a size make a difference when you’re wondering if you can have a pudding when you can take your next breath!  Next time I WILL make the waist an inch bigger, or loose 10 pounds, depending how long it is before next time comes around.

Dahlia Dress Colette 2

Adjustment definitely needed here!

Adjustment definitely needed here! This looks like before and after photos, but they’re not!

Not sure what’s needed here, advice gratefully accepted.  In the first photo I had pulled the dress down and smoothed it out, but with normal wear it ends up as in picture 2.  I’m thinking once I have bit more space to breath around the middle and the dress has somewhere to drape and not hug, it would improve.  And also maybe take an inch off the length.  Not sure where I’d do that as there’s no lengthen/shorten lines.

Another thing I’d try next time on the sleeved version, is to try and narrow the neckline. It is rather wide, and if I didn’t have my magic underwear anchoring my bra straps down they would be on show to all and sundry. It’s not stretched out (I stay-stitched EVERYTHING) and I did do the gathers the correct length.


I imagine I will have 3 more longs sleeved and at least 3 strappy versions by this time next year!

What do you think….Is it a Christmassy Frock?  I’ve worn it out for lunch today, I see it more as a smart/casual day dress than a night time one.  We went to a garden centre which had all it’s Christmas decorations out, it’s gorgeous.  And as you can see, my son was more up for taking photos here and trying to embarrass me!  But the tartan really gives it a Christmassy feel for me.

Colette Dahlia Review 3

Colette Dahlia Review 2

Colette Dahlia Review 5

Colette Dahlia Review 4

Colette Dahlia Review 1

Here you can see the excess fabric. Just had a thought, is it a sway back adjustment I need?

Colette Dahlia Review 7 Colette Dahlia Review 10 Colette Dahlia Review 9

 And guess what, if you didn’t know, it’s almost the end of Frocktober.  So if I get a move on I should just have time to write a post for the Monthly Stitch!   If  you need some inspiration for your next frock head over to have a look at some fabulous ones for a little inspiration…..Frockober


  1. Bang on trend with the tartan on your dahlia! Love this pattern ……I want! Not sure what adjustment is needed. I’d not even worry about it. I was looking admiringly at the tartan and so missed your worry. I think we sewists worry too much, shop bought things often don’t fit properly but we wear them without worrying because we bought them!?!? I am not sure that makes sense but hope you get the idea! Lol

  2. Pingback: Colette’s Dahlia for Frocktober | The Monthly Stitch

    • Thanks Laurie, Lovely compliments but I must confess it was stash busting, not pure genius. This shade of blue is something I’ve never worn and I love it, I only bought it because it was a bargain remenant! 😀

      • Bargain remnants are great! And hey- you still had to go through the whole process… I may have bypassed the tartan and gone all blue!

  3. Congratulations on ceasing smoking, it is a tough thing to do.

    With regards tweaking the pattern, I think shortening the length in the bodice back (a small amount) may be a good idea, combined with less tapering to your waist. If you take out too much then you run the risk of the skirt back lifting too much.

    For the neckline I would suggest reducing the width by up to two centimetres, at the shoulders. Then re-do the neckline curve to whatever depth you want, both front and back. This will alter the shape of the neckline from a wide and deep curve to more of a U shape. You could try a really small opening and gradually snip away until you’re happy.

    Wishing you well with this!

    • Thanks, I think I’ll have to use an old sheet to have a play around with. I’ve altered necklines before, but not with a raglan sleeve, so rpthis might prove challenging. All your help makes sense tho and fingers crossed…..! 😀

  4. I like it! I’m somewhat similarly shaped (although larger busted). I had the same problem with the back length and I’m going to shorten that a bit. A slightly narrower waistband might also be more flattering on you, too. I also think part of your back neckline problem is that you are using wider bias tape than the pattern called for. Maybe try stretching the bias tape a little as you sew to ease in the neckline?

  5. I don’t think you want to shorten the back bodice, at least not at this stage – it looks like the waist is too tight (not because it LOOKS too tight, but I can tell by your posture!!) and so it’s riding up/down to the “narrowest” point of your waist. If you’re able to let it out a bit next time the back should sit nicer, I would think. If all else fails you can always shorten it afterwards but you won’t be able to lengthen it.

    But otherwise it looks great! And I wouldn’t even worry too much about this one, unless it’s uncomfortable. A christmas dress without being OTT.

    • Thanks for your comments, I think instead of attempting a wearable muslin I should just get on and make a proper Muslim that won’t see the light of day, be would hopefully result in a better fitting frock.
      Unfortunately with this dress the right side seam is too finished and I couldn’t bring myself to unpick. The other seam with the zip already has a reduced SA so no extra room there.
      Thanks again, Ali 😃

  6. I’m working on this dress and I’m glad I read your post. I had similar issues with the back, neckline and waist. I managed to fix the back by shortening it a bit, sewed wider seams on the raglan toward the neck and now I know that I need to add a bit at the waist (no chance to loose those pounds before Christmas).
    Great dress!

  7. Pingback: Me Made May 2015 – Week 1 | T H I M B E R L I N A

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