Polka dot chambray Hawthorn – FINISHED

Polka dots + shirt dress = just try and stop me wearing this dress every day of summer!

The ever-popular Colette Hawthorn is the pattern, if you hadn’t already recognised it, and it’s a good’un!


The fabric is so soft, lightweight and drapey and was a great eBay buy. It was hard to match thread, though, but I went with an almost purpley blue colour that looks pretty close.P1110430

I went with self-covered buttons to eliminate the stress of choosing a style/colour of button. Too many options – GAH! Self-covered buttons are fiddly (all 13 of them!) but they look great, IMHO! I could also see this dress with cute red buttons. Maybe for my next Hawthorn? Hmmmmmm….


This dress is reasonably quick to sew up if you have a friendly fabric, like this chambray. I was a bit worried about having pointy darts, but the fabric pressed so nicely I don’t think that’s become an issue at all!



Pattern alterations and design changes

This baby is a size 6 with virtually no adjustments except a couple of petite changes – front and back waist were shortened, the buttonholes were re-drawn and the hem was shortened a tad. Easy peasy!


I debated doing a small (1/2″) FBA on this dress going off my measurements v the size chart, but opted not to. I was pretty chuffed to not have to alter for the bust, and while I already love Colette Patterns, this is icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.


Having worn this dress a couple of times, I am having the occasional button popping action at bust (and skirt for some reason), which could be due either the super lightweight interfacing I used, the machine-measured buttonholes (possibly a tad too large), or just the pull factor of my chestal region in the case of the bodice. This is nothing a couple of press studs won’t fix, and I can sew those on before the next wear. Hopefully it will just save me from any embarrassing moments at work, given I am karmically more likely to unknowingly flash my stuck-in-the-1950s-hey-love-wash-my-coffee-cup deputy editor rather than say, one of my female colleagues who would just laugh and tell me to put the peep show away.


Construction notes

I had a couple of little issues attaching the bias tape to the sleeves because I’d snipped notches in my armholes despite not intending to add the sleeves. I didn’t realise the bias tape would be stitched with a 1/4″ seam allowance, so my notches were on the large side (I’m so used to 5/8″!) and I had to zig-zag stich a few areas on the inside of my dress. The bias tape did a good job of hiding the dodginess, but I implore you all to not look too closely. This is not a spot the dodgy sewing puzzle, and I plead ignorance nonetheless!



I guess I’m so used to Big 4 patterns, but attaching the collar and bias tape with 1/4″ seam allowances is SO smart. It’s MUCH easier to go around curves and it eliminates the need to trim your seams – pure BRILLIANCE!


I’m happy to report there will be more Hawthorns in my future!

10 thoughts on “Polka dot chambray Hawthorn – FINISHED

  1. Oh my lord that fabric is AMAZING! I’m generally a big lover of polka-dots and I’ve been wanting to try out some chambray. If I came across this I would probably buy the bolt. I promise not to look too closely on the inside – the outside looks gorgeous and well fitting. I love it

    Are you buttonholes vertical or horizontal? You could try this tutorial by Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch http://www.afashionablestitch.com/2012/sewalongs/2-in-1-sewalong-the-shirt-dress-buttonhole-placement/ although it looks like there’s already a button at the bust apex.

    • Here’s the link to the eBay listing: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/QUALITY-100-COTTON-CHAMBRAY-POLKA-DOT-DRESS-FABRIC-150CM-WIDE-/171038966449?pt=UK_Crafts_Fabric&hash=item27d2b782b1

      It is a lovely fabric!

      The buttonholes are vertical, which I hadn’t done before but that was the way they were marked on the pattern so I just went with it. Do you think that could be adding to my gaping issues?

      I had seen that tutorial on AFS but I got hasty and wanted to finish the dress up so I neglected to follow the tutorial exactly. Lesson learned!!

      • Yeah I always imagine vertical button holes are way easier to come undone – just because there’s less holding them together. I also haven’t yet tried that tutorial, but have the Bleuet dress waiting for (15) buttons, and a flexi buttonhole spacer on it’s way to me in the mail, so will try it out when that arrives.

        Ah, I’ve asked them how much shipping will be to NZ, probably prohibitively expensive!

      • From memory shipping was eight pounds to rural Aus, so I’m sure it won’t be so bad to NZ. I got two metres of the chambray and two of rayon and it was the one shipping fee, so if you’re keen on something else it might be worth a splurge? I swear I’m not being paid for this endorsement!

        I LOVE the Bleuet dress pattern but I’ve restrained myself from buying it so far. I’m looking forward to seeing yours!

  2. This is beautiful! I am about to start a plaid wool version, and was poking around for other versions of the Hawthorn. Yours turned out splendidly!

  3. Pingback: Red birdie voile Hawthorn dress – FINISHED | beagles, baking and dressmaking

  4. This is gorgeous. I am going through a shirt dress period, working on one at the moment. This one is next I think, and thanks for the fabric tip. I live in the UK so I was delighted to see this link.

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