I am seriously in love. As soon as I saw Collette Patterns' new shirtdress, the Hawthorn, I ordered it immediately. I have never made a dress from Collette although I have admired them from afar. But you know that nothing gets between me and the search for the perfect shirtdress pattern.
It's the collar, the darling collar on this dress that knocks me out. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make it in white linen. I've been wanting to make something this summer in white linen ever since I saw Peter's white linen trousers. So while waiting for the pattern to arrive, I bought some white linen at Hancock's. The fact that I have never sewn with linen was no impediment; I was obsessed with this project from the get-go. I made a size 6 based on the finished garment measurements and never looked back - no muslin, no tracing - throwing all caution to the winds! Here it is:
As you can see, linen tends to wrinkle:
The linen I chose is not an even-weave; it has stripes running through it, with little dots between the stripes:
Let me tell you that this type of weave does not lend itself to precise cutting, sewing, or pressing. It probably would have been smarter to begin with an even-weave linen for my first linen project, but no, I had to have this. Given the loose weave, the fabric had a tendency to stretch - which was great while putting in the sleeves, not so good for everything else.
One thing you may have noticed is that my Hawthorn does not have buttons from collar to hem; the buttons only go to the waist. I cut both the front and back skirt pieces on the fold of the fabric so as to create a smooth front and back. I put a 12 inch zipper on the left side to help get in and out of the dress, which is how Simplicity 1880 worked:
I again went with a centered slot zipper rather than the invisible. I have tried to love invisible zippers, but I just can't cotton to 'em.
To hem the dress, the instructions direct you to turn up the hem 2 inches and slipstitch in place, and I thought, "Nope, not going to do that." The skirt on this dress is a half circle skirt - turning it 2 inches requires major easing to get the hem to lay flat. Plus, I liked those two inches. And this uneven weave doesn't exactly press so accurately. So I picked up some extra wide single fold bias hem tape at Joanns to hem this baby, and all I can say, is "wow, why haven't I ever used this stuff before?"
It worked like a dream and was much faster. I love it. The hem tape is part cotton, part polyester, and gives the hem a little more body, which for this drapey fabric, is a plus.
My decision not to make the dress with buttons all the way to the hem stemmed from several factors, not the least of which was laziness. By limiting the buttons to the bodice portion of the dress it reduced the number of buttons (and buttonholes from 13 to 5!) Plus, it eliminated any possibility of gaposis at the waist, which I hate, or any possible wardrobe malfunction. Here's how to draft the skirt pieces if you want to do this:
For the back skirt, all you need to do is eliminate the 5/8 inch back center seam allowance and cut on the fold. Here you can see I positioned the pattern 5/8 inch from the fold: