My Brighton and Hope Dress


Communicating with a higher power or blinded by the light?

This was one of those sewing projects. You know the ones. You’ve got a ‘deadline’. Say, a wedding in Brighton that’s been planned for months in a few days. And you decide that now is the perfect time to start an un-thought out sewing project to make for it! Sometimes this approach is a recipe for disaster for me, but this time luck was on my side and I’m really happy with this new dress.

The fabric has been in my stash for a few years now after buying it in Paris at one of the shops near the Marché Saint-Pierre. It’s a woven, has a sort of canvas-y feel, and has just the right amount of stretch in it. I can’t remember how much it cost but I don’t think it was very much and I bought 3 metres of it (in a burst of ‘I’m in Paris, oh pretty fabric’ enthusiasm). It’s an unusual shade of pink (which doesn’t capture too well in photos) and I think that is why it took me so long to make something with it. It feels like the kind of fabric that doesn’t deserve half measures. It needed to be a dress really!

It’s also interesting going back through the fabrics I bought a few years ago and looking at them with a more critical ‘environmental eye’. Even though I think (hope) I’ve always been ‘conscious’ about how much fabric I’m buying etc., over the last few years I’ve definitely got way more uncomfortable with the lack of information on the exact provenance of all the piles of textiles piled up in my apartment. I’ve no idea where this came from really (beyond the Paris shop where it ended up), what was the dyeing process used to get that deep pink, and I’m not sure what types of synthetic materials are woven together to get that nice stretch.

But the pattern itself is a pattern hacking act of recycling though!


p.s. not my litter!

I was about to buy some new patterns recently and then I decided to reorganise my pattern shelf and look again at the patterns I’ve only made one or two times. It can be so tempting to buy new patterns all the time but I think it is good to get a balance between buying new patterns (and supporting all the wonderful indie businesses) and getting the most out of the ones you already own.

I’ve recently been re-wearing my BHL Flora dress after reworking it (‘reworking’ sounds a bit over the top as I really just lengthened the hem) and I was reminded of how perfect the fit of the bodice is. It is fitted but still has room for lunch. So I took the bodice and altered it to this more ‘corsety’ shape. Then I made some longer straps and drafted an A-line skirt with added flare. I was tempted to go for a circle skirt but I wanted the skirt to hang closer to the body. As the fabric is quite structured it still has that ‘fit and flare’ circle skirt effect but it would be interesting to make this dress in a soft, flowing fabric which would hang differently.

This dress is really fun to wear and after wearing it to the wedding I’ve also been wearing it out and about too. I didn’t get the chance to take pictures in Brighton so these were taken in Brussels in the glaring heat of this endless sunny spell.




Yay, lampost head!


Tête dans les nuages


After making my first Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt, I knew I wanted to make more!

For this version I changed the collar though. In my first version, the collar was kind of in my way so I decided to forego it this time round. Instead of using the band collar included in the pattern I drafted my own band collar/’visible bias facing thing’ so that I could get it exactly where I want it. It took aaages to get this right and I hand sewed it on in the end, but I’m really happy with the result. Here is a pic of the work in progress:


The fabric I used for the shirt was salvaged from an old sundress that I bought in New Look years ago and didn’t wear anymore. I always loved the cloudy fabric so didn’t part with it. I’m so glad I cut it up and managed to get the Kalle pattern pieces cut out from it.

It is as light and airy to wear as it looks. And it feels so good to make something you love out of something you didn’t.




I’m more motivated than ever to get through my piles of ‘things to rework’/‘UFOs’/fabric scraps. I find it quite oppressive having them in boxes in my apartment yet I just can’t part with them or donate them, and of course I can’t bin them!

I recently had one of the most therapeutic days ever though which I think only people who sew will understand. I keep all my fabric scraps that are big enough to be used again, so that is a lot of bits of fabric that – let’s be honest – won’t all get used again anytime this side of ever. I spent a few hours going through the fabric scraps and forced myself to only keep some of the really special remnants where I had a specific idea in mind of what to do with them.
The rest I used to stuff a cushion I made. It is so nice to look at the cushion and know that both the outside (made from the same fabric I used for a Belladone dress a few years ago) and the inside are nods to my past sewing projects. Such a good way to scrap bust and reduce waste!

From this….

…to this…


…to this!

Zero waste! 🙂 🙂


A new (old) summer dress

Have you looked at your UFOs and/or unworn past sewing projects recently? Here is a very short story about how my new dress of dreams was reborn from a simple alteration.

I found a big kafkan/kimono thing in the fleamarket. It was horrible but the fabric was dreamy. I wish I had a picture of how it was – you’ll just have to believe me.

2) Then I cut it up and made a BHL Flora dress wearable muslin out of it. I did wear it a bit but it quickly became one of those dresses that never gets worn. It looked ‘unbalanced’ to me, I always wanted the skirt to be a bit longer, and I was constantly pulling it down. And for some reason I made the skirt lining longer than the actual skirt which looked a bit silly in this case.


3) With the rest of the fabric I tried to make some Grainline Maritime shorts which were a massive fail because I didn’t check the fit.


4) I never got around to sorting them out and the shorts sat in my UFO pile for 4 (!!) years. The dress lingered in the wardrobe.

5) I catch sight of the dress and think ‘aaaw this dress is too nice not to wear, hold up – why don’t I just try and make some kind of hem extension thing with the fabric from the UFO shorts – this is so obvious, I could have done this four years ago!’
Some unpicking and careful cutting later to eek out just enough fabric and I have a lengthened dress that I love love love.



Moral of the story – sometimes it’s the small changes that make all the difference. #Deep
The End.