A new Colette pattern is always a big event - those ladies are so good at marketing! From the sneaky peaks they gave us, the #sewcialists on Twitter suspected a shirt dress and I was thrilled as I've wanted to tackle one for a while. Great Colette instructions and a fab shirt dress pattern is a match made in heaven for a nervous sewist!
When I saw Hawthorn I certainly wasn't disappointed. I love the neckline and collar shape and the full skirt is so pretty. Of course Sarai and the team's lovely styling and gorgeous models always help sell a pattern to me! (Have you voted for Colette in the Martha Stewart awards by the way? Link here).
I nabbed the pattern as soon as Backstitch had it in stock and luckily the perfect fabric fell into my lap on a quick dive into Remnant Kings in Glasgow on my way home from my mum's. I spotted this lovely pale blue cotton with a textured weave and was amazed on checking the price to see that it was £5 a metre! Sold to the crazed sewist who already has far too much stuff to lug on the train back down south!
I then stupidly sat on it for a while and concentrated on other projects, I think for fear it would be too difficult. And then I realised August was marching on and I wasn't likely to have much call to wear a pale blue dress in winter so I'd better get on with it! But I needn't have worried - Colette held my hand throughout!
As usual I made a muslin. I cut a size 8 bodice grading to a 10 at the waist and a 10 skirt to fit the waist. I cut the skirt to the longest length. Based on tissue fit I lengthened by 3". As the pattern said it had quite a loose fit I thought I might get away without an FBA but no such luck. The pattern only has waist darts but I decided to keep the small bust dart created rather than rotate it back and mess with side seam length! I think a broad shoulder adjustment might work well for me on the next version (oh yes, version 2 planned already!)
The only construction issue I found (in common with a few others in the Flickr group is that the collar as drafted didn't reach the circles on the neckline. Apparently if you use 1/4" seams it works fine but I had cut, sewn (with the usual 5/8" seams) and pressed collar by the time I realised! Still looking at the model and a few other finished dresses I don't think it makes much difference.
|Spot the small-person-flashing-her-knickers photobomb?|
As usual I was paralysed by button choice - why is this so hard? I think it's the fear of spoiling something you've put so much work into by choosing the wrong ones. I wanted coloured ones as I feel there could be something of a nurse's uniform about the dress, but nothing was speaking to me. I tried to find vintage ones but as I needed 14 (an extra one due to extra bodice length added) I couldn't find any that seemed right. Wooden buttons might have been cute but they tend to be bigger than I would choose for a shirt dress. I finally chose these clear flower shaped ones which I think work well.
So after the ordeal of 14 buttonholes, 3 broken needles and running out of thread half way down so that the skirt buttonholes are ever so slightly darker than the bodice ones, I read to the end of the instructions and discovered I needed to hand stitch the hem! I used a catch stitch rather than slip stitch as it's so pretty but that is one long hem! I think it took 3 evenings to do. I recently bought some beeswax which I used for the first time to coat the thread and i am sold! Amazing stuff - try it if you often get into a tangle when hand sewing! As a result I think this is some of the neatest catch stitching I have ever done!
Also as you can barely see the collar for my hair, here's a pic of it on Marjorie:
I wore the dress to a kite festival on the August Bank holiday weekend. There wasn't nearly enough wind for the kite displays although we did get a bit of flying done as well as some paddling! I got a few compliments on my Hawthorn from people in the vintage and craft tent (isn't it great to be able to say "thanks I made it"?) And had a great chat with a guy who is launching a vintage clothes range after learning to sew to make costumes for his alter-ego drag act! I love the way sewing gets you involved in such random conversations!
I picked up some fab goodies for a giveaway too which I'll be doing in a couple of weeks to celebrate passing 100 Blog Lovin followers so look out for that!