Hot! The “Emotional Roller Coaster” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: 3 1/3 yards teal Robert Kaufman Radiance (55% cotton, 45% silk), about $30 from Brooklyn GeneralPattern: Colette Oolong
Year: contemporary
Notions: none
Time to complete: About 4 hours this week.  Previously, quite a long time.  The sewing is fairly quick but the cutting out is a major undertaking.
First worn: Saturday night to a MoMA party for families.  Mostly with a cardigan.
Wear again: I don’t know.
Total cost: $30

What I like about this dress:

  • The color.
  • The fabric is slinky.
  • Makes me look like I have a waist.
  • No zipper, no buttons.
  • The bias-cut swinginess.

What I don’t like:

  • Neckline looks like crap. Is there any way to get that point of the v-neck to look smooth and lie flat?
  • Fit could be better.
  • Sleeves are too poufy on top.
  •  My slip rides up when I wear it. If I make Oolong again, I’ll definitely line it.
  • The fabric wrinkles like crazy.
  • The stupid emotional suffering I endured making it.

I abandoned this dress a couple months ago because the neck facing wouldn’t cooperate and the sleeve hem barely squeezed over my upper arm (wouldn’t call it a bicep, because that suggests muscle).  Tears were shed.  Feeling way too hateful toward the dress, I opted to take a break.

This week I recut and reattached the sleeves, resewed the neck facing, and hemmed it.  Unfortunately, while notching the seam allowance of the neck facing, I accidentally snipped the front of the dress!  No!  More hysterics, more hate for the dress.  I squirted some Fray-Check on the snip.  It’s wearable, not a complete disaster, especially with a cardigan, but I don’t see myself reaching for this dress often, if ever again.

with our artwork hanging in the MoMA! and a glowstick around my head for some reason



Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.


Comments are closed.

  1. Kudos for dusting off a former enemy. Terribly sorry you discovered the relationship was still sour. I love the color and style of the dress.

    Perhaps some careful staystiching, a stiffer or lighter interfacing, maybe even some twill tape or a strip of selvedge sewn onto the v-neck seamline (while taking two tiny stitches across the bottom of the V) will help with your neckline woes. I consulted 4 different sewing books when sewing mine for this week’s challenge…you can’t eff-around with v-necks.

    • You’ve armed me for the next v-neck, maybe even the next Oolong. Would be nice to vanquish the enemy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Well, even if you don’t go back to this particular pattern you should definitely revisit the fabric choice. It looks fantastic on you! Way to tough it out :)

  3. The color looks great on you. I used for the first time this week tear away stabilizer. It worked wonders on my light weight jersey to keep it front slipping around, maybe that would help with the slippery silk. Also, I ve had issues with puffy sleeves and reworked them with flat pleats instead. Good luck with the next challenge.

    • Thanks, Krista. I’ll keep stabilizer in mind, not sure for this fabric, which is more cotton than silk and actually pretty easy to work with, just not at that v-neck. Pleats are an excellent idea for the sleeves.

  4. Well my dear I’ve been sewing all my life and things like this happen. In fact after 50 years of sewing they still can happen and I just throw them out rather than drive myself nuts trying to fix them. I’ve done that little clipping mistake too more than once over the year. Take heart the next project with be better don’t give up. Nan

  5. I applaud your perseverance. I can totally relate to hours and hours of reworking something and then not feeling overjoyed with the results. In the photos it looks very nice and fits you perfectly. I can’t see any rip, so no worries there.

  6. Lovely work, Lee! The color is amazing on you, and the cut is fantastic!

  7. Really love the colour and shine to the fabric and it looks great on you! I am with you in accidentally cutting holes in the wrong bit! Argh makes you scream!

  8. In spite of your troubles with this pattern, the cut and color are fantastic! I’m glad you persevered and shared with us. Onward and upward :)

  9. The colour is spectacular and the snip is not noticeable in the fabric from the photos. Ooolong is one of only two Colette Patterns I do not have as it just looks a bit fiddly for me. Well done on persevering through it!

    • The cutting out and that neckline are definitely fiddly. I do love the cut, though, and I think I’ll give it another go eventually. I’ve found Parfait and Macaron a bit complicated too but with great results.

  10. I second what Najah said. Use fusible stay tape along the neckline edge, take two stitches at the point of the V, carefully clip and turn. Then understitch. It’s the recipe for perfection.

    Your dress is soooo adorable and I love the cut and color on you. I find radiance works best for blouses- just my opinion, but for a dress it’s too… I don’t know.. Too light? You have heaps of beautiful fabric there, if you find you don’t wear the dress very often maybe you can give the skirt a new lease on life as a simple, but pretty and versatile, top?


    • Thanks, Steph. I’ve already thought about recycling the fabric for a top, but there are a bunch of seams and I’m not sure how to work with them. Have to mull it over. I think Radiance is too wrinkly for a skirt. Now that I’ve tried it.

  11. Also– wait wait, is that YOUR artwork? Like, you painted it? Wow.

    • Pastel and oil crayons, an activity set up by the museum. They go all out for this party once a year. It is very cool. Even though I’m sure all the kids’ art came down before the museum opened the next day.

  12. Great job! I have absolutely been there – I have one of those sitting in my closet that I wasn’t ready to tackle for this UFO project. It looks great and congrats on that accomplishment!

  13. it is a lovely colour (and even makes the glowstick look fancy). Good luck with any tweaks you make because you do already have a very nice looking dress.

  14. The color and fabric look great! I don’t see any issues :-) Great job tackling such a stressful project! And did I read that correctly? Your artwork? Congrats!

    • Thanks! Well, see above about the artwork. All the kids who did the activity were asked if they wanted to have their art hung or take it home.

  15. I just finished the Oolong in a crimson wool crepe and lined it. I am unable to make the vee of the facing lie flat, no matter if I staystitch or iron. I’ve finally decided to put some really great buttons down the gathers. That way, the facing will be SEWN DOWN!

  16. Do you have the Colette book? In it Sarai suggests putting a pin between the edge and the seam, very close to the seam, and then clipping. The pins will prevent your scissors from cutting too far.

  17. Exactly what StephC said. We’ve all snipped where we shouldn’t :) You could also embellish that area with a permanent brooch, button or fabric flower? I don’t have huge guns, a little strong, but nothing to be afraid of. Still, my Jasmine sleeves needed to go up a size. Dainty Colette :)

    • Hah! Yeah Colette sizing is all wrong for me– generous in my dainty parts, dainty in my generous parts– but I love every single design.

  18. Oh Lee sorry this was such a pain in the behind for you but honestly looking at the photos she looks great, I like that you know your colours and the cut of the dress looks great on you. Congrats on the artwork too how exciting yay!!