Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

I have at least six new items to blog about but I have been very slack with photos. I could blame the weather or the fact that a cabin fevered NH disassembled my computer after a boring week at home sick but instead I’ll just write a post about a dress. It’s not the newest of my unblogged makes or the oldest, it’s the first one that I managed to get photos of one lunchtime 😉

In August The Monthly Stitched turned two years old and to celebrate we challenged The Collective to sew incorporating the number 2 in some way or another.

Kat and I had already decided it was time for another Twinsies make so this fitted in nicely with one of the suggest theme options: two sewists using the same pattern. We selected the Hawthorn by Colette Patterns.

But you know us, one layer of “2” just wasn’t enough!

Fabric discussions reminded us that we both had fabric from the same Camelot range – What A Gem. I had the gems in navy and Kat had the arrows in navy. An extra layer: two fabrics from the same collection.

Then we added another layer: We both used two different fabrics – Kat used a contrast for the bodice facings (navy blue with little daisies and cartoon turtles on it), and I used a grey cotton as contrast for the collar.

Two dresses from the same pattern, with two fabrics, and the main fabrics are two different designs from the same range.

2 x 2 x 2!

Serious business!

But wait, there’s one more level to take this even further down the rabbit hole: we also used a remnant of the other’s main fabric for backing on our labels.

I lament the loss of the early Colette days when their patterns were vintage inspired with clever details and so I wasn’t really excited about this pattern when it first came out.

More recently I’ve seen some nice versions around online and by some of the WSBN.
I can only make the Bleuet and La Sylphide so many times and you can never have enough shirt dresses right?

What sets this pattern apart is the collar, a nice unique detail and different from the usual shirt-style you see on most shirt dress patterns.

It is typically Colette in terms of great instructions and I’ve always found their fit right for me so I didn’t make any adjustments. It felt a tiny bit big in the waist after wearing it a few times so since these photos I’ve taken in the side seams a little.

Keep an eye on the seam allowances, they change when you add the button placket from (going on memory) 5/8th to 1/4th…I’m not saying that I had to unpick the whole bodice length of the button placket on both sides but…just keep that in mind 😉

Speaking of button plackets – I found it interesting that the bodice placket is a separate piece where as on the skirt it is a self placket folded over. Everything lined up internally perfectly (after I used the correct seam allowance). I think this is to save on fabric and I did briefly consider chopping the folded placket off the skirt pattern piece and joining it to the one for the front bodice but I didn’t have enough fabric.

It’s not shown on the line drawings but the skirt has a centre back seam which surprised me when I was laying out.

I’m guessing it’s also to save fabric and help with laying out on narrow fabric widths but it should really be shown on the line drawings.

I decided to eliminate that seam by cutting on the fold instead. I just folded the 5/8th seam allowance over and out of the way. However my fabric wasn’t wide enough to accommodate the whole width of the back skirt so I used my new favorite trick and pieced the corners on.

I cut these extra pieces from the selvedge so that I wouldn’t need to finish them. This helps reduce seam bulk but it’s also a bit fun to have them there, don’t you think? You wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you 😉

One of my selvedge pieces has the pretty coloured dots and the other has the designers details. I managed to avoid the bit that warned “not intended for children’s sleepwear”.

I picked a grey cotton to match the darker grey gems for my collar – I almost went for pink or bright blue but I was restrained. The pearly grey buttons came from Pete’s Emporium, my favourite button heaven.

I used a scrap from Kat’s dress under my label.

So after not being immediately interested in this pattern I do quite like my version. It was quite quick to make and is easy to wear. I got a nice reminder of Colette’s excellent pattern drafting, thorough instructions and sizing that suits my body.

I particularly love the fullness of this skirt. In fact I love it so much I’ve used it as a template to cut down the skirt piece of the dress I’m currently working on. I was sure this dresses skirt would be waaaayyyy too full for me but I just had no idea by how much to reduce it by.

Of course, birthdays require cake and we celebrated at our favourite girly high tea venue, Martha’s Pantry.

Kat’s post will be up soon so check it out on her blog.


Pattern – Colette Hawthorn, size 12, version 3.

Cut back skirt on the fold, pieced corners. Next time cut the same size overall but grade the waist down to size 10.

Fabrics – Camelot What A GemGems in Navy, Spotlight Kaiwharawhara, NZD$16.99/m, purchased 23 October 2014.

If you are interested in the sculpture where these photos were taken you can find out more here: Subject To Change by Regan Gentry.

Frocktober: Put a (rainbow coloured) bird on it!

I’m not really sure what to say about this dress…

Ummm, let’s see…oh yeah, it’s RAINBOW BIRDIES!

What more do you want?!

I have rainbow birdies on my front:

I have rainbow birdies on my butt!

Rainbow birdies for EVERYONE! 🙂

And, no kidding, I even bought these shoes especially for his dress! Premeditated shoe buying?! Yup, that’s me!

Okay, I admit I would have bought these shoes anyway because I LOVE shoes! And you would have bought them too, admit it!

Ok, so there is a bit more to say about this dress 😉

It’s from Patrones 309, Camisero Mango #18 but I made a few changes.

I chose this shirt dress pattern because I liked the front detailing and especially the elastic at the back which you can see in the line drawing.

The fabric is a cotton poplin from my favourite store that I love to hate: Spotlight – I really should stop goingthere but I dare YOU to walk away from rainbow bird fabric!

I cut a size 44 and put it all together as per the pattern (excluding the pockets) but the back ended up being very puffy around my shoulder blades, not very flattering at all, and the side seams were being pulled around all funny.

I took the elastic out and unpicked the casing, then I took all the seams in by about 1cm to compensate. This wasn’t enough though since more width was drafted into the back piece for the elastic to take up so I also had to add two long darts for more shaping.

When I tried it on the front looked great but I had some weird stuff happening in the back, strange horizontal wrinkles and puckering. So I played with my seams and darts a few times before I gave up and did the dodgiest fitting fix in the history of sewing…


I put the horizontal dart across my bum! Oh yes, and it was magic, first problem solved…then I added a second one across my shoulder blades…I KNOW! You should all unfollow me in shame 😉

I know this is the kind of fix that works at the paper pattern stage but I was well beyond that, I’m a fit-on-the-fly kind of girl and all I wanted was my pretty birdie dress to be done.

I don’t even mind and you can’t really see the extra darts in the busy print, you guys only know they are there because I’ve told you, and shown you close up photos 😉

Oh yeah, and you may have noticed I chopped the sleeves off too, there is enough happening on this dress without the need for fancy pants sleeves.

So, happy kiwi and her colourful friends! What’s the dodgiest fitting/sewing fix you’ve ever done?