Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Colette Hawthorn shirt dress

Confused? This is an extremely belated entry, for a dress I made before the Christmas party season last year. Thought I’d better post it before it wears out completely. Whoops!

Colette Hawthorn 1

I think I made this even before the blouse (using the same pattern).

Colette Hawthorn 2

The gorgeous navy broderie anglaise fabric came from my fairy godmother in Hong Kong. Here’s a close-up after some not-so-subtle adjustments on PicMonkey.

close up

And the back, why not?

Colette Hawthorn back

I’ve been wearing it with a black slip underneath but after looking at these photos on the mannequin am tempted to try a red one. Once again I am truly smitten by this pattern which fits beautifully and is lovely to make. Check out my first ever sleeve placket (WAY easier than they look, in case you’ve never done one)…

sleeve placket

The buttons came from Vancouver and were bought specially, they add a bit of sparkle. Just right for a fairy godmother Christmas dress.

button

Presents are the best, featuring Colette Hawthorn

Colette Hawthorn blouse

For my birthday this year, my awesome sisters gave me a Colette Hawthorn pattern and some fabric to make it with. What do you think?

Colette Hawthorn blouse

I’m one of the lucky people for whom this pattern is a perfect fit. When I first looked at the pattern pieces I thought “Just one giant waist dart? That’ll never work” – but somehow it does. And I love the little neck darts at the back that prevent back-neck gape.

3

Changes:

  • I made the sleeves a wee bit longer, rather than the cap sleeves in the pattern.
  • I lengthened the front of the collar by 4.5cm on each side, so it ends at the centre rather than halfway up the neck opening.
  • I neatened the edge of the facing by sewing it and the interfacing right-side-together before turning it inside out and then pressing (Sophie-Lee explains this better than me).
  • I hemmed it with bias tape and a blind hem.

54

  • And I retraced the facings into two pieces, with a seam at the centre back. No particular reason, other than that it saved sewing a few seams.

However, if you change the pattern you’ve got to turn your brain on, and not cut two identical facing pieces! Can you see this? One of them is wrong-side-up (I didn’t have enough fabric to cut another one).

6

And make sure you sew the facing seams right-side-together! (Luckily this is at the back neck and no-one will see it but me – I might even cover it with a label).

7

So, minor errors aside, this is a total win. I love it. Best present ever.

The Great WSBN sewing room tour – and we’re off!

Well here we go! It’s spring in New Zealand and the WSBN is going to show you where it all happens… with a little peek at our pretty city, too.

I’m the first stop on this blog tour, then tomorrow you’re off to visit Laura at Laulipop NZ.

My sewing space

Technically, my “sewing room” is a little bedroom on the southern side of the house, which is always dark. So I usually relocate to the dining room table. Much nicer.

workroom

Here’s the back bedroom, where the stash still lives (I’m sure it grows better in cool dark conditions)…

other room
And these are my workhorses.

workhorses
My sewing machine is a Bernina 1008, and my overlocker is a Bernette Funlock. The sewing machine was a 21st birthday present, when I lived in a hall of residence at university. I have fond memories of whipping up dresses for fancy-dress parties (including an emerald green flapper dress with black fringing, and a white one for a friend… someone throw another 20s party, please). The overlocker was a later arrival, but I was overwhelmed by the threading instructions, and it sat unused for a good five years before I finally did a course last year. Now I couldn’t live without it.

What I’m working on

My good friend New Look 6097 appears again. I’m making another dress for a gift, with leftovers into a t-shirt (sound familiar)?

WIP

WIP t-shirt
All that’s left is to hem them, and I’m using Wonder Tape. This stuff is magic for hemming knits, it means many fewer pins and no rippling. I only discovered it this year and can’t live without it.

wonder tape

Next project in line

Ahem. My queue is literally in a queue, lined up on chairs by the wall.

queue
From top to bottom:

I’ve borrowed McCalls 5974 from Johanna and I’m going to make a dress out of this raspberry knit, lined with some pinkish stuff from the Fabric Warehouse sale. Spring’s virtually here but I’ve got one more winter dress in me.

McCalls 5974

queue 1 fabrics

Then I’m going to make some baby sunbonnets, using a pattern from the Purl Bee. Cute overload. The plan is for them to use up all my scrappy bits but in reality they’ll use up about four fat quarters’ worth.

purl bee sunbonnetqueue 2 hats

 

 

Then I’ll be sittin’ knittin’ for a bit, to finish some socks. Every three or four years I get a burst of enthusiasm about knitting and make a couple of things, then swear that I hate knitting and will never do it again. It takes about three or four years to forget everything I’ve learned, and the cycle repeats. This time I decided to learn to make socks. I’ve been using this basic toe-up sock pattern (link on the left), and have a couple of pairs to show you soon.

easy peasy socks for first timersqueue 3 socks

Show off your stash

Go and boil the kettle, this could take a while. First I’ll show you around my official sewing room.
hanging space
Here on the left is hanging space with some overload from the bedroom, as well as some things that need mending and also my pdf pattern collection.

patterns
I’m still not 100% happy with this system (hung from bulldog clips on a coathanger), but it’s better than the previous one (jammed into the cupboard).

stash

Next is a big wardrobe full of my stash. I gave it a big tidy-up a couple of months ago and it’s still in pretty good shape. From top to bottom:

  • Top shelf: Patterns, thread.
  • Second shelf: Ice cream tub full of some coasters I started making in 2008 and haven’t finished yet. Old pile of Ladies’ Home journal mags. All the accessories (zippers, ribbons, tray with all those little bits and bobs we need).
  • Third shelf: Slinky stuff (silks, laces, also interfacing is here). Big pile of pieces big enough to make a top or skirt: 22 at last count. Pile of UFOs (3 at last count).
  • Fourth shelf (the big one): lengths big enough to make a dress from: 19 at last count. I’m sure there are more than 19 now.
  • Bottom shelf: box of bits maybe big enough for baby clothes, or craft projects. Pile of clothes I may or may not refashion one day. Pile of fabric to use for muslins.

sewing cabinet
Then there’s a box of old photos I mean to digitalise one day, then some rolls of calico and tracing paper (as well as my bolt-end of blue merino). And the sewing machine cabinet where I really should be sewing.

ironing board and buttons

Lastly, here’s the ironing board desperate for a re-cover, a seldom-used yoga mat and the Buttons of Shame. These fell off a winter coat quite a number of years ago and I still haven’t put them on. Though last year I pulled out some matching thread and a needle, so some time in the next decade it may yet happen. 

OK, now I’ll show you my favourites from the stash. All of these are short-listed for summer sewing this year.

1. Burdastyle Kristen Plus, and some blue stripy fabric I picked up last week from TFW sale:
burdastyle kristen plus

blue TFW

 

2. Burdastyle Alberta Ferretti dress, and some blue silk that my aunt sent me from Hong Kong. This dress has Christmas party written all over it, don’t you think?

burdastyle alberta ferrettiblue silk

 

 

3. Shirt dresses. Goldfish cotton from Ikea, and navy broderie anglaise. Maybe a Colette Hawthorn?

goldfish

broderie anglaise

4. New Look 6557 maxi dress, using this floral cotton.

u.1 new look 6557floral maxi

 

 

 

5. And my favourite. This silk is from Fabric-a-brac late last year, and I’m planning to make a Victory Patterns Nicola dress with it.  Then I will just look at it every day.

q.1 victory patterns nicolagreen silk

 

 

Favourite thing I’ve made

This would be a toss-up between two dresses. One is a royal-blue version of New Look 6000, which I made about three years ago.

y new look 6000

The other is a green corduroy version of the Burdastyle Heidi dress. I wore this one until it fell apart, but plans are afoot to make another one, and I have the emerald-green yardage to prove it.

p.1 burdastyle heidi

green corduroy

 


Snapshot of Wellington

I’ll leave you with some photos of Island Bay in Wellington. I walk here most mornings.

island bay

It’s different every day.

island bay

There are lots of fishing boats, and you can see the ferries going to-and-fro between the North and South Islands. In summer during the Island Bay festival, there’s a “blessing of the boats” festival, and the fishing boats go round and round the island.

island bay

I am so lucky to live here.

island bay

Thanks for reading. Over to you, Laura!