Wifi Hawthorn Dress

hawthorn dress

“Look at the lovely Japanese fabric I bought!”

“Why is it covered in wifi symbols?”

“It’s not! This is a traditional Japanese pattern, it looks like waves.”

“Radio waves? From the wifi?”

“….”

Last year I made a muslin of the Colette Hawthorn dress from Swedish Tracing Paper and it was a complete disaster. It didn’t fit at all and I had no idea why, so my Hawthorn pattern was cast into the back of my pattern stash never to be seen again. However, a combination of finding the perfect fabric for it at the Knitting and Stitching Show, being more confident at pattern alteration and having a few days free over Easter to devote to it persuaded me to try again. Look how she turned out!

hawthorn dress

The Pattern: Colette Hawthorn Dress

Described by Colette as a ‘curve-hugging classic that combines gamine styling with a flattering and feminine fit’, the Hawthorn dress has been on my radar for quite a while. I’m a sucker for a shirt dress and the flat collar gives it a slight twist which I think elevates it above some of the other offerings. I have quite a few patterns with gathered skirts, so I thought a smooth quarter circle skirt would make a nice change.

hawthorn dress

Hawthorn dress

Pattern Alterations

Part of the reason my last muslin was so off last time is that I am wildly across sizes on the pattern. My overbust is size 8, but I’m size 14 at the waist and hips. So, I traced out a size 8 bodice front and back onto parcel paper. I then performed a 1 inch full bust adjustment (FBA), adding in a bust dart. I made the waist dart smaller than the FBA called for in order to increase the waist size, shortened both the front and the back bodice pieces and added in a little width to both bodice pieces at the side seam. I sewed this up into a swedish tracing paper muslin and was very pleased with the fit. The only issue I had was that the armholes were too high up under my arms, so I cut this about an inch lower on the muslin and transferred this change back to the pattern. I then measured around the new armhole with a measuring tape and compared this to the different sleeve sizes and decided size 12 fit it best. So I ended up with a heavily modified size 8 bodice, size 12 sleeves and size 14 skirt. If you’re wildly off the pattern sizes and you aren’t happy to do a lot of alterations I would approach the Hawthorn dress with caution! That said, the fit has come out beautifully, so it was definitely worth the extra effort and I’m very pleased.

Hawthorn dress

Hawthorn dress

Construction

I found the construction fairly simple, having done collars and sleeves before. I opted to take the short sleeve from the top version and add it to the version 2 dress so that it would be nice and cool in the summer. The muslin had tight sleeves, so I let out a bit of the seam allowance in the final sleeve, which probably wasn’t necessary and has left them a bit boxy but I think it looks fine. I also added in-seam pockets and chopped a few inches off the skirt before hemming. This isn’t a quick and dirty pattern by any means – including all the pattern alterations and cutting out the fabric this took me the best part of three days, but I really enjoyed every minute of it. The instructions were clear and helpful throughout.

hawthorn dress

hawthorn dress

The Fabric

The main fabric is a gorgeous Japanese ‘dobby weave’ cotton, which I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show from the Japan Crafts stall, which was overflowing with tempting prints. The fabric somehow manages to be soft to the touch with a gentle drape, but also has an almost rough texture.

For the pockets I used a very cute Japanese cotton kindly gifted by my parents’ Japanese lodger (ありがとう ございます!). Look!! I have cats in my pocket 😀 The fabric actually came with a label on it that read ‘Kawaii!!!’. Anyway, I digress.

The final fabric is a koi carp print from my stash to make the inside look a bit more jazzy.

hawthorn dress

Hawthorn dress

hawthorn dress

The Buttons

These buttons were also from the Knitting and Stitching Show, though I can’t remember the stall unfortunately. I think they’re absolutely gorgeous! So unusual. I actually bought them before the fabric and didn’t realise until I got home how lovely they looked together. Unfortunately this also meant that I didn’t really buy enough because I had no project in mind, which resulted in the buttons being further apart than they should have been on the dress.

Hawthorn dress

What Needs Changing?

This button spacing has led to the main issue with this dress – there’s some gaping at the bust where there should be a button! This weekend I sewed on a hook and eye which is pretty much invisible and just keeps the fabric closed; it looks much better and makes me feel more secure. The only other issues were some spots where the fabric pleated a little on the skirt and armholes, but I think I’m the only person who will notice, so I’m not too worried. Perhaps the skirt should have been a size down to fit the waist better?

hawthorn dress

The Verdict (In Which I Gush Unreservedly)

I am in love with this dress!! I have never managed to achieve such a perfect fit on a bodice before, so I am very chuffed. I owe a lot of this to the Craftsy course I took last summer, Sew the Perfect Fit, which I would highly recommend (affiliate link, but I genuinely think it’s great) – you can see my blog post about it here. In short, I’ll be wearing my Hawthorn dress a lot and I’ll be making a lot more of them! I can’t wait to try the three quarter length sleeves with the cuffs.

Golden Greenbacks Wallet

greenbacks wallet

I made a purse! I needed a purse, so I made a purse. Isn’t that an awesome thing to be able to say?

Golden Greenbacks Wallet - 3

The pattern:

The pattern I used is the Greenbacks Wallet by Sew Sweetness, which comes with pattern and instructions for three different wallets. I used version three for mine, which has card slots, a zipped coin purse and accordion sides to stop it flopping open. The instructions were pretty clear and contained photos for the trickier parts. It was definitely the nicest wallet I found when I was looking around, a lot of the patterns didn’t seem that practical, so I would recommend this one if you want a workhorse in your handbag.

Golden Greenbacks Wallet - 5

Construction:

It all went together pretty easily, though it gets tricker once the accordion has gone in because nothing will lie flat anymore, so the last few steps including the main zip are a little fiddly. The pattern calls for bias binding around the edge to finish the purse, but I thought this would detract from the vintage look I was going for, so I instead pressed the seam allowances of the gold fabric and pinned it in place before hand sewing it all the way around the edge. I think this was a good solution and looks pretty neat, though there are a couple of places where the frayed edges of the gold fabric have popped their little heads out. Nevermind, proves it’s homemade, right?

Golden Greenbacks Wallet - 1

The fabric:

The green spotty fabric is a quilting cotton from my stash. The purple is a japanese cotton, which I’ll tell you more about very soon. The gold fabric was kindly donated by Ben’s grandma when she was doing a clear out. I’m not sure what it is, something synthetic and it frays like nothing else, but it’s gold and shiny, so it’s worth the extra effort, right?!

Golden Greenbacks Wallet - 4

What needs changing?

This pattern is all about interfacing. I applied lightweight interfacing to all the inner pieces, heavy to the main lining piece and fleece to the outer shell. The pattern called for a foam rather than a fleece, but I couldn’t find any, so used the next best thing. I think it’s okay, but foam would probably have been a bit less flimsy. I might even try putting some card inside the outer shell as well. I would probably also go up to medium weight interfacing for the card slots next time – I’m not sure the lightweight is enough, especially on the side for notes where it had a tendency to gape a little. This gaping also means the interfacing is visible since the card slots are not lined with your patterned fabric. I think next time I will double over the card slot pieces to make the inside as pretty as the outside. Well, I wanted to learn about interfacing and I’ve tried a lot of different types now, so hopefully my next structured make will have a bit more, well, structure!

Lastly, I think I had my concealed zip hat on when I was sewing this, so I sewed very close to the zip teeth. This means the zips sometimes catch and need some encouragement to open (let’s call it a security feature). Pulling the zips open and closed a few times has loosened it up, but it’s something I’ll look out for in future.

Golden Greenbacks Wallet - 2

Verdict:

I’m really pleased with the overall look. The colours work well together and give the purse a nice vintage feel. The card slots are the right size for my cards and there’s plenty of them. I would definitely recommend the Greenbacks Wallet! It’s nice to try a project that has no fitting issues for once and it has pretty much all straight seams until you’ve inserted the accordion, so it sews up in no time.

Easter Arielle Skirt

arielle skirt

Hello everyone, how are you? I’ve got another project to show you already! I told you I got more done once the light came back 😉Easter ArielleThis, my friends, is my second Arielle skirt. I was besotted with this pattern when I made my Autumn Arielle – in wool it was perfect for the winter, but I needed one to take me through spring. And what better fabric than this squee-worthy chicks and eggs quilting cotton? I ordered it for Easter last year and it arrived a bit late, so I never got round to using it. I’m glad I’ve managed to make it into something this year!Easter ArielleHaving found the waist a bit too big on my last Arielle skirt, despite having graded in a size, I graded in another size at the waist for this one and I think it looks a lot better. I didn’t need to do any hacking with the button placement to get it to sit right. I would say that this is an oddity of my own body rather than a problem with the pattern.Easter ArielleThis time I didn’t line the skirt, which I probably should have done because it stuck to my tights quite a bit the first time I wore it. However, I’ve just been wearing a slip under it and it looks fine, so no harm done.Easter ArielleI hope you like the pictures. Our plan was to get some reflections in the edge of the water, but it turned into me wading out to get the right angle. The things I do for you! I think they turned out quite cool in the end though. Easter Arielle Easter ArielleEaster ArielleEaster Arielle Easter Arielle Easter ArielleOh, and here’s me saying Hi to the lovely Tilly at the Knitting and Stitching show this weekend! The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that I wore this skirt to show her, I hope she liked it!TillyKnittingStitchingI had a great time at the show and I think I was very restrained, only coming away with one piece of fabric, some buttons and a pair of dressmaking shears. Also had great fun at the workshop for hand-sewn hexagonal patchwork. The teacher was fab (she said my stitching was ‘perfection’ 😀 ) and I came away with a great skill that will be really fun to do in front of the tv. I can imagine making it into some bags or cushion covers, or maybe I need to get fully stuck into the art of quilting? Hmm…

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