Colette Wren Dress

HelenHelen's Makes26 Comments

Colette Wren Dress

I have a confession to make: I have never made a Colette pattern, not until now that is.  Arguably, this isn’t 100% accurate since I have made several Seamwork patterns, but I think of them as being separate pattern companies with very different aesthetics. The Colette look has always made me a little jealous, actually! I am not a very feminine dresser, but when I see that kind of style executed so beautifully, It makes me wish I was! I adore the vintage inspired look on others, but have never felt comfortable in it myself.  When the Wren dress came out, I was excited to give this pattern a try because it was more my style. I didn’t end up getting around to it right away, but better late than never, right?

Colette Wren Dress
Colette Wren DressColette Wren Dress Colette Wren Dress

The dress has a simple design with a wrap bodice.  It is intended for knit fabrics, so the fit is fairly forgiving. I opted for the gathered waist of view 2 with the sleeveless cut of view 1.  When given the choice, I will always go sleeveless!

Colette Wren Dress full_verticle8

I grabbed this fabric at a previous Our Social Fabric sale because it has all my go-to colours in it. The rusty red paired with that warm camel and cool teal is such a nice mix.

Colette Wren Dress

Overall, I like this dress, but I don’t love it. I think it is very flattering and the colours are pretty, but either the print or maybe the length is throwing it off for me, it is not very modern. I will also make the armscye smaller if I give it another go. I feel like too much of my side is exposed through the arm hole. I suppose adding sleeves would fix this right up!

Colette Wren Dress Colette Wren DressColette Wren Dress

When I wear this dress people comment on how nice it looks, but I still can’t quite get to that love place. Do you ever feel this way about your makes? Oh well, back to the worktable! 

PS: In case you were wondering, it is still full-on winter here in Vancouver, and yes, I was freezing! I quickly bundled back up after the shoot.

Colette Wren Dress


About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

26 Comments on “Colette Wren Dress”

  1. Hi Helen I’ve never made a Collette pattern either! And I have been wondering about making the wren dress too! I love the fabric you’ve chosen and the wrap front is very flattering but yes that underarm is low maybe a small cap sleeve will make you more comfortable in it?


    1. Thanks, Emma! I may add sleeves and try shortening it a tad, but I also might wait until I get a chance to try it out in warmer weather. It is hard to gauge the feel of things when you are freezing your butt off!

      1. Getting all the way to love is hard! I just made a dress that is perfectly fine and flattering but I don’t love it. The dress before that was a wearable muslin and now my favourite thing. It’s unpredictable.

        I could see this being a nice piece in the spring with a wedge sandal or a clog to play up the vibes of the print.

      2. I bet! I love the fabric on you! Excellent choice. I heard your podcast on maker style it was really interesting. I hope the new pattern is going well I’d love to test for you when you need testers.

  2. I like the layered look in the last photo! Great fabric too.
    Did you lengthen the bodice? I bought the pattern for my sister and was surprised the bodice was so short.

    1. Thanks, Katie! I actually had the opposite thought – the bodice seemed long to me. The fabric I used is very stretchy, though, and the bottom skirt has quite a bit of weight so that could also be pulling it down.

  3. I’ve made a few Collette patterns (blouses mostly) and for some crazy reason (fitting issues mostly which I’m still trying to get right on ALL patterns!) they never fit right which is frustrating in the extreme since I do love the Laurel so much for example I’m determined! Having said that I love your dress actually! I think it looks wonderful on you – for the armsye I would just wear a Tee so it’s more “jumper” and with leggings I think it will look lovely and more perhaps your typical style similar to your last photo 🙂

  4. Oh Helen, I gasped when I saw the first photo. This dress is just beautiful! I understand what you mean about some things you make, no matter how well made, are just not your style. But I still have to say, this feminine silhouette really suits you! And the length makes it work really well for layering in the PNW winter.

    1. Thank you Saki! Funny because I gasped when I saw your most recent make!! I agree that this dress looks good, but looking good and feeling good are so different. I will give this dress more tries though, maybe I will get to that love place!!

  5. This looks great! I thought the fit was impeccable until you pointed out the armscye. That would bother me too. Easy fix for next time, though!

  6. Helen, before you even mentioned the armscye I thought it looked low. I wonder how much of it has to do with weight from the dress skirt. It also looks like the skirt is pulling down the waist seam. #gravitysucks

    Overall, I think this is a nice make — the colors suit you and the shoulder gathers are perfection! The stuff I’m noticing is crazy-sewing-lady-nitpicky stuff, LOL.

    I feel the same way about Colette patterns. I like the vintage look on other gals, but I feel like on me it’s often too costumey. I think the vintage aesthetic was a little stronger in the sewing community when Colette was really gaining speed (late 2000s).

    Question about sewing knits — do you have a serger or an overlocker, or do you do everything on your standard machine?

    1. Thanks! I agree the skirt is pulling it down, and this knit is sooooo stretchy, so that isn’t doing it any favours. I agree about the costume thing, and that we are seeing a trend towards more modern looking handmade garments. I like making basics that I can wear everyday! I have a Juki MO654 DE, and I love it 🙂 I used to sew all my knits with my regular machine, though, and I still wear them alot. I do have to mend popped seams every once and a while though 🙂

  7. I am so happy to see a wren review… everyone was so caught up with the critique of the colette photos and issues with sewing the sample that I heard litter for an actual review.

    I am about to try the dahlia and wondering about the aesthetic … I’m struggling with the cute factor of their designs… you look smokin’ in this!

    1. Thank you!! I agree, I haven’t seen that many out there! I also have the Moneta and Laurel to try from Colette, which are more simple and will be less girly in certain fabrics 🙂 Good luck with your Dahlia!

  8. I love your Wren dress, it’s a beautiful fabric and a neat make. I made one myself a little ago – with sleeves – so I didn’t had the armscye.

  9. I love this dress on you! It looks fab with the tights and the boots. I don’t do sleeveless, but I didn’t notice the armscye being so low in the 2 versions I made. I’d think it would be pretty noticeable, even with the sleeves set in. But I definitely see it in your version. I’ll have to double check that the next time I see my Wrens.

    Great fabric find too. I’ve been wanting to head up there for an Our Social Fabric sale one of these months. Maybe I’ll be able to drag my daughter up with me in Feb or March. Although, I definitely don’t really need any new fabric. haha.

    1. Haha, yeah it is a dangerous sale because everything is so cheap and there are so many people, it can be hard to pass up anything you find. It is really fun though! Let me know if you do decide to come up, we can have coffee after!

  10. I think it looks amazing on you! Maybe in the summer with bare legs and sandals you’ll like it better. Or you could shorten the skirt to just above the knee. Either way I think it’s great!

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