Sometimes it seems like all the stars align and a project suddenly happens that ticks several boxes at once.
My good sewing buddy Mel and I were thinking – it’s about time we did another twinsies creation, where we both make the same pattern at the same time. Plus, it’s the second birthday for The Monthly Stitch in August, with the theme being “two is the magic number” – a perfect time for twinsies!
And then we got to thinking, how else can we incorporate that theme….?
Discussions were had around fabric, and we realised we both had fabric from the What A Gem range by Camelot in our stashes. Mel has the “gems” design, and I’ve got the “arrows” one. Two designs from the same range – seemed perfect!
So then we just had to come up with a pattern that worked for each, and for the amounts of fabric we had….
And that’s where this pattern comes in. It’s the Hawthorn dress by Colette Patterns. It was given to me as part of the pattern swap for Indie Pattern Month over on The Monthly Stitch. I was pretty darn excited to get it in the mail, as it’s a pattern I’ve been debating about buying for quite some time! (Great choice, swap partner! 🙂 There’s an Indie Pattern Month wrap-up day today over on The Monthly Stitch, and I really wanted to make up at least one of my two swap patterns in time for it! (The other one is currently on my cutting table. Soon it shall be made. Soon….!)
Plus, with the cute collar, there was the option of using two different fabrics on our dresses (again, using the “two is the magic number” theme). So yep, all boxes were ticked – twinsies in the pattern, twinsies in the fabric range, an indie pattern, and in my case also a pattern swap pattern. Win!
One other box, too – this is also my Minerva Crafts Bloggers Network make for the month. Yippie!
Crazily enough, despite owning a couple of Colette patterns, this is the first one I’ve ever made (excluding their two free ones, neither of which worked well for me). I approached it with some trepediation – I’ve heard quite a bit about how hard this pattern is to fit, and Colette also drafts for a C cup while I’m an AA (yes, seriously).
With that in mind, I took the time to do a proper small bust adjustment (SBA) on the pattern, reducing it by a total of 2″ in the bust.
The only other change I made to the pattern was on the skirt. I originally got this fabric to make a 1950’s blouse out of, so only had 2 1/4 yards – officially no where near enough to make the Hawthorn! Add in the directionality of the print, and it was a bit of a cutting challenge. To make it fit, I cut the back skirt on the fold, and folded out 13cm at the hem of both front and back skirt pieces (making for a total of 52cm removed from the hem circumference in total!). And it fit! (Just!)
I had a lot of fun playing with the print direction for this one. I started with the bodice placement, deciding that vertical arrows would work best there, especially with the waist dart.
The skirt was origianally going to be on angles, with the arrows forming v’s at each centre and side seam. But there just wasn’t enough fabric for that, so it got cut out with horizontal arrows that dipped into v’s at the side seams.
The collar was a bit more fun, with arrows going around the neckline.
I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the facings, so the bodice facing is scraps from my Dolly Turtles dress. (Which I forgot to get a photo of, whoops!)
Speaking of the facings, they’re finished with hug snug seam binding – I may have given into temptation and gotten some in a lovely bottle green shade. Love this stuff so much!!
Hug snug was also used for the hem, which was then stitched up with a machine blind hem.
The armholes are finished with green bias binding.
Also, can I get a yay for these buttons? Aren’t they fabulous?!? I’m so happy to have found them on the Minerva site! They’re such a lovely shade, and match the coral coloured triangles in the fabric so nicely. Plus, the lines on half of them reflect the lines of the arrows. Yippie!
(Again though, as I originally got the supplies for this for a blouse, I didn’t have enough buttons for the whole dress. I spaced them out a bit further than the pattern called for, and used four snap fasteners for the lower section of the skirt instead. I may yet go and just stitch that part of the skirt down – depends on how well the snap fasteners hold up to a day of getting up and down from an office chair….)
I’m actually pretty happy with the fit of this. It’s a bit looser in the bodice than I normally like, and I’m still debating a bit whether to take it in or not as it’s only fractionally too loose…. Hmmm…. (What do you think? Take it in, or leave it as it is?)
One thing I found surprising – the front waist seam is a bit too low on me, about 1.5cm too low, even with the small bust adjustment raising it up a bit. Since I’m so tall, I’m used to waist seams being a bit too high, so this was quite a surprise! Probably something to watch out for if you make the pattern up, and an adjustment I’ll make in the future.
I did mix up the construction order a bit, sewing the skirt pieces to the bodice pieces, and the side seams got stitched up last. This is pretty standard for me – it makes it a lot easier to make adjustments with changing post-baby body shape. 🙂
If you’re curious, here it is with out a belt. (Although I’ll probably always be wearing it with a belt, just coz that’s how I roll.)
Oh, and why the name? Well, it’s actually named after a book I’m reading at the moment. Some of the lead characters are part of a group called the Arrows – rather appropriate when using this fabric, no? So yeah, the dress adopted the name from the book. (It’s one of those books I expect I’ll read several more times in my life, so that’s always a good thing. Maybe I should name more garments after books. I do like books. And sewing. Hmmm….)
Thanks to the lovely Nicola, who played photographer on a freezing cold winters day! We went exploring, and found a muddy stream bed with a fallen log for photos. Here’s some scenery, just for fun….