Amanda vs The Hazel Dress

No word of a lie- I have a self-imposed curfew like a school kid. If I don’t cut myself off from the interwebs, DVDs and sewing by a particular time my brain goes loco and I can’t sleep. Occasionally, however, I go renegade and ignore the alarm from my phone and keep on stitching. And that is where things go crazy. As in sew and serge your bodice upside down to your skirt. But no bigs. With the power of Greyskull, a seam ripper and a full night’s sleep post-curfew craziness can be solved! Meet my summery ginham sundress, Hazel!

Colette Patterns Hazel Dress

In defense of my upside down stitching, I say that the fabulous wedgey bodice on Hazel is a rectangle when sewn together so it was an easy mistake. Lesson learned:
sewing + gin = good
sewing + post-curfew = bad
Now this is math I can get behind!

Walking Colette Patterns Hazel

 After my first attempt at the Colette Patterns Hazel dress from before I headed to the States in 2012, I knew work was needed on the bodice fit so muslined this up like a good egg. In the end the waist was taken in an inch on either side. I also played around with the placing of straps (a lady likes her bra straps to be in stealth mode) and even attempted to lengthen the bodice by 1.5” (it sucked, so I got rid of that). The skirt was the length as proposed by the pattern but due to fabric constraints the width was whatever was left over. This created a less full gathered effect than my normal but I rather like that for a sundress.

Close Colette Patterns Hazel

Now those who have been tuned into the crazy here for a ways may have a very faint recollection of this fabric. This gingham has been used before in an ill-fated attempt at a Sewaholic Cambie pattern. Somehow there was just under two metres left that had been hiding in the recesses of my stash. With some very careful pattern placement I was able to squeeze Hazel out of this- though I went for the width of the fabric for skirt pieces. After the stretching that happened with the gingham Cambie I went crazy bananas and staystitched every single bodice piece. And then went a bit tin foil hat paranoid and measured and checked the shell pieces against the lining at every step…. It was definitely worth it when the final frock fit like a glove!

Back of Hazel Dress

 The bodice is lined in a white cotton voile as the gingham is rather transparent but I chanced the skirt because I ran out of fabric am a total renegade. So far so good in the opaque stakes…

Hazel Dress Ahoy Sailor

 What I liked about this pattern:

  • The lines of the bodice- that V shape be all kinds of rad!
  • The fact that Colette Patterns designs for a larger cup size – I didn’t have to futz around with the bodice sizing too much. Winner!
  • The detail in the instructions book. There is a reason Colette Patterns got me into sewing and this is it. Well, that and I was a cheapskate who didn’t want to buy work clothes… My  secret is out- oh noes!

Colette Hazel Dress Water

What I would change next time:

  • Maybe add an inch or so to the skirt length. I’ve found this frock great at the beach but for pootling around town I wouldn’t mind a smidge more of my pins covered.
  • Work out a way to completely hide my bra straps. Maybe widen the dress straps a little at the front? Hmmm….
  • Circle skirt. This needs to happen like yesterday.

Gingham Hazel Dress Birdie

Hazel Dress
Pattern: Hazel dress from Colette Patterns
Fabric: Remnants in my stash
Notions: Thread and a zipper in the stash

See also: Busy Lizzie in BrissieIdle Fancy, BeeBee’s Vintage Dress

Gingham Colette Hazel Side

Overall, I am super happy with this frock. This is a perfect stash buster- using a pattern that has been mooching around for ages and the remnant from another project. Frugal win! BWAH HA HA! I would like to have another go at this but with a circle skirt- it would be super cute and quite frankly this lady needs- nay, deserves! – more super cute frocks!

Ta Da Colette Hazel Dress

And to close- a bit of a favour… Husband and I are heading off to Japan for three weeks in April and if you have any pro-tips on places to see or fabric/yarn/crafty places to visit let me know… There may or may not be a spare bag being packed for crafty treats!



  1. Smashing! Hazel just makes for the perfect, simple summer frock.

    Have heaps of tips re. Japan AND I’ll also be there from 2nd-10th!! When are you heading over? Might be able to sneak in a sneaking re-stash session if the planets align?

    My favourite fabric shop is Nomura Tailor in Kyoto. They have a couple of branches but you really want to make a bee-line for the one on Shijo-dori. Take money 😀

    In Tokyo I’d definitely have a look in Yuzawaya (there’s quite a few around but I stocked up at the one in Shinjuku). If you go there be aware that the prices advertised are per 10cm, not per metre. Ask me how I know… oooops.

    I didn’t have much luck at Nippori (fabric town) as it was mostly closed for New Year. What I did see though I would say… you’ll need to use you imagination. Not particularly inspiring.

    There’s also Odakyu in Shinjuku, I ran out of time last time but have heard mixed reports.

    Completely unrelated to all things crafty, but make sure you fit in a trip to the food court at Isetan department store if you’re in Shinjuku. It’ll blow your mind! So spectacular.

    Hmmmm, can’t tell I’m looking forward to my trip either, can you?!

    • Jen- you are the font of all Japanese knowledge of AWESOME! We’re using a place in Shinjuku as our base for the first week (doing day trips out and about) so am going to make sure we check out Yuzawaya and the food court. And I hadn’t even thought of Kyoto for fabric. Eeeek! All the cool ladies are in Japan this year 😉 Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

      • Hey Amanda! Just came back to correct myself… the other big fabric store in Shinjuku is Okadaya, not Odakyu which is a department store near the station- sending you on a bit of a wild goose chase there, oops!! Hope you have a smashing time! Looking forward to one or two pics popping up on IG 😀

  2. Oh, very cute! 🙂

    I went fabric shopping in Japan back in October – found this post rather helpful:

    I only managed to get to one Tomato store in Nippori fabric town but my gosh, I was there for hours!!! (The one I went to was the main one mentioned – it’s on the left when you’re walking down the main Fabric Town street away from the station. Crammed full of all sorts of amazing fabric.)

    • Thanks, lovely! And I remember stalking your shoppingpalooza posts – I so can’t wait. I have saved quite a bit for fabric… It may end crazy! 😀

  3. This sundress is sooo perfect ! How I love the yellow gingham, and how it shows the cut of the bodice and its shape shifting. Want one for me now ! Want to be at the beach with you too, in matching sundresses frolicking over the waves.

  4. Ooh this is so lovely! I love gingham. I always go straight to the red gingham but the yellow makes such a sunny dress.

    Where in Japan are you going? Definitely track down Nani Iro. And you know about the Hello Sandwich guide to Tokyo, right?

    Oh, Japan! So much to see, eat and do. Such a fabulous place to travel.

    • Thank ye, lovely!
      We’re doing Tokyo, Kyoto, Takayama, Nara, Osaka, Matsumoto and Koya-San. It’s going to be epic- and I am going to grab the Hello Sandwich guide right now. Thanks for the tips!!!!!

  5. This is adorable! I love it on you! I’m so happy that you had a dress success and with leftover fabric, to boot! Hooray! I made this pattern when it first came out, and it wasn’t my favorite dress (due to the color I chose and the fit being not perfect), but I found that I wore it ALLLLLLLLLLL summer long, over and over and over. I bet you’ll do the same!

    Dude, I hope you take lots of photos in Japan!!!!! What a fun trip!

    • I wore my first version to death as well even though the fabric and fit was off- I think there is something super easy about strappy sundresses. And you better believe there will be photos!

  6. Soo cute! Very good fit, perfect summer dress. I really need to give this pattern another try, I had difficulty with the strap placement. Yours is inspiring me to give it another go.

    • I spent aaaaages with my strap placement on this – I would go pin it in place, baste it, try it, unpick it, move it etc etc four times til I had the straps _exactly_ where I wanted them. It’s worth the time! 😀

  7. Have the most fabulous time!!! Am too perfectly jealous of both yours & Jenny’s trips!! – It would be awesome if you met up!! it’s been 5 years here – how time flies! 🙂 And loving your beach shots – just a thought (channelling the 80’s perhaps – He-Man, She-Ra!), but would it work with a longer white skirt slip (thinking cotton broderie anglaise poking a few inches out the bottom…)?

  8. Very cute and I love the fabric. You just can’t beat the simple things. Sometimes I forget that, being attracted to the crazy as I am normally.

    • I hear you, Lynn! I’m a lady who loves a loud print but this really works. It feel quite sweet to wear… And then I pretty to be a raptor is a pretty dress and everything is okay again! teehee!

  9. Such a cute summer sundress! I am living vicariously through your fun and happy pics. I want to come visit you and swim and sun myself! Today, it is Snowmageddon. We are to get 15 cm of snow today!! Unbelievable and it’s almost spring!

    • 15cm of snow? What the frack? I have never even seen snow so I find that though terrifying! We need to post you Australia STAT and we’ll have some beach time!

  10. I love this version! Totally nailed the fit too!
    I was just thinking that a circle skirt would be great on this (and most patterns actually). Thinking I might do this with my b/w gingham??

  11. Gorgoeus!! and the frolicking in the shallows piccies are totally adorable 🙂
    oh, you lucky duck how I wish I could go to Japan with you!! I highly recommend shopping in the Nippori district, so many treasure-laden shops and if there’s an upstairs, then be sure to check it out. Pro tip; hardly anywhere accepts credit cards so take plenty of cash, and remember you can get cash out at international ATM’s in any 711 convenience store. Actually it’s pretty hard to get it anywhere else so keep an eye peeled for them. Enjoy!!

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