Thanks for reading the Colette blog!  This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.


Introducing Hawthorn! (+ get 15% off through Friday)


Hey there & thank you for reading the Colette blog!

This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

Go to Seamwork






When we were taking these photos a couple weeks ago, our beautiful model Sierra twirled in this dress and said exactly the words I would want to hear:

“This is a dream dress! It’s so flattering and comfortable at the same time!”

Well, thank you Sierra, for helping me introduce Hawthorn to everyone.

A shirtdress that works with curves

Now, I’ve always loved a good shirtdress. They have that casual chicness that reminds me of gamine starlets like Jean Seberg and (of course) Audrey.

But it’s hard to find one that actually works with my body, and I suspect others have faced the same challenge. They are often quite boxy or unfitted or just puffy (and not in a good way). All well and good if you are a swanlike pixie, but I wanted a truly universal shape that looks just as good on the curvaceous ladies.

Hawthorn still has that late 50s or early 60s casual chic thing going. But the bodice is fitted, while still leaving enough room for easy movement at the waist. The skirt is full, but the fullness comes from a sleek semi-circle cut that drapes (and twirls) wonderfully, rather than pleats or gathers which add extra fabric at the waist. You get a shape that’s streamlined, but still very feminine.

The blouse version has a peplum cut in a similar way, showing off curves and emphasizing the waist without adding too much flare at the hips.




Easy to style for any season

It’s hard for me to look at a dress like this without imagining all the styling possibilities.

Version 2 is perfect for the cooler transition seasons, especially layered with a pullover or a cardigan and tights. I’m visualizing it paired with a light sweater and a vintage brooch. Or, make it in a chambray (like we did) and roll up the sleeves for an effortless summer dress.




Version 3 is the perfect summer dress for me. We made ours shown here in white seersucker, and it is so breezy and comfortable. Just add sandals (our clogs shown above with the white dress were provided by Sven, who makes my favorites) and a straw bag. Done.

Classic construction

Shirtdresses often borrow a bit from menswear, which is why they’re such classics. Menswear is so traditional and stable that women’s clothing inspired by it never really goes out of style, yet never feels dull.

Version 2 has a particular menswear touch that I love, a traditional cuff and sleeve placket on the 3/4 length sleeve. This, by the way, also makes it easy to roll to sleeves.

Suitable for many skill levels

While this is an intermediate pattern, I’d say it’s on the easy end of intermediate. Because of the cuff, version 2 is the most challenging, though as always we provide extensive detail in the instructions along with links to tutorials. Versions 1 and 3 are much closer to the beginner level.

Sew-along, special launch discount, and contest!

Ok, now for the fun stuff to go along with it!

  • Sew-along: We’ll be starting a sew-along for this dress in a couple weeks. If you’d like to follow along with all of our step-by step tutorials on each step of the process, get your pattern now!
  • Contest: Because the Laurel contest was such a huge success, we’re going to do another one, although on a much smaller scale. There will be another reader’s choice this time and you can choose the top three favorites. I’ll announce details on that soon.
  • Discount: We love celebrating launches with a special discount, so order your Hawthorn by Friday, and get 15% off!

Watch a short video featuring Hawthorn below:

Watch on Vimeo

Purchase Hawthorn in the Colette Patterns shop now!

Model: Sierra McKenzie
Photographer: Sarai Mitnick
Photo assistance: Kristen Blackmore
Wardrobe assistance: Meredith Neal
Hair and Makeup: Robin Carlisle / Holiday Hair Studio
Shoes: Clogs c/o Sven’s Clogs, loafers are vintage Brooks Brothers

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 165


wow! cute dress …Love the hair style!


So very pretty! I’m very excited to participate in the sew along. Do you have a link to the white fabric you used? Would it need a lining? I want to make sure I have everything I need!
Thank you:)


The white is a really standard white seersucker. I bought it locally, but I’m sure you can find something very similar online!

We didn’t line this one, and it is slightly sheer, but not terribly so. I’d either wear a slip with it, or underline it in a very light cotton.


I was one of the pattern testers and I’m definitely a B cup, no bigger. I didn’t do an SBA but I probably should have–not much, but enough to make a difference. You could go either way. :) Once I get a good picture of myself in the dress, I’ll post it to flickr with my pattern adjustments I made. Also, I wore the dress out tango dancing the day it was finished and it worked beautifully–though if I went swing dancing I would likely wear bloomers under!


Hi Sarai!

Super excited to make my own Hawthorn! One question though: not sure if it was omitted or if I’m just unobservant, but I couldn’t find the seam allowance anywhere in the instruction booklet. Are we supposed to add our own seam allowance?


The seam allowance info is at the bottom of the “getting started” section (page 4 if you have the digital pattern). It is included, and is 5/8″ unless otherwise noted in the instructions (and there are a few places in this pattern that utilize narrower allowances, but they’re noted).


So pretty! I am ordering it and will be in town this weekend to buy fabric! So exited that I get 15% off, too!


What a beautiful pattern, and exactly the style I like for summer. I have a very narrow frame with small shoulders but my full bust is 7 inches larger than my under bust, will you be doing a post on how to do a FBA? I have done one in the past, but found it gave to much ease in the shoulders and waist.


Just gorgeous! I especially love the blouse version…it is beautiful. :)


I’m excited to try this pattern! I haven’t ordered any of your before, and haven’t sewn for quite a while. However, I can’t seem to get to the final checkout page on your website! I keep getting your lovely error page :(

Hopefully it will be fixed soon, I have a few others in my shopping cart to try out as well!


Melissa, I’m not sure what problem you’re having, but your best bet is to contact us via the contact form so we can help you!

Ella Jane

I too have a “curvy” body, with a large chest to torso ratio, and I can never seem to get the sleeve/armholes/bust/neck adjustments correctly. (For years I tried the “adjust a pattern to fit a large chest based on your inner shoulder width by tipping the pattern at a key point and redrawing armholes”, which didn’t really work, then I tried the “add a few inches on the sides and taper back to the waist”, which doesn’t really work either!) I love that these photos show details like exactly where the armhole/sleeve connection should be… it’s been so long since I’ve had anything that fits I don’t know where it really goes anymore! (Often my ready-made clothes seem to “borrow” a bit of sleeve space on the side to make up for the larger breast, which I know is wrong, but I haven’t found anything that fits properly, which is what is bringing me back to sewing!) Please continue to photograph the details, not just the pretty overall pictures, so we can reaffirm what properly fitting clothing should look like.

Also, there must be a way to create clothing that fits around curves and dips properly? Please keep making patterns for the “hard to fit” not model shapes: shorter, curvier, perhaps a bit lower in the bosom and wider in the tummy, but not built like a giant brick, or a fat teepee as some clothing makers seem to think!


I was so excited to see the big reveal earlier! And especially excited to see the sleeve versions! Yet another pattern to add to my wish list.

Adriana Hernandeza

Hi there!

I noticed as I went to print the pdf of version 1 that it doesn’t have a border like the other patterns. Is it just me or did someone else notice this? REALLY looking forward to making a top and dress!


I noticed the same thing too as I put version 1 together last night. I used the black triangles as cutting guides. It was a little annoying to put together without the border as a guide, but the sheets still fit together properly.


That’s odd, I see them on my version. I’ll look into it.


Hey guys, I found the problem with the file and it’s been fixed! If you go to your account, you can re-download the updated version if this has been an issue for you (or want to make sure you have the corrected version for the future). Sorry about that!


I love it!! I am getting ready to purchase my fabric for the sewalong and I am wondering–would Hawthorn be suitable to sew with a lining? I am in love with this Swiss dot but it is incredibly sheer…
Anyway, congratulations on this new release, and thank you!


I’m planning to flat-line my lawn version. I use a semi-sheer cotton tissue shirting for flat-lining and it works beautifully with everything I’ve done so far (mostly historical garments, but the principles are the same.) Two sheers usually make an opaque. Flat-lining was common until poly interfacing was introduced (in the late 60’s, IIRC). It’s not a difficult technique; it just requires a different cutting technique.


Is flat-lining the same as underlining? If I decide to use lawn for my dress, I planned on underlining it with batiste. Or, if all else fails, I will just wear a slip :)


Yes, underlining and flat-lining are the same (or so similar that they make no difference). The major reason I flat/underline versus wearing a slip is laundry — I don’t want to have to rely on my hand-laundry avoiding, slacker self to remember that yes, I wanted both a dress and the right slip at the right time.

L Oda

If I wanted to make a sleeveless version of V1, would I need to print out the bodice pattern from v3? Or could I just use the bodice in v1?


You can use the bodice from V.1


Very, very pretty pattern! Looks super flattering and great for summer!


Another beautiful pattern! Love that there is a peplum and dress version, and the multiple sleeve lengths! (I had put in a request for multi-season, multi-garment pattern versatility awhile ago, and between Hawthorne and Laurel, you have more than delivered!) The chambray version looks so effortlessly chic, I love it. Chambray is my new crush!

Ah, more contests, excellent! Curious – have you ever thought about running a multi-Colette-lookbook type contest? Say you come out with a blouse or bottoms or even jacket pattern, and then one component of the competition is to style it with another Colette garment that you’ve made (bonus points for making up a new one, haha!) Thought that could be kinda fun, and I’m sure most of your customers are multi-repeat customers! Anyhoo, just a thought. You constantly come up with new and creative business ideas, I’ve loved watching Colette Pattern’s evolution and growth!


Great idea, that would be so much fun!


This pattern is gorgeous!! I’m so excited to make this!
Beautiful photo shoot and the model is gorgeous ( she looks like Mad Men Joan) :)


I love the pattern, and was wondering if it would be easy to make it into a cap-sleeved version? I don’t mean adding little sleeves, but rather extending the bodice piece so it covers part of the shoulder – I love that 50’s shirtdress style.


I haven’t tried it, but I can’t think why it wouldn’t work as well as any other dress. Try it on your muslin!


I have a purchasing moratorium in place for non-essentials but I finally decided this was essential and purchased it before the discount went away. I probably won’t make one for a while but this looks like it will be perfect for me once I add pockets and lengthen the skirt a bit. I may have several alterations to make but I can see me with a half dozen of these once I get the fit figured out. YAY for styles that work well for short curvy women!


I love this pattern! The dress is just adorable. I’m already imagining it in some stash fabric I have as a shirt and dress.

I’ve seen several comments regarding larger busts. I have a small bust (32A). I just finished my muslin for the top and love it except the bust is a bit big. Will you cover small bust adjustments in the sew along as well?



I love this new pattern! I think it might be the perfect shirt dress pattern I was waiting for. As you write in your article I often find that shirt dresses look boxy or unfitted, this one seems absolutely lovely! I’ve started to look for a shirt dress pattern for after I have my baby, I will probably get the Hawthorn. Can’t wait to see the lovely versions everyone will make!

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