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July 31

Chambray Hawthorn Dress

Up until this year, I don’t think I’ve ever used the same pattern twice.  First it was my basic 40’s blouse aka Birdy blouse (here and here) and now it’s the hawthorn dress.

The hawthorn dress is such a lovely, easy summer dress I couldn’t help but make two of them.  When I was shopping for fabric, at the cutting counter the lady noted that I had picked out a lot of blue (navy seersucker(ish), the blue chambray, and another navy for a blouse still to be cut).  I guess it was my gloomy mood that had me leaning towards navy and blues, but they are lovely basics.

Anyhow, I hate to say it but after sewing up this dress I don’t know what all the hype is about chambray fabric.  I can hear the interwebs *gasping* as I type this.

Honestly, I think my chambray isn’t right.  It’s not nearly as thin and drapey as all of your chambray garments seem to be.  I think I was gipped!  So before I go any further, if any of you have bought a lovely piece of chambray online I’d love a link as I feel like mine isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

This is round two of the photo shoot I dragged my husband out of the house for on Sunday.  (Hence same hair and shoes.)

Since I cut both hawthorn’s at once, I didn’t do any additional pattern alterations after completing my navy-crazy button version.  Although after stitching it all together, I did end up nipping in the waist an additional inch (total) as the chambray version wasn’t quite snug enough.

With this thicker chambray fabric, my bust darts aren’t as seamless as usual.  But I found no issue whatsoever in my navy dress, so I think it’s all about your fabric selection with this pattern.

I used some navy buttons from my stash (woot! for stash busting buttons).  And to switch things up, I decided the sleeves needed some more pizzazz.  So I hunted down a fun 50’s cuff sleeve from another pattern to use.

I like how the wings of the sleeve cuffs somewhat mirror the sharper edges of the hawthorn collar.

If any of you decide to make a hawthorn dress for yourselves, please take note of the seam allowances!  For the bulk of the dress, it uses 5/8″ but around the collar and down the center front seams it switches to 1/4″ seam allowance.

One issue that I found in the pattern is that the very front edge of the collar needs to be 1/4″ seam allowance (instead of the stated 5/8ths).  I didn’t realize this and instead I had to add an additional 1/2″ to the center back of the collar.

I nearly forgot… I didn’t do my collar at all like the pattern!!!

The original hawthorn collar has a seam at the shoulder connecting the back collar to the front collar.  Not wanting to deal with all of those layers of fabric at the shoulders and grading it all, I redrafted the collar to be cut in one continuous piece.  (Hence me thinking that I accidentally lobbed off 1/2″, and adding that to the center back of the collar).

This was quite easy to do: redraft the collar.  All I did was note the collar seam and match those two lines up on the collar and traced it onto some tissue paper.

ReDrafted Collar In Detail:

Collar Back with the Seam line Marked in blue (on the right).

The extra lines are for the grainline.  I like to do this sometimes to my patterns, just in case.  You may also be noticing some other lines… I raised my neck seam up just a tiny bit, so that’s what the higher curve is for as well.

Collar front with seamline marked in blue, on the left.

For reference, I cut a size 2 collar piece.

Then I started to align the seam lines like so:

Fully aligned seam allowances:

It’s kinda handy that my table is so dark.  You can actually see through one pattern piece to the other.  :)  It looks as if that inside edge of the collar is quite sharp and angular, no?  You can soften it a bit with a gradual curve if you need to.  But I’d recommend tracing it as is, and if it doesn’t look right you can soften that curve after the fact.

Trace the new collar and you’re all set:

I made note of the grainlines on this new collar piece, just in case I wanted to switch things up.

New Collar in Detail:

I traced off the seam lines and the original cut lines for each collar, just in case I had to come back and make alterations.  But I didn’t.  This collar worked perfectly for me!

One thing to note is the difference in grainlines between your new collar and the original ones.  The front collar originally is cut on the bias.  My new one is cut so that the center back is cut on the straight grain (just like it should be) and the front is slightly on the bias but not on the true 90-degree bias the original collar is.  I didn’t find this to be an issue whatsoever.  You still get a nice bias so that the neckline of the collar moves with your dress as needed.

I did this collar alteration to both this chambray dress as well as my navy (white button) version.

I find that this dress is so easy to wear that it’s an outfit in one.  You know those great dresses that you throw it on and you’re instantly pulled together?  I feel this way with the hawthorn dress since it’s such an easy silhouette.

I plan on pairing my chambray dress with some bright red shoes for next time.  :)  This color of chambray looks great with red, don’t you think?!  I had to hold myself back from using red buttons since I wanted this dress to be versatile (and not worn with *just* red all the time.)

While I like my hawthorn dress, I think this is all I’m going to make this year.  I think the 3/4 length sleeve would be very pretty in a plaid for fall (exactly like this beauty), but I have so many other patterns in my stash I long to make.  I keep getting pulled away by the pretty new pattern releases that I still haven’t made some of my 40’s and 50’s favorites.  Does this happen to you guys?!

What’s happening right now?

The pattern I’m currently working on is the Anna dress of By Hand London.  Again!  I’ve been swayed by a pretty new pattern and HAD to make it.  It reminds me a classic 40’s silhouette that I couldn’t NOT make it.

Guess who made a muslin and without alterations fit 100%?!  That’s right!  First time ever a pattern has fit without any modifications.  I haven’t even made it officially and I’m already gushing about it.  I was even able to use a pretty deep pink silk blend I’ve had in my stash since it looks like it has the perfect drape and thickness for an Anna.  So, if you haven’t seen the Anna dress be sure check it out.  I’ll be posting about this soon too.  I’m so terribly behind on all of my blogging, it’s crazy…

  1. lsaspacey / Jul 31 2013

    I’ve always felt that the important bit about chambray was that it always has a white weft and a colored warp thread weave. Otherwise, can’t i come in all kinds of weight and fabrications? I personally think of it as a weave effect like sharkskin or shot cotton.

  2. Stephanie / Jul 31 2013

    I got some chambray from fashionfabricsclub.com and I really liked it!

  3. Rochelle New / Jul 31 2013

    Ahhh the sleeve wings are too cute! I can’t handle the cute!!

    • Liz / Aug 1 2013

      Heh Thanks so much Rochelle! You’re so funny…. :)

  4. Gail / Jul 31 2013

    This one is fabulous too! Love your cuff detail!

  5. Kelly / Jul 31 2013

    I got some chambray for super cheap from Fabric Mart some time ago (looks like it’s sold out now), and it’s very light and soft. It feels okay, but it is possible the lightness really means it’s cheap and thin! Anyway, this dress looks great on you – the style suits you perfectly! I kind of feel like that color makes your fantastic glasses pop too, especially with the red lip. At any rate, you look great!

    • Liz / Aug 1 2013

      Thanks so much Kelly. Working on the chambray, I was iffy about the color. But after taking these photos my glasses really do pop… don’t they?! Perhaps it was the lighting (or my fab photographing hubby) but I do like this blue on me. Is that wrong to say out loud??? :)

  6. Barbara / Aug 1 2013

    I just finished my second Hawthorn, and number three just needs the hem. I promised all my daughters that I would make them each one. With every one I make, I discover easier and more efficient ways to put it together. I can see where making the collar all one piece, makes so much sense. It can be a bit bulky with all those seams together at the shoulder. I’m going to do what you did on my next one. I think both of your dresses turned out beautifully. Too bad you don’t like the weight of the chambray, because it really looks great in your pictures.

    • Liz / Aug 1 2013

      I was looking at that seam on the collar thinking… why??

      Most of my other patterns always cut the whole collar on the fold. I’m sure it has to do with the grainlines but honestly my two collars lay perfectly fine and look like a collar should.

      I definitely recommend doing the collar in one piece as it saves time and seam bulk.

  7. Bubiknits / Aug 1 2013

    Chambray or not this dress is gorgeous! I love it!!!

  8. Amanda / Aug 1 2013

    Those new cuffs are fabulous! And this would indeed look awesome with some red shoes!

    • Liz / Aug 1 2013

      Thanks Amanda. I actually wore the chambray yesterday to work… with some red patent leather wedges I have.

  9. Wanett / Aug 3 2013

    This is really pretty on you!!! Even if you’re not 100% on the fabric choice.

  10. Lucy / Aug 21 2013

    I am in love with the winged sleeves! Super cute! I love simple changes like that which give a dress such an individual look :)

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