What I wear

The ‘Queen Celeste’ Roll-Collar jacket

I’m teaching a Roll-Collar jacket class at the moment, so I made myself another Roll-Collar jacket, just to keep in practice.

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

I’m calling it the ‘Queen Celeste’ jacket, after Babar’s wife, because the cotton-velvet fabric is a sort of elephant grey-purple, and looks like something that you would make a child’s stuffed toy out of, but the overall effect of the jacket is quite regal.

Wearing it feels like wearing a child’s stuffed toy: it’s all snuggle and plush and has a warm, comforting effect.  It’s like an extremely glamourous blankie!

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

When I set out to make the jacket, I wanted it to be really crisp and bold, in bright red, or bottle green.  But the Wellington fabric stores failed my vision, and I resorted to my stash (like a good girl) and unearthed this purple-grey velvet.

I had just the right length for the jacket, and when I found it I remembered I had cut a lining in a vintage lavender floral twill for my very first version of the jacket.  I ended up not using it on that first jacket, because the print showed through the white, but it works perfectly with the grey-lavender velvet.

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

It’s rather sweet isn’t it?  I inherited it from Nana.

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

I’m pretty sure the velvet itself was also from Nana’s stash.  It’s quite old, and has colour-change problems in some areas, but they are quite minor and I hid them in the facings.

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

To finish off the jacket I used a big blue-purple button from my stash, which makes the entire jacket a stash project.  Hooray!

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

This jacket was all about an original vision, and having to compromise, and liking the end result even better than the first vision.

I’d wanted to do a hard, crisp, edgy photoshoot in the city, in front of graffiti and old buildings.  I’d scheduled it for Sunday afternoon, but got a call from a dear friend who was in town, so I caught up with her instead, and had a fantastic time – but no photoshoot.

Stuck without Mr D as photographer on the during the week, I resorted to the boring white wall, and the self-timer on my camera.  Because I’m too lazy to set the focal length, I just let the camera autofocus, and because it had nothing to focus on, it picked random lengths, so some photos were quite crisp, and others quite blurry and soft-focus.  I kinda love the soft-focus ones actually…

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

Though some were a little too soft focus!

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

Well, that didn’t work…

 When I’m not feeling well Madame O says I go ‘soft focus’ as a person, and unfortunately, I’m not feeling my best.  I put my back/neck out and I’m in a lot of paid and have very limited mobility, despite being maxed out on painkillers and anti-inflammatory patches (those things are pretty much my favourite thing in the world right now.  I have a little line of them marching up my spine).  So I’m very soft focus at the moment.  I just hope I can get my HSF project done…

Roll-Collar jacket thedreamstress.com

Just the facts, Ma’am:

Fabric:  2m of 112cm wide cotton velvet in grey-lavender, 1m of vintage acetate floral twill lining – both inherited

Pattern: My own ‘Roll-Collar’ jacket pattern

Year:  2012

Notions:  Thread, 1 large button, interfacing, bias tape

And the insides?  Fully lined

Hours:  3 – it’s a surprisingly quick make.

First worn?: Sunday 4 August, Monday 5 August, Wednesday 6 August….I think this jackets going to get a lot of wear!

Wear again?:  See above!

Make again?:  How many of these jackets do I need in my wardrobe?  Maybe one a year.

Total cost:  $0!


  1. Super cute! I like the color and I also love snuggly garment items that make-you-feel-like-you’re-wearing-a-blanket-when-really-you-look-nice-and-put-together! I hope you feel better/heal quickly, for your personal comfort, and for the sake of sewing!


    • Thanks Quinn! Those kind of garments are definitely the best!

      I’m getting better but it will take a wee bit of work.

  2. The Babar reference is great, I got that immediately 🙂 The soft photos add to the fairy tale feel

    I hope your back and neck settle down soon so you can get back in focus xx

    • Sometimes I don’t know what people will get or not! I mentioned The Velveteen Rabbit to a room full of Kiwi women that covered 3 decades in age, and just got blank looks 🙁

      Thanks dear!

  3. Zach says

    I’m so sorry you aren’t feeling well! I hope whatever happened won’t cause any permanent damage. A friend of mine was moving some heavy antique furniture and ended up throwing her back out a few years ago, but the problems never left! I hope you fair better than she has!

    • Eeek! Don’t scare me! I think I just managed to sleep on it really wrong. It was horribly inflamed for two days, and is slowly getting better with anti-inflamatories and some pro help.

  4. Elise says

    Oh no! Feel better, soon! I hope that you know a lovely chiropractor/massage therapist/physical therapist who can help!

    3 cheers for Babar! My first book I read in French!

    So…why in the town that created Xena and The Hobbit is there a dearth of cool fabric? Just wondering…

    • I think it’s because most people don’t have time to sew, so the demand isn’t there. I actually think Wellington has a better selection of fabric shops than most places in NZ. Scary thought, eh?

      • Wellington & NZ in general actually have a much better selection of fabric shops than pretty much anywhere except places with industry focused fabric districts! I’d rate Welly over SF/Oakland etc for example – despite being a fraction of the population.

        The problem is that fabric stores can only bring in what is available, and if certain colours or fabrics aren’t fashionable, they simply can’t be bought, and this season the greens are extremely GREEN with no subtlety, and the same for the reds – they are either fire engine, or really dull. So the colours I wanted weren’t possible.

        • That’s fascinating. I knew Wellington was good by NZ standards, but I didn’t expect it to be good by international standards. I also think it helps that we aren’t limited to fabric stores. I wouldn’t call Asia Gallery a fabric store, but I would say it’s arguably the best silk supplier in the district (maybe in the country).

          Totally agree about this season’s greens and reds. They are most disappointing.

  5. Oh no, poor Dreamstress! I hope your back feels better soon. I agree with Elise that you should try a massage therapist or an osteopath.

    I just love the grey fabric with the bright colored lining. It’s so stylish too.

  6. Hope you’re feeling better soon. I like the jacket design, it seems to be a versatile jacket that you can dress up or down.

  7. Lynne says

    Take care of yourself, dear Dreamstress! Where would we be without you and your wonderful blog?

    In spite of your back, you have made a beautiful little jacket!

  8. Erin says

    I Also wish you speedy improvment. As a massage therapist I hope you can find someone to help both with your current discomfort and to help prevent future episodes! Sounds like you are hurting. I love the jacket and would be thrilled to buy a copy if you are ever interested in selling the pattern ( commercially drafted or hand drafted– I would be happy with anything! ) I wonder of there is also an illustration of Celeste wearing a similar jacket, perhaps in yellow?

    • Thanks Erin!

      I’ve drafted the pattern out in sizes 86-106cm bust for my class, but I’m still working on getting it printable on different paper sizes, so I can make it more widely available.

      I did have a look for Queen Celeste in anything similar, but didn’t come up with anything. Yellow would be amazing though!

      • Erin says

        I looked too and couldn’t find it. I have this image of her in pedals and a yellow coat or dress with a collar like this stuck in my head…..
        Hurray that maybe the pattern will be available one day!
        I am not even sure of my size in cm. Trying to do the mental math….

    • Oh how cool! You’re in Canada right? Amazing how fabrics were sold across the world from fairly early on, especially when NZ was so isolated and protectionist in so many other ways…

  9. Tina C. says

    This is really beautiful. I bet that if you drafted this patterned and offered it for sale, people would buy it (I sure as heck would!).

    • Thanks Tina!

      I have drafted it up for a range of sizes, just need to jump some tech hurdles to make it available/printable.

  10. I like it. There are so many applications for how to wear this one, whether it’s all dressy or to spiff up a casual look. It can even be accessorized with a spot of color. I was imagining it in an Art Deco purplish with jeweled dressing room. Someday you’ll find a perky color to make another one. Great for a modern take on the separates challenge!

    • Thanks Laurie!

      I’m doing a proper historical separate as well, just not the one I’d intended, because I need to take it a bit easier for my back.

  11. Love the Babar reference – my fav story from childhood. Love the jacket and can understand the cuddlely factor I love that type of fabric. Hope you are feeling more in alignment now.

    • Thanks Jacqui! I really liked Babar as a child, but as an adult some of the overtones are a bit harder to accept. Sigh. Sometimes being an adult sucks!

  12. Oh dear! I hope your back mends lickety-split! The jacket is darling and the photos are lovely. I need to take some inspiration from your poses for my own self-photography.

    • Thanks Carolyn!

      Especially for the compliment on my photos! I feel a bit self-conscious being so model-y, but it’s kinda fun too. My basic thing is to do something interesting/wave-y with my hands. With this set I wish I’d taken more with Isabelle the dressform. It’s neat having something to interact with, and the half-dozen I took all turned out well, they just looked funny on the camera screen so I moved her out of shot. Live and learn for me.

  13. This is SO cute, Leimomi! Hope you feel better soon, it’s no fun being stuck in soft focus. (though it is very very pretty…)

  14. Jennifer Woods says

    I love your little jacket! I’m a Christchurch girl and the fabric shopping is very limited… and much worse since Global Fabrics closed down after the earthquakes. (Which, of course, is even more reason to have a stash i.e. to avoid having your sewing compromised by a little natural disaster).
    Will there be an opportunity for those of us outside of Wellington or unable to attend your class to buy a copy of your jacket pattern?

    • Thanks Jennifer!

      I sometimes offer classes as weekend courses, so that people from out of town can spend a weekend in Wellington and take advantage of them – I’ve had students from Christchurch.

      I hope that the fabric shops come back. It’s so terrible what happened to Global. Of course – that could happen to a personal stash too – condemned house, and you loose it all 🙁

  15. mish says

    this is such a beautiful little work of art – is the pattern available for purchase yet?

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