Monday, 25 November 2013

Plaid Hawthorn and a give-away

So I finished my fourth dress this week the Collette Hawthorn dress. 
(By the way you can get the idea of my new hairstyle here, its still a bit bushy because it needs a trim, but you get the idea ... most of the time I love it!).

I wanted to make a warmer dress for the winter season and one I could wear at work with a jacket.  The pattern is a shirtwaister with a full skirt.

My attempts at a twirl were anything but successful and I felt sick for 30 minutes ... so much for action shots!

The fabric is a thickish, slightly brushed plaid which I got from Akaban at Preston, good value at £5 a metre.  Even matching the plaid it only took 3 1/2 metres.  I cut a size 8 and the only change I needed to make was to cut the longest length.

There were lots of challenges for me here.  Getting the collar to fit and lie flat (and you end up with 6 layers of material in part at the shoulder) and the very fiddly cuff placket were the worst bits, and I didn't enjoy those bits at all (in fact I had decided I wouldn't ever make another - but I do like the fit, the skirt and the sleeves went in well so may change my mind).  There were 15 button holes to make and I had to unpick 4, 3 weren't my fault!

The other challenge is using plaid material.  I could the pieces out singly so I could try and match up the lines.  I was pretty pleased overall with the matching.  The front

and the back were as close as I could get, though I had to unpick a few seams and try again!  In fact I got a bit obsessed.

What worked for me was measuring the allowance from the edge of the fabric and putting the pinhead through both  pieces of material to match them exactly and pinning towards the material edge.  The I machined right up to the pin, removed it and carried on stitching, this worked most of the time.

The only other advice I can think of is that you definitely have to let the dress hang before hemming, it stretched a lot and was 2 inches longer at some points.  Also because a lot of the hem is cut on the bias be very careful about stretching it and press rather than iron.  Overall I am pleased with the dress and probably would make another, I love the neckline shape, the fit and the skirt, I would use a lighter material next time and perhaps avoid the long sleeves because of the cuff, maybe a nice spring version.

We visited the Veolia Wildlife photographer of the year at Kendal Museum.   We've been visiting this annual exhibition since 2001 at various venues and we love it.  The photos are wonderful including the junior winners.  There were so many great photos to show you but I'll choose just 2 because of their wonderful contrast .... sleepy moment in the warm pools of Japan

.... and a fantastic fox!

If you can't get to see it but would like to see more visit here.
I spent 3 days in Birmingham at a conference at the canal area which is really pretty.

and the highspot was a great speech by Sir Chris Hoyle which was a real treat

I mentioned that I was given a lot of 1980s sewing patterns which I am happy to share if anyone would like them (not guaranteeing they are complete and some packets are a bit tatty).  Most are sized 36" bust. 
Pack a)
Pack b)

pack c) a set of new patterns

d) if you don't make clothes there's a rather cute crafting book.

So if you would like any of the above just leave a comment with the prize you would like before December 7th. 
Speaking of really great giveaways (not that mine is!!!!), if you are into vintage you must visit Joanna's blog here because she is giving away the most fantastic goodies and I love her blog too.
Have a happy week!


  1. Lovely dress! This is my favorite Hawthorn!

  2. Thank you lorna that makes me fell proud, because there are some lovely hawthorns around.

  3. Your dress is fab, I really like the Collette patterns. I must go visit the Exhibition at Kendal as well. I would love to win the Sarah Moore book. Thanks for the chance Mags.

  4. I love plaid and think your dress looks fantastic, you must have lots of patience, a really lovely dress for cold winter days. I would love to win the vintage style gifts book, I was very lucky in your last giveaway and you sent me some lovely craft items, fingers crossed Mags

  5. Wow,I have just found your log and have gone through it with my jaw dropping .You make the most stunning clothes. Everything flatters your figure, such detail. I don't sew but gosh , you make me want to