Plackets Forever!! My Christmas Hawthorn - And my Second Minerva Crafts project

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Hi Guys,

I'm very excited to show you my second Minerva Crafts make - my Christmas dress :)

I chose the linen-look cotton again (I'm nothing if not predictable) for my second make as I couldn't resist the deep wine colour for Christmas (I'm the antithesis of Kathryn! Although I do love the Aubergine too). And I do fully intend wearing this dress on Christmas day!

When it came down to pattern selection I was slightly torn.  I wanted something that would look nice on Christmas day, and I wanted it to have sleeves (as its getting chilly!). I almost switched to Rachel's Brazilia dress as I had already done two muslins but couldn't face drafting the sleeves! I just had this look in my head of a long sleeved dress, and the Hawthorn fit the bill. That being said, I changed my mind about 4 times. I started to dislike the pattern after I had stared at it for too long! I thought perhaps it wasn't edgy enough, maybe it was too done already?? I went around and around in a circle but came straight back again, I decided really it was what I wanted.

I sewed my bodice muslin up with sewable tracing paper. It showed that the bodice was gaping slightly at the back neck so I took in the darts a bit more and that was sorted. I only did a 1cm seam allowance at the waist but I could have gotten away with the full 1.5cm in the end. I was erring on the fear of it pulling at the bust - I hate that. I would prefer it be a bit roomier. Although now that it is, I feel I definitely need a beige belt to tie it all together. There was some gaping at the front of the shoulder, but I was wary of adjusting it until I had the sleeves on as they could make all the difference. In the end I thinks it's ok!

Other adjustments I made were to do a smaller seam allowance on the lower edge of the collar which makes it wider and I didn't turn up the hem by the full seam allowance. I added a navy polysatin lining to the skirt so I could wear it with tights. I also cut the back skirt out on the fold instead of in two pieces.

I had always intended to skip the sleeve placket but in the end I bit the bullet as i couldn't decide how to fudge it and to be honest it was much easier than I thought! I love the look of it and its my favourite part of the dress.

Things I wasn't Happy with:

The fact I don't have a pressing cloth! - number 1 on the purchase list. I was at risk of putting a shine on this fabric but I think I got away with it. It was much more obvious than the cream fabric. .

The sleeves came out far too big and I feel its drowning my arm. In the online sewalong its mentioned that you may need to adjust the pleat to fit the cuff on - I had to double it!! and I went back to check I had traced the right sleeve size and I had. I don't know if I managed to trace the cuff size too small by accident - but it's still bigger than my liking! Next time I will be checking the fit of the sleeve more thoroughly before I go ahead. It's wearable but I'm not 100% happy. 

Most of the dress is overlocked but a few bits I had to zig-zag as I hadn't done the overlocking at the right point in the construction and then I was too far in to make it look nice. Also, the overlocking is white. Bit ridiculous, but I haven't managed to learn to rethread it yet.

The buttonholes - but that's my machines fault. It was in a hungry hippo sort of mood. Also I would be more careful with my button placement on the cuff's next time as they need to be quite close to the edge to get the placket lying flat. When my markings rub off I sometimes end up winging it a bit. Whoops.

Apparently the dress does need the hook and eye at the front waist.

My Mistakes:

I set the sleeve the wrong way around the first time - dope.

The right cuff has a buttonhole on the wrong side (the button side) as I wasn't paying enough attention - I would've just ripped out the stitches but I had already opened it. I only realised when I was trying to button it. It's hidden but annoying.

In cutting the back skirt out on the fold, I forgot to remove the centre-back seam allowance initially.  Therefore the skirt was too big. I trimmed the excess with the overlocker which fixed the size but it affected the notches and they didn't match up with the bodice anymore. I could still match up the side seams though.

I also forgot to add the notches on the bodice armscye and had to go back and add them when the dress was almost finished which is always awkward.

What I was Happy with:

I sealed the lining into the front facing with the buttonhole and button stitching, it looks very professional. 

I love the plackets! YAY FOR PLACKETS

Button placement - especially for the fact they were done in Prague airport arrivals lounge! I must have looked like a loon. And they were also completely winged as the markings were well gone.

All in all I do really like the dress. It's first outing, shown in the pictures, was to see the Prague National Theatre Ballet perform "Sleeping Beauty" at the Prague State Opera House which was pretty special, and therefore the dress will have special memories for me. My first ballet :) Also in the pictures was a birthday dinner for my Mam at the Hard Rock CafĂ©.

I hope you like it, and if you want to make your own you can get the kit here. It has 3m of the fabric - there wasn't too much left over! It has has interfacing, matching thread and 15 buttons. I would err on the side of an extra spool of thread, I ran out, but happened to have bought almost the same colour for a different project so I was saved running out the door in a craze! You can also see the post up on Minerva here.

I have just put out my Christmas table cloth and constructed my Nativity Crib. Feeling Christmassy!

See you guys soon, and have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Emmie xx


  1. Ooh I love it! I love the neckline and collar!

  2. Beautiful colour, definitely a good choice. I love the Hawthorn so much, I'm dying to make it for summer.

  3. I think this is the perfect dress for memories, birthday gatherings, and Christmas :) Great Job!

  4. Thanks! it definitely will be!

  5. I wasn't sure, but I'm definitely a convert!

  6. Thanks, it turned out a lot better than I expected!

  7. I love the colour. Great job. And I'm completely jealous of how well done your victory rolls are.

  8. Beautiful! And so so so many buttons too!

  9. Gorgeous dress Emmie, red looks fab on you and I love the buttons. x

  10. I love your dress and you look so beautiful! I couldn't begrudge you wearing red when it looks so nice :) What an amazing photo backdrop, so jealous you got to see the ballet in Prague.

    Gorgeous sleeve plackets too. What's your lipstick? It matches the dress perfectly.

  11. This is absolutely bloody gorgeous! Red is definitely your colour, you look radiant. (or is that the cocktail ;) ?)

  12. Lovely! I really like the Hawthorn pattern but I've been slightly scared off by all the buttons at the moment - looks like you did a great job though!

  13. Your dress is gorgeous! I love the colour, and the cuffs look great. Lynne

  14. A Stitching Odyssey8 December 2013 at 00:27

    What a lovely Xmas make, you look beautiful! And your plackets are perfection!

  15. You look absolutely gorgeous! it's a great choice of pattern for you. Those plackets are super impressive, you need to not give yourself such a hard time about mistakes, I've definitely put sleeves in the wrong way round many times! It looks perfect to me!

  16. Thank you! It wasn't too bad with all the buttons, you get in a rhythm!

  17. Way thanks, I'm definitely getting the knack, but how good they turn out is a pure fluke!

  18. I think they all thought I was crazy in the airport!

  19. Thank you! I debating contrast buttons or matching but I'm glad I went with the cream!

  20. Thank you! I think It was my mums nice camera!

  21. I loved your dress! Was the fabric hard to cut out (what with it having such a nice drape)? It's a really nice lip marker from revlon, the colour is "gothic"

  22. Thanks! They are so much easier than they look! Probably helps when you have an easy fabric!

  23. Thanks! Will pay more attention next time, haha


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