Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Hi Hawaii



I love the seasons. I love wearing boots and jumpers and cosy woollens in winter and I love to take them off again in spring/summer. I would love to tell you that I’m spending the next 4 months in Hawaii, I’d love to tell you I’m going there for the weekend – but I’m not.

I also love things I get for free. Back in January, I took part in an international swap. I sent a blue paisley silky poly to Juliet in Australia and Anne sent me red cotton print from USA. And so we all got rid off, and got, what we wanted – win-win. Thank you Anne – lovely fabric; easy to work with and a unique twist to this vintage pattern.


The little bit of sunshine recently has made me long for colour and summer and so without further ado I dug out the festival red cotton, put all other sewing aside and delved into Vogue 8875. You know the one – gorgeous dress and riding coat – greatly admired when first released and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one not to resist the impulse purchase. Please tell me I wasn’t the only one? Many thanks to Pattern Vault for collecting and preserving these beautiful designs.

I will admit that the ensemble looks much better WITH the coat, but co-ordinating fabric notwithstanding and a SWAP to finish and a summer Chanel jacket to make, some things just have to take their turn!



I haven’t got any red in my wardrobe apart from a T-shirt or cardi so this is a really big step for me.

In traditional Hawaiian prints I believe the black flower pattern is supposed to cross horizontally on the chest; I went for slimming and elongating asym

metrical vertical. I don’t actually know if pattern placement is elongating or slimming, but that’s where mine ended up. I also made a belt to try and replicate the pattern placement but it didn’t quite work out – oh well! I’ve seen worse in the shops!


I was a little worried about the pleats in the front of this dress as a rounded tummy does not sit well with anything that makes it more rounded, but if you too are concerned – don’t be – the pleats are tiny and don’t stick out at all. If you’re still not convinced – turn them into darts when sewing the skirt. That was my back-up plan.Image


The dress is fairly straightforward to make – kimono sleeves but they have that sew -pivot-sew thing that I hate and makes me break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. Kimono sleeves are a brilliant idea because there is no easing and gathering into the sleeve head, but I still fret about the gusset method and the ‘points’ required in vintage patterns. I will also admit to having to bring out the needle and thread and adding a hand stitch here and there to secure to otherwise crappy machine sewing at the pivot points.  A lapped zip at the side with instructions for snaps instead if you want. I like the length and wide neckline.


So all I need is the Hawaiian summer  – A hui hou kakou.

And just in case you were remotely interested – the Chanel is cut and hand sewing has commenced……..

DSCN3656 DSCN3657

Good grief! Guess who supplied the buttons?

Anne from Pretty Grievances! Again! Maybe my whole sewing experience is based upon freebies from America. There is a saying we have in Ireland; 100 years ago or thereabouts when all our ancestors immigrated and sent their earnings home, we’d say money from America – in other words – easy money! Thanks again to Anne – her generosity and kindness knows no bounds and do not be deceived by the sarcasm or irony – she’s a lamb!

Unfortunately, none of my ancestors immigrated to Hawaii – but I’m willing to be someone’s great grand-daughter……..

32 thoughts on “Hi Hawaii

  1. Thanks for the warning Ruth. Now add the new URL to my blog list. Paco

  2. It’s lovely and looks wonderful on you! You should definitely add more red in your wardrobe. I hate those points too. Working on one right now.

  3. Red is a wonderful color on you…add more to your wardrobe 🙂

  4. Beautiful! And very Hawaiian! My boss (who is retiring this year) has like three houses in Hawaii. I am threatening to move in with her. I’ve never been, but before I die . . . .

  5. Poor Anne, she must be thinking…hmmm…did I do the right thing? You look amazing in that print and pattern! Can I ask about the jacket, is it going to close left over right like in the photo? That fabric just draws you in and makes you want to see more! If you ever need a sewing/bridal alteration vacation…please let me know…I have 2 chairs and 2 machines just waiting for a body to join me…your sewing skills are amazing!

    • At $5 p/hour? I don’t have your patience to deal with clients!!!
      I was just testing the buttons with the fabric – everything is just pinned at the moment.

  6. That looks fantastic! Fingers crossed for lots of sunshine and opportunity to wear.

  7. Ho’omaika’i ‘ana – apparently that is congratulations in Hawaiian (well, fingers crossed it is!!!) Love the dress – the fabric and pattern combo are just perfect…J

  8. Gorgeous on you! Such a perfect marriage of print and pattern 🙂
    And poor Anne – now that you’ve outed her lamb-ness, she may react in unexpected ways. I’d be careful….

  9. What a sophisticated Hawaii print dress. Looks great on you.

  10. OMGosh I loved the dress. You added the embroidery and I’m head over heels.!!! Lovely. Exciting. Gorgeous

  11. Awesome dress! Red is a favorite of mine. and I love those shoes too!

  12. Love your dress and shoes!!! Really that is a lovely piece of fabric which turned into a beautiful dress! Very flattering on you!!!

  13. Gorgeous dress! I love the fabric.And the colour looks wonderful on you.

  14. Love the dress. Red is so your color. And LOVE the new blog format. Soooo much easier to read and very classy looking. Aloha!

  15. This dress, with its lovely color and cheery print, would make me feel happy every time I wore it So creative of you to combine the fabric with a classic dress pattern. It is a winning and very flattering combination.

  16. Nice dress! I love how you matched that print all the way down the front.

  17. Dear Ruth,
    your new blog looks very good. Your wonderful work and your great clothes now have an adequate frame.
    Red ist a good color for you. The dress looks beutiful.
    So now I’ll change your adress in my blogroll hoping to see much more nice works in the next time.

  18. Rockahula Ruthie!!! I knew that you could bring elegance to anything and you nailed it. I feel challenged!!!

  19. I love your version of the dress and the placement of the print is just genius! I even love the pattern placement on the belt. This dress would make me happy, very happy every time I wore it! I hope it does the same for you!

  20. Pingback: Five-Oh | corecouture

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