colette ceylon

tceylon19The Colette Ceylon is finished! Or as I prefer to call it, the dress with sixteen handmade buttonholes.

tceylon01As usual, I used a Colette .pdf pattern.

tceylon02I hope one day the rest of their patterns become available as .pdfs, notably the Crepe dress.

tceylon03The dress quickly came together. I added a bias tape hem to it as well as I wanted to reinforce the contrast fabric that I used for the shoulders/yoke piece. The dress was finished, except for one very important part: the 16 buttons that close it in the front.

tceylon04First I visited the sewing supply shop.

tceylon05I’ll be honest: the button selection in Benin is not good. At least for me, none of them suit my taste but I use them as I have no choice.

tceylon06But there is a silver lining here: fabric covered buttons. As I felt the buttons on the Ceylon dress were too important to just use whatever buttons, I decided to go with fabric covered buttons which I knew would match my shoulders/joke and bias tape hem contrast piece. tceylon07First the shopkeeper, with the aid of a helper, cut my fabric into long strips.

tceylon08From those long strips she folded them and cut out circles. I noticed for each button she cut out 3-4 layers of fabric – I suppose its to make the fabric stronger and to keep the metal underneath from showing.

tceylon09Out came the button pieces. Mise en place, just like in cooking, is important for button making.

tceylon10Then came the moment of making the buttons, one at time.

tceylon11At first there were three…

tceylon12And then there were sixteen! Done? Not quite.

tceylon13Here came the real work. The making of the buttonholes. As my machine has no zig-zag stitch, handmade is the only option I have. I first outlined by buttonholes with chalk, then reinforced the edges with some stitches, and finally cut a slit in the middle. Sixteen times. (Actually, first I hand basted the facing so it wouldn’t move around behind.)

tceylon14Then I sewed, by hand, the buttonholes. Sixteen times. They aren’t the prettiest, but they are done! On average it took me about 20-30 minutes per buttonhole. so I’d do about 3-4 a day (to save my eyes from all the strain) and after about five days, the buttonholes were finished. But not the dress, not quite yet.

tceylon15The actual buttons had to be sewn on. Sixtteen of them, of course. Thankfully this only took one morning to do. Then the dress was finally done. Done done done!

tceylon16And once a dress is done, my favorite part can happen: the photoshoot!

tceylon17As usual I had my trusty photographer John Mark helping me. Rob took a few too, but John Mark really takes photo shoots to the next level.

tceylon20Like bringing in props, such as his motorcycle. And telling me to cross my legs. See how good he is, I wouldn’t have thought of it, but the crossing of the legs really “activates” the photo in that it makes the eye move around more with all the lines changing directions.

tceylon21Of course his signature is the flipping of the hair. Can’t have a photo shoot without him telling me to let the hair down and shake my head back and forth.

tceylon22Just look at that flip! Oh but do look at the dress too, that is important.

tceylon23And let’s not forget the back.tceylon24Pattern: Colette Ceylon 1009
Fabric: Jasco Wax J1541
Outfit Photos: Rob H. and John Mark F.

Leave a Reply