Since last year, I've been looking for a shirtdress. I spent a lot of time and energy on Darling Ranges before finally declaring it a wadder. It doesn't suit my figure at all and frankly I think it was poorly drafted. So when Colette declared they had re-imagined the shirt dress in a feminie style for curvy figures, I decided to try it. I'm so happy I did! I love it, really.
First, the shape of this is spectacular. There is just exactly the right amount of shaping for a flattering, feminine silhouette but it remains comfortable to wear. This is the perfect classic shirtdress we all love for that casual-yet-pulled-together look.
I shopped my stash and came up with this chambray effect linen that's been sitting around from a sale at Joann. I never quite found the right pattern for it because the color said fall but the fabric said summer. When I saw Hawthorne, I realized it would make a perfect transition piece for that back to school season when it's still stupidly hot but you're eager to wear fall clothes. Later, it will be lovely with a cardi.
I then ruined my fabric diet by binging on a yard of Liberty. I used it for the facings, under collar and a hem facing. I love an extra special finish, even if it doesn't show. It's for me. Circle skirts tend to flutter and fly as you move, exposing the hem, so I added a hem facing for a touch of something pretty. I love how a facing finishes the placket cleanly. I learned my hem facing technique from Oliver + S patterns like Puppet Show.
Hawthorn was easy to adjust and get right. I have had trouble with Colette patterns in the past, namely Crepe and Jasmine, but Hawthorn came together easy peasy. I didn't adjust the back at all, which is rare for me. Now, the need for adjustments doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the quality of the pattern. It actually bugs me when people brag that they didn't make adjustments. That only means they are lucky (or young) enough to have a "standard" figure. However, I've spent the past few weeks discreetly people watching at the pool and I discovered that a sway back is really very common. So, perhaps Colette really is designing for a more up to date standard than the big four, which should make adjustments easier for more people. Of course, every body has its individual shape. Possibly I just lucked out on this pattern, but I think that this dress will flatter a variety of bodies. Whatever it is, I am absolutely thrilled with the fit and have entered this pattern into my Tried and True category. I will try the sleeves next for a winter dress.
Colette drafts for a C cup and they indicated that even a D cup may not need an adjustment for this pattern. I did a quick tissue fit of the bodice and found that I needed a smidge more room. Button fronts are unattractive when they're bursting open. In some patterns, I may have skipped an FBA as small as 3/8", but here I really think it was worthwhile. I picked my pattern size based on my high bust I graded out one size at the waist, based on the measurement chart. I raised the waistline 1 1/4" because I'm slimmer a little higher than my natural waist. I made a good muslin of this and basted/pin fitted at each stage. The final tweaks included evening out the front waistline, which dipped unattractively in the front, and taking in the side seams a bit. Please note that the collar seems to need a 1/4" seam to line up properly, so check before you stitch.
This dress is not lined, so I took extra care to finish it nicely. I used French seams, flat felled seams and a Hong Kong finish at the waist line. Instead of interfacing, I used cotton batiste for the collar and facings. I do however, add a small strip of fusible on the linen behind the buttonholes because I've found that they need the extra fray prevention. Remember to place your fist buttonhole at the fullest part of your bust and measure the others out from there. A Fashionable Stitch has a good tutorial of this. Also remember to let a circle skirt hang for a day or two before you hem it so it can stretch. This linen grew 1 1/2" at the sides! Thanks, Mom, for pinning up my hem!
Thanks, Colette, for such a wonderful staple of a pattern. I plan to make many more versions!