Sewing Rue


The incredible team at Colette Patterns introduced their latest this week, a vintage-inspired beauty named Rue.  Rue’s most unique feature is the cut of the bodice.   The scoop necked upper bodice has two inward pointing tucks on each side just below the bust which provide a flattering fullness tucking into two semicircular panels which define the waist.  I do believe this is a true original.  I have not seen a dress pattern quite like this one; current or vintage.  You are offered two sleeve choices; short and three-quarter, and two skirt choices; a mostly straight skirt with a hint of gathering at the waist, or a fuller skirt with soft inverted pleats.


Rue features a full lining, bias cut side panels, inseam pockets and high end finishing techniques.  This is the kind of pattern that sewists live to sew; the pattern that is worth using that special fabric in your stash.

For me, a full lining always elevates any dress, making it drape more fluidly and hang more attractively on the body.  I often line special garments, and I love the way a good lining feels and sounds, making your skirt swishy and crisp.  The directions for Rue teach how to attach an invisible zip to a lined garment entirely using the machine.  You will use both a traditional and an invisible zipper foot.  New to me was the technique for clean finishing the armholes.  If you are looking to spend some time on your next sewing project and make a bespoke beauty, consider Rue.  Caution; this pattern is not recommended for beginners.




In case you haven’t seen the pictures on the Colette sight, head on over.  They are stunning.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance version of this pattern to act as a tester for Colette and the photos you are seeing are of my version; the plainer, older sister of the versions on the Colette sight.  One advantage of my photos is that you can clearly see that interesting bodice construction.

Colette will be running a sewalong,, which I recommend, but just in case you can’t wait to get started, here a few tips for running up your own Rue with no regrets.

  • Buy a good lining.  Your lining should be lightweight, and machine washable if you plan to machine wash your dress.  Avoid the cheap stuff.  You will be making a full version of the bodice as the lining with tucks, panels and all, so you are going to be manipulating the lining quite a bit.  You do not want something that is going to fall apart or fray badly.  I recommend cotton voile or a rayon blend.  After cutting out the bodice pieces in your lining fabric give them a good spray with spray starch to make them behave.
  • Make a toile.   I almost always fit on the fly.  I know my standard adjustments, and I have sewn Colette patterns before, so I didn’t make a toile.  I should have made a toile.  My Rue would fit better in the bust if I had.  The unique style of the bust means that grading between sizes is tricky, and typical ways of altering the bodice front don’t apply.   I have read that some ladies are concerned about FBAs.  Having sewn the pattern, my experience is that it is more toward being generous in the bust.  You can also make the tucks smaller to give yourself more room.  Actually, I am looking forward to reading how to reduce the bust when the sewalong comes out.
  • The version 2 three-quarter length sleeves are tight.  It you are making the longer sleeves, cut in a little extra width in case you need it.
  • When you sew your lining to your zip, remember to leave some space next to the teeth.  Nothing is worse than constantly getting your lining caught in the zip.


I had a little help cutting out the pattern.


Rue, the verb “to regret”, the French for road, the herb of grace, the unlikely ally.  This pattern has hidden depths and many possibilities, just like its name.  I am looking forward to seeing the many versions of Rue everyone creates!

Xx Piper


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