The July Dress. Hung Jury. (Colette Macaron with knit yoke)

Greetings bird thugs. You know, Mr. Bug put out a bird feeder to be nice and I think the least you could do is not tease the squirrels and clean up after yourselves. Silly birds.

Ah! Today I have a reveal for you! I cannot tell a lie, I finished this dress a while ago. I mean, it WAS August, but it was probably before the 5th. Even so, I started it in July and I’m claiming it as the July dress for my Year of the Dress project. I made OTHER dresses in July too, but I’m trying to keep dresses made for classes separate from dresses for Year of the Dress. But enough with the administrative tasks, let’s get to judging.

I guess juries are supposed to deliberate more than judge, right? (In case you’re lost, not only are you thug birds with messy table manners but you are also jury members) I can tell you the jury in my head could not come to an agreement. There were naysayers and, um, yaysayers (is that a thing?) A few thought it looked like a strapless dress over a t-shirt, a couple thought it looked like a tablecloth, some loved it and there was one juror who was completely uninterested and was just flipping through the new Ikea catalog.

Sharp eyed birds will notice that my Macaron does not, in fact, have a Macaron skirt. Clever birds, I was trying to gloss over that. See, what happened is I made a muslin for the bodice and assumed the full skirt would fit fine. I added 3/8″ to the seams for good measure, but once I finished the darn thing and put it on, ALL the jury members (the ones in my head) were in agreement that the dress was not working. The Colette size 18 is a bit smaller than my measurements, but I thought it’d be close enough – it certainly was with the Crepe! The killer was the pleats which are stitched down for a few inches up by the midriff band. This created an unfortunate sausage look right over some rough terrain that then BILLOWED out to obviously-too-small pleats. With pockets embedded in them. It was not good, bird-friends. Not good at all.

I ripped the darn skirt from the bodice (lucky for me, I’d had the foresight to stitch that sucker on with 4mm basting stitches, just in case), removed the pockets and grudgingly bought more of the lovely orange-rose fabric. I fashioned a new skirt using the pattern pieces from Kwik Sew 3758 (my recent knit’n’cotton tank dress.) The pattern pieces are super elaborate. It’s actually just one piece and it’s just a big rectangle. I figured that the gathering at the waist would make it ease to fudge onto the Macaron bodice and I re-used the pockets I’d already cut to make in-seam pockets for the new skirt, although I forgot to take pictures with my hands in the pockets to prove it to you!

I just can’t decide what I think of the dress. I LOVE the cotton rose print – I mean, orange roses! How awesome is that? And I like the teeny yellow polka dot interlock with the orange rose print, although I had some hesitation over the whole yellow shirt thing (do I look jaundiced?) I really love the fit of the bodice, it’s one of the best horizontal/vertical dart combos I’ve ever donned in terms of properly covering the curves instead of creating a bullet bra effect without the bullet bra (a side effect of giant FBA’s that I’m still fine-tuning.) I even like the skirt style I went with. I just can’t get over the strapless-over-a-T-shirt vibe I’m feeling when I wear the dress!

If either the back didn’t go down so low or I wasn’t so lazy, I would try again without the yoke and just put on some simple, wide, bra-covering straps. I really love the shape of the dress!

It’s sweet, isn’t it? I particularly like it from this angle!

Details, Details

Where shall I start you squirrel taunting feathered criminals? Ah yes, the knit yoke. Some of you might already be familiar with my peculiar issues of making the yoke (that’s the yellow part if there are any non-seamstress birds reading this!) I made the yoke from a knit when it’s supposed to be a woven and I had to compensate for the difference in wearing ease going from a woven to a knit – namely, I’d need room to move my arms when wearing woven sleeves and I like my t-shirts scandalously tight. My first post covering all of those shennanagins can be read here. I ended up cutting a size 12 yoke and attaching to a size 18 bodice.

The attaching went fairly well – it’s a bit wavey, but not noticeable when I have it on. Here’s some photos of the bodice front – I did some topstitching in orange to help things lie smoothly.

And here it is on – you can see the waviness over to your right (my left.) That’s partially due to how I’m standing and the fact that the bodice ended up a bit loose as a whole. You can also see here how much I lowered the neckline (and the shocking preponderance of freckles on my poor, fair skin.) In general, the puckering was minimal.

The pattern instructions have you attach the bodice and yoke by threadtracing, turning, pressing and topstitching – basically, you are to attach from the right side instead of the standard right-sides-together-sew-on-the-wrong-side. Or something like that. I really didn’t think that I’d be able to accomplish all that while trying to stretch the yoke evenly to span the bodice (the yoke was smaller than the bodice since it was cut from the size 12 pattern pieces!) Instead I carefully pinned right sides together and stitched slowly, knit side facing the feed dogs. Everything went in smoothly and I went back and serged the seam allowances together and then topstitched the seam allowances down. In the photo below the very top line of stitching (towards the upper left) is the seam attaching the yoke to the bodice. Below that you can see the serging and the bobbin thread from topstitching and below that is the horizontal dart.

The other big change I made was to lower the neckline. I did that by tracing the neckline from a t-shirt pattern that I like. I finished the neckline with a strip of the yellow fabric. I measured the total length of the neckline and subtracted about 3 inches. Then I cut a strip of polka dotted fabric that was between 1.5 and 2″ wide and my neckline-minus-three-inches measurement. I cut it from selvage to selvage which is cutting on the cross grain and is usually the more stretchy direction for knits. I serged the ends together, then folded the raw edges together and pressed so I had a nice strip that had been fashioned into a circle with one edge folded, the other side the two raw edges and the right side facing out. I pinned to the right side of the neckline, matching up all the raw edges and stitched on with the machine using a long stitch – I had to stretch it to get it to fit. Once I got it with no wrinkles or tucks I restitched with the serger to make it strong and trim the seam. Then I turned everthing to the inside and topstitched.

Here’s a closeup from the inside.

I stitched most of the seams on the serger. The order of construction has you attach the midriff pieces to the front and back bodice pieces, then attach the front and back sections together, giving lots of opportunities for the horizontal seams not lining up. I like to use the serger whenever possible and if there’s potential for mismatched seams I’ll pin and machine baste just for a few inches over the seams to ensure they’re lined up before I commit to serging. I think if I made this again, I’d attach the front/back bodice and the front/back midriff pieces separately, then attach THOSE together. In any case, what with the knit yoke and all those horizontal seams I nearly broke my wrist in my attempt to get everything lined up and there’s definitely some puckering, but I was able to steam a lot of it away!

I put in a very short size zip that goes from right under my arm to where the skirt begins. Since the skirt is so full I didn’t need a zip there, and it’s not easy to get a zipper in where there’s gathering! I had to put in a centered, regular zip rather than the invisible that the pattern called for – it was easier to keep the seams lined up by basting shut and putting in the zipper with the side seam basted. That way there wasn’t any creeping around while maneuvering the zipper! (Who’m I kidding? I can’t stand invisible zips – I would have hand-picked if I didn’t have to deal with those stubborn seams lining up!)

One feature of the dress that I like is that the sleeves are fully lined – there’s a little scallop detail on the hem sleeve, so they’d be hard to hem otherwise! The pictures showing how to put the sleeves together made me think I’d gone to crazy town. But I managed.

The Last Word – Colette 1001/Macaron “The July Dress”

main: Joel Dewberry Heirloom Rose Bouquet in Amber. Isn’t it to die for?? (Available online – when I last checked, there were probably 3 or 4 yards left. Enough for a full circle skirt, little birdies!!)
contrast yoke: Oliver + S City Weekend Cafe Dots in Yellow/cotton interlock (Available online)

pattern: Colette 1001 Macaron

notions: thread, a bit of clear elastic to stabilize shoulder seams, 12″ regular zipper

time to complete: Just over 8 hours! EGAD!!
Pattern adjustments and muslins: 4 hours
Cutting: 45 minutes
Sewing yoke: 45 minutes
Sewing bodice: 30 minutes
Making and attaching skirt #1: 45 minutes
Removing skirt #1, making and cutting/attaching skirt #2: 30 minutes
Zipper (3 tries. sigh.): 45 minutes
Hemming: 10 minutes

likelihood to make another?: As I said, the jury’s out.

curvy girl score: Oh, dear. Style concerns aside, the bodice gets a 9 with an adjusted/lowered neckline and a 6 with the high neckline. Based on my experience, that skirt gets a 6, although if it’s made at the right size, I think it could get as much as an 9 – I’ve seen it looking VERY cute on other curvy girls!! So that gives a total that could be as low as 6, but as high as 9!

"what're you looking at?"





  1. Geraldine says:

    This is verry nice! Love your monologue! Orange is one of my favorite colors, and your color combinations are wonderful. Great work as always! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Michelle says:

    LOVE IT! Love the contrast and everything about it!

  3. […] handmade, blogged here sweater: blogged here boots: Avenue, purchased last year necklace: vintage, Mighty Swell bracelet: […]

  4. Caroline says:

    I adore your fabrics choice ; yummy orange roses indeed! I love the macaron and your knit version look very comfortable!

    I was daydreaming about my own macaron with a sheer polka dots yoke as I’m just starting with fitting and I guess I might still be intimidating by knit…

    But I taught it was a very clever idea! I never saw the macaron as a dress over a tshirt…
    Caroline recently posted..Monique Dress – Muslin #2My Profile

  5. karen says:

    I love this dress and think it looks great on you. I wish I could steal it.
    karen recently posted..dare I admit that there was another trip to BordersMy Profile

  6. Shelly says:

    I love your version it has a real casual feel with the fuller skirt in it. I’ve seen many versions and love them all. I’ve ordered the Macaron, just waiting for it to arrive. I was thinking of using lace in the top bodice.
    Shelly recently posted..Fabric chosenMy Profile

  7. Heather says:

    Love it, love it, LOVE IT! Love the shape, love the colour on you which brings out your red hair, and love the fabric combo.

  8. beth says:

    Belt. Belt. Belt! I cannot duly deliberate without seeing the dress with a belt. :)

  9. K-Line says:

    I think you’re insane – it’s terrific all around! And I usually hate the Tshirt yoke with the strapless woven dress thing. Somehow, you manage to transcend it with these fabrics and the beautiful construction.
    K-Line recently posted..EuroLoot: Silk Scarf (Handmade by Artist) – ParisMy Profile

  10. Alessa says:

    Oooh, I love the fabrics you put together! Orange rose print! Tiny polka dots! So lovely! I do get your reservations about the strapless-dress-over-t-shirt look, but I think it turned out very pretty!
    Alessa recently posted..Short update & Fall sewalongMy Profile

  11. Kris says:

    So my first thought was “I NEED THAT DRESS!” The colours and fit are just fabulous. I have to agree that the Macaron skirt is a bit of a pain. I made the dress up in a red wool with black silk accents, but the skirt was just awful. That was before I figured out my need for swayback and/or full behind adjustments. I think that I’d also want to peg the skirt if I made it again, and put in a vent for walking ease (or maybe one on either side? IDK).

    I actually LOVE wearing dresses-over-t-shirts, because of the versatility. Now I have added “Macaron with plain gathered skirt and straps, but no yoke” to my to-sew list. I have the perfect Ikea curtains for the project. :D

  12. Tabatha says:

    I adore you AND your dress but sweetie, you are paying too much for your fabric! Hawthorne Threads ( No, I don’t work for them, I’m Canadian…) sells this fabric for $8.75/yd, I bought a yard & 1/2 of each print in the line, I’m totally in love with Joel Dewberry’s fabrics!
    Tabatha recently posted..Happy Birthday Mum!My Profile

    • Well… I’m glad you like me AND the dress, but I DO work for the shop that I linked to! Hawthorne has awesome prices – they are a lot lower than what these lines are priced at, at least in the shops in Minneapolis! I heard it’s because they employ basset hounds and don’t even pay them minimum wage. And I’m sure you’ve heard what sloppy employees basset hounds are. The fabric they send out is always covered with basset hound fur. And lamb and rice kibble. But, since I am a gracious blogger and lover of basset hounds (and cheap fabric) I’m leaving your link here. Of course if any of you thug birds order fabric from hawthorne threads you will be contributing to the mistreatment of basset hounds…
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..The July Dress. Hung Jury. (Colette Macaron with knit yoke)My Profile

  13. I love the knit yoke with the small polka dots. About the waviness, if you look at some RTW you will notice that after one wash, it too can wave a bit. I don’t think anyone is likely to notice. Enjoy your dress!

  14. Rhonda says:

    Hi, just discovered your blog through someone else’s. love all the stuff you make, and the detailed info you provide. this is one of the nicest macarons i’ve seen. love the fabric combination… have to get me some of that polka dot knit …. in all 3 colours! i guess it’s personal preference if you like the dress-over-a-tee look, and i have never really been that much into it, so haven’t bought the pattern. that is, until i saw this one on you! i am thinking i might like to try it now. look forward to reading more posts

  15. Andi says:

    I love the dress and think it looks great! I don’t get the strapless-over-t-shirt vibe but then I grew up in the 90s and I like the t-shirt/dress combo anyway. I wonder if you would find that feature less obtrusive if it was all one color?

    Perhaps this is one of those “wear it until you forget about it” projects. I find that time away from the actual sewing experience tends to improve the look of my creations!
    Andi recently posted..Know ThyselfMy Profile

  16. Crystal says:

    I think your dress turned out beautiful. The style just comes down to personal preferences. I don’t have anything against the strapless-over-shirt look, and have really liked almost all the versions out there that I’ve seen.

  17. Susan says:

    I like your dress and you nailed the fit. Until I scrolled to a tight in photo shot, the yoke reads as a solid yellow. What about coordinating a beige to the skirt background fabric for the yoke? I saw a RTW shirt with a solid sheer yoke and then the rest of the top was a darker shade.

  18. Clio says:

    OK, I get what you are saying about it being a tee shirt under a strapless dress – this is basically why I don’t own that pattern. BUT you are totally rockin the fit, the great fabric combo and all the little details (I love the orange topstitching at the bodice top). So, if I were you, I’d let the jury bird who likes it fly free and say “look at me, yard birds. It may be Tuesday morning and I’m not going anywhere but the post office, but I look awesome in my strapless dress, which I am dressing down with a tee so the rest of you don’t feel so jealous. Now, groom my feathers and get me a latte.” ;-)
    Clio recently posted..Bit off More than I can Sew?My Profile

  19. LaUra says:

    Well, I love how this turned out. I’m with you about this being a tnt bodice to try out other skirts with, because I really love the gathered skirt, and I still think it would be dreamy in a half circle too.

    I have the same issue with my macaron, the nice thing is that I intended for mine to have the look of a t-shirt under a dress (so 1995 with all my Donna Karan slip dresses, the first dress I made 5 versions of from a pattern, not counting all the versions I made for friends!) so I feel satisfied about that part. But everytime I look at it I think of all the backwards fitting that went into the negative ease portion of the dress. I am definitely going to make another the intended way, and after that I’m not sure that I won’t ultimately decide I like my t-shirt hybrid better anyway.

    But I wish you loved this dress as much as I do. Some of it is the most glorious of all the Dewberry Heirloom prints, but ultimately it’s the feel that it’s so very Patty. XOXO
    LaUra recently posted..Yikes!My Profile

  20. Redrockcity says:

    I LOVE the dress. The dirndl skirt is particularly inspired. I’ve always liked the top of the “Macaron” dress but was never that excited about the skirt. This version is just perfect! I agree orange roses are to die for. I too worry that yellow will make me looked jaundiced–probably dates back to an offhand comment from an adult in my childhood–but the yellow looks great on you! Perhaps its time to dabble in that color myself…

  21. Debbie Cook says:

    Well, I think it looks FAB!! What exactly is wrong with the strapless-over-tee vibe? I think of strapless-over-whatever every time I see a Colette, but my brain doesn’t register that as a negative – just as eye-catching. Love, LOVE the colors and the print combo, and the shape is oh so flattering on you. This jury member is voting keep it, wear it, rock it. (And from another redhead – love the freckles too!)
    Debbie Cook recently posted..More TweaksMy Profile

  22. Alex says:

    I love the fabric combination and I think the colors look great on you. But I am another person who did not originally like this pattern and started to love it as I saw more versions of it sewn up, so I can understand your uncertainty.

    If you like the fit of the bodice but want to avoid the dress-over-tshirt issue, I agree with the other commenters about a sheer fabric for the yoke. It doesn’t have to be lace! I was dreaming of using a really special eyelet for myself. I also think that using two low-contrast fabrics could work, kind of in the vein of this gingham version (although it’s actually just one fabric!): Finally, I think it helps to use a contrasting fabric for the waistband, too.

    But this version is still lovely!

  23. Lauren says:

    well, i think it’s cute! i do agree that it looks like a strapless dress over a tshirt, but the fit in the bodice is soooo good & that rose print fabric is to die for so i love it anyway :3 plus it reminds me of those rayon tank top dresses i used to wear over tshirts in the 90s. heeyyy-o!

    also, as a side note, i would like to know why you ever ever wear your hair straight. you have the most perfect little wavy curls & i am infinitely jealous of them.
    Lauren recently posted..a nonsensical post of whateverMy Profile

  24. Deb says:

    Hmmmm………I see your dilemma. I love the rose print, and I think the dress is adorable on you. But it does look a bit like a strapless dress over a tshirt. I did love it when the closeup revealed the yellow knit to have Polka Dots! I think on a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it an 8. It really is cute….and if you decided you don’t like it you could always send it to me. ;)
    Deb recently posted..Fresh from the gardenMy Profile

  25. pat says:

    Really like the “fit” look of dress. Would like to use same material for all ? Or , as in another comment something about lace could be very alluring for a dressy occasion ?! more pics if you choose to make more please and thank you. ( still trying to make a simple dress I can wear out ….or even in !)

  26. Andrea says:

    I think using a knit for the yoke just adds to the dress over shirt effect. The best looking Macarons have been formal ones, lined with a solid color and a sheer/lace top fabric, which uses the sheer/lace for the yoke. The fit of the bodice is so spot on, that I tend to ignore the dress over shirt issue. I love the skirt you used and I think you should give it another go.

    • I like the sheer/lace ones too, just wouldn’t really wear them! One of my favorite ones so far is this one. I was thinking of using the yoke/bodice pieces to make ONE pattern piece for the entire top. My main concern with using a woven for the top is the ‘roominess’ that I tend to get with Colette patterns. I have such wimpy shoulders!! I really like how this one feels when I’m wearing it, just not sure about the look!
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..The July Dress. Hung Jury. (Colette Macaron with knit yoke)My Profile

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