Hawthorn by Colette, Sew A-Long

9:48 am

cut out, originally uploaded by indiaeden.
I don't usually get involved with sew a-longs, but having seen this lovely new pattern from Colette, I thought I'd join in.
I've made a couple of Colette dresses before and been very pleased with them, they seem to fit and flatter the more curvy amongst us.
Hawthorn is just the kind of dress I like, fitted bodice, full skirt, cute collar...
I have the most gorgeous cotton lawn I want to use to make this dress, but having had some fit issues lately with several dresses I've made, I decided to make a wearable muslin this time to work out the fit before cutting into my best fabric.
I'm usually pretty lazy about making a muslin, and really only do them when I'm making special outfits for other people. I don't know why I don't do the same for myself, I can only think it's laziness, although it's self defeating laziness if the garment I'm making doesn't fit properly when it's finished.
I'm determined to shake myself out of my lazy ways, and improve my sewing for myself!
So, I used some pale sagey green polycotton to make myself a wearable muslin...wearable muslins seem so much less wasteful to me, but honestly I still have issues with wearing something not finished properly. I know no one can tell,but *I* can. I equally though don't want to spend an age finishing something off properly when it's only a muslin...it's a dilemma, and one I think I can't be alone in?


My current bust measurement is 40" and my waist is 29" (can't quite believe I'm telling you that, but hey!)
I decided to cut out a size 10 because according to the pattern information my waist fits into a size 8 and my bust a size 12.
I knew if I cut out a size 12, it would be too big across the shoulders and at the waist, but a size 8 would be too small across the bust and possibly shoulders. I had hoped I could play with the front dart and side seam enough to get the extra room for the bust with the size 10, but still have it fit my shoulders,taking in the side seams a little at the waist.
I knew I should really do a full bust adjustment, but I'd hoped to wing it, as both Colette patterns I'd used previously, Ceylon*, and Crepe, I didn't have to do a FBA at all...plus I'm lazy remember!
My other excuse is, I'm really still not used to my non pregnant or breastfeeding body. Until last summer I had been pregnant,breastfeeding or both for 16 years, with only a couple of short breaks from either between my eldest girls.
I lost weight last year, and since stopping breastfeeding my boobs have shrunk down to an F cup, which believe me feels tiny compared to the G,H and even J cups I was used to previously.
I've gained a little weight back recently, but I'm still unsure of this new shape I have. I'm under the delusion that now my breasts have shrunk there is no need for me to compensate for them when sewing. I conveniently forget that most sewing patterns are drafted for a B cup!

So, I made up the muslin, I fiddled with the front dart and the side seam and here is the result. (cue unflattering shots!)

muslin 1

You can see that the top two buttons are straining across my bust, and wrinkles at the side where there isn't enough fabric to stretch across. You can also see that the dress is too loose around my waist.

muslin 2

The bust dart ends in the correct place, but you can see that playing with the dart has simply given me more room where I don't need it, rather than where I do.
I altered the side seams to try and give my bust more room, but there's not enough fabric there to play with.
I really should have just done a FBA to begin with..lesson learned!

muslin 3

The final fit issue, is that I have quite a high natural waist, and the waist seam on this dress is sitting about 3cms below my natural waist, which is not flattering for me. 

muslin 4

So, I have a wearable muslin, I mean if you ignore the fit...I can wear the top two buttons undone with a camisole underneath (exactly what I'm doing today in a ready to wear dress.), and I can pull the waist in with a belt, and I might even be able to make it look less like I'm a dental nurse, with the right accessories...maybe? I'll at least hem it and wear it once, I suspect once it needs ironing after it's first wash it will languish at the bottom of the ironing pile for a good while.

Today, I'm going to alter the bodice and using fabribaste I'll baste together another bodice to get the fit just right before I cut into my cotton lawn.

* Actually looking back at that photo of Ceylon, a little more room in the bust might have been a good idea!

Hawthorn Dress Sewalong

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  1. You are not alone in the wearable muslin dilemma! I'm sewing a crepe dress atm and I'm so glad I made a muslin of the bodice as I needed a different size than I first thought. I now have 2 muslins of the bodice but neither are wearable, thus avoiding the dilemma!

    1. Glad I'm not alone in this dilemma. :)

  2. I'd agree entirely with your fitting issues on here - definately do a an FBA next time. I have the opposite problem - lack of bust means everything need taking in and readjusting in the opposite direction! I also have the short waist problem. It is still a cute dress and perfectly wearable - would probably go for a slightly wider belt? I have a couple of Colette patterns in my stash - must dig them out now you've reminded me!

    1. I was thinking wider belt too, unfortunately I only seem to have narrow or super wide belts.

  3. Although I really hate making toiles I always do one now for new patterns, I can't get the fitting right without them. I keep a stack of sheeting and old curtains specifically for them!
    Definitely do a FBA on the next one, I know it is more faff but it will be worth it!

    1. Ah now, you just touched on something Mary, I always call them toiles too, but no one seems to anymore, I wonder why that is?

  4. Love the colour and style on you, I also wondered about a slightly wider belt. I had to go back and work out what an FBA meant, I am definitely a simple seamstress!! Remember though a bit of laziness is still allowed, otherwise you'll have to rename this blog if you become too efficient, *smile*

    San xoxo

  5. Anonymous2:17 am

    I'm following in the sewalong and I'm going to have to do an FBA. I have your same bust measurement but my waist is a bit bigger so it's good to know how it fits someone like me. thanks for posting pics.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I'll look forward to seeing your completed dress.

  6. Anonymous7:46 am

    I hopped over from your comment on my blog.

    With a FBA and the bodice shortened the "real" dress will surely look wonderful! Even this one looks very wearable with a wider belt and a few buttons undone.

  7. Ernest in his Ramones thirst is breaking my heart, I had one that I wore threadbare. Adoring all of your sewing posts, I'm in a bit of a sewing haze and I can't stop, wish I had your skills!


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