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July 29

A Navy Seersucker Hawthorn Dress

Hey guys, I’m back!

Where to start….

I feel as if I’ve been gone for a month, which is probably true as it’s almost August now.  I’ve been a busy little sewing bee, have done some knitting, and also some house hunting while I was gone.  I don’t have anything to show on the house front nor on the knitting front quite yet, but I do have a sweet little hawthorn dress finished, and just in time for Colette’s fun sewalong/contest.

Truthfully, I didn’t know about the contest until after I had plotted my two dresses.  So the contest is just a fun bonus in my mind.

I’m only going to talk about my navy Hawthorn today, but both of my dresses helped me through the grief of Baxter’s passing.  I went fabric shopping the Friday after the 4th of July, just to get out of the house and not wallow.  It helped a bit.  But coming home and getting back to my daily routine and sewing was tough.  As I was sewing this navy dress I kept finding little bunny hairs on it.  :|

I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t just miss Baxter and her sassy ways, but that connection, the bond.  That’s what I miss now after all is said and done.  But I do have to say, the Hawthorn dresses were a wonderful distraction as I’ve gotten nearly through this first month.

  • Fabric: Lightweight navy cotton, semi seersucker like, but not quite.  It has a bit of stretch.
  • Notions: Lots of buttons
  • Extras: Silk Organza to stabilize the shoulder seams & center bodice for the buttonhole thread loops, Rayon Seam Binding to stay the waistline seam allowance (via Sewaholic here.)

My favorite thing about this dress is my line of 42 white pearly buttons down the front.

This was a major pattern alteration, not hard to do but really it was just more fiddly than anything.  I measured the center front of the bodice and added width to the left bodice (my left-your right) for a wider piece for the buttons and I removed width so that the edge of the bodice would be center front when the facing is sewn on (the side with the buttonhole loops, my right-your left).

I basted in some silk organza on the wrong side of the center front to help stabilize the buttonhole loops.  I made narrow tubes and cut them all 2.25″ long.  This accommodated for a 5/8″ seam allowance at the center front with enough loop to fit over the buttons themselves.

In the detail shot, you can really see that there is more of the length within the 5/8″ seam allowance than there is in the buttonhole loop itself.  heh

I basted all of the loops on to the bodice and then the facing was sewn right on top of all of this, just like in the pattern.  But instead of using the 1/4″ seam allowance that was in the pattern I made mine 5/8″.  So that line of stitching going right through the buttonhole loops is my center front.

I took this image later in the night, after realizing you really couldn’t see the button loops when the dress is all buttoned up.

I put a white paper underneath so you could see the button loops are sewn to the edge, whereas the button side has a good inch + of fabric between the buttons and the edge of the bodice.

It took more than 1 movie for me to hand stitch on all of these buttons.  But it was a relaxing way to spend an evening.  :)  I’m pretty sure I was watching My Man Godfrey, an episode of Pushing Daisies, and I can’t remember what else, but there was a third.

I was compelled to add a smidgen of white onto the sleeve cuffs as well to help compliment the buttons.  The white is just a thin strip of fabric, folded over which I based to the edge of the cuff and then the cuff with white was top-stitched to the sleeve.

I barely had to make any alterations to the Hawthorn dress, despite making 3 muslins before hand.  Yeah I know right?!  I always have to fiddle with the armscye: raising the armpit seam section up, narrowing the shoulder, and redrawing the armscye curve inwards.  Well… I was doing all of this work to get the sleeve to fit right and it turns out the issue was just the sleeve not the bodice!  heh

I’m chalking the 3-muslin attempt to my poor brain function, post Baxter.  Anyhow… I added some more sleeve cap ease and it fits wonderfully now!

My sleeves are puffier than the original, sleeker ones of the pattern.  But they were too binding for my thicker arms-narrow shoulder combo.  I don’t mind though… I think the gathered sleeve caps make this pattern a bit more sweet and summery.


I don’t know why my eyes are shut… perhaps I’m just looking down???

The only other alteration I’ll make for next time is taking in the waist a tiny bit more along with raising the waistline by 3/8″.  It’s easy to wear around and its soo soo comfortable, but I think it could look a bit more polished if it were a bit more fitted at my waist.

Thank you all for the wonderful well wishes these past few weeks.  It’s hard to let go of my little bunny-buddy of 9+ years but I know I’m slowly on the mend.  I do hope to be able to welcome a new furry friend to Quincy in the months to come, whether it be another bunny-buddy or possibly a dog (if we move to a house with a yard.)

Next up is my chambray Hawthorn so stay tuned…

  1. Liz / Jul 29 2013

    So glad to hear things are beginning to get back to normal for you (& that you’ve been staying busy!) The dress is GORGEOUS! And I love the way you did the buttons. I just got done with a shirt that required 6 button loops- I can’t imagine doing 42!!

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Thanks so much Liz. Yeah… 42 buttonhole loops were a lot. The sewing of the buttons were the worst though, but watching movies while sewing made the time fly.

  2. Stephanie / Jul 29 2013

    So pretty! I love the buttons and button loops! :D

  3. Kerry / Jul 29 2013

    Wow so many buttons and beautifully made button loops! It looks great though, and makes a lovely feature on the dress.

  4. Gail / Jul 29 2013

    Holy cow! This is all kinds of amazing! Your dress is perfect – I really love the changes you made to the design. (Love your hair this way too, BTW!)

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Thanks so much Gail. I had my hair dyed last week and it’s step 1 to becoming a platinum blonde… will be much more blonde in a few more weeks. :D

  5. PendleStitches / Jul 29 2013

    Glad you’re doing better. This dress is my favourite Hawthorn so far. Simply perfect.

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Aww thanks so much!

  6. Rox / Jul 29 2013

    Um, I don’t understand why you don’t have your own category in the sewalong. Something along the lines of “most dedicated”. Seriously, the craftsmanship is amazing and the end results look fabulous. Kudos!

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Your comment made me giggle. Thanks so much Rox! I was only planning on doing those buttonloops on the bodice and changing to regular buttonholes on the skirt, but it just looked off. So I actually unpicked the skirt facing, made more buttonloops and restitched it all back together.

      • Rox / Aug 2 2013

        Well well! Seems like I was on to something with my comment since I just saw your pretty little mug in the second part of the contest! Congrats! Well deserved!

  7. Rochelle New / Jul 29 2013

    I’m happy to hear you’re feeling a little better after losing Baxter. I won’t dwell on it, but just know you’re not alone in your heartache. So many of us have been there…

    Your dress is SO cute! (Like everything you’ve ever made!) And you are seriously blowing my mind with all those buttons and tiny fabric loops, wow! Navy and white is so classic and it’s quickly becoming my favorite color combo, especially for summer. Gorgeous dress, amazing hair, and holy crap I want your glasses! Lookin’ good, Lady :)

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Hey Rochelle, thanks so much! :D I was dog sitting this weekend and she reminded me how much I also love dogs.

      I hope I can adopt a new furry friend in the future, for myself and also for Quincy (the bun-widower).

  8. Kristin / Jul 29 2013

    I love it! It’s one of my favorite Hawthorn’s I’ve seen, by far. Besides the awesome buttons, I especially like the little detail at the sleeve cuff. I’m planning another Hawthorn soon (out of a very lightweight denim), and I might have to borrow that idea. :)

  9. Seamstress Erin / Jul 29 2013

    It’s beautiful! The long row of buttons is so perfectly done and a great complement to the simplicity of the rest of the dress. Of course the white piping on the sleeve really makes it! You have such beautiful attention to detail.

  10. RuFigs / Jul 29 2013

    The dress looks great on you. So glad to see that you’re back. I was starting to get worried about you. We should get together soon to catch up. Great job on the dress!

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Hey Ruhan! Thanks so much for stopping by here. I miss knitting with you at lunch! Can Maria and I invite ourselves over soon? :)

      • RuFigs / Jul 30 2013

        You guys are always welcome here!!!! Talk to Maria and toss out some dates. Would love to see you.

  11. Vicki Kate / Jul 29 2013

    Wow Liz, that is amazing! The patience to do all those loops?!
    I’m glad you’re starting to get back to normal, big hugs.

  12. K-Line / Jul 29 2013

    So pleased to hear that you are starting to feel a bit better. I imagine, as with all grief, you have good and bad moments. The work on that dress is incredibly impressive. In a zillion years would I never make 42 buttons and loop buttonholes. Lord, the effort!

  13. Becca / Jul 29 2013

    Wow, your Hawthorn is so lovely! I love wearing mine, it is a pattern worth putting the time into:)

  14. Claire / Jul 29 2013

    Ooh this is so beautiful! Your buttons look perfect – so evenly spaced!

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      After doing so many I can confidently tell you that they are each 3/4″ apart from each other. Once you get several done, it’s easy marking and just going down the line.

      Easy but tedious since there were so many.

  15. Michelle / Jul 29 2013

    SO. MANY. BUTTONS! And, so worth your efforts! It looks amazing! I adore the white piping and button contrasts. This really turned out beautifully. And, can I take a minute to point out how GORGEOUS you look in these photos?! Seriously. Fabulous, doll!

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Thanks so much Michelle. Getting one’s hair touched up really helped. I was getting terrible roots. heh

  16. MarrieB / Jul 29 2013

    I love your dress, I think it’s my favorite Hawthorn I’ve seen yet! The buttons were a fantastic idea, they look great.

  17. Lauren / Jul 29 2013

    I’m so glad you’re feeling at least a little back to normal :) Losing a pet is so hard, and I know how special Baxter was to you ?

    Anyway, I love your take on this dress! The buttonhole loops (and 42 buttons wooow!!!) really add such a fancy touch, and I agree that the white trim on the sleeves really ties everything in together. That’s a pretty fabric, too! I see what you mean about the V-neck at the front, but I actually really like how that looks! Good job!

    Funny, I just made a navy Hawthorne too (well, it’s *almost* done… Just needs buttons and a hem). It’s like we are twinsies, for a second :D

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Hey Lauren! Thanks so much. I saw yours on twitter/instagram. You should have used white buttons and we could have photoshopped ourselves together as hawthorn twinkies. heh

  18. ksgentry / Jul 29 2013

    I love the button idea! What a wonderful creative design change! Hope to see you in the top of the list! You certainly have my vote!

  19. Jenny / Jul 29 2013

    This dress is adorable! Love your choices!

    So sorry to hear about your Baxter. I have two bunnies of my own and I can only imagine how devastating it must be to lose a furry friend. Hang in there!

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Thanks so much Jenny, I really appreciate it.

      I knew Baxter was getting on in years and I have been trying to prepare myself for the inevitable. But I’m sure you know, nothing can really prepare one for the loss of a buddy.

  20. Ginger / Jul 29 2013

    What the WHAT?!?! This is fantastic– it’s seriously stunning! Love love love love love! But I can’t even IMAGINE making 42 button loops and sewing on 42 tiny buttons! But all that work paid off because this dress is so fabulous! Great job, girl!

    You’re in my thoughts– I’m so sorry that the last month has been so hard. I can relate to what you’re going through, and it’s really not fun. :(

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Thanks so much Ginger! Both for the dress and for Ms. Baxter. :)

  21. To Boldly Sew / Jul 29 2013

    What an absolutely stunning Hawthorne! Wow! Such a great idea to add all those buttons, not sure I’d have the patience but it looks fabulous on you!

  22. Hazel / Jul 29 2013

    Love your version, those buttons and loops down the front look amazing!

  23. Amanda / Jul 29 2013

    I love it! The changes you made are adorable. And good grief – the button-work, that’s some impressive stuff. It’s nice to know that sewing (and blogging about sewing) can be a therapeutic process, particularly after losing a best bud. That’s kind of how my blog got started.

    Also, I have to ask: where did you get your sandals? They’re so pretty! Are they comfy? I’d totally grab a pair for myself if they are easily available. :)

    • Liz / Jul 29 2013

      Thanks Amanda!

      My sandals… I believe I got them at Nordstrom Rack maybe 2 years ago. I want to say the brand was Preview?

      I have notoriously small feet and Nordstroms is one of the places that carries my size. Yes… I am a size 4 in women’s and a size 2.5 in little girls. heh

      I saw these on Naturalizer that are cute. Not exactly my strappy ones, but I like the looks of these too. They remind me of Ssweedish Hasbeens without being made of wood.

      • Amanda / Jul 30 2013

        Ah, it definitely is handy to have places that carry a particularly tricky-to-find size. I know people with big feet that have the same problem! And thanks for the info about sandals, now let’s see if I can find some before summer’s out. :)

  24. Glad to hear you’re starting to feel a little better! Losing a pet can be so difficult. <3

    Absolutely adore your Hawthorn — the buttons are genius! I love the look of the row of them. And I like the sleeves a little puffier. Really really sweet take on this dress. :)

  25. Amy / Jul 29 2013

    What a darling dress! Those buttons are fabulous. A perfect pick me up for what much be an awfully trying time. Hang in there! Hopefully the memories will become sweeter with time.

  26. KaoruMarie / Jul 29 2013

    Holy smokes those buttons look amazing! They remind me of buttons on high-end wedding dresses. Your craftsmanship is impressive and inspiring. Seeing all these Hawthorn dresses is starting to convince me that I need to make one.

  27. Amanda / Jul 30 2013

    This is seriously epic! I love the white feature on the sleeves- it creates a really cohesive finish! Glad to hear things are slowly getting better for you- it’s a rough experience to go through.

  28. Alaskapsych / Jul 30 2013

    Button Loops are a very nice detail! Good job!

  29. Taracat / Jul 30 2013

    42 button loops and buttons! Wow, you have so much patience! It totally paid off though, this is one of the nicest Hawthorns I’ve seen, it’s gorgeous.

    • Liz / Aug 2 2013

      Thanks so much Taracat! So sweet of you to say. :)

  30. llynnda / Jul 30 2013

    The navy dress is delightful and the white on the sleeve is just perfect. However I think your recent loss has affected you somewhat. Sewing all those buttons on must have been some job. Fantastic.


  31. Marie / Jul 31 2013

    What a stunning Hawthorn, that button detail really makes it very special! I admire your skills lady! And I’m so, so sorry to hear about Baxter! Hope you’re ok!

    • Liz / Aug 2 2013

      Thanks so much Marie.

  32. Kelly / Jul 31 2013

    This dress is amazing! I can’t believe you sewed all those buttons and button loops, phew!

  33. Liz / Aug 2 2013

    heh Perhaps! I was only intending to do the line of buttons on the bodice, but when I was attempting to do regular buttonholes on the skirt, it just didn’t look right. So I did do the top first and the skirt second which helped break up the craziness a bit. :)

  34. Sally @ thequirkypeach / Aug 2 2013

    This dress is just amazing! Those buttons!!! Very nice job – I can tell you put a lot of love into this dress :)

  35. Ellen / Aug 2 2013

    I just love your work! You are so skilled and meticulous about details in garment construction and styling. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to vote for your Hawthorn entry! Gooooood Luck.

  36. Wanett / Aug 3 2013

    What a fab modification!!! You always, ALWAYS impress me with your fine attention to detail!! I could never have sewn all of those buttons on! Never mind the loops!

  37. Sarah / Aug 7 2013

    What a beautiful dress! Congratulations on winning in the competiton. Your skills are fab!

  38. Meli / Aug 13 2013

    Love love love love this dress. That first picture with the long lines of buttons is fantastic!!

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