Hot! The Well Read Dress

The Facts

Fabric: A little less than 2 1/2 yards of brown wool tweed suiting. ~$12
This was actually what was left after making a capelet. Apparently I buy a lot of yardage when I get fabric. Lining and pockets are a brown and white cotton polka dot fabric scrap from a previous dress. Serious stash-busting here!

Pattern: Colette Peony, purchased on sale ~$14

Year: 2011

Notions: Brown invisible zipper ~$1.50

Time to complete: 5 hours

Wear again? Yes! Especially during the winter.

Total Price: ~$27.50


This dress was inspired by some tweed ballet flats that I’ve had for a couple of years.  I constantly wear them – I find the plaid colors add a little fun to my basic work-wear, and I love the little leather buckle.  With this week’s challenge, I was completely inspired by these shoes.  I wanted to do a wool tweed that would match the feel, and almost give them a literary vibe.  Yup, that’s right, I feel like I should be hanging out in the library or doing some historical research in this dress.  It reminded me of Giles’ jackets from Buffy the Vampire slayer.

I knew Peony would be the perfect use for this fabric.  It’s a simple design but the boat neck adds a little sass and I love the long sleeves.  I tied the shoes back into the dress with the brown leather belt, mimicking the brown belt buckles on the top of the shoes.

I normally don’t wear a lot of unlined wool because of the itch factor, so I changed the facings out with some cotton scraps that I had leftover from another dress I made a couple of months ago.  It’s a brown cotton with white polka dots.  I wasn’t sure what to do with my fabric scraps, but after reading suggestions from the Sew Weekly Community forums, I sorted everything into smaller yardage amounts and fabric scraps, which gave me a good idea of what I can use for mini projects, charity, and trimmings such as bias tapes, facings and pocket linings.  It’s so nice to have a grasp on those things!

Can I tell you how much I am loving installing invisible zippers since I started following the method from Colette’s book? It’s so easy and it looks so good!  Oh, and this was my first ‘on location’ shoot?  Well, not counting Gatsby, but generally, I take my pics in the backyard. I told the hubby that I wanted to ‘step-it-up’ for this week so we ventured over to the local library.  Unfortunately, it’s tiny, so it was hard finding an empty aisle, and I was a little nervous about taking pictures in a crowded library, but luckily, I found a couple of empty spots. Whew!




Christine started sewing in late 2010, inspired by the many crafty bloggers and their gorgeous, self-made outfits. When she's not sewing, she's doing Irish and Scottish dancing, needlework or other various crafts, and hanging out with her hubby and fur babies (1 dog and 3 cats).


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  1. Very cute, love the choice in wool! I did the peony too this week. Isn’t the pattern a dream?

    • Thanks! I loooove all of Colette’s patterns that I’ve tried so far – they’re so easy to work with and I know I can rely on the fit. They don’t disappoint!

  2. Super cute dress… and I love that you reference Buffy, my all-time favorite show!

    • Oh yeah! High five for Buffy fans! I watched a lot of Buffy and Angel in 2011 when sewing. I re-watched all of the seasons incorporating Angel when it came on. I hate when I finish a show though because you get so into it… then I have to find the next series to watch alongside my sewing.

  3. Great dress, it looks really versatile and I love the image of your creeping around a library waiting to take sneaky pictures!

    • Thank you, and yes, it’s true, I was totally creeping! And there was only one empty row, so I had to make do across from the mass market romance novels.

  4. Lovely dress! I have the Peony in my project queue so it’s nice to keep seeing pretty versions like yours. I totally agree with you about the Colette invisible zipper tutorial. I have found it invaluable, and zips no longer hold any fear for me!

  5. Absolutely stunning! And any reference to Giles. +47 points!

  6. Cute dress and a Buffy reference – what’s not to love. I also really like your ballet flats. They are a style of shoe that I just cannot wear, but that doesn’t stop me trying them on every time I see a pretty pair.

  7. This looks fantastic! I’m obssessed with wool fabrics and think they make beautiful fall/winter garments! Great dress!

  8. Really nice. I love those shoes, and this is a very versatile dress I’m sure will go with many other accessories as well!

  9. The Colette invisible zip instructions have changed everything for me too! Your Peony looks lovely. To bad you couldn’t hold a book on demons, like Giles.

    • Oh that would have been brilliant! As it was, I think I was holding a fashion book. Luckily those were the larger volumes in the section I was in and it seemed fitting. ;)

  10. Lovely. Suits you very well. It’s good to see ideas for work-wear.

  11. Beautiful dress! Such a flattering sewing pattern. I want to make mine up soon.

  12. THis is seriously cute- from flats to neckline! I love it. Maybe I need to try some library shots- I feel like all i do is stand on my deck and face the sun!

    • I usually resort to the backyard – the hubby is always asking if we’re going to be ‘by this tree’ or ‘the vine over the pathway’. It was nice to mix things up and now I want to think of other fun locations where I can be inconspicuous while taking photos.

  13. Oh, I love both the dress and the location! I bet it would look really cute with boots too!

  14. Love this version – I did Peony too this week!

  15. This looks so classic! I love the library a location, and am instantly reminded of one of Cindy Sherman’s most famous photographs.

  16. This looks so classic! I love the library as location, and am instantly reminded of one of Cindy Sherman’s most famous photographs.

  17. This looks so classic! I love the library as location, and am instantly reminded of one of Cindy Sherman’s most famous photographs.

    (ps – my comment kept going to spam, so i removed the link to the photo… weird.)

    • That’s ok – the links came through. I love that photo! I should have tried more shots like that but I was trying to be stealthy. There was a librarian stacking books in the opposite row and she kept peeking through to see what we were doing. lol

  18. I don’t know what I like better: that your dress is amazingly versatile and looks warm and lovely OR the fact that you mentioned Giles :)

    • Oh Meg, I’m trying to get caught up on Dr. Who so I’ll be able to join those conversations too. The hubby and I are working through Season 1. But until then, we can talk Buffy ;)

  19. I love your dress! The silhouette is really flattering and the material is perfect for this.