Monday, 9 September 2013

The kite - flying Hawthorn




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!)

Spot the small-person-flashing-her-knickers photobomb?
 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.
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!

26 comments:

  1. Your shirt dress looks lovely! Seems it was well worth all that extra effort you put into it.

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  2. This pattern is on my wishlist, and I love your version! Looks like you did a really great job :D
    Freya May
    thedressmakingdiaries.blogspot.com

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    1. thanks freya - you should definitely get it - it's a lovely pattern. i'm planning a long sleeved black version in wool for winter too.

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  3. Awww Jo this turned out so nice!! I really like the clear buttons :-) congratulations on a twirl-a-licious dress!

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    1. thanks - it is very twirly! (almost too twirly for kite-flying - just as well it wasn't too windy really!)

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  4. Its lovely! And I think the collar looks perfect on Marjorie :)

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    1. thank you! no sure why i bother with collared things - you can never see them when i wear them. i do love a collar tho!

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  5. Great fabric and button choices and the fit looks perfect. A gorgeous dress on you. I understand your plan to make another one, I finished mine at the weekend and am planning a wintery one already!

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  6. Lovely dress, hope you liked the kite festival, we didn't go this year but did do the music and fireworks on the sunday night.

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    1. thanks - you didn't miss too much due to lack of wind. but it's a nice day out (and good photo taking backdrop)

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  7. This is really lovely! And the buttons are really cute. Coloured ones would have been nice but you could always brighten the dress up with a colourful belt instead.

    I always find buttons so hard to choose, but that's because they are always really boring, or if they are interesting, they are, like, £2 each and the buttons end up costing more than the rest of the make!!! Why can't you get pretty, interesting buttons that don't cost a fortune?!

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    1. thanks helen - i totally agree. i ended up just having to make a decision - with 14 buttons you can't buy expensive ones!

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    1. thanks very much! have you blogged yours yet? off to check!

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  9. Love the dress, you chose a great fabric!

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    1. thanks so much. it is perhaps a bit nurse-like but i do like it!

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  10. Good work Jo, I don't think this looks nurse-like at all. I love the photos as well... it's making me mourn for summer!

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    1. thanks lovely! i am so sad about summer going. it's properly autumn like today.

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  11. I love it, it turned out great and you totally deserved all the compliments. The buttons are perfect too, and thanks for the beeswax tip, I'm definitely going to try it.

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    1. thanks jo. i want to do a print one like yours - your swimming ladies are perfect!

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  12. There are so many great versions of the Hawthorn and yours is no exception - I love the colour you chose :)

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    1. thanks so much jen - lovely of you to say so!

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  13. Oh, that pale blue fabric is lovely!

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