All Buttoned Up

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Hawthorn Dress: DIY (Colette Patterns)

Shoes: Comfortview

So here’s the thing about boobs. They make buttoned-up things a pain in the ass. So shirt dresses are a big old “no”. If they fit the bust they’re boxy in the shoulders. Fit the shoulders? Good luck getting those buttons done up. Add short-waisted to the mix and it just becomes a recipe for wardrobe disaster.

Towards the end of last year I dropped by Stitch 56 to meet Sarai Mitnick, the founder of my favourite pattern company Colette, during her visit to Australia. I accidentally (not really) forgot to take any of my much-loved patterns along to be signed, so “had” to buy a new one, and the Hawthorn shirt dress pattern caught my eye immediately.

It’s a little more advanced than my usual sewing projects, but the comprehensive instruction booklet that comes with all Colette patterns coached me through step-by-step and I was totally delighted to see it coming together.

I had to tweak the pattern a little as I was sewing – shortening the waist and bringing the sides in a little – but it was easy to do in the fitting process. I think if (when!) I make the pattern again with the sleeves I’ll have to do a proper, legit, Full Bust Adjustment.

The dress has a lovely semi-circle skirt that provides fullness without extra bulk. The bodice is darted at the waist for a streamlined look, and the small, high collar gives that classic shirt dress look without the extra volume around the bust.

Frocks and Frou FrouBecause I was a bit nervous about the pattern I started with a budget-friendly textured slub cotton that looks almost identical to the linen dress pictured in the marketing for the original pattern.

I deliberated over the buttons for more time than I care to admit, but in the end decided to indulge my penchant for whimsy and go with pretty little white hearts.

Frocks and Frou FrouThe result was better than I could have hoped for: A beautifully fitting shirt dress that has a classic 1950’s elegance, but is comfortable and breezy to wear on hot summer days.

18 thoughts on “All Buttoned Up

  1. Get out! No way! You made this? Go you!! This dress is amazing!! I wish I had advanced enough (or enough confidence) skills to make a dress like this. I love it!

  2. OMG I looooove it. Hearts were the perfect choice. I have a thing for shirt dresses, I still cling to my Aqua Calvin Klein. I have a McCalls pattern waiting for me to get a little better at this whole sewing gig… then I’ll be the one obsessing over buttons lol.

  3. Bought my first three Colette patterns last week (Crepe, Phoebe, Violet) and a sewing machine is on its way from Spotlight… am going to venture into the world of dressmaking… Thanks for blogging about Colette, without reading about them here I wouldn’t have known about them.

  4. Lilly! this is fantastic!! 😀 Your sewing skills are really getting up there. Well done! And I love the heart buttons. They’re perfect.

  5. I absolutely love this dress (and your blog, ohmygoodness!) I think your button choice and the fabric are spot on. Question – I’m also very short waisted, is there a resource you’ve used to alter your patterns?

  6. This looks great! The collar is so neat – I’m very envious of your sewing skills 🙂 love the colour on you as well.

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  8. Great dress! I share your pain with shirt dresses – I love them and think they are totally elegant and stylish when worn right. I share some of your proportions with swimmers’ shoulders, small waist and a 10FF bust. I got a great stretch-cotton shirt dress from Leona Edmiston nearly 10 years ago and it is the only one to ever fit well. It is nearly dead now from overuse, so I might have to follow your lead, borrow my mum’s sewing machine and have a go at making my own!

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