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.


Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouDress: DIY from Japanese Hanabi Fabric & remixed Colette Macaron Pattern

Shoes: Wittner

Happy New Year folks! I hope you’ve all had the chance to take some time off to rest and recuperate, and to catch up with friends and family.

A lot happened in 2015 – some of it wonderful, some of it less so – but reflecting back it was a year of positive change for all aspects of my life: work, love, family and home. I’m excited to see what 2016 will bring.

I quite like New Year’s – I know it’s really just another day in the calendar, but it feels like a chance to shake the dust of the past year off and start the new one with fresh hopes and dreams. Or maybe it’s just that I really like fireworks.

Frocks and Frou FrouI thought this was a perfect New Year’s dress, because of the divine fireworks print. I found the fabric – which is a lovely textured Japanese cotton – on Etsy, and bought several yards without any particular sewing project in mind.

In the end I took my dusty old Colette Macaron pattern (last seen in 2012!) and tweaked it a bit. I kept the contrast shoulders, but straightened the sweetheart bodice, and I totally subbed out the tulip skirt for my own rip-off pattern of Modcloth’s Breathtaking Tiger Lillies skirt. Plus pockets.

So here’s to fireworks and frocks, to friends and family, to 2016, and here’s to you.

Frocks and Frou FrouHave a great new year.