Tribute to Dolly

Hi there! It’s time for another summer holiday dress, but this time it’s a Tribute Month make.

The Sewcialists Tribute Month is all about taking inspiration from another person who sews and communicates about it online. My first post this month was taking general style inspiration, from Shauni, and making a culottes jumpsuit.

This one, however, is an out and out copy. It’s blatant. It’s not subtle in any way at all. And I absolutely love it.

I can’t honestly remember whether or not Roisin’s blog was the very first sewing blog I ever found, but if it wasn’t THE first, it was one of them and she is definitely a major part of my getting so attached to sewing and to starting my own blog. I absolutely love her style, and only wish I had the confidence to rock something closer to this every day. I love the dresses, the vast collection of rainbow hued clogs and the statement jewellery.  Her blogs are still the ones I read instantly when I spot them in my Bloglovin feed, both for the frocks and her take on the world in general.

Yeah, I’m a fan!

Anyway, quite some time ago now she made a flamingo border print dress and I fell for it good and proper. It was minty green, it was retro looking, it had flamingoes; what more could you want from a frock? I was so in love that when my mother in law gave me cash for Christmas, I ordered 2m of what was a not inexpensive fabric from The Village Haberdashey in the hope of making myself my very own version of this perfect frock.

And then I got scared. I was still a relative newbie and no part of me wanted to mess up the precious, beautiful fabric. So it sat in the stash for 18 months, untouched and glorious.

Until this summer, when two things happened.  Firstly, I mastered the By Hand London “Kim” dress to my satisfaction in the dressmaker’s dress. Secondly, The Sewcialists reappeared with Tribute Month plans.

Finally, the stars aligned!

The flamingo frock of dreams was a little more intimidating than usual purely because this is a border print, which means the print runs parallel to the selvedge instead of perpendicular to it. Consequently, unless I wanted sideways clouds and flamingoes wading in very odd looking water, I needed to cut everything at 90 degrees to the grain line. This means that the fabric will have very little give at all around the body, where it usually has some, and this was quite a close fitting dress. But I decided to just get over myself and get on with it; now or never!

I took around 1/2″ out of my front bodice piece before starting, given the fitting issues I’d had on the dressmaker’s dress, and decided to go with the straight rather than sweetheart neckline. I changed the order of construction to sew the side seams last (I’m loving this technique!) and I added pockets again. These are in white lawn because I used every shred of my 2m of fabric to get the biggest skirt possible, which is still not so wide as the pattern would suggest.

Beth told me she liked my dress more than my hair so chose to crop my head slightly!!

I also used a fork again to get a pleated rather than gathered skirt; does this count as making my dress unique?

The benefit of cutting crosswise is the selvedge becomes your hem; no need at all for worrying about fraying fabric! I turned it twice using the selvedge width as a guide and got the perfect length skirt.

And even though the point of dressmaking is often to have a unique garment, which this isn’t at all, I LOVE this dress!

I’ll confess to not having finished this in time for the hols; the hand stitching of hem and lining was done on the apartment’s balcony in the sun. But hey, there are worse places to sit and sew!

Thank you so much for the inspiration, Roisin; I hope you don’t mind my blatantly copying you!


With Mr RW and my chief blog photographer; junior blog photographer had difficulty getting Daddy’s head in shot!

Go on, own up; which item of someone else’s hand made wardrobe would you secretly like to steal/ blatantly copy for yourself?

Becca x


Pattern: Kim dress by By Hand London

My measurements: bust 35″: waist / torso 30″: hip 40″

Size cut: 8-10 (grading from the bust down)

Fabric: 2m of  Flamingo Border print by Michael Miller from The Village Haberdashery 18 months since; 1/2m of white cotton lawn from Minerva Crafts to line

Adjustments made: re-drew the straps to bring them in slightly; graded between an 8 and a 10; removed around 1/2″ from the centre front bodice piece

Future adjustments: consider adding a little length to the bodice

Make again: Definitely

6 thoughts on “Tribute to Dolly

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  1. She was one of the first sewing bloggers I found too. I bought the By Hand Anna after reading her blog. Dress is fabulous. I have not made anything border print for me but a pillowcase dress for small girl. I do have a length of fabric of the not inexpensive type I haven’t sewn yet, the last dress I made from such fabric doesn’t fit now sadly. I just can’t decide on which pattern it suits.

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