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!.

For the last of the summer days – a gingham Lily


The weather is cooling in Brisbane but I am hanging on to the remains of summer with a tight grin.  While a sundress is not quite season appropriate at the moment you can get away with it  – just stay in bed until the suns warms up the air a little bit.


Pattern: Lily from Colette Patterns
Size: 10
Alterations: Small bust adjustment for the bodice
Fabric: Gingham from fabric swap at Brisbane sewing meet up (silk habotai from fabric stash)

The Lily sundress seems to be the poor cousin of the Hazel dress from Colette Patterns.  I have never understood this.  The two dress patterns were released together, and while the number of Hazel across the blogsphere and flickr is significant Lily seems to be trail behind.  But there are some wonderful Lily’s around – the pattern is fantastic, hugging all the right places and with pocket construction is reminiscent of the Rooibos.  I recall that the Lily pattern was inspired by Sophie Loren and you can definitely see it – it is great fun to wear.


Following Inna’s lead, the only adjustment I made was a small bust adjustment.  I shaved off 1/2 inch from the side fronts and a little from side seams on the side back pattern pieces.


I changed up the construction process a little.  As I skipped a test muslin, I didn’t attach the neckline flap until after the zipper was in.  This way I was able to have a mid construction fit check before some more adjustments and then attached the neckline flap and facing.  I redrafted the facing and neckline flap patterns pieces to factor in the small bust adjustments, but nothing to major.  The shoulder straps I moved a little out to be a little more bra friendly.


The fabric is from the fabric swap that was held at the Brisbane Sewing Hight Tea, organised by Busy Lizzy in Brizzy.  I am not sure who the original owner was, but thank you the fabric really is quite lovely.   The fabric had a curious sheen to it but after a prewash the fabric’s glory was revealed.  A quick burn test showed that is a cotton, maybe cotton blend.


I did consider underlining as I was a little concerned that the fabric was a little sheer.  In the end I didn’t bother; it is a sundress after all.  After some deliberation over what contrast to use – I settled on some bright green silk habotai.  Red was too obvious, orange was interesting but not quite me, white was meh; green it was.


Pocket detail

Oh gosh, such sweet pockets! – excuse the blurry photo but I had to show more of the pockets.

The insidey bits – nothing too much of note.  Seams overlocked.  Only hand stitching was the hem which for pencil skirt is a pretty speedy task.

Inside backInside front

Invisible zipper for the back but a shame that my local Spotlight was out of black zips – so white it was.  Quite happy with the match at back waistline and matching up the checks.


Bodice back

For next time, no changes really.  Maybe lengthen the shoulder straps a little as the dress does seem to sit close to the underarms – but that’s no big deal.



Dottie Gertie Rooibos


As I finally take the courage to step out from lurking as avid reader and jump forward to start my own contribution towards this wonderful blogosphere it feels only right that my first post involves two strong influences that I discovered within the sewing blog universe.

We have the Rooibos dress from Colette Patterns with a dottie navy blue cotton from Gertie with Roses (the etsy store of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing).

I started with a size 10 and after a quick muslin of the bodice I lengthen the back darts by 1 inch and a small bust adjustment of sorts by pinching out a half inch of length from the centre front tapering to nil by the side seam.


The construction was wonderfully easy.  Instead of the suggested invisible zipper I inserted a lapped zipper by machine which add a touch of retro.  But its the piping that steals the show! Oh my, its worth the extra work.  I hand basted each piped seam before using a zipper foot to stitch as close as possible to the seam line.  Those cute little pockets are delightful.  Standard store brought piping was used – nothing to fancy.

For the neckline contrast I was determined to source from my fabric stash.  While not ideal as its a tad too light for the contrast, the white satin works with the white satin piping.

As I usually do, the under stitching of the facings was done by hand as pick stitches.  I enjoy the hand sewing – it’s a break in the construction to admire the work so far and gush over how awesome the piping turned out!.


More adjustments to the bodice were made during mid construction.  After completing the zip, I checked the fit again and took in the side seams a half inch each to clinched in the waist further tapering to nil at the underarm.

To the inside details – often the inside of a me-make is my favourite bit but for this one the insides are dull; neat but dull.  Just overlocked this time around.  I did consider binding the edge of the facing but that would add too much bulk.

This pattern was been in my ‘patterns to be started’ pile for so long, that I wonder why I have waited so long.

The completed dress is wonderful to wear.  The raised waistline is flattering and the pockets perfectly placed. So comfortable but still feeling dressy at the same time.  I definitely see more Rooibos in my future.