Spring Peony Dress

As mentioned in my previous few posts I have a small back log of posts coming your way shortly, now that it has finally been sunny enough to photograph them! And to begin with I present you my second Peony Dress by Colette Patterns, this time I made the short sleeve version, with a couple other alterations, as well as patch pockets! If you follow me on Instagram you will recognize this from several preview pictures.

Spring Peony Dress

To be completely honest, this dress was a pain in the butt to make. I decided to use a lightweight black and white gingham that has a slight stretch to it (I picked it up a year or so ago at a fabric store that was going out of business) and to add a little visual interest I cut the bodice on a bias as well as added black piping. This is actually the second bodice that I cut since I had run into a few problems installing the invisible zipper, but more on that later.

In addition to the alterations that I used on my Winter Peony Dress I also did my fist FBA (full bust adjustment), up until now I had been terrified of doing one and essentially avoided it at all cost, but I’m so glad I sucked it up and did it (and guess what it was super easy!). The other adjustments that I did was shift the sleeves forward by about 5/8” of an inch to help give me a better range of motion and lowered the side bust darts by 5/8″.

As I mentioned previously this is the second bodice that I cut out for this dress (thank goodness I bought so much of this fabric) the reason for that is that I really hadn’t had any experience with bias cut fabric up to this point and time so I didn’t stabilize it short of stay stitching the neckline. By the time I had gotten to inserting the zipper the fabric had stretched out quite a bit and the problem was that I couldn’t tell until I had finished everything and was about to wear it. Imagine how upset I was when I saw that the zipper was rippling up and down my back and I resembled a stegosaurus! After looking around the interwebs for any type of solution and trying many things I decided it would be easiest to cut a whole new bodice and treat it very delicately. For the second time around I used fusible knit interfacing to stabilize the zipper opening (using Sunni’s instructions) and stitched up the seams and darts using tissue paper to prevent my sewing machine from stretching the fabric, as I was sewing. This final bodice is much better, but is still a little ripply, especially if I stand up really straight. I also wish that I could get a little closer to the zipper teeth, but I think it is mainly the fault of this lightweight fabric. Oh well.

Spring Peony Dress

Spring Peony Dress

To add a bit of visual interest I added black piping to the neck, sleeves, waist, and pockets. On the first bodice I used the piping along with the facing and it definitely felt a bit bulky, but while working on my second bodice I saw Gertie’s post of using piping as self facing (duh!) and now the neck is much less bulky. Along with the piping I cut out bias patch pockets rather than using the inseam ones provided with the pattern, and I must say they are my favorite part of the dress! They help break up the busyness of the gingham along with looking absolutely adorable.

Spring Peony Dress

Overall I am very please with this dress, I still can’t lift my arms super high (I’m really not sure of what kind of adjustment could help remedy this), and the zipper is a little off, but I definitely pushed myself out of my comfort zone with this one. I did a ton of “firsts” (FBA, piping, bias, self drafted pockets) and made a dress that I fell with be great in a variety of seasons.

Next up is my dress for Sew Dolly Clacket!

Xoxo Jeanne

Quick Facts
Pattern: Colette Pattern’s Peony Dress
Fabric: Cotton with stretch Black and Whit Gingham
Adjustments: 1/2” FBA
Shifted sleeves forward 5/8”
Took out 1 1/2″ from back neck
Moved shoulders over by 1/2″
Lowered side bust darts by 5/8″
Used Piping as self facing


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