Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Hawthorne sew-along: fabric choice and pattern alterations

Have you started to sew your Hawthorne shirt dress? Which fabric did you choose and have you made any alterations to the pattern?

I am using two cotton fabrics: a purple poplin and the other one? I am not sure, it might be a quilting cotton because it is a bit stiff and quite thick! I know the pattern recommendations say to stay away from quilting cottons because they don't drape nicely but I just love the fabric pattern (also I bought the fabric in a dress fabric shop - so it should be for dress making, right?). I love all the beautiful ladies in their purple dresses, the Eiffel Tower, shoes, handbags and doggies. The fabric is kind of me :) so I HAVE to use it. I also got some black lace trim for the hem from Shepherds Bush Market and found some shirt buttons in my stash. To line the bodice I am going to use white cotton silk.

Now let's talk about the changes I made to get a proper fit.

According to my high bust measurement, I am smaller than size 0 and my waist measurements gave me size 4. So, I traced size 0 for the bust and then graded up to size 4 starting under the armhole and finishing at the waist. As I knew already (from my Palmer/Pletsch fitting class) that I have sloping shoulders, I applied my usual changes immediately to the shoulder seams: I took out 3/8" from the front and added these at the back. I also adjusted for my sway back and folded out 1/2" in the centre back tapering to nothing towards the seam. When I tried on the tissue, the fit looked nice. So, I went ahead and cut the calico muslin - which is unfortunately stiff but was the only fabric I had to hand - and pinned it all together.

As you can see in the pic, there was too much fabric on the bust (kind of expected as Colette patterns are cup C and I am only A) and also a massive fold on my back - both I didn't spot when trying on the tissue. I pinned these out and measured the excess fabric to know how much to remove from the pattern.

Pinned out fabric at the bust
Pinned out fabric at back

On the pattern, I did a small bust adjustment by overlapping the tissue at the apex by 3/8" and I also made a narrow back adjustment.

Narrow and sway back adjustment

I then changed my muslin (luckily I could use my old one, as I had to make it smaller) and tried on again. The muslin fitted snugly and I went ahead to cut out my fashion fabric. Lazy me didn't make a muslin for the collar and sleeves here because I thought that will fit :P The cutting and marking took me half a day, as I am not the fastest in cutting out (and I also had to trace all my pattern pieces and make changes to collar and facings) and there were many pattern pieces.

I am looking forward to hear about your fabric choices and the alterations you made!


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