Colette Hawthorn - the dress that almost didn't happen

Posted by Kristin on Sunday, July 14, 2013.

Now presenting my newest creation....the Colette Hawthorn!  With every garment I create, I learn something new.  After making four different muslins (or practice versions) of this dress, I learned that I need to work on my fitting skills.  Big time. 

I was so excited when this pattern was released that I bought it immediately.  I decided to splurge on embroidered seersucker fabric.  I was ready. 

Colette Hawthorn
www.fabric.com
I put together my first muslin.  Colette Patterns typically fit me fairly well with few adjustments, so I didn't make any.  And it didn't fit.  Following the sew along instructions, I did a full bust adjustment.  According to the measurements, I shouldn't have to do an FBA, but I tried it anyway.  I still didn't like the fit.  I adjusted the shoulders.  It made it worse.  I signed up for a Craftsy class on fitting and flew through it.  I made my adjustments.  And guess what?  I still wasn't satisfied. 

I sat in the middle of all my bodice pieces and cried.  I was jealous of all of the other people that had finished their Hawthorns and remarked on how easy it was.  And their dresses looked great.  Mine was a mess.  (I was also going on three weeks without a shower due to a leak that had left a lovely little hole in my living room ceiling.  And my plumber kept cancelling.  And I was a little emotional because I was taking steroids for my arthritis.  First world problems, right?)  I hauled all my muslins to my mom's and she voted on the second one with only an FBA.  I went with it.  I didn't care at this point.

Once I got started, the dress went together extremely easily.  Of course, I also had already had LOTS of practice from my numerous muslins.  I didn't even have to read the instructions at this point. 

But the universe was not quite totally aligned yet.  Because my sewing machine is a moody little thing.  She is an old Brother that I bought at Wal-Mart over a decade ago.  And there are some days that she just doesn't want to cooperate.  I start each project with a new needle.  I keep my bobbins full (she doesn't like anything below half full).  I make sure she is threaded properly.  And she will start of great!  I'll sew a seam with no issues.  I'll get started on the next seam and she goes berserk and spits all of the thread back out at me.  I go through all of my troubleshooting (remove the bobbin, put it back, rethread everything, give her a little pep talk).  And the next line of stitches goes wonderfully!  But then the next one ends in disaster.  This is probably why most projects take me double the amount of time they seem to take others....

We go through this...a lot....
After stopping every other stitch to pull out whatever mess my machine created for me, I eventually have a dress!  And it fits!  Well, sort of.  I still see issues.  But I don't know how to fix them.  So I'll live with them. 

I also decided to make a belt using Tilly's tutorial for a bow belt (tutorial is here).  I usually don't wear belts due to my size but I feel like the belt ties everything together.


Are you ready to see the whole thing????


I really do love it.  I don't love everything I make, but I love this. I see it getting lots of wear in the near future!



10 Responses to Colette Hawthorn - the dress that almost didn't happen

  1. sewmuch2learn

    I have also been working on the Hawthorn dress for my youngest daughter and she loves it. It fit her perfectly. I love the fabric that you selected. Turned out so lovely

  2. Shelly Penko

    So so very cute!!! I'm putting an order into the Universe for a new sewing machine for you, my friend! You are so gorgeous and such a good sewer! <3

  3. neemie

    I had fit issues with Hawthorn too. Made 5 muslins before I was content with the fit. Despite all your issues, this dress came out lovely. I love the bow belt. Great job!

  4. Kristin

    Thank you Shelly! For both your kind words and your request to the Universe :)

  5. Kristin

    Thank you! I'm glad your daughter loves her dress as well! It really is a wonderfully shaped dress.

  6. Kristin

    So glad I wasn't the only one that couldn't fit it easily! I figured I was an anomaly. Thank you!

  7. Anonymous

    I also had fit issues. First was my fault for not checking the default ratio on my printer:my PDF came out at 92%. Everything was smaller but I am 5'2 so this auto 'petit-ing' worked...sort of...I still needed an FBA. I made another bodice at full scale and I no longer needed an FBA but The shoulders were too wide, my lower back ballooned and I had a strange fold of fabric from my armhole to my apex! Iwas trying to decide which muslinto adjust. I did an FBA to the smaller version and it made it worse. I went back to the full size version and traced the armscye and back bodice lines to get the petite fit and then tackled the bust fold. My fitting book suggested an armscye bust dart. I pinched the fold which turned itself into a dart, marked and stitched it and you know what? It's a perfect fit now. Hard to know what the lesser of two evils would be. A pinch here, a pinch there :). Lovely dress on you!

  8. KimP

    Love the pirate heads! Looks like an innocent sweet dress and then you get a surprise when you look close up. : ) Good job!

  9. Kristin

    I thought about an armscye bust dart and I probably needed that over the FBA. Glad yours worked out for you!

  10. Kristin

    Thank you! I wish I had it when I went to Beaufort, NC back in June (the home of Blackbeard the Pirate).

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