Madam! Your knees are on show!


I present - my Rooibos dress. And it's turned out a bit shorter than I would like. I don't think it's shockingly short, but it's certainly a little out of my normal comfort zone. Perhaps I'm getting prudish in my old age, but I would have preferred it to be a bit longer. I'm aware that this is my fault for not adding a bit to the length. As I'm tall I really should know to expect this.

Very creased Franken-muslin

The whole process did not start well. I thought I'd be smart and cut a smaller size than normal out of the paper pattern before making the bodice muslin, reasoning that I always have to make muslins smaller. And guess what? The muslin was FAR too small. After some humming and hawing, during which I considered giving up or buying a whole new pattern to cut the larger size (!), I managed to add in some extra pieces of fabric to end up with a muslin that I could make fit.

Putting the final dress together was fine overall, and it was helpful to have the sewalong posts. I put in an invisible zip, which I hadn't used since my sewing class, and it went surprisingly smoothly. I used the Colette post on this which was great. I think ironing the zip made all the difference, and I'm really delighted with the resulting zip. I don't even have an invisible zip foot, just a regular one-sided zip foot and was able to get a great result.


I opted not to add piping to the neckline, partly because I didn't have much polka dot fabric to spare. I added piping to the pockets which looks great (if I say so myself) and is a nice touch to mirror the collar fabric.

Once I attached the skirt to the bodice, I realise that the length was pretty short, and also that the shape wasn't as fitted as I hoped. I did take it in a bit at the sides - witness my big-fat-french-seams, which helped a little.
 Fat French seams

Here's my review of the pattern:

Pattern Used
Rooibos dress by Colette Patterns

Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? 
Yes - well, I think the skirt looks more flare-y than on the pattern drawing. This may be partly due to my choice of fabric which was quite stiff, without too much drape, and perhaps a little heavy for the pattern so the hem sits out a little more than it otherwise would.

Were the instructions easy to follow? 
Yes, as always Colette Patterns' instructions are great. That being said, I would have struggled for longer to get my head round the instructions for sewing the armholes, without the excellent explanation in the sewalong post. This was very useful!

Inside pocket view 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 
I love the little contrast collar, the pockets with piping (I'm very proud of those) and the invisible zip. I dislike the back darts, which give a 'back boob' effect. I think the back would look better with those left out completely.
Back view with darts

Fabric & Notions 
Green cotton drill, raspberry polka dot cotton, 2 spools of thread (green and red), interfacing, invisible zip. I considered adding polka dot covered buttons or suitable buttons from my stash but in the end have left it plain for the meantime. What do you think?

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
I had to take it in at the sides and I elongated the back darts in an attempt to make them look less 'boob-y'.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  

I might sew it again in the future.I would like one in suiting fabric, for work.

Fabric    £14.23
Pattern   £13.00
Zip         £2.50
Thread   £3.10

Total = £32.83

I'm not completely happy with the length and the overall skirt shape. I do like the pattern but I don't absolutely love the result - time will tell how often I actually wear this. Ask me in a few months when I've worn it and I might reassess!



  1. I think you've done a brilliant job! I know what it's like to wear a dress that feels too short - why don't you add a panel to the hem to lengthen it?

  2. I absolutely love it and think the length's perfect. I can see you getting loads of wear from it over the winter with some clashing opaques. x

  3. Thanks Sarah and Vix - I think you're right, bright tights are the way to go :)

  4. I am with Sarah and Vix - it looks really great on you and bright tights would be so much fun to liven this dress up during the winter.

  5. I think it looks great on you and although you don't like the length, it looks fab, really suits you.

  6. I think it looks great and not too short at all (especially if you're wearing tights underneath)!

  7. I think it looks great, not too short on you either. I can definitely see it paired with some bright tights for Winter. Must get on and finish mine.

  8. Loving this! I totally understand feeling like it is too short, but in the photographs it doesn't look bad at all! Tights and leggings definitely help me feel less self-conscious if I am wearing something a bit short.

  9. I love the dress. I always wear leggings or thick tights with dresses or skirts I find too short. Makes me feel a bit more covered

  10. Thanks everyone! - with the terrible weather we've been having recently I think I will be forced to wear thick tights or leggings, never mind fashion considerations :)

  11. I think your dress looks great! I'm really happy to read your post because I made a this dress just the other day and had the *exact same* feelings about it as you! I thought mine came out a tad too short for my liking (and I am not tall), I thought that the skirt part was not fitted enough and I am bothered by the back darts and was really wondering why they were there at all!
    Don't get me wrong, I really like this dress overall (and I have worn mine a couple of times already) and yours looks great too, but I'm happy to see someone with the same "complaints" as me!

  12. Hi there. I saw your post the other day but imagine frustrations not to he able to download pictures!! ( my technicals I'm sure). So checked again today. I love your rooibos!! What beautiful fabric choice and super cute lining. It's funny what you said about the back darts, although once elongating and pressing mine seemed to be ok. The length looks lovely- even if it's perhaps shorter than you'd choose embrace I say! It looks fab, you have a great figure, enjoy the girliness!! I'm a 5' 3" and it feels shorter than I'd choose, but in a photo from a distance it looks* fine*. We just need to get over our self consciousness!

  13. I'm in awe of your productivity and the fact that you always make a muslin - I never do, I'm so slapdash!

    I love the length, and the pockets and the contrast spottiness - I think you'll get loads of wear out of it :) x

  14. Nice Rooibos! I think it looks great on you with tights, but for non-tight weather you could always make a slightly narrower slip to go underneath the dress with a band of contrasting fabric to peek out by a few inches. Just an idea if you have access to any more polka dot or complementary fabric.

  15. Thanks all - Lynn I love that idea, will keep it in mind :)


Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say