Ginger Made: Hazel, V. 2 (Or, the “Insert Portlandia Joke Here” Dress)

Hi, guys! Hope everyone had a lovely and safe long weekend, and those of you in the U.S. enjoyed the holiday!

Today’s dress is kind of a funny one. This is my second version of the Colette Hazel dress– here’s my first version. When I made it two years ago, I wasn’t in love with it and ended up putting it on my top 5 misses of 2012 list because I just didn’t like it. The funny part is that, despite not loving it, I wore that dress a fair amount that summer and over and over and over again last summer. It ticks the right boxes for a summer day dress- easy to wear, easy to launder, doesn’t make me hot and sweaty, doesn’t need special shoes… perfect! So I found myself wanting another version!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

I was so excited to use this fabric, despite the fact that I’ll be a walking hipster joke (everyone’s seen this, right?). It’s a gorgeous wax print from Vlisco– they still have the print, “Speedbird”, in a couple of different colorways. I really love the colors and the striking design. I should warn you, however, against checking out their website- the fabric is SO, SO beautiful that you might find yourself ordering more than you can afford! I’ve admired Vlisco prints since I discovered Cathy‘s amazing creations from her days in Benin, and when Susan of Moonthirty fame told me over Instagram that they ship to the US, I lost my mind and ordered two pieces. It’s been in my stash for a while, just waiting for the right pattern! Right now I’m trying to talk myself out of this print. It’s so beautiful! Must not… buy… more fabric… stay strong… stay… strong…

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Here’s the problem. When I made this dress back in 2012, I noted that the darts are way too long, but if you shorten them to the proper length, they stick out terribly and look worse than when they’re just too long. Welllllllll, I forgot about that when I was making this version- it’s not that noticeable in the soft, light-colored fabric I used originally. Vlisco prints are medium weight cotton with lots of body, bordering on stiff. So, the too-long darts were a pointy DISASTER in this! Sadly, I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had already sewn the dress up completely and trimmed the seam allowances. I resewed and resewed the darts, steaming them, curving them, everything I could think of, but no dice. I finally followed Anne‘s suggestion and didn’t stitch the dart, instead catching the excess for the dart in the stitching line like a pleat. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative. If I ever make this dress again, I’ll figure out a way to change the dart to gathers, but I didn’t have enough SA left to do that and true things up correctly. Ugh!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Another problem is that I can’t get the positioning of the straps right. I wasn’t really satisfied with how I placed them in my first version, so I decided to make them more comfortable. I futzed and futzed with them this time around, and thought I had them positioned correctly, but after wearing the dress all day, I’m still not loving them. I think they need to be straightened out entirely. Oh, and, I didn’t notice until I edited these photos that the darker stripe of the fabric gives an unflattering shadow to the bust area! Ugh!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

I spent lots of time working out the print placement to avoid any embarrassing birds and to match across all the seamlines. But before I cut it out, I decided to relax and just cut things out carefully, but without going crazy. I could’ve matched everything, but it would’ve used up all the fabric and it felt kind of wasteful. Usually I would annoy myself with matching everything up perfectly, but I decided to just match it across the center back bodice and call it quits. I’m happy with how this looks and I have enough fabric leftover to make a special garment for the next baby girl born into my friend group. Somehow it felt like better stewardship than throwing away tons of odd scraps. But I may not feel that way the next time I’m dealing with a large-scale print… I dunno! Let’s see, what else… I used scraps from my Roller Skate dress for the pockets to conserve fabric, and it’s a fun detail, too.

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

This dress isn’t perfect, and I’m not sure I’ll revisit the pattern again, but I still like it and I know I’ll wear it lots. I mean, there are birds ALL OVER this dang thing- how can I not like it?! Also, it matches my adorable clutch so perfectly! Gail made it for me and brought it when she visited NYC a few weeks ago… she’s the kindest, most generous gal around (and talented to boot)! Thank you, Gail! ETA: I made this dress as part of Heather‘s Summer Sundress Sew-a-long… but I’m forgetful and didn’t remember that when I was writing the post, oops!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Alright, your turn! Are there any patterns that you have a love/hate relationship with? Are you obsessed with wax prints, too? What are you sewing right now? OK, I’m out- it’s time to finish the 4th of July weekend with our annual Jaws screening! Who’s better than Robert Shaw?!

148 responses

  1. Where do you see all those flaws you mentioned? There are none from where I am sitting, in fact even scrolling back up to look for the shadowing or dart issues. Pretty sure you are too hard on yourself – looks great to me 🙂

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  2. This is super cute. Wax prints rule. I am too afraid to touch mines, how did you launder yours?
    I really like both of your hazels on you.
    I love the bird skit. I just realized that the orange table cloth fabric is the same as the one I used for my pillows.

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  3. Gorgeous! I can’t see any problems with this! I recently bought my first wax prints, and I’m really excited about sewing them. It’s just finding any time at all to sew at the moment which is a problem…

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    • Oh man, that’s always the hard part, isn’t it- finding the time? Here’s hoping your schedule clears up and a shiny new wax print garment appears in your wardrobe in no time! 🙂

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  4. Your beautiful dress just brought back childhood memories! I grew up in West Africa and the bird print has always been the favorite of many. Your dress reminded me that I have a significant stash of African prints that I tend to forget about. I need to cut into some of them before my upcoming trip to Africa next month. The dress fits you perfectly!!!!

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  5. Beautiful! I’m in the process of cutting out for my first Hazel! Also out of a wax cotton! It’s a pattern I’ve admired for a long time. Love yours!

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  6. Super cute! I’m actually going to visit the Vlisco shop next week with a sewing friend, super cool that they’re from The Netherlands! Did you know that they are having an online sale right now? Not to be an enabler or anything 😊

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  7. but dude. you did out a bird RIGHT on it smack dab in the middle, so you win.

    i can’t quit the burdastyle cap sleeve dress. cursing like a sailor all the way, every time. in fact now i wanna make one in wax print. THANKS.

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  8. What a great dress! I love the print, those birds are fab. I’m a fan of wax prints too, and my next make is a Belladone dress using wax print fabric. It’s interesting to read your thoughts on the darts. My other wax print dresses have princess seams, so this hadn’t been a problem for me – yet!! Your fix is a great idea.

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    • That sounds fantastic! I think regular darts would be fine in a wax print, it’s just that these are really, really short (they’re maybe 3cm long, not counting the seam allowances) so they don’t want to stay down! Looking forward to your new Belladone!

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  9. Oh, I’ve never seen a Hazel I didn’t love, and yours is no exception. I feel you, though, about unexpected patterns worming their way into regular wardrobe rotation. In fact, my ikat Hazel (may she rest in peace) was one of those.

    Birds, man. I am trying to dress slightly less like a small child (which is what I look like when I try to pull off cute prints), so I’m staying away from bird fabrics, but it is haaaard.

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    • But small child clothes are so cool!!!!! And, OK, just left Iceland, and every single kid there looked so awesome that I kind of wanted to take notes on all their outfits (stripes on stripes… IT TOTALLY WORKS, FYI).

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  10. Ooh is this ever cute! I had virtually this same print in different colors bookmarked somewhere because I looove it. I’m so happy to seen it sewn up! And it’s perfect with your clutch too! I think just matching the print across the back is totally acceptable (and it looks great in your Hazel btw). I hate wasting fabric, so if I have a center back seam I’ll do that, and not worry about the sides (actually I pretty much never worry about matching at the sides… I figure that’s why I have arms). I’ve seen a few wax prints this summer that I’m itching to buy and turn into something but haven’t gone down that rabbit hole yet!

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    • Hahaha- good point! Your arms completely obscure the side seams! Dude, you would love wax prints… but it really is a rabbit hole. Two pieces of Vlisco added 10 yards to my stash, yikes!

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  11. It looks lovely! I was surprised to see you making another Hazel as I remember you not liking your first version (for some strange reason because it was gorgeous!). I would like the tackle the Hazel at some point.

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  12. Lovely! But UGH I feel your pain on the pointy bust darts. I had that happen with my cambie dress. What a nightmare… I have a love/hate with cambie as a consequence. But also the anna dress. I love the style but the fit is poo and I need to fix it. This style looks great on you despite the issues, and omg that clutch is magical. Wish I could meet Gail!

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    • Ugh, isn’t it annoying when there’s a style you like but you just can’t make it work? I have a horrible muslin of Simplicity 1873 buried somewhere in my sewing space… looks so cute on everyone else, but was like a bad joke on me!

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  13. Whether you have pointy boobs/darts or not, you rocked this! The fabric is expensive, but just like guipure lace, so worth it
    To answe your question – I think you know what I’ve been sewing lately. Bras!

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    • You’re the bra machine! 😉 Sometimes you just have to pay more for quality! It wasn’t so bad when I bought it during a free shipping promotion, but I guess I can’t do it again until that sale pops up again! 🙂

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  14. Wax cloth is a great fabric for hot summer days! This is very cute, despite it’s flaws (totally wouldn’t have known there was anything less than perfect if you hadn’t said).

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  15. The darts look good in the photos to me! In fact, the whole thing looks like the perfect summer dress. I made a Lisette Patterns dress that has the same dart shaping and just treated them like a pleat too, but it causes the dress to ride up in front and also it is very pointy in the nipple area!
    And I love, love, love Jaws! It is one of maybe three movies I own? I tried to get glasses like Brody’s last time I needed a new pair.

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  16. Hmmm I’m not sure I can see all your sewing niggles in these photos. It really does look cool from where I’m sat. Though I have screamed at a hazel and thrown it in the bin before now so can imagine your woe

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    • Some patterns just want to fight you, don’t they?! Simplicity 2444 is one for me- looks so cute on you, but I made a muslin and laughed out loud when I tried it on because the fit was off for me in every single way!

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