Completed project: A vintage-style Colette Violet

I’ve wanted to do the Colette Violet for a while. I’ve been thinking it’s more practical for me to have more separates in my wardrobe since (as lovely as dresses are) I’m more likely to reach for them on a bleary-eyed Monday morning in the dark. Plus I wanted a nice blouse or two to take with me on my holibobs that would be light and fresh in the heat but would cover and protect my pale Irish upper arms.

Colette Violet

I was inspired by the vintage feel of Lauren’s and Nette’s versions so I chose a very lightweight floral cotton and adapted the pattern so it was a much tighter fit (more details below). The buttons are vintage – doncha love the pink pop of colour?

Colette Violet

Lordy that’s a bit of a Prozac gaze isn’t it?!

Colette Violet

A closer look at the peter pan collar.

Colette Violet

Noof noof fluffy Gracie.

Pattern review: Colette Violet (short-sleeved version)

Difficulty rating for StitchandWitter: 2/5

Fabric used: Just under 2m of a lovely vintage-style floral cotton from Walthamstow market

Total cost of dress (not including pattern): Approx £8.50 (think fabric was about £2 a metre, buttons were £4.50 for six)

Fitting issues: Now I knew the Colette Violet is supposed to be a loose-fitting blouse, so I decided to cut out a size 8 from the pattern. But once put together I realised I still wanted a more slender fit. So I hacked off a good bit on either side (see pics below). I also knew that Colette patterns often need a width reduction across the shoulders on me, so I did it right this time and took about an inch off either side at the top of the armhole.

Altering pattern

Making issues: I’d previously made a blouse with a peter pan collar and got incredibly confused with the placket and the facing so it ended up being hideous inside (although it was one of my first sewing projects last year). This time, it went like a dream, with Colette patterns’ lovely relaxing yet instructive voice guiding me though each step. I now feel like I can go back to that vintage pattern and try it again! My buttonholes still aren’t perfect. I get this issue on my machine where I can see occasionally it’s not leaving the stitch in the fabric. Not quite sure what’s going on there – may have to consult the manual.

Skills learned: Adding a placket.

Anything to add? I tried to finish the edges of the facing with self bias binding like Lauren’s fabulous version. I followed Portia’s excellent tutorial for making bias binding – what a breeze! But then tragedy struck – my masking tape is evidently the stickiest EVER and my fabric is soft and thin – the two became inextricably linked and wouldn’t be separated. They are now locked together in their hellish fabric/paper union in the sewing room bin. Ah well. I just turned the edges under a quarter inch instead.

Will I make again? Yes – without a doubt, especially now I have my alterations in place on my tracing. I plan to do multiple versions  in all these fabrics, maybe adding piping to the collar and front edges too:

Fabrics for Colette Violet

Have you made anything multiple times? How do you keep the process fresh so you don’t get bored?

44 thoughts on “Completed project: A vintage-style Colette Violet

  1. Oooo too lovely for words! Do like your fabric choice and the cute buttons. ( also appreciating the cat talk!!) funny, I cut this out for me to make next- after nl 6000 are we on a joint sewing path? ( I am however being diverted by a dress though!) I too feel violet will be super useful and am interested you took in the side seams as I’m wondering how the loose fit will suit me too. Can’t wait to get back to mine now. !

    • Thanks Winnie! I did hold off on buying the pattern for a long time because of the accompanying photos – it was just too blousy for me. But once I saw (from Nette and Lauren) that it could go smaller I was sold. It’s really comfy to wear. I’ve worn it two days in a row now (dirty!).

  2. It’s so lovely, and I love it as a closer fitting version. I often prefer close fitting so will bookmark your post to look at when time comes for me to do this pattern. I’ve had it since it came out but haven’t sewn it up yet.

    I feel your pain with buttonholes, my machine can be quite unpredictable with them and sometimes just doesn’t make them right.

    • and it’s such an easy pattern to make closer-fitting Suzy – definitely worth it! How do you fix your errant buttonholes… or do you just sort of leave them as is? That’s what i did anyway but wasn’t sure if I should go over them again by hand – seemed like too much work in the end.

  3. What a great blouse! Love the fit, love the fabric, love the collar…love the cat! Like Suzy I prefer garments to be closer fitting, so I will definitely bookmark this post for future reference 🙂

  4. That is unbelievably wonderful. I don’t think I would have looked twice at this pattern if it hadn’t been for your make. I just love your fabric choice. Congratulations on a lovely make!

  5. ooh, love your violet! nice work altering the cut, its a very flattering fit on you. 🙂 also love the fabric! I’ve got this pattern hanging out in my box-o-patterns but have been too intimidated by all the buttonholes to try it yet. :-/

  6. Wow, wow, wow! This is a great style on you and the fabric is the perfect choice for your skin tone. I’ve liked other versions of this blouse, but not for me, due to the loose fit. But you’ve seriously made me reconsider.

  7. Ooh, how adorable is that 🙂 I think I might have to try making this one. I love the fabric that you chose. And your fluffy friend there is pretty cute too!

  8. Beautiful shirt Joanne, and very impressed with the pattern alterations! I definitely need to spend more time with fitting this year.

    As for the buttonholes – do you have a specific buttonhole foot for your machine? Changed my life.

    I’m definitely a I’ll-take-one-in-every-colour-please kind of girl, loyal to the shapes and styles I love, so this is reflected in my making: I made 4 sorbettos, 5 of Dixie DIY’s swing tops, countless full circle/half circle/quarter circle skirts, 4 pencils, and a bunch of button down tops similar to the Violet…. ok, I guess you get it right?? I like to repeat make!! Sorry to ramble!

    • Thanks Elisalex! I do have a buttonhole foot so it’s weird that it’s missing out stitches. Maybe I’m using the foot for my previous machine so it’s not happy… I’ll swap it out for the other one in my next version and see if that helps! Glad to hear you also make multiple times too! If it ain’t broke… 🙂

  9. Lovely. I almost always need a narrower shoulder but am put off by not knowing how it will affect the fit of the sleeve if I just chop it down so I end up too off-put to get on and just do it!

  10. Very very lovely Joanne. I’ve got a second version planned and have been umming and ahhing about going for a more fitted version. Your gorgeous make has convinced me. I do love my Violet but I wouldn’t be seen dead with it untucked, I like the way yours works perfectly with trousers too. x

  11. It is lovely, and like others have said, looks better in the slimmer fit. If I like a pattern, I’m happy to make it multiple times – I don’t get bored when I know I’m making something that’ll get worn lots.

  12. wow, such a great fit! I had overlooked this pattern like many others, because it was too loose and I don’t particularly need to look bigger LOL… but yours is so chic, I might just reconsider ^__^

  13. I love version especially the slim fit. I don’t think I’d wear one tucked in very often but I would wear your version gladly . I love the fabric too it looks vintage .

  14. I love this! I have this pattern but have been on the fence about it because of all the reviews mentioning how loose it is (and even the pattern envelope says it’s loose). I prefer fitted tops so I will give this a go soon. 🙂

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  16. Was wondering how did you ‘trace’ the pattern? I really struggled to follow the right line with so many sizes on one pattern piece (making the colette jasmine)…and wondered if there was an easy way?

    • Hi Lady D. I use tracing paper such as Kwik sew tracing paper. It’s like a paper/fabric mesh that you can see right through and it’s very robust (although expensive). I weigh down the paper and the pattern together and then trace the size that pertains to my measurements with pencil and rulers and french curves. I can’t think of a quick and easy shortcut! It does take about and hour and a half to two hours for most patterns but once it’s done – it’s done. Just keep an eye on the line I guess.. maybe you could go over your line size on the pattern in red marker so it stands out more under the tracing paper first? Then it will be harder to stray!

      • Thanks. I will have to get out the red felt tip next time.
        I only have greaseproof paper for tracing patterns and it never seems to be wide enough.
        It took me about 4 hours! lol! The added difficulty of it being cut on the bias and having to wrestle several metres of fabric in about 2 metres square of floorspace didn’t help.
        I think there’s probably a reason why I don’t usually sew to a deadline. My last shirt took me about a month to do start to finish.

      • heheh yes finding enough space for fabric is awful I agree! If only we all had the space for huge sewing-class-style desks!

    • Like Joanne, I use a translucent tracing medium, either Bosal or Swedish Tracing Paper. You could try cross-hatching the lines you need or using push pins to indicate them. I place the pattern and tracing medium on a cardboard craftboard.

      This method is especially helpful to me because I usually need more than one size. I trace off the needed sizes and blend them. I then measure and remove the 5/8″ seam allowances and add 1″ ones. The tracing paper also can be pin fit and altered before proceeding to the muslin.

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  19. Hi Joanne…my daughter wants to make your slimmer version of Violet, and is asking me what you’ve done. Before I lead her astray…did you draw (in red) the shape you wanted on the sides and then cut 5/8 out from that? For the shoulders…did you cut off an inch and then taper it in…and the sleeves were ok with that? Don’t know why she’s asking me – I’m not much of an expert in altering! It really is lovely (although I like them looser cause I imagine it disguises my fat tummy) Thanks! Leslie

    • Hi Leslie, that’s right. I pinned and fitted the blouse traced pattern then drew a red line to mark the preferred fit, then drew another line 5/8″ from that. Ooh I’m trying to remember what i did with the shoulders as it was a looong time ago. I’m pretty sure I just took an inch off each side and did nothing to the sleeves -everything still worked out ok : Hope it all works out for your daughter!

  20. This is a lovely top. I’m in the process of planning my own Violet and love your inspiration! I do like something that I can make several times in different fabrics. I started doing this with the Colette Sorbetto in the summer, so hopefully I love the Violet and can follow in your footsteps.

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