May Flowers “Colette Chantilly” Dress


Why, hello there! Today I’m super duper happy to share my newest dress just in time for some warm weather fun. Don’t you just love when pattern and fabric come together to so perfectly match your own style? I feel like a million bucks in this baby. I want to frolick in the meadow! Or enjoy some tea in Greenwich Village with friends on this summery day (and then get said friends to help take photos of my new dress!).

Originally I had intended to wear this dress for an event earlier this month, but some adjustments I made slowed me down and I didn’t want to rush something just for one day. Better to take the time to fix it and have a dress I’ll wear for many days! Even so, I still should’ve finished this weeks ago. Busy month, folks, busy month. 😀


PATTERN. Chantilly dress (version 1, sheer) from Colette Patterns. I had been wanting to try this dress for ages after seeing so many cute versions, but didn’t get around to buying it since I had already bought the Parfait dress, which to me felt a bit too similar in design to shell out the dough for. Then behold! The Chantilly appeared like magic in the pattern swap during the 3rd annual MPB Day.

SIZE.  0 bust transitioned to 2 waist/hips. According to the measurements I’d be a size 0 in the hips, but I didn’t bother going down a size since the skirt is so full. Going up one size at the waist is a typical thing for me with wovens.


FABRIC. I used just under 3 yards of a 60″ wide sheer poly silk (?) from Fabrics for Less in the Garment District. I kept staring at it during my meet-up with Meg, Clio, and Oona (first time I met all three ladies!), but even though my mind said “so pretty!” I walked out of the store without it. Then when we all parted ways and I was the only one who didn’t buy anything I knew I had to go back and fix that. 😀

The lining is just under 4 yards of a 45″ wide navy cotton lawn from B & J Fabrics. It’s wonderfully soft and lightweight, which is perfect for this dress given all the gathers (doesn’t get too thick).

NOTIONS. The pattern calls for a 16″ invisible zipper, but I found this to be too long for the zipper opening. Anyone else have this issue? I ended up shortening it, and in the future I’ll just buy a 14″ zipper.


I also used grey silk organza to interface the midriff lining. The pattern instructions for version 1 say to cut out two midriff lining pieces and then interface one of them (so the interfacing is sandwiched between the two lining pieces and can’t be seen), but only cutting out one piece and basting the organza to it worked just fine for me.



  • TOP/UNDER/STAY-STITCH! I didn’t like the look of the top-stitching on the neck pieces (dark thread against the fashion fabric wasn’t doing it for me) so I removed it and whip-stitched the bottom edge of the lining instead. I did top-stitch the midriff pieces as instructed.
  • I also under-stitched these neckline pieces AND the armholes.
  • I decided to staystitch the top edges of the neck pieces right after I cut them out (and then left them alone until it was time to work with them) in order to prevent them from stretching too much. Could be wrong, but I think I had read other reviews over the years that mentioned the neckline stretched out? Luckily, I didn’t have this problem.

photo 1

Look at how wide the front bodice is before gathering!

  • SLIGHT FRONT BODICE FIX. The bust fit nicely with no adjustments except at the outer edges of the bodice top. There was just too much fabric that puffed out so I unpicked the neckline and pulled the fabric up to help with the fit. This took a bit of back and forth to make sure both sides looked as even as could be. If I made this pattern again I’d remove a wedge on the pattern piece (where arrows above are pointing) to reduce excess fabric here.
  • HEM. The fashion fabric frayed like the dickens so I had to hem the dress a bit shorter than the pattern calls for. This is a VERY full skirt so hand-stitching was out of the question since I wanted to finish the dress at some point this year. 😉 I procrastinated with this step and then it ended up being quick and easy. Blind hem foot for the win!

photo 2

I like to hand baste my zippers in first (black silk thread above) – so much easier than pins.

  • ZIPPER. Other than shortening the zipper, I reinforced the zipper seam with organza (above) since I knew a fusible would show through. The pattern says to sew about two inches of the seam above the zipper before installing it, which I had never seen for an invisible zipper before. I was nervous about doing it this way so I inserted the zipper and then stitched up the top and bottom portions of the seam.

After that I attached the lining to the zipper by machine, but it was only by some miracle that I managed to flip everything out correctly. Seriously, there were some frustration there for a moment!! I would love to know if you followed the instructions for the zipper and had it work out just fine.


A summer’s day in the Village makes me happy.

Okey doke, I think that’s a wrap! One thing I’ve learned: loving the fabric you’re working with makes all the difference in the world. There were some tricky moments, but the pretty fabric and the look of the dress kept me going. I knew this was something I wanted to wear. Yay!

Have you made the Chantilly? Was the zipper just fine for you?


16 thoughts on “May Flowers “Colette Chantilly” Dress

    • I love the Chantilly design. Lots of gathering between the fashion fabric and lining, but I tried the zig zag stitch over a cord method and that sped things up!

  1. I threw that pattern into the pile last MPB Day! And then my kid used YOUR fabric to make her first dress. Thank you, universe, for sending the DIY love in both directions. Love the dress on you! So perfect in that fabric.

    • Wow, that’s amazing! The universe was definitely at work there. And I’m still thrilled that your daughter made a dress from that fabric. Made me really happy to see that!

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