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.

Fireworks

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.