The Hummingbirds and Clover dress

Now here’s a pattern I’ve been meaning to make ever since it was released – the Clover dress by Papercut!

With its loose fit and pull-over style (you wear it cinched in with a belt) it seemed like a perfect dress to make for those months after pregnancy, while one’s body is still going back to it’s “usual” size. Plus, a centre front seam makes it ideal for wearing while nursing – simply add one invisible zip and you’re good to go!

When I joined the Minerva Crafts Bloggers Network (yay!) and got to choose my first three projects (double yay! and a super fun way to lose a few hours), it seemed like a good time to make up the Clover dress.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I found this gorgeous feathers print rayon, and once I’d decided between the red and the pink colourways, spent some time debating what to use for the contrast v-inset on the bodice. Since the base of the feathers rayon is black, and it’s quite a busy print, I thought I’d match it with a black lace with a larger scale design. And I found this one – a crochet look rayon lace. Perfect!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Speaking of the print of the rayon, check this out – teeny tiny Hummingbirds, hovering amoungst the feathers! So cute!! And also so hard to spot – can you see them? I didn’t spot them until a friend pointed them out, thanks Mel!)

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Crazy though it may sound, even though I’ve been sewing “properly” for over 17 years (I’m not counting those making-scrunchies-as-a-child or home-ec-classes-at-school years), I’ve never sewn with rayon. Most of my sewing is cotton or wool, or knits that ideally have a large portion of one or the other of those fibres. Time to branch out, don’t you think?!

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed working with rayon. It’s lovely and soft to handle, doesn’t shift around too much (or this one didn’t, anyway – I’ve heard some rayons do?), and presses like a dream. I’m now a rayon convert!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Clover pattern was nice and fun to sew, and the contrast inset gives lots of opportunity for fun ways to use scraps or pretty bits of fabric. The only thing I’d watch for is what you use for the contrast inset – it sits on the upper curve of my bust, so I’m going to have to be careful about what bra I wear with it as the top half an inch or so shows through the lace.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I did, of course, make a couple of changes to it though. (Because that’s how I roll, oh yeah.) First up, the length. I’m tall, the pattern is short. So I added 12cm to get it hitting just above my knees. Higher than my usual hem length, but I discovered that with the raglan sleeves and the higher scoop neckline it starts to look a bit frumpy when hitting below the knee (I originally added 20cm in length). So, above the knee it is for this pattern on me!

I also added pockets, because, well, pockets. They may look pretty low, but they’re the perfect height for me to still be able to get my hands into when carrying the Smallest Guy around in the front pack. For the pockets, I just drew a basic pocket shape around my hand (to make sure it was big enough!) and sewed them into the side seams. Easy!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And that aforementioned nursing-friendly pattern hack – the addition of an invisible zip in the centre front seam at the neckline. Along with a hook and eye to close the binding above it.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I applied some vintage iron-on hem binding to the seam first along where the zipper was going to go, to stabilise it on the drapy rayon, which worked really well.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(After wearing this dress around all day for yum cha and gelato with some of the Wellington Sewing Blogger girls, I can attest that both pockets and zip do their jobs nicely. Also, rayon is fun to wear! It feels flippy and floaty and feminine and fun. Yeah!)

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, this actually took me blinkin’ ages to make. I decided that this would be the perfect time to try out a new-to-me technique, and also get in some hand-sewing practice. (Much as I hate hand sewing, I’m determined to get better/faster at it this year!) After reading about it on Lilacs and Lace, curiousity got the better of me and I bought some Hug Snug seam binding. And oh my gosh this stuff is awesome! I think this is the start of a long-term love affair with this seam finish. Check it out – bound seams!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

If you haven’t used Hug Snug before, it’s great – made of rayon (I spot a theme with this garment…) it’s very lightweight so it doesn’t add bulk to your seams. It presses well, and is nice and smooth to wear. Plus, it comes in all sorts of fun colours. I may need to add some more to my collection so I can have pretty colourful insides on all my garments from now on….

The other great thing about it – it finished the edges of the lace insets really nicely. Since the lace has quite a large design, if I’d overlocked/serged it instead a lot of the thread would have had trouble catching onto anything in those gaps between the design. But the Hug Snug? A nice, neat finish.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The only seam I didn’t bind was the centre front seam. Since part of it goes over the front lace inset, I didn’t want the yellow of the Hug Snug showing through to the front, so I just did a basic overlocked/serged finish on that seam in black to make it less conspicuous.

I finished the hem of both sleeves and the skirt with the Hug Snug, then hand stitched them up. Luckily, it was Great British Sewing Bee day, so that kept me entertained for about half the length of the skirt. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m glad I took the time to do the hand sewing though, as it’s more-or-less invisible from the front and it makes me happy to look at it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And of course, the finishing touch:

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall? Pattern – win. Using rayon for the first time – win. Pattern hacks – win. And bound seams – win. Yep, I think this one is gonna be getting a lot of wear!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

30 responses to “The Hummingbirds and Clover dress

  1. Gorgeous (and very nice ‘insides’ too!)

  2. Pingback: Hummingbirds and Clover (and Hug Snug too!) | The Monthly Stitch

  3. Its lovely, your fabric is gorgeous! I’ve liked this pattern since it was released, but just never got around to it this summer. Might have to be a project for next year! Hug snug sounds like an excelent product, do you just fold it over the seam and sew it down like bias tape? I might need to search some out…

    • Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can totally see you in this pattern, you should give it a go! (I’m imagining stripes for the contrast inset… Hmmmm…)

      Yep, you just treat Hug Snug like bias tape, only a lot thinner and smoother to work with. It’s great! I got this from, and you can also get it from the A Fashionable Stitch online store. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I have yet to find anywhere in NZ that stocks it…)

  4. Love love love! Your dress is amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚ And the hug snug…welll I might just need to get that! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ I really love the Clover design with that v-inset. One day, I’d love to get the pattern and then grade it up accordingly. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You look gorgeous!

    • Oh yes, you should definitely try some Hug Snug Andie, I think you’d really like it! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Perhaps on the inside of your wedding dress? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I think you’d find it reasonably easy to grade up the Clover dress, as the bust measurement is the only one you really need to worry about since it’s a pull-on style.

  5. Lovely fabric! And very clever putting the zipper in the front! Your insides look as good as your outsides.

  6. Gorgeous! That v inset is so appealing! I’m also in love with Hug Snug and have been buying different colors when they go on sale. Perfect seam finish for retro dresses!

    • Oh yes, I can totally see you using Hug Snug! It’s great, isn’t it?! ๐Ÿ™‚ I really must get some more colours…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. I have just added Hug Snug to my shopping list! It would have made my last project turn out so much nicer on the inside. I am so picky about having pretty insides that I almost scraped the whole garment.

  8. Super pretty dress!

  9. Not to overshadow commentary on your pretty dress, but girl, I am snowed at how fast your figure snaps back after baby-ing! Seriously, I don’t have any babies to blame my figure on and it’s not nearly as good haha! Anyway, isn’t rayon a lovely thing? I rarely find it here and when I do I snap it up (just bought 8m of it recently – whoops hehe). Love that seam binding – embrace the hand stitching!! I rarely ever sew hems any other way – it’s so much nicer isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Haha well this youngest one of mine isn’t a fan of sleeping much (especially during the day) and feeds All The Time, so between that and going on long walks most days to try to make him nap it’s been rather effective at helping me get back into my “normal” clothes again! (Side benefit of a baby who doesn’t sleep?!?) ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Rayon is so lovely! I am completely converted to it now, must try and track some more down from somewhere….!

  10. This looks beautiful on you!! Great work!

  11. I love this! What a great dress! The print is so fun and really perfect for this pattern!

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