Silky Hawthorn dress with swing…


I did have a vague plan of what I wanted to sew for the next couple of months – well back in April/May I did.  The plan was to finally finish the Little French Jacket and start some tailoring projects that I have been stockpiling material for.  But the team at Monthly Stitch announced June as ‘Indie Pattern’ month and all plans fell away.   ‘Indie Pattern’ month was something I could get behind.  The month consisted of weekly challenges – the first one was Dress.  A dress from an Independent pattern that sounds easy.  Well…I thought it was.


I honestly did make this dress during the Indie Pattern month, but when it was clear that I had no chance to complete the dress, take photos and blog about it by the end of the first June I slowed the heck down and decided to take my time the french seam the dress – because well the fabric deserves it.


Pattern: Hawthorn by Colette Patterns
Size: 4 at bust / 5 at waist
Alterations: A slight Small Bust Adjustment (as usually required for Colette Patterns)
Fabric: Silk twill from the Fabric Store


To be honest, when the Hawthorn was released I really didn’t like it.  I thought the collar was a little too ‘home sewing’ and I tend to avoid button and buttonholes.  During ‘Me-Made-May’ (yes, way back to May) Lauren from Lladybird wore her Hawthorn and it rekindled my interest.


The collar I previously was a little naff is actually kind endearing and the skirt is fun with just the right amount of ‘twirly’-ness.  And once I perfected my sample buttonholes, completing the million buttonholes and sewing buttons on was quite as horrible as I think.  My only misgiving with the pattern is the gaping around the armhole – it serves me right as I knew better.  I know that the bodice pattern for a sleeveless version of a sleeved dress really should be different to the sleeved version, so I don’t know why I didn’t fix it when cutting the fabric.  Oh the fabric, it has made the dress – I must use silk for everything.  There seriously is no substitute and I love that the Fabric Store always have a plentiful supply.   This silk is a silk panel that I managed to piece around the zigzag/chervon stripe that ended each panel.  The dress is simply a dream to wear and I think I have worn it every week since June (I have refused this winter to admit that cold weather occurs).


I have worn the dress so much that the neckline is beginning to fray due to the narrow seam allowances and my inaccurate sewing.   No insidey photos because honestly the inside matches the outside due to the french seams.  I even enclosed the facing by putting the facing and interfacing pieces right side together, sewing a tiny seam along the edge, turning the pieces right side out and then ironed the interfacing to the facing – I recall seeing this on a couple of blogs many moons that I can’t remember but I definitely know Sewbusylizzy used the method at a time.


I may not be rushing out make more Hawthorns as I still dislike all those buttonholes – I definitely will continue to contribute more silk to the sewing stash!.

Vintage Pledge – A dress for your inner mod air hostess

Pattern envelope

When Marie from A Stitching Odyssey announced the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge I did not intend to participate – but I did start to notice the vintage patterns that were appearing on Ebay in my area were catching my eye more often.  As a result, I started buying vintage patterns which added to my previous ‘collection’ of two.  Then Laura Mae from Lilacs & Lace  joins the Vintage Pledge with a guest plot that served as a reminder about why vintage patterns are really worth it.

So I pull out one of my vintage patterns that had been ignored for far too long (thankfully with a matching bust size to limit the alternations) and off we go:


Pattern:  Simplicity 5891

Size: 16

Alterations: A slight thickening of the waist *cough*

Fabric: Textured Japanese cotton from Tessuti

The pattern dates from 1965 and it for sure has the ‘mod’ feel to it.   Definitely a different style than I am accustomed of wearing and for the first couple of wears I felt like it was a strange ’60’s air hostess costume as it has a touch of corporate uniform to it.  Surprisingly the dress has since become a regular addition for my weekday corporate wear.


The fabric is a Japanese textured cotton from Tessuti which was an impulse purchase for the fabric stash the moment the fabric was available on the Tessuti website. And then imagine my delight when my favourite local designer used the fabric in her Winter collection  – Maiocchi Day Dreamy dress  (that is a sign of great taste right?)

Front tie

The dress features a front tie which is really quite sweet, but the print does not do it justice.  Little tie, are you trying to hide in there?


Alterations were very little.  After double checking the flat pattern for the amount of design ease and I only needed to add extra to the waist. I was a bit generous in adding waist ease as I was hoping the dress would be suitable for work and I didn’t want to risk being uncomfortable while sitting at the desk all day.

The skirt was very long but I was trying to stay true to the ‘vintage pledge’ and I didn’t shorten the skirt patterns before cutting the fabric pieces.  As a result the hem allowance is huge – but I do find something luxurious in large hem allowances, no cutting corners to save fabric here.


The patterns instructions have some neat steps that I really enjoyed including – seam binding over the waistline seam, and on the sleeve and skirt hem lines; hand worked thread bars.   With these additional hand work details it only felt fair to interline the skirt with silk organza and catch stitch the seam allowances down – and there is the added benefit of reducing the wrinkles.

Seam binding instructions


Some details of vintage patterns I love – the little construction notes jotted over the pattern envelope, the rusty pins to shorten skirt lengths, the more detailed/couture construction steps then modern patterns; the marked seam lines and little arrows to tell me the stitching direction.  I certainly did enjoy the wonder of using something that had probably been packed away for the last 40 years.

Next up on the vintage pattern adventures will be a shirtdress using the Bishop Method of Clothing Construction. Wish me luck!