Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roobois dress = big mess

After disgressing a little bit in my last post (you must admit that Granada is gorgeous!), I now return to sewing to show you my muslin for Colette's Rooibos dress.

This project has been on the back burner for a while now. Ever since I saw Karen's version, I began fantasizing about my own wool Roobois whenever the humid and cold climate of Britain would cause me grief (pretty much every day of last year). Now that Spain has become a little chilly and humid as well -- but not nearly to the same degree, thank goodness -- I naturally went back to the Roobois.

Well, I can't decide quite yet if this pattern is actually worth my time. This is again a confirmation that Colette patterns are designed for women who are heavier in the top than me, as in, robust shoulders and full bust. Maybe I should give up on Colette altogether.

There are several problems with the fit. And due to the complexity of the pattern, fixing these would be anything but a piece of cake. (Speaking of which, cake would be good...)

Here is why this Roobois dress is not working for me:

1) I'm pear shaped, so this means I have to cut a different size for the top and the botton. In this case, though, there is not "a top and a botton," but "a top, a middle, and a bottom". Also, the bottom part is made up of SIX different sections! So basically, I've got myself a fitting nightmare. In the picture above you can see the problems I've had with joining the pieces at the side: the top, middle and bottom are respectively size 0, 4 and 8.

2) Problem with the top: The top is too tight. The pattern advised a size zero according to my bust measurement. This is what I cut. However, it was a mistake because now the other sizes are gone. I did not think that I should have selected my size according to my rib-cage measurement -- and then done a Small Bust Adjustment (SBA). Also, I just had a look at the Coletterie tutorial for performing an SBA on the Roobois and it looks a-scary. The main problem is that the other sizes are gone, so I would have to grade my size zero up to a size 2 (or 4?). Again, this would be alright on a simple pattern, but on this one, it would probably involve several muslins.

3) The shoulders are too wide. I know a lot of people have had this problem with the Roobois. In my case, the adjustment wouldn't be just a matter of narrowing the straps, but I would have to re-draft the angle as well so it would not drop off the sides of my shoulders. You see what I mean? I'm pretty sure this dress is not supposed to be crew-necked... Lol.
Straps falling off my shoulders

Conclusion: All these things taken into account, I think it would be less time-consuming for me to draft my own dress pattern from scratch.

In any case, I will be putting this aside for a few days in order to clear my head.


  1. Oh dear, it looks like quite a struggle and maybe easier to draft own as you say. The pattern is absolutely gorgeous but it does look complicated to fit.

    I have a similar problem with Colette. I always, alwasy have to do fitting alterations on the bodice. Like you I might need a SBA plus some adjusting of side seams and shoulders. A nightmare.

  2. I'm gonna say it - you've got a whole load of fitting issues there. I think you're quite right - you either love this pattern enough to plough on through, or you pick something else that's going to give you less of a headache. Colette Patterns do often have lots of pieces. Yes, the shoulders tend to be quite blocky. But as you say, there's 'blocky' and there's falling off your body!

  3. Just thank goodness you made a muslin!

  4. @Suzy - Nice to hear I'm not alone in my struggle with Colette. :o)

    @ didyoumakethat - Are you kidding, thank gawd I made a muslin. Yeah, me think is not worth it.

  5. I feel your Pain! I started on a Roobois today, two bodice muslins down and the fit still is not right.

  6. Ah! This sounds very familiar. I had a fitting nightmare with the Rooibos. So much so I put it aside until I can figure it out. Hoping that day will come soon because like you, I want to make a wool version!

  7. At least you made a muslin.

  8. oh no - how disappointing! but good job you made a muslin.

  9. Hi Adrienne, thanks for your comment on my jacket. I have posted a photo of the inside in this post:

  10. Oh dear. I feel your pain. As the others said - so glad you made a muslin! THIS is why I don't make dresses! I know I would have the same set of issues as you. I do wonder what would happen if you cut a straightforward size 2, as my impression of the dress as designed is that it is naturally pear-shaped - so it might not be far off...? But I would have given up long before now! Move on to something that brings you joy!

  11. I'm afraid to try the Colette Patterns dresses for the same reason as you - from what I've been able to tell online, the women who look amazing in Colette dresses have a much different shape than me up top. I do enjoy supporting small businesses though, so I have the Colette Beignet ready to go. I figure fitting from the waist down should be simple enough. I've had a lot of luck with Sewaholic patterns. My hips are smaller, but it's easy to grade down from the waist to the hips. Good luck with it. If you decide to eventually push forward with it, maybe lay the bodice pieces over another favorite bodice pattern. It might help to show you how to change the shoulders and armholes so they'll sit better. Good luck!

  12. Colette dresses are way too wide in the shoulders for me, and I have a lot up top. I have attempted two of them from the handbook,and it is this big neck, shoulder fluff mess every time. I just ordered the Minoru pattern. I am scared because I am not a pear, but an apple. I might just omit that waist elastic. Anyway, I was here from the Minoru Sew Along post, and loved your jacket.


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