One swallow does not a summer make

hawthornfront1After bringing an abrupt end to summer last week by making and wearing shorts I figured it couldn’t hurt to go all out with a summery print dress.

This is my last minute contribution to Heather’s Summer dress sewalong. I just joined the flickr pool for the sewalong and I absolutely love Heather’s Nettie/Flora mash up and Ela’s Simplicity 1803. I did have plans to make a Colette Hazel (I have both the pattern and some really great fabric but somehow it hasn’t happened) – instead this one happened!

hawthorn FRONT2

The fabric is a printed chambray that I got online from Favourite Fabrics. This is the first time I have ordered from them and delivery was fast and they have a really good selection of cottons. Interestingly (or not?) chambray is described as having a white thread on the weft and coloured thread on the warp so technically being all white this isn’t chambray? The print is amazing though and the fabric didn’t need lining as it is totally opaque.

I love the swallow print. I wouldn’t normally go for a white fabric but it has such a summery feel that I couldn’t resist. I originally had vague plans that it might be a By Hand London Anna dress, but instead I remembered that I wanted a chambray Colette Hawthorn (like Lauren’s at Lladybird or this one at Beagles, baking and dressmaking – which used fabric from the same supplier) and so I got on with it.

I made a Hawthorn last year when the pattern was released so I had already done the tracing. I made a size 6 bust grading out to a size 8 at the waist and hips. This was one of the first few things I made when I started sewing again last year and I have been wearing it regularly this summer. I love the swishiness of the half circle skirt and it is a great dress to throw on for work when it is hot. If I was starting from scratch again now I might have adjusted the fit of the bodice – there is a bit of excess fabric and I often have to do an SBA. It isn’t too baggy though so I think I can live with it.

hawthorn back1

I am very proud of the insides – I used bias binding to finish all the facings and the waistband. This fabric is fairly thick so there was quite a lot of bulk when making the collar. I probably could have skipped the interfacing (even though I only used lightweight). It does look very crisp though.


I made the dress pretty much in one day! I left it overnight to hang before hemming. The buttonholes were much less of a challenge this time round – last year it was my first time doing buttonholes and my old machine struggled with them.

So today we set out for some lovely beach photos pretty much as Hurricane Bertha hit us. Everyone else has lovely blue sky in their summer dress photos, but this is North West England and our summers are not quite as balmy (and our beaches not quite as idyllic). I managed to find a few shots above where I wasn’t being completely blown away but just in case you interested here are some that didn’t turn out quite as well…

hawthornwindy2 hawthornwindy1 hawthornwindy3

I don’t know if it is just the rubbish weather or that I am feeling the impending change of the seasons but suddenly I am thinking about autumn sewing. I am looking at long sleeves and warm colours and planning a new coat! But before I get started on that I am going to try to squeeze out one or two more summer dresses and tops and have some time of work and maybe get to spend a proper sunny day at the beach!

How about you – any more summer sewing to do or are you getting ahead on autumn already?

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Carolyn says:

    So pretty! This fabric is perfect for a summer dress. I’ve never made a Hawthorn but have heard other people say that the collar can get pretty thick with all the layers. Also I agree with you about chambray – I thought you need 2 different color yarns! Hmmm…


    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thank-you! It is a very summery print – I wouldn’t normally wear white. The facing is a bit bulky and flaps around a bit- especially as this fabric is quite thick. It would be good not to have it round the neck but I need to get my head round how to neatly replace it while keeping the button band aspect of it. This is a really nice pattern and this style of dress is good for work so I may make another one at some point and think about these issues then!



  2. It’s really lovely, you’ve made such a good job of the insides, amazing you did all that in a day! I’m starting to realise that Autumn is around the corner, I’m just making a few Scout tees for our week in Wales next week, but I’ve already made an Archer shirt in preparation for cooler weather. Just hoping the summer lasts well into September!


    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thank-you! I hope I get some wear out of this before autumn actually comes! I am thinking of coats at the moment – I don’t really know why – I think season change just gets in the air – probably because I am thinking about the children going back to school


  3. Lynne says:

    Your dress is lovely, the fabric is gorgeous. I love the Hawthorn pattern, and it’s interesting to read your fitting issues with it. I had a lot of trouble fitting it for me. I’m so impressed that you made this in one day! I’m starting to think of autumn makes too. If I make something summery, I won’t get to wear it too much.


    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thank-you! I actually did the cutting out the week before so it was just the sewing in mostly one day. I didn’t really do anything on fitting – I could do an SBA but it isn’t a huge problem so I have left it – on other makes I have ended up not being able to breathe after getting carried away with adjusting fit. I am getting lots of wear out of the version I made last year so hopefully this one will be waiting next year if I don’t wear it much now!


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