Hot! The “As Good As It Gets” Dress

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Fabric: Floral cotton from Alameda Antique Fair – $7.50 for 3 yards, Navy fabric for bodice – $.25
Patterns: Colette Patterns Ceylon
Year: c. 2009
Notions: Vintage button kits – $.05
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: February 2011
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: ~$7.80


Because I'm so used to sewing with patterns from the big four pattern companies and knowing exactly what to expect,  I was a bit terrified to sew a pattern from Colette Patterns. Ever since I began sewing in earnest I've seen other women raving about CP. It was about time that I gave one a try!

The first thing I have to say is that I love their sizing. Numbers associated with sizes are arbitrary — just look at international sizes to prove that. That said, I couldn't help smile when the size chart indicated I should sew a size "4." The last time I was a size "4" Back to the Future was playing in theaters. So thank you Colette Patterns for your self-esteem building numeric scheme!

The second thing has to do with the pattern's packaging. I absolutely love how the patterns are presented. They're in a book form with a sewn binding. A little pocket houses the pattern pieces and the instructions are clearly laid out throughout the book. Quite cute!

Once I got over my fear of unknown sewing territories, I began cutting and soon found myself following the instructions to the letter. I wasn't frustrated with the instructions (like I can get with other modern-day patterns) and felt a great deal reassured knowing that the person who drafted this pattern is a contemporary of mine — someone who was born after fusible interfacing was invented.

The pattern was a breeze to construct! As I sewed my dress I kept on thinking of that line from the Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt film, As Good As It Gets — "You make me want to be a better man." This pattern, without frustrating directions and construction details, made me want to be a better sewer. It's a pattern that, with a methodical pace, looks finished on both the inside and outside.

With the contrast yoke and sleeves and the feedsack-like print, the finished dress reminds me of my Take Me Out to the Ballgame Dress. The big difference, however, is that I absolutely love this dress and it is about a thousand times more flattering! 

So in a nutshell, Ceylon by Colette Patterns kicks all sorts of butt and I think I've found my go-to dress of this season. Want your own copy of Ceylon. Here's a 15% code to use in March for the Colette Patterns shop: SWSPRING (case sensitive).

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And now, my Spring Palette.


I'm all about the primary colors for Spring. Right now, I have an obsession with yellow and floral prints that look good enough to eat. Bold and edible, if you will.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. Oh so cute! Love that you used a contrast fabric for the bodice, it looks as if you are wearing a bolero but you ain’t :)

  2. LOVE it!!! It looks sooo lovely! I also really love the contrasting fabric! What a great idea!

  3. I love the way you have done this dress – I can’t wait for my Colette patterns to arrive!
    PS – how do you lay your spring palette out like that?

  4. I’m going to have to see if I can’t source the Colette patterns locally (the freight’s a killer) – that’s a great dress. The contrast loks great and your description of the pattern is very inviting.

  5. Fabulous! It looks wonderful and I am very excited about the discount, I’ve had my eye on a couple of patterns for months.
    I am totally in love with this blog, thanks for all your hard work!

  6. Love this Mena! Nice idea with the contrast panels and the bolero look. I may have to try something similar with a pattern that I’ve just added to my stash (not the same as yours.. but I think it’ll work). Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. as ever you are an inspiration and just look FAB !!!!

  8. I love the contrast bodice–such a cute idea! I made the Ceylon awhile ago and also love how flattering the fit is, not to mention the ease of construction. Such a great pattern… I need to pull mine out eventually and make another! (But right now I’m kind of distracted with CP’s “Crepe” dress pattern…)
    ♥ Casey

  9. I love it, and the contrasting bodice really gives it the feel of having a bolero worn over it. Great fabric, and lovely dress.
    I am so with you on the palette. Your colors overlap with mine a lot. Bring on bold and edible!

  10. It is like your ballgame dress, lol! But definitely prettier and more flattering. Maybe I’ll take advantage of that code and get over my own fear of sewing from their patterns.

  11. Beautiful, Mena! Our spring palettes are very similar :) I have the Ceylon pattern, but will be tackling Oolong this week. I like that you mention you’re into yellows and florals lately — I just received a yellow floral rayon twill I will be using for Ceylon some day! Your dress is very flattering and I didn’t realize you hadn’t tackled CP before. Great job!

  12. P.S. As an architectural history nerd I just had to say that I love those wood windows behind you! California weather really allows for those to be preserved nicely :)

  13. I love it, Mena! The contrast bodice really kicks it up a notch. Well done! :) Your palette is lovely. I’m really in to yellow lately, too.

  14. Thanks, Adey! I’m also going to try doing the sleeves and yokes in a contrast fabric while keeping the dress the same print — I love this little faux bolero trick!

  15. Thanks, Debi! Contrasting fake boleros are the new black.

  16. Thanks, Jen! Be sure to check the Stockists section of the CP site — they have a list of their brick & mortar and international online retailers.

  17. Thanks, Debbie!
    I used a combination of Polyvore and Photoshop to lay it out. Check out Polyvore — it’s really cool!

  18. Thanks, Rebecca! I’m glad people are making good use with the discount code! Thanks for the nice compliments about this blog!

  19. Thanks, Casey! I’m definitely going to look at my patterns more closely and see where contrast fabric can be used to add personality.

  20. Thanks, Charlotte!

  21. Thanks, Casey! Your green Ceylon was the first version of the dress I ever saw — it’s so lovely!

  22. Thanks, Tasha! My absolute favorite thing about this dress is the faux bolero. It was the perfect pattern to do that trick.

  23. Yeah, I’m so glad to be able to take an interesting concept (the contrast sleeves and tiny flower print) and make a dress that I actually want to wear. I may even take the Ballgame dress and refashion it — there’s no point to let that cute fabric go to waste.

  24. Thanks, Amanda! I’ve never worn yellows before but now can’t resist them! I have some adorable yellow dotted swiss that I want to work into the challenge but I don’t know if I want to tackle something I have to line. Yeah, I’ve been missing out on CP!

  25. That was the venue for our Swap/Meet yesterday!

  26. Thanks, Sarah! I’m going to have to control my urge to make everything with a faux bolero!

  27. I love the dress and fabric print. It reminds me of a dress I am working on right now. I wish I had that pattern when I started because it would have done way better than the one I am using. So cute, great job.

  28. margueritedesigns

    Wish my pattern had arrived – never mind, I have that treat to come! This one looks lovely.

  29. I had that idea with the sleeve/yoke contrast too! I’d love to see what that would look like.

  30. Thanks, Sue! That’s the fun thing about sewing — you can always sew another dress!

  31. Thanks, Diane! I’m sorry it didn’t come in time, but the week’s still early!

  32. And, its even better in person! It looks great on you.

  33. I love this combination of colours and print, and it looks like the pattern was MADE for you!
    Honestly I’m in SHOCK with how wonderful the Colette Pattern is to read! The booklet is to die for (and the Notes section at the end!) but the instructions are really great! They’ve got really classic vintage looks but with modern body shapes… so good!
    Your town is so beautiful with these retro settings!

  34. What a beautiful dress you’ve made! So cute—especially that cheery print with the contrasting bodice. Nice touch. The dress looks wonderful on you, too, much better than on the pattern cover! Maybe Sarai should use your photo on her site the way she has with other seamstress’ work! LOL I’m still working with the Crepe for Gertie’s Sew-Along (had bodice issues—turns out it’s my scoliosis) but have to say I agree with you regarding the way these patterns and the instructions are presented. Such a breath of fresh air compared to patterns from the Big Four. I also appreciate that the patterns are drafted for a fuller bust—I know this is troublesome for some sewers, but not this newbie!
    And again, I am just going to PayPal you $50 and tell you to buy me whatever fabric you think I’ll like from that fair…Hee hee!

  35. Wow wow wow!! This is beautiful and I love the contrast fabric on the bust – great idea!