I've been wanting to make a shirtdress from Liberty's Tana Lawn since I saw Gertie's version in her new book. But Liberty's lawn fabrics run about $ 36 to $ 46 dollars a yard, depending on whether you buy online or at a brick-and-mortar, so I didn't want to spend that kind of money on a sub-standard pattern. Enter the Holy Grail of shirtdress patterns, the Hawthorn shirtdress pattern that I blogged about here. (Oh my love for you is true, Hawthorn!)
Having found the perfect pattern, I had to move on to the perfect Liberty fabric. Many Liberty fabrics are small scale, which are perfect for blouses, but seem to be a little busy for dresses. I finally settled for Liberty's "Mabelle" I ordered from B&J Fabrics:
With my linen version being essentially a test version, I was looking forward to this Liberty lawn version to confirm that size 6 was the proper size. It was. Here's the back:
Pay no attention to those wrinkles on my back - it's just how I am standing. Here's a close up of the collar and the fabric:
With this busy pattern, the collar doesn't quite stand out like my white linen test version. I still love it.
As with the linen version, I cut both skirt pieces on the fold and used a 12 inch zipper on the left side to allow myself to get in and out of the dress, reducing the number of buttons from 13 to 5. Essentially, you only need buttons for the bodice.
Unlike my last post, where I was so besotted by my love for this pattern, I couldn't form a coherent pattern review analysis, I've managed to calm down enough today to make a few considered observations:
1. If you cut your skirt pieces on the fold like I did (my previous post shows your how, here), you can make the complete bodice before attaching the skirt, including making the buttonholes, attaching the buttons, and sewing in the sleeves. As a matter of fact, the last thing you would do is attach the skirt, put in the zipper, and hem it. All the work is in the bodice.
2. I would recommend that you edgestitch your collar before you attach it to bodice - it will help you maintain the roll of your collar so the undercollar won't show. I didn't do this for the white linen dress, and the process of attaching it allowed my collar pieces to shift.
3. If you cut your skirt pieces on the fold, you can finish the unfinished facing edge before you attach it to the bodice. Like the collar, this is much easier if you do it before than after.
4. I put the sleeves in flat from notch to notch before I sewed the bodice side seams. Rather than put in gathering stitches from notch to notch, I just used a lot of pins, and then sewed from notch to notch. Then I sewed the side seams of the bodice. Then I sewed the sleeve side seams. THEN I finished putting the sleeves in the round. It sounds complicated, but I like it better.
5. The "cuffs" of the sleeves are just bias strips initially sewn to the wrong side of the sleeve, then flipped to the right side and edgestitched to the right side of the sleeve. Do yourself a favor, and press the top edge 1/4 inch before you attach it, rather than after. It's easier to press while flat than in the round.
6. Ready made wide bias hem tape is a lifesaver on this semi-circle skirt - I recommend it for your sanity.
7. The instructions tell you to staystitch your bodice pieces first thing after cutting out, which I never do. You really need to do this for this pattern - the front bodice collar edges are on the bias. Do as I say, not as I do and staystich them!
What else? I'm sure I have way more thoughts, but they will have to wait for my next version. If you make a Hawthorn, let me know; I would love to see it!