Colette Peony: The pattern that made me a sewist!

It’s Peony time for the Colette Sewalong, and I’m pleased that I actually have the real pattern for this one! Aside from one Sorbetto that I never wear, the Peony was actually the first real pattern that I made when I got into sewing garments last winter. It’s a great, simple pattern… before starting my first muslin, I was terrified of patterns. By the time I’d finished, I felt confident! Pretty soon I was cranking out a garment every week. Thank you, Peony!

Here’s my very first Peony:

Colette Peony #1

At the time I thought of this as a wearable muslin… but since I still wear it, I’m upgrading it to an official Finished Garment! It is made from a length of second-hand polyester, which helped me get over the fear of using actual fabric!

Looking back, it is interesting for me to read my original blog post about the dress. I was still figuring out how my body shape affected the way clothes fit, and develop my own me-made style. I made a few basic alterations to the pattern, but it’s still pretty close to the original design. 

Newbie-blogger that I was, my husband and I were both still tryingto figure out the mechanics of taking decent pictures! 

Look! I forgot to wear shoes! Out of focus, grainy, dark… but with bonus dog! 🙂 

Then it was time for round two:

 This version shows a lot more sewing confidence: lined skirt, experimenting with different finishes, and made in treasured (but cheap) fabric brought home from Japan. Plus, I’m wearing it with a me-made brooch and a me-made belt. My handmade style is definitely progressing!

Around this time, Tilly at Tilly and the Buttons proposed One Week, One Pattern. At the time, Peony was the only pattern I’d made more than once, so I picked it for the challenge. One week wearing only two dresses? Not a good look, professionally, so I quickly set out to make Version #3…

… which I think it the best of them all! I still love the fabric, the fit is better because I finally put a zipper in it, and the colours are a perfect reflection of my me-made style. Here is my original post about it. 

Even my pictures are getting better! 

Peony #3

And there you have it: My evolution as a sewist over 2 months and 3 versions of the same dress. I really gained confidence through adjusting this pattern. It was simple enough that I could focus on fun details and improve the fit each time. At the same time, it’s neat to look back and see myself evolve as a blogger… and particularly lovely to notice familiar names in the comments. Thank you all for joining me on this sewing journey! 🙂 

After OWOP, I got distracted by my new serger, the Colette Handbook Sew-Along, and summer dresses. It’s chilly again though, and there are still lots of pattern mods I’d like to try! The longer sleeves, maybe recut the bodice in a smaller size and do an FBA… Or maybe just sew up a quick version as is, for the sake of enjoying a trusty old “friend”. 

What patterns began your sewing career? Have you ever revisited them to measure your progress or try again with new skills? 

One thought on “Colette Peony: The pattern that made me a sewist!

  1. Love the progression of your Peony dress – and your photos! Gives hope to the rest of us trying to get better. 🙂 My big successful kickoff pattern was McCall’s 6078, a sleeveless cowl neck top. I’ve made it close to ten times, because that first one worked so well!


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