Colette Patterns Rooibos

Cartoon-esque Rooibos


Colette Patterns Rooibos


So I finished my Rooibos, just lagged a bit behind the Colette Patterns Sewalong, it being September and not August now.

I wore it out last night & I swear I have never been so embarrassed having my photo taken.  I don’t know how Karen & Debbie manage others’ curiosity in their beautiful & interesting settings.  I thought a photo “on the town” at the top end of Milsom Street would be a bit of a change from the garden.  I tell you, it took courage.  There was I grinning – but with an audience of bemused strangers.  “It’s OK” I wanted to pretend, “I’m a tourist too”  (rationale there being that tourists have their photos taken all over Bath & no one blinks an eye).  But that would have been a lie.  I just felt vain & preening ….Oh well,  you don’t know till you try!  Perhaps if I was pulling a silly pose I would have felt happier???

Who does she think she is?

And yes, that it the Vogue jacket too – I will be writing this up in a later post.  I am rationing you.  Well me, actually, only having a certain amount of time.  Perhaps it was the BRIGHTNESS of the outfit that made me feel so brazen amongst the dour tourists & sedate shop facades.   And it’s possible shorter than I would normally wear a dress so that made me feel even more self conscious, although it looks OK in the pictures …

And here’s another – you know I have to add another one of the street views – you don’t think I’d go through that trauma for the sake of just one picture do you?  And check out all the people behind (who stared at me on the way up) & that child, unable to tear his intrigued eyes away. (No you can tell I am not a model nor am I famous, I’m just trying to have my picture taken, right?!)

OK, onto business.  There will be more photos, I’m afraid.  I took others back in the safety of my own home.

Ah, that's more relaxed

It's going to be a creaser!


I think mine’s a bit too big from the waist down  really, that’ll teach me for only making the bodice muslin/toile & not the whole thing.   The bodice I think fits well after a few tweaks (lowering the armholes & adjusting side seams) Anyway, it’s a totally different dress than I expected  – it isn’t as tightly fitting as I thought it would be.  This is the dress that will get pulled out of the wardrobe when the day is oh so sultry & promising thunder.  The dress for sticky humid work days.  The dress for skipping along a gravel path.  I don’t know.  It makes me feel cool (not “hip” but not hot) & should I say this, young?!  That might have something to do with the fabric & binding choices.  There is something childish about solid powder blue and red polka dots.  I am relieved it went that way as opposed to looking like an air hostess uniform, which I felt it was in danger of becoming as I sewed the red satin piping to the blue pockets with no polka dot to be seen from the outside.  However, don’t you think it’s like a cartoon character dress?

So, what was ace about making this dress?  Apart from the oft quoted quality of Colette Patterns’ instruction, of course.  I actually supplemented the sewalong posts with the written instructions.  I’ve never followed a sewalong before.  This sewalong had just the right number of pictures and hints & tips.  The only silly thing about sewing along following a blog once the sewalong has finished is that the “next step” posts are not next in a blog, as we all know, as they have not been written yet.  The sequentially “next” posts are actually earlier posts you should have already followed.  Navigating around the sewalong therefore involved a few extra clicks & scrolling.   You all know that though!

So, apart from the excellent instructions, both online & with the pattern what did I love?  I am very much taken with the style, & whilst I’ll make it smaller next time, & perhaps an inch longer, I do adore the collar with the contrast facing.  I actually found making the choice for my facing extremely challenging.  I’d picked the fabric from my stash (a Walthamstow linen) mainly because I had already bought the invisible zip to match it but the dress it was earmarked for is lounging in my “can’t face it pile” due to a far too tricky for now muslin failure.  So having decided on the powder blue, & plumping for red piping, what would be the contrast?  Eventually it clicked, I was enlightened with vision & I bought 75cm of the polka dots (25% off in my local shop ).

More design loves – any obvious opportunity for piping pleases me immensely, & this was no exception.  I chose red satin bias binding, just to see what it was like, as other bias tends to be quite coarsely woven.  The satin was fine (hope it survives the wash).   And those pockets!  Oh so cute!  I know I’m stuffing my hands into more polka dots which will make me smile.  I could have done the piping better, & didn’t read this part of the sewalong instructions which advised me to fold my piping at the “nicked” bit in the curve.  So my piping is a bit straighter than it could have been.

Now, invisible zip sewing is a new one for me, & I also followed Colette Patterns online tutorial.  It was very clear, but didn’t stop me messing it up first time.  Never mind.  I am really pleased with it- I followed up one of the comments to Jane’s post where she also was converted to invisible zips.  A comment from Lladybird advised that getting an invisible zipper foot for her Pfaff made it all so easy.  So I looked up my model & bought the invisible zip foot (as well as the pin tuck foot & the narrow hem foot ….. well, you have to make the postage worthwhile don’t you?).  Wow, sewing with the right foot makes it SO easy (as long as you place the zip the right way!).

Oh the shame, a pucker!

My only yuk bit is the end of the zip & where it gets subsumed into the side seam.  Lots of sewing, unpicking & sewing it’s still not right.  There’s a little pucker that won’t iron out, but if I resew anymore I may wear the linen out, so it stays.  Apart from that I have been revolutionised by invisible zips!

As the final design detail I took up the “design tip” in the pattern instructions & made a couple of self covered buttons from the facing fabric.

Another things that occurred to me when I was sewing this, was this: do cotton reels pack less length?  What I mean by this is didn’t you used to get more on a reel of cotton ? Is there less metreage of thread being sold these days?  I only ask because for making this dress I was very prudent, only using my blue thread for main seams.  All finishing was done on my overlocker and I also changed thread for any tacking & sewing of facings. And the resewing of the zipper took place over the smallest distance.  Despite this, I still ran out of thread – get this – less than 10cm away from finishing the hem.

Does any one know the answer?  How many reels of thread do you buy per project?  Is it worth buying two?

43 thoughts on “Cartoon-esque Rooibos

  1. Catherine

    What a wonderful outfit! You look so nice in it and well done for braving a “public” photo opportunity.The piping is gorgeous and the polka dots.

    I love invisible zips and use them at every opportunity.I don’t have an invisible zip foot and just use my regular one which works fine for me and I have never had a problem.
    I always buy at least 2 reels of thread if they are the smaller standard size ones because you never know if you might need extra and anyway if it is not used then it might always come in useful later.
    My son goes to Uni in Bath by the way.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you Catherine 🙂
      Another invisible zip fan! I can see why now. I think I might now buy more thread at the beginning – it’s so annoying to run out & be far from more supplies.

      So you come to visit Bath – I hope you enjoy the visits? And hope your son enjoys the student life here …

  2. Magpie Mimi

    I love this dress on you! It looks fantastic! I like the pictures on the street, I miss living in Bath so it’s nice to see it now and again! More please!

    My next sewing project for me will be the Colette Macaron and I can’t wait! I’ll let you know how much thread I get through, but have noticed that they make the reels look the same size by widening the bobbin on the inside. They’re very naughty.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks Mimi. I had hoped taking public photos in Bath would be easier, as it’s got such backdrop potential – but do you really want to put me through this again?!!

      The Macaron will look so sassy on you – good choice- I’m really looking forward to seeing your posts on it …….enjoy the sewing …..

      1. Magpie Mimi

        Perhaps it was because it was later in the day when most tourists have gone wherever it is they go? Maybe a mid day photo wouldn’t be such an unusual thing, or it could be because it’s not against one of the ‘normal’ backdrops tourists take photos from?

        But perhaps it’s just because it’s such a lovely dress that they were all staring!

  3. Carly

    Ah, this dress makes me smile! The dots are just so cheerful (I am a fellow polka dot fiend). It looks fab. My first Rooibos was a bit roomy from the waist down too, but I just put it on inside out and pinned/drew where the line should be (I think it’s the time I pinned myself into the dress and then got stuck while alone in the flat but we’ll gloss over that) and sewed a new seam – it looked fine.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Carly – that’s the fun side of dressmaking! Getting pinned in! Your Rooibos I think is what weakened me – it is too cute for words. I may try to adjust this one, or just get it right next time (because there will be more!)

  4. Kerry

    I like it! The colour is so vibrant and the satin bias binding and covered buttons are a great touch to finish it off.

    I’ve been making my Rooibos this weekend too, and found the same thing with having to skip back and forth on the blog – I thought the blog button would take you to all the posts but it just goes to the first one. Anyway, mine isn’t quite finished yet but I’ve found the same thing with the length. I could have done with about 2 inches but I won’t feel so self conscious if I’m wearing it with black tights!

    I would have thought 1 reel per project would have been enough, though I’m aware that I now use more thread since discovering French seams.

  5. Debi

    LOVE your Rooibos! The contrast polka dots and red piping is so great!!! Photos outside…I think it just takes time getting used to it and finding ‘secret’ places with less foot traffic. I think I’m used to it by now…between taking our ’39 steps’ re-enactment photos right in the middle of the royal mile just weeks before the fringe–to setting up my tripod in prince’s street gardens…you just gotta ignore everyone 🙂 (though even I feel silly with a tripod in a busy area..hehehehehe). I once had a tripod set up in my old neighbourhood and didn’t even notice an ENTIRE tour standing right behind me. geez. Anyways…I ended up finding the foliage quite interesting (until they left…giggle).

    I really must get an invisible zipper foot. I still tend to do all my zippers by hand (handpicked) and I’m sure they’d be much faster and nicer if I did them as invisible zips!

    Oh…and I always buy 2 things of thread–I always run out!

  6. scruffybadgertime Post author

    Thank you Debi 🙂
    I get the feeling that it might be worth braving more outdoor shots- I do remember your 39 steps pics being particularly dramatic & atmospheric!! They were great & maybe I can be inspired by you – look out some baby steps to build up my courage. (Gulp)
    I am getting a 2 reels of thread vibe here – sounds like that is also the way forward …

  7. Roobeedoo

    Oh wow! Minnie, you look fabulous! And so young for a vintage mouse! 😉
    No, seriously, you have the knees… so flaunt them! This is gorgeous and cute and you look about 22 in it. I take my photos at least ten miles from civilisation so I can’t really advise on that front. I do most of my sewing with Lidl thread and I always run out at the hem… which is why I buy two of their £3.99 boxes of threads at a time. there is a colour for every possible occasion and it is really good quality. You get a top thread and a spool for each colour – amazing value! 😉

  8. Tamsin

    What a fabulous dress! Great combination colours too. Re photos, I am still self conscious when trying to take pictures at home, without even thinking of setting up in public!

  9. Debbie B

    Love the dress, the fabric combination is wonderful, made me smile when I first saw it. With self-stitched September you’ll have loads of opportunity to get more relaxed taking photos in public – just remember what Karen did in June… so great!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks Debbie, I must say that Karen was an inspiration & I had thoughts of showing off my fave bits of Bath in some of the SSS photos … but then Saturday evening was the first & do I have the strength?!

  10. 2paw

    Your Rooibos is wonderful and I just love your fashion shoot in the street!!! Mine is still a toile, but I hope to finish it during the SSS. I buy Rasant thread, it comes in 1000m reels for about $5 Australian. It seems to be very good quality and I never run out!! There are about 280 colours as well.

  11. Tanit-Isis

    Holy smokes, you’re cute! Also the dress. If it helps, I don’t think I could walk three steps in Bath without snapping photos. Although I take all my photos in the house and yard, too. So I would probably feel just as awkward as you 😉

  12. Catherine Daze

    What a cute dress! I love the outdoor photos too. Wish I could pluck up the courage to do something similar. I buy three reels of thread per project, but that includes finishing seams and I usually have a bit over. I use it up on muslins.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Three reels of thread – that is belt & braces – a very good idea. I am being converted I think to how I will prepare for future makes. Afterall it’s great also to have a stock of thread from past projects to call on when feeling inspired …

  13. Debbie

    I love it. Such sweet details. I think you could add tights and a red cardie and get away with it as the weather cools too. Well done on the outdoor shots. I think Bath may be a hard place to have outfoor photos as you have so many tourists that you are bound to get some stares. But you do have some good backdrops! Can I request a an outfit post photoed at The Circus? My friend had a damp basement flat there for a year a long time ago.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      You know the Circus is my fave part of Bath … I am tempted – I even bought one of those mini “gorilla” tripods to make use of the railings for self timer shots.
      I am drawn to red tights ….. what do you think? I don’t have any (yet)?!

  14. Sølvi

    Oh, the gorgeousness of this dress! The contrasting color of the facing, and the piping are such perfect choices!

    I am trying to get my picture taken in more interesting places than my dimly lit living room as well, but I am not especially comfortable with it, either. maybe we should do a photo-along?;-)

    And about the thread, I´ve learned from my mother (an avid seamstress), to always buy two reels whenever making something. Nowadays, I usually buy my thread at StoffogStil (a scandinavian shop), and their reels contain 1000m thread! Those are perfect – I never run out of thread when I use them.:-)

  15. scruffybadgertime Post author

    Solvi, an informal photoalong could be just what we need to get braver!
    Maybe small steps … today I took a photo from my front door – still in my garden, but very visible to any passers by …. quickly
    Thank you too 🙂

  16. Amy

    Oh my goodness, I finished off a hem on Saturday afternoon and the exact same thing happened with the thread – about 10cm off! Snap! I scrabbled around and cobbled together some cast-off bits… next time I will definitely buy 2 reels!
    Cute colour combination on the Rooibos, it’s very fun and such a lovely bright blue. I do feel your pain on the public photo taking – hate hate hate it. But sadly, outdoor photos are the most interesting… maybe more practice?

  17. Allison

    I think you just need to knock up the level of weird in your poses. Hang from lamp posts! cuddle up with statues! You will still attract attention, but it will be bewildered awe and jealousy. (other than that already going to your outfit, so basically, they will keel over in the streets. think of the photo-op!)

    re- your comments on my posts, which don’t allow me to respond directly,
    I’d love to be able to do all of those dances 🙂 I love ballroom, but that was a whole new level of awesome.

  18. Andrea

    Your Rooibos turned out so cute – I really like it, and reading about how the pockets are lined with the polka dots and that makes you smile made me smile as well. Sadly, I’m dragging my heels with this dress and at this rate I won’t be finished before October. Looking forward to your post about your new jacket.

  19. Christine

    That is a WONDERFUL dress! Roobeedoo says Minnie Mouse, and I was thinking of Betty Boop, but in a subtle way. Such a lot of very precise work. I just love the polka dots and the piping. And your outdoor photo shoot was very successful, I thought – though I did wonder why you weren’t clowning around as usual, until I read on.

    I look forward to seeing more of that jacket, which looks great. (Thank you also for your very kind and helpful comment on my blog!)

  20. Sigrid

    The dress is amazing and very smile inducing. I am extremely uncomfortable having my photo taken in public, especially if I am modeling something I made. I even get nervous in my own backyard when the neighbors emerge from their houses. But I loved seeing your hometown!

  21. Florence

    Wow! You and your dress look gorgeous. I’m really surprised though – I’d always thought from your and everyone else’s photos that this was an incredibly fitted dress and so was amazed to see it looking so roomy when it was pulled out. Thank you for this most enlightening piece of photography! I have this pattern, but am yet to make it up – this will be a key piece of information when pondering fabrics now, as I’d previously thought it would be so fitted that it may require something with stretch in it.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi Florence,
      Thank you – I must say I was also surprised by the fit – I do think I could make it smaller, but like you I also expected it to be more snug fitting…. now I’m sure it is possible to adapt it to make it more slinky. The way this dress is, it’s ideal for a big meal out & hiding any stomach recovery that is needed!!

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