Thursday, 22 January 2015

Colette Hawthorn and the Autumn/Winter of a 1000 Shirtdresses

I am just barely making the deadline on this, despite having started it back when the challenge was announced. This is my official entry to the Autumn/Winter of a 1000 Shirtdresses.

I had such great plans. I would dig out my Colette Hawthorn pattern and do all the dreaded adjustments that I knew would be necessary to make the Colette C-cup bodice pattern fit my barely-B frame. Then I would use some beautiful textured fabric given to me by my grandmother, and it would be the cutest of spring dresses.

Well, that didn't happen.

First of, this fabric was a pain to work with. The texture made it hard to sew vertical seams and the vertical buttonholes was a nightmare of skipped stitches and unpicking. The printed white flower motifs stuck to the iron, making ironing from the right side impossible. Ironing from the wrong side made the fabric "grow" as the texture was flattened.

Second, I might have over-fitted the bodice armholes, and they have become too tight. It is still wearable, but would be more comfortable if I would bother to take 1,5 cm off the edge all around the armholes.

Thirdly, I am not sure this style is for me. It looks SO cute on the dressform, but not quite as cute on me. I have a low bustpoint/long collarbone (ballerina neckline?) combined with a hollow chest, and this high, nocthed neckline and collar just seems to accentuate that. Low, scooped necklines just suit me better, I think.

All that aside, it is a beautifully finished dress. The hem and armholes are finished with self-fabric bias tape and sewn down by hand. The front and neck facings and collar edge are understitched by hand instead of top stitching. The shoulder seams on the collar and facing are pinked to minimize bulk and all other seams are overlocked.

The buttons are from a local fabric store and are the perfect shade of pearlescent blue. They are quite large, so I only used 10 instead of the recommended 13.

Hope is not completely lost, though, and search for the perfect shirtdress continuous. I might try Vintage Vogue 2960 or a button-front version of Sewaholic Cambie next... wish me luck!

Lastly, a big thanks to Mary of Idle Fancy for hosting this sewing challenge. I am not sure if I would ever have had finished this dress otherwise ;)


  1. Lovely dress, it looks beautifully finished! I'm similar to you when it comes to Colette patterns... They do look so lovely but man is it hard to get the fit right!

    1. Thank you! It is somehow comforting to know I'm not the only one to not fit their patterns.