Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hawthorn: Review Time (finally!)

Although I finished this lovely dress a couple weeks ago, it's taken me forever to take photos. I hate taking photos. I usually feel awkward and self-conscious daily, taking photos does not help. But I finally got over myself enough this evening to take some photos. Things were going well, I felt okay despite the horde of mosquitoes that decided to attack in the middle of photo-time. Got back upstairs ready to load up all the photos and write my review...could not find the USB cable for my camera.

(Minor panic ensued)

After tearing apart my sewing room, and still not finding the cable, I decided to use the camera on my phone for photos. Bad idea. There wasn't enough daylight left and they all came out dark even with the flash. Sigh. I called Best Buy to find out about a replacement only to learn that I could only get one online. Sigh. I perused the Best Buy website and realized that the solution to my problem would be a SD card reader (something that I should have owned already). Quick trip to Best Buy and $20 later, here's my review. Finally.

As mentioned in this post, I had a few concerns with the Hawthorn pattern. The waist dart caused me the most headaches. Waist darts are usually the cause of much sewing angst as they tend to be pointy, bulky and not very flattering. I made three muslins of the original Hawthorn pattern (two bodice and one full dress). I tried redrafting the darts. Didn't work. I also tried splitting the waist dart and rotating one to the bust. Didn't work. I went according to the finished measurements yet the bust seemed to be a bit baggy. Also the back neckline was a bit too low and just a little too wide.

Rather than toss this pattern to the side, I came up with an idea. I could just use my Butterick 4386 bodice (which I have now used 5 times) and modify it to resemble the Hawthorn bodice. I would have darts that I know already fit. It would be easy.

Well not exactly easy, but not nearly as complicated as trying to make the Hawthorn bodice fit. So, I altered my Butterick 4386 bodice. I started by drawing a line 5/8" from center front and tracing off the neckline and placket from the Hawthorn pattern. A tweak here, a tweak there and I got it to fit. My apologies for not having pattern pics.

The fabric is a flocked dot cotton from Joann. This is yet another Joann fabric that is actually 100% cotton (as stated on the bolt) but on the website it's listed as cotton/rayon.

Collar close up

Other modifications:
  •  Changed the collar to one piece. Three pieces just seemed excessive especially with all the grading that would be involved.
  •  Used a snap at the waistline inside of a hook and eye. Snaps rule.
  •  Skipped the sleeve cuff in favor of a hem.
  •  Sewed a narrow hem on the skirt using the Colette tutorial. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have used bias tape to finish the hem. It's cleaner and easier.
  •  Added inseam pockets. I used the Hazel pocket.

Getting the bodice to fit was the most challenging part of this make. I like the dress but it's not quite love yet. I've made another one (just in need of buttons) but that will be it for a while. I love shirt dresses more than anything else but I'm on the fence about this one. Perhaps its the collar. Maybe it's the skirt. Not sure.

Front close up

I have plans for a fall version (on the off chance the temperature drops below 85 here in Austin) using some beautiful crimson pique shirting that I have in my stash. Perhaps with repeat wear the dress will grow on me. We'll see, I guess.

My hair: gotta love that Texas humidity.

Oh and here's a peek at Hawthorn #2. I'm too sleepy for buttons. They will have to wait until morning.


  1. I think it turned out lovely and fits quite well. Your second looks like it will be beautiful. I love the diagonal stripes on the belt.

  2. I love your polka dot version. It looks fantastic on you!!

  3. Well done! I really like the polka dots with the slim black belt. It makes everything pop!

  4. I love them both! I'm particularly impressed with your self fabric belt on version # 2!


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