Hi there! I’ve another summer dress post for you today: my excuse is that, despite today starting off gloomy and grey, I was practically melting by tea time, so it must still be summer!
Let’s talk about By Hand London’s Kim dress.
To start with: it’s totally outside my usual style but I love this dress! There’s something very appealing about the princess seamed bodice together with the full skirt (the alternative version with the slim, overlapping wrap skirt, doesn’t appeal nearly as much) which means I’m happy wearing something much lower cut than I’m generally comfy in.
I won’t be wearing them for work any time soon, mind, but not everything can multi task, amirite?
I had actually planned more versions of this dress for my holiday wardrobe (flamingo border print, I’m looking at you) but time ran out. These two were absolutely top of the list though and both got some wear on holiday.
I bought this incredible sugar skull print Alexander Henry fabric at the sewing show I went to in Olympia early on this year.
I’ve made this dress before, last year, but I needed to resize it and actually found it much easier this time around. I no longer need an FBA 😢 but I cut a size 8 as I knew last time I made it, it ended up much larger than expected.
The toile worked out ok but I redrew my pattern pieces and angled the straps in as they were too wide for my shoulders by a long way. I think I’ve still got some improvement to make on the fit but it’s not too bad.
I skipped the pintucks which should have gone round the bottom of the skirt as the fabric’s so busy I couldn’t see the point. I think I might make the skirt either longer or shorter another time, I don’t love this length.
By the way, I did the gathers on the skirt by zig zag stitching over a piece of dental floss and then using that to pull the fathers together : so much easier than proper gathering stitches!
The bodice is lined with a very lightweight muslin (I find this a really good option for summer dresses: you still get the nice finish around the neckline without any added bulk) It’s hand stitched to the invisible zip and the hem is also done by hand.
I actually did this sewing sitting on a train when required to trek to London with work for volunteering. I got some peculiar looks, but I was very grateful when we hit an hour’s delay and I got a bonus hour of peaceful stitching!
The final touch was one of the By Hand London labels I bought last year: there’s only a few of them left and I will be very sad when they’re gone!
The second version was made specifically for our anniversary outing. We’ve been married 10 years this year so decided to treat ourselves to a night at Cirque du Soleil whilst on holiday, a couple of weeks early.
I’d wanted to make a new dress, obviously, but when I saw this fabric in The Fabbadashery in Halifax, I knew it was perfect!
I chose to go with the sweetheart neckline on this one and I’m surprised how much I like it. Part of it is I got a better fit on this one by increasing the seam allowance slightly: the whole dress feels more secure and just better.
I couldn’t find either matching zip or thread for this one so used a pale grey thread and a blue invisible zip: you can see the top of it in the previous photo and actually it tones really well with the acrobats so I don’t mind it showing at the top at all, it looks like I meant it!
There’s not much else to say about this one: I’m pretty confident with the process of sewing this now so it was nice and quick plus I enjoy the hand stitching at the end.
I wore the dress for our anniversary outing (which included champagne and lobster as well as the circus: the boy done good!)
Sadly he didn’t get any good photos actually at Cirque du Soleil so you’ll have to take my word for it!
- Skirt length is not amazing, I think it needs to be slightly longer or slightly shorter
- The bodice length could also do with lengthening just a smidge, possibly at the same time as shortening the straps a touch
- I think the skirt would look better when cut to the pattern piece rather than to as much of the pattern piece as could fit on the narrower fabric!
- Pockets!! In seam pockets would be the easiest thing in the world, why didn’t I add them?
All that aside, I still love this pattern, I’m pretty happy with the dresses and I can definitely see more in my future!