I had the pleasure of reading Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel “Flight Behavior”. It’s about a woman from a small town who is not sure about where life is taking her, but finally figures it out through a series of events having to do with global warming, interesting people, and the Monarch Butterflies that curiously migrate to the forest behind her house. If you want a good summer read, with great characters, that involves the seriousness of global warming, then go check it out. It’s very entertaining, as well as thought provoking. The main character is Dellarobia, a young mother of two, who lives on a sheep ranch with her husband and in-laws. The story is based around the mysterious migration of the Monarch Butterflies to the hill behind her house.
Dellarobia’s mother was a seamstress, and Dellarobia knows how to sew! While those details are only minor, they were appreciated. Just before finishing the book, I started on Colette’s Hawthorn Dress -view 3 for myself. I don’t know if it was because of the story or just a correlation, but I chose the butterfly fabric. “Cause and correlation” both come up in the story.
Having already stitched up the Hawthorn blouse, the bodice and facings, were easy to lay out, but the lay out for the skirt was tricky. I had 3 yards of 60 in wide fabric, which I thought would be plenty. But the instructions for the layout are to cut each front and back sides separately and not in the same direction. Beware if you have a print that only goes one-way. I fiddled around a bit and found that I could cut both fronts together, if I made a separate facing for the skirt. So with my fabric doubled, I cut the back on the fold, and the fronts (minus the the part that is intended to fold-over for the facing) and then cut two separate pieces for the skirt-front facings. I actually sewed these two strips to the bodice facings and then sewed the whole facing to the dress at once.
I did not have to cut any pieces in the the reverse direction. I highly recommend that you purchase 60 inch wide fabric for this pattern. Otherwise you may have to buy more than what the pattern requires if you need to cut the pieces going in one direction.
Some things I’ve learned about the Hawthorn on my own and from other bloggers:
- Sew the left and right sides of the collar 1/4 inch so that it will match up with the dot on the bodice. Many sewers have commented that it doesn’t quite reach that point.
- Buy 60 inch fabric and cut the back on the fold and the fronts without the fold-over facing. Cut the facing separately. This will work up to the size 10-12.
- Beware of one-directional print patterns, you may not have enough fabric to do it right!
This is my Dellarobia dress! I love it! I’ve worn it three times since making it last week. That’s a record. I think Dellarobia would love this dress too. It would have a lot of sentimental value in remembering her mother’s talent for sewing, the changes that came along with the Monarch Butterflies, and her own metamorphous.