Red birdie voile Hawthorn dress – FINISHED

I am SEW *hahem* productive when I neglect housework, gardening and cooking. It’s scary how much free time I can wrangle when I exit the world as a functioning, full-time working human with social commitments and a farm to look after.
It’s almost like that four-seater couch covered in a MOUNTAIN of washing actually will fold itself, and if I don’t think about it too much, Vegemite toast is a wholesome and nutritious dinner.

That was last week, and it was a good week, because I made a dress!


A pattern repeat, but a good one! It’s another Colette Hawthorn after I loved (and received many a compliment on) my polka dot chambray Hawthorn.

The fabric is a red-orange voile from Spotlight. I bought it when fabric was 40% off after Boxing Day. I only paid about $8/metre and used less than two metres. Bargain!


The white contrast collar and cuff idea I’d thought of doing for yoinks, but I thought this fabric was just busy enough to warrant some sort of design detail like that. I scored the white fabric (some sort of medium-weight cotton with a bit of texture to it) from my mum, and she even had the EXACT reddy-orange shade of thread.

On the whole, this dress would have been a bargain, if not for the buttons. They match a shade of blue in the birds perfectly, but they were 90 cents each. Thirteen of them was almost as much as what the fabric cost me, but there was simply nothing else at Spotlight that suited the fabric (bar plain white buttons), so I paid up. I suppose $12 for 13 buttons isn’t too bad, but with two mortgages I should be restricted to shopping from the bargain bins, not paying equal amounts for fabric and buttons! But I like them. So take that, budget!


Pattern adjustments and design changes

Apart from a small petite adjustment to the bodice and different buttonhole placement, this pattern is straight out of the envelope!

I love how Colette drafts for a C cup, even though I am marginally fuller busted than a C cup (somewhere between a C and D), but I can usually get away without an FBA in a dress like this as it has a little ease, and I tried on the dress before marking where I needed the buttonholes. There is a fantastic tutorial here if you’re interested.


I used the short sleeve pattern piece instead of the longer sleeve, and cut out the cuffs, collar and neckline facings in the white cotton.


Construction notes

I overlocked all the seams inside, and understitched the neckline and buttonhole facings instead of topstitching the collar and front bodice and skirt facings.

I also learnt my lesson last time about my sewing machine’s automatic buttonhole feature and measured the button length with the automatic buttonhole foot, then removed the button and shortened the measuring device by about 1/2″. This just stops the buttons from slipping out in all the important places, but the buttonhole isn’t so small I have any trouble buttoning up or down.


And that’s about it! I finished this dress in less than a week, and, if I hadn’t been so precious about buttonhole placement, it would have taken me maybe one sewing session.

Now time for some puppy love, seeing as they were getting neglected, too!



As for my chores, they’re still being neglected, due to the fact I’ve been logging sewing hours like nobody’s business. Unfortunately I’m making little progress with my current sewing project due to some serious full bust and dart fitting issues. I’ve been spamming Pattern Review with pictures of muslins and soliciting help from folk far more knowledgeable than myself, so hopefully I’ll have something new for show and tell soon. Until then, happy housework avoidance to you all!

5 thoughts on “Red birdie voile Hawthorn dress – FINISHED

  1. I really love this dress…the birds, the colours, the contrasting collar and cuffs, the fit…just everything. And it suits you so beautifully and those shoes are a perfect match too. Much more fun to sew than do housework and the housework always waits.

  2. I loved the bird fabric… and then was thrilled to see you got it at Spotlight. Hello, fellow Aussie! You look sensational in this dress – better than Colette’s own model, I reckon! I’d never been that interested in this pattern before, but I am now thanks to your adorable white collar/bird fabric combination.

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