Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouFrocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouDress: DIY from Colette Hawthorn pattern

Belt: Princess Highway

Shoes: Hush Puppies

I had so much success with my first Colette Patterns Hawthorn Dress that I decided to give the pattern a second go with sleeves for the cooler months.

The Hawthorn was the first time I’d sewn a collar, and with the clear instructions provided it went off (more or less) without a hitch, so I was looking forward to having a whirl at making my own shirt cuffs. In the interest of warmth I picked a wool blend fabric in a charcoal grey herringbone – it was a much heavier fabric than the cotton I made the first dress in… and that was my first mistake. (It also frayed like the devil, and was a total pain-in-the-ass to sew with.)

So, the heavier fabric meant that the collar didn’t sit as neatly as my previous attempt, and no amount of pressing could get it to lie flat. Between the collar, the facing, the interfacing, and the main body of the dress there’s a lot of layers of fabric, so in retrospect it wasn’t entirely surprising I was getting collar pop. It might soften over time, but in the meanwhile I’ve just been coaxing the collar flat by pinning it with a brooch!

Frocks and Frou FrouThe heaviness of the fabric also meant that I ran into trouble making the cuffs, which – just so you know – are a total nuisance to sew. If I ever say I’m going to sew something with cuffs again slap me, ok?

As usual for Colette Patterns, the arms were hilariously too baggy, and I had to tweak both sleeves and cuffs dramatically before I was satisfied. Well, satisfied-ish.

Frocks and Frou FrouThey’re a bit wobbly and warped, but they’ll do, and they look better shoved halfway up to my elbows (though it does result in billowing sleeves).

The fabric was a nightmare, fraying if I even looked at it sideways, which meant I lost patience with perfecting the fit long before it, well, fit. So it’s a bit boxier and lumpier, and the waist isn’t quite straight (which is fine, I need to belt it anyway) but it’s comfortable and warm, and while it might not be the first winter dress I reach for in the morning it’s definitely wearable in public.

8 thoughts on “Herringboned

  1. Well I hear you on all the challenges of heavy wool blend(I think I inhaled half of the frayed fluff in my last project) but I think you did a lovely job. My favourite bit is the cuffs, beautiful contemporary length adds quirk to the dress. Excellent button and brooch choices. Oh I do love a good button, me.

  2. The dress looks gorgeous, I don’t see all the ‘problems’ you mentioned. I love the buttons and the brooch!

  3. I loved your honesty. You don’t get this on fashion blogs these days. It is all about the perfect look, and the perfect outfit. Never the ones that don’t quite work. Thanks for keeping it real.

  4. I’m glad you didn’t get too discouraged working with the fabric – you ended up with a cute finished product. And I adore those buttons!

    In the future, if you find you’ve chosen a heavy, fraying fabric, do an edge stitch (or overlock) around every piece as you cut them out, to stop them from fraying to nothing. And you can use something thin for the collar and cuff linings (and even the facings if need be) so that you don’t have to fuss with all that bulk. It’s also an opportunity for a fun contrast color or print =)

  5. oh my GOODNESS congrats on such a lovely dress! as soon as I saw the first pic i thought to myself, please don’t be handmade please don’t be handmade then DRAT! it’s DIY! haha unfortunately i don’t have the time or skillset to create such a lovely piece. it drapes beautifully!

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