Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pattern Review: Colette Madeleine Mini Bloomers

These pretty little bloomer shorts are designed to rest underneath a new Burda Allie robe. When Claire visited in December, I promised we would sew. First I promised pajama pants, but then I remember how most PJ pants are frumpy and ill-fitting and just sooooooo unsexy. What's a girl to do?

Then I remember, you know what is super sexy? Colette Pattern's Madeleine Mini Bloomers. I mean, just look at them. They are short. Low cut. Cute and approachable, but with some sex appeal. And best yet, the pattern is free and easy to sew. So we changed plans. PJ pants gone, mini bloomers under the presser foot.

The pattern review is below. Find you copy of this little beaut online at Colette Patterns. With Valentine's day right around the corner, it's the perfect time of year for these.

Pattern Description:
From the website: These are no prim and proper Victorian bloomers. They sit low on the waist, and are scandalously brief. The back view is particularly flattering. The waistband is sewn with two rows of elastic, and the legs are cinched with a length of ribbon. With just two pattern pieces, a beginner who is comfortable with elastic and buttonholes can make these.

Pattern Sizing:
Multi-sized for XS to XL, which encompasses the usual sizes 0-18 (equivalent to ready to wear) in Colette Patterns’ range, roughly hip size 35 inches to 48 inches.

Fabric Used:
We used Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush Viole, including the pattern "First Impressions - Blush". The cotton was GORGEOUS, very soft with a lovely drape, and easy to sew. We purchased all fabric from Fancy Tiger in Denver, Colorado and they were incredibly helpful.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
We sewed Claire's bloomers in a size medium, no pattern alterations made.

However, for mine (featured) I made a few adjustments based on Patty the Snug Bug's review and advice to add some rise length and width. I added two inches of length to the front and back pieces to bring the rise up and waistband closer to my navel. This was a good adjustment.

Also, fearing the size XL would be a bit too tight over my midsection, I graded the front pieces wider by two inches by slashing and spreading 1" extra to each side of the front. This turned out to be a bad choice and a silly adjustment on my part. First, the finished shorts would have been plenty big without the extra two inches, completely unadjusted. But even if I had wanted to add some width, I only really need extra room over the tummy, not over my narrower hips. Colette designs for a "curvy" gal, and her patterns seem to all curve in at the waist. Instead of a straight 1 inch grade all the way down, I should have just straighten out this waist curve and added the inch there alone, truing to the existing hip line. Make sense?

We did not succeed in adding the pleats to the lower leg opening as the pattern suggests, as I could not quite figure out how to work this around the button holes I had already added. They look really adorable in theory, but I don't miss them either.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Like: This is a quick sew.
Like: It's free!
Like: The instructions are clear with great illustrations.
Like: The generous fit means this can be versatile for different sized and shaped people.
Like: The double elastic casing that forms the waistband is GENIUS. It looks super cute and girlie, it was a cinch to sew, and it helps hold the little shorts up like a champ.

Dislike: The rise in the design is really, really low. I mean, loooooow, like, "how low can ya go?" low. Take a look at the the sample on the model here, and you might find yourself thinking "wow, those are low, that model must have a really really long waist"... well, think again. Sure, the model is long and lean, but more than that, the bloomers look that low because they ARE that low. :) They were nearly too low for my 24 year old svelte and flat tummied sister Claire. She admitted she would like at least two more inches in the rise to be considered decent (and comfortable). I added two inches to mine, but the finished product is still really low. I think I really needed four inches extra length total. Even with four inches added to the rise, they will still rest comfortable under my belly button in a very respectable "sexy" position. Consider yourself warned, the rise needs some adjustments for most.

Dislike: The buttonhole placement on the pattern and the point at which the instructions indicate making the buttonhole.... I might suggested waiting a bit and ironing up the hem to gauge placement of buttonholes before adding them to the pattern. This would ensure they fall on the right place for your thighs.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I highly recommend this pattern. There's nothing to loose, its a great beginner project, and it is a nice way to utilize some shorter lengths of fabric from your stash.

I do have a suggestion on creating the leg casings for the ribbon. I am not entirely sure about the instructions for construction of the leg opening. My fabric did not fold and stitch exactly as she suggested it would. I strongly recommend playing with the leg hems and casing area a bit before sewing or adding button holes. Iron out your seems BEFORE you make the holes (the old measure twice, cut once advice).

I also suggest incorporating some elastic into the leg casing. I want my bloomers to look very gathered at the thigh for the flouncy effect. However, I find my thighs spread a bit wider when I sit or lay in certain positions verse when I stand. So, if I tie the ribbon for standing, they feel to tight when I sit or lay. But if I tie them for comfort sitting and laying, they look too loose when I stand. A happy solution would be to attach elastic to the ribbons and run this through the casing. Then I would have the ease of stretch to accommodate movement, but the look of ribbon poking out the casing as designed.

Cute cute cute! There is no reason not to give these a go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great review! I finally JUST finished the pair of Madeleine bloomers I started a long time ago, and was disappointed with the low rise fit problem as well. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one. I want to try making a second pair and I hope I can incorporate the fit adjustment you described.
I also love your suggestion of using elastic + ribbon in the leg opening casing. Clever!