Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finished! Colette Parfait Maxi dress

Last weekend, I finally finished my Colette Parfait Maxi dress:

It turned out beautifully. I am quite proud of this little experiment. I've made a maxi dress before, but it involved an elastic waistband. This dress wasn't necessarily complicated, but it wasn't really simple either. I probably won't make another one (long or short) as this pattern is fairly distinctive. Also, it is so low cut that I couldn't possibly wear it to work. I loathe the idea of jumpers, so don't even bother suggesting I wear a shirt under it. That's just a bit too cutesy for me.

Anyway, in my previous post, I mentioned the inspiration for this maxi dress came from the Colette Patterns flickr group. Thread Carefully posted her version and I had to have one. Seriously. Could not sleep, I was so excited. I also couldn't decide on fabric. I lucked up on some lovely voile from Hancock Fabrics. It's a part of their Nesa Fab Collection for $12.99 a yard. I had a 40% off coupon. Thank god as I needed 3 1/2 yards. I'm on a budget. $12.99 a yard is expensive for me.

I had attempted the Parfait pattern last year with disastrous results. I had the brilliant idea of adding piping but didn't bother to trim it from the seam allowance before adding the zipper. Fail. Multiple fails. It was promptly tossed into the UFO box. Other than the zipper snafu, the fit was fine. I cut a 12 for the bust, grading up to a 14 for the waist and hips. I needed to add a bit of wiggle room in the waist (about 1/2"), but otherwise, it was great. This eliminated the need for making a muslin. Awesome. I was already ahead.

Adding length to the skirt pieces posed another challenge. I had never lengthened a skirt so much. I was quite unsure how it would turn out or if the hem flare would be a bit too much for a skirt so long. In the end, it all worked out. I added 20 inches to the length of each skirt piece. I cut the skirt under the fullest part of the skirt (hip) and added the length from there.

The dress is fully lined with white cotton/poly batiste. Lining the dress actually saved me from using all of the dress fabric. Without the lining, you have to cut out facing pieces and double for the midriff pieces. In all, I only used about 2 3/4 yards of the dress fabric (it is 52" wide). I did screw up the midriff piece the first time around so it was good to have extra fabric.

I really like this dress as I like maxi dresses in general, however, walking around in it in Austin weather kind of knocked it down a bit. This dress and Central Texas humidity do not mix (the humidity is worse in Southeast Texas where I grew up, but let's not split hairs). I walked around South Congress in it for about an hour and my legs were sweating something fierce by the time I got back to the truck.

I could blame the poly content in the batiste, but I've lined just about every cotton lawn dress I've made with the same batiste and it was never an issue. My legs just need air. The temps were in the 80s I believe (or high 70s) so I doubt I'll actually wear this dress once the Hell Hot Summer starts up (75+ days of 100 degree heat. Screw you Central Texas). Boo hiss boo.

Oh well. I am still proud of my efforts. It is indeed a lovely dress and I enjoyed making it. Next up, is another Simplicity 2215 shirt dress and finishing my second Laurel. Busy, busy around here.


  1. What a gorgeous dress!! It looks great on you :)

  2. That is SO cute on you!

  3. This is so pretty on you! I really like both the print and the details. But I can definitely see how wearing a lined maxi dress would be killer in the heat and humidity (not that we have any humidity here in Alberta - so dry).

  4. What a fab idea to make the Parfait into a maxi. Very nice!


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