Colourful Cleo & Coco

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I’ve been hoping to add a few more casual pieces to my handmade wardrobe, and Tilly & The Button’s Cleo pinafore dress and Coco knit top patterns were just the ticket. I’ve worn my first Cleo dress quite a lot and it is very comfy and easy to wear (as you would expect for a pinafore dress!), so I opted to make another in a bright yellow denim, and jazzed it up with my collection of embroidered patches. I also made some simple Coco tops to wear it with out of some fun knit fabrics. I do like to dress colourfully and these outfits are certainly colourful!

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Sunshine Yellow Cleo

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For my Cleo dress, I tracked down an affordable denim in my favourite shade of sunshine yellow on eBay. Fortunately I already had some dungaree buckles in my stash which I picked up from Merchant & Mills when we were in Rye last summer, so this was quite a cheap make! I added two hip pockets this time rather than a single bib pocket – although I love the look of the bib pocket, it’s not especially practical for stashing your phone in.

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I then painstakingly stitched and ironed on all of my patch collection, which took quite a while! I’ve been very taken with the idea of making a patch dress since spotting Jo of Hello Sunshine‘s awesome denim shirt dress on Instagram which she sewed all of her patches on, so thanks to Jo for the idea!! Most of the patches are from my favourite indie creatives, making this dress a great showcase. Although I should add that I finished my dress before Jo released her new patches, so I might need to try and make room for a sunflower or sunshine van!

Colourful Cocos

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I made two Coco dresses last year and have been wanting to try the pattern as a top. I’m still not the biggest fan of knit fabrics and much prefer to sew with crisp cottons, but they are practical and I love these prints!

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This awesome fast food fabric is from Stof & Stil, and I chose it as I just know Michael would have loved it.

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This fabric is a great match with my patch dress as I think the design looks a bit like an arrangement of patches. You might have spotted that I bought a matching watermelon and ice cream patch from Stof & Stil for my pinafore dress – they have a very cute range of patches.

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I treated myself to this jolly flamingo fabric from The Village Haberdashery on my recent weekend in London. I can’t resist anything with a flamingo print!

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I think it’s safe to say I’ve added a little bit more of the rainbow to my handmade wardrobe with these makes!

Lucy x

Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably she is exceedingly lovely

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

For the next outfit in my Wes Anderson series, I created a dress inspired by the character of Agatha from the Grand Budapest Hotel. Michael and I adored this film. It was released while he was going through radiotherapy and I remember going straight from the hospital after a treatment session to watch it at the cinema together as he was so excited to see it. I think it has the best story line and pace of all of his films, as well as being incredibly funny! It’s also visually delicious, from the pink facade of the hotel in it’s glory days and the rich purples of the staff uniforms, to the pastel beauty of Mendl’s pastries.

Agatha, Grand Budapest Hotel

Agatha’s uniform (above) is a simple but pretty dress with a peter pan collar, and I decided to recreate this outfit with a slight twist.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

I don’t often wear solid colour dresses so rather than copy the dress exactly I chose a fabric inspired by the colour palette, a cream and coral Art Gallery striped print from The Crafty Mastermind. I edged the collar, sleeves and hem with a complimentary coral bias binding, and made a little bow for the collar.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

To create the shape of the dress, I hacked the Emery dress pattern, which you will know by now is my favourite! I love the shape, fit and vintage style of the Emery, but needed to tweak a few details to more closely mimic Agatha’s dress. I rounded the edges of the collar to create a soft peter pan collar, added gathering and volume to the sleeve head and extended the sleeve length, and pleated the skirt rather than gathering it.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

I’m really pleased with the finished dress, it’s very sweet with a vintage feel and will be lovely to wear in the summer. Happily I recently restocked my collection of Sun Jellies sandals and have a peach pair which match perfectly! I’m off on holiday at the end of the month and this dress will definitely be coming with me.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

And as the perfect finishing touch, I found this Mendl’s brooch from Sayonara Baby on Etsy.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

Now if only someone would deliver a real Mendl’s box to me with a Courtesan au Chocolat, mmm! Perhaps I should have a go at making my own with this recipe!

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

Next up I’ll be recreating Suzy Bishop’s iconic dress from Moonrise Kingdom, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Lucy x

Wonderland Dresses

Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Alice in Wonderland, Handmade Dresses

The latest Rifle Paper Co fabric range for Cotton & Steel is my dream collection and I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release since it was announced last year! Inspired by Anna Bond’s beautiful illustrations for the 150th anniversary edition of Alice in Wonderland, the Wonderland collection is simply beautiful and perfect for fellow Alice fans (you might remember I already have one extravagant Alice border print dress in my handmade wardrobe!). After much deliberation, and being completely unable to narrow it down to just one favourite print, I ordered both the Cameo print in rose and the Wonderland print in periwinkle to make myself a couple of wonderful Wonderland dresses.

Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Since these fabrics are so beautiful they really do speak for themselves, so I’ll keep the talk to a minimum! I used the pink cameo print to make a sleeveless princess seamed dress with a full gathered skirt, and wore it here with my Tatty Devine ruby slippers necklace (mixing up my favourite childhood stories!) and Liberty x French Sole ballet pumps. A very pretty dress with a definite vintage feel!

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Liberty French Sole Ballet Pumps, Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

This print immediately stood out from the collection because of the similarity to the book cover, and the gorgeous shade of periwinkle blue, which is the same as the floral Rifle Paper Co dress from the last fabric collection. I chose to make a short sleeved Emery dress, but with a slightly longer and fuller gathered skirt than usual to make it extra fancy.  I wore it here with my favourite glittery Fairytale Collars, red tights and gold Orla Kiely for Clarks shoes to pick up on the beautiful metallic details in the fabric. I’m always drawn to any fabric with a metallic element!

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

As expected, I am so in love with these two dresses and I have already worn each of them for special occasions!

Lucy x

 

Birthday Dresses For Mum!

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Today is my lovely Mum’s birthday and for her gift this year I surprised her with two rather nice handmade dresses, if I do say so myself! Mum is almost as obsessed with pretty dresses as I am so I’ve made her a few over the past year. For her birthday, I settled on a nautical dress and a strawberry print dress, both made out of fabrics from the latest Cotton & Steel collections. After browsing through the look book for the new collections, I really liked the sample dresses made up in these two prints which I knew Mum would love so my decision was made! I bought all of the fabrics from Miss Matatabi on Etsy as I couldn’t seem to find a UK seller who stocked both of these prints.

Nautical But Nice Dress

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First up, I made a very nautical dress using the Waves print from the “Kujira & Star” collection by Rashida Coleman-Hale, which I lined with the complimentary Whale Dance print from the same collection. The concept behind this collection is so cute – it tells the story of a baby whale called Kujira and his best friend, a starfish named Star, who longs to see the ocean beyond his reef, so Kujira takes him on a tour around the waters of Japan. So charming, I do love prints that tell a story. I particularly liked the wave print as it’s a very simple but effective pattern and has a soft modern look. As always with Cotton & Steel, the fabric is a lovely weight and a dream to sew with.

I used the Emery pattern for this dress as I have made it for Mum before and knew it would fit well, but I wanted to adapt the neckline to add a more nautical looking collar. Mum had chosen a gorgeous dress from Emily & Fin as her birthday gift from my Dad, and so I decided to try and copy the collar since I knew how much she loved the shape. I traced off the neckline and collar from the Emily & Fin dress and adapted the Emery bodice pieces to incorporate the new neckline. It was a bit of a gamble, but it paid off as the dress turned out exactly how I hoped!

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I also pleated the skirt to mimic the pleating on the Emily & Fin dress. I find pleating really hard to do when the pattern doesn’t already give me notches to follow. I always hope I’ve calculated everything correctly but at the end it doesn’t line up and I have to start again, so this part was a little frustrating! But worth the effort as I think the pleats create the right shape for this dress.

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I bought some blue bias binding to use as a trim, stitching it flat around the edge of the collar and the hem, and then added a blue exposed lace zip to finish. I think the blue details really add to the nautical feel of the dress and make it very cute!

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I’m pleased to report Mum loved the dress so much she put it on immediately and it fits her perfectly – she looks absolutely fab in it!

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Strawberries Dress

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For the second dress, I chose the Strawberry print in navy from the absolutely adorable “Yours Truly” collection by Kim Kight, and lined it with a red polka dot cotton. Mum loves strawberries and always picks things up with a strawberry pattern, so I knew this would be up her street. For some reason this print was really hard to photograph – I’m blaming the dark weekend we’ve had! I promise it’s even lovelier in real life.

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I made a princess seamed bodice with a scooped neckline, and a full gathered skirt. I also added the bow from the Emery dress pattern for a little bit of extra cuteness.

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I used a contrasting red lace zip, my usual finishing touch! I don’t have a picture of Mum wearing this dress yet but she loves it and it fits very well. So all in all, a very successful gift!

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We’ve had a lovely day out and popped to the Trafford Centre in Manchester with my Dad, where we had lunch at Est Est Est and did a spot of shopping (mostly in Cath Kidston!). Mum had quite a few compliments on her dress and lovely outfit! Here we are being ladies who lunch!

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Happy Birthday Mum!

Lucy x

Making Skirts Into Dresses

On a recent review of my wardrobe, I realised I have two very lovely skirts which I wasn’t getting much wear out of, but not because I didn’t love the prints. They are in fact two of my favourites, especially because Michael helped me to choose them. I just don’t really wear skirts as I never feel as comfortable in them as dresses, and I like the fact that a dress is an instant outfit. So I thought I ‘d see if I could adapt each of these skirts into dresses and get them into more regular rotation!

Mid Century Lindy Bop Skirt to By Hand London Kim Dress

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I bought this skirt from Lindy Bop a couple of years ago after instantly falling in love with the bold, mid-century inspired print. It wasn’t available as a dress, but I liked it so much I chose the skirt anyway.

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As it was a very full gathered skirt there was plenty of fabric to play with, so I managed to cut out both a By Hand London Kim bodice and an Emery skirt. And so the skirt became this dress!

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I happened to have some yellow piping in my stash so I used it to highlight the princess seams in the bodice and the waist seam. And as I didn’t have enough fabric to be able to pattern match across the seams, I hoped adding piping might break up the seam line so it wouldn’t matter if the pattern didn’t quite line up!

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To finish it off, I added a blue lace exposed zip. I’m very pleased with the finished dress, and I think it shows off the fabulous print even better than the skirt!

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Palava Farmer’s Market Skirt to By Hand London Flora Dress

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It’s no secret that I love Palava and their beautiful story telling dresses. When they released their Farmer’s Market collection a few years ago, I treated myself to this skirt since I couldn’t stretch to the dress at the time. I have worn it a couple of times, but not nearly as often as my other Palava dresses.

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When I spotted an apron made in the same material for a very reasonable price in Palava’s last sale, I snapped it up thinking I could use the extra material to make a bodice to attach to the skirt.

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I chose the By Hand London Flora bodice as I love both the shape and the fit and thought it would complement the skirt. The square neckline is great for showing off a statement necklace, like this cheese & biscuit beauty by Hello Sunshine.

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I took the waistband off the skirt and gathered the main fabric to attach it to the bodice. It’s slightly shorter than my usual knee length, but I think it creates a cute shape.

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I’m so pleased to have created a more wearable outfit using this fabric. There is so much detail in the fabulous border print, even the little girl at the market is wearing a Palava dress!

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Lucy x

DIY Tutorial: Knitted Bandana for #WearItOut

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Following my DIY tutorial last week to sew your own bandana to wear on Friday 3 March for the Bandanas For Brain Tumours #WearItOut campaign in support of The Brain Tumour Charity, tonight I have another tutorial for a different take on the bandana! My lovely Mum Bev, aka Spotty Daisy, designed and knitted this beautiful collar with a ribbon edge effect which you could wear as a bandana on Friday 3 March. Isn’t it pretty? And she very kindly put together the instructions for you to make your own! It’s very easy to wear as one end slips through the other to secure it, and super snuggly too!

How to Make Your Own Ribbon Edge Effect Slip Through Collar

You will require:

  • 1 x 50g ball of DK yarn (more if larger collar required)
  • 4mm knitting needles
  • Stitch holder
  • Darning needle

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Instructions:

Cast on 3 stitches

Row 1. Knit 2 slip last stitch purlwise

Row 2. Knit 1 increase 1 knit to last stitch, slip last stitch purlwise

Row 3. Knit to last stitch, slip last stitch purlwise

Row 4. Knit 1 increase 1, knit to last stitch, slip last stitch purlwise

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until you have 12 stitches

Place these 12 stitches onto a stitch holder

Cast on 3 stitches

Repeat above instructions until you have 12 stitches

Rejoin the first section you knitted (12 stitches) onto your needle, ensuring that the two straight edges are on the outside of your knitting (i.e. the edges where you have increased should both point inwards to create a cut ribbon effect (see photo below) 24 stitches in total

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Knit across the 24 stitches for 30 rows, remembering to always slip your last stitch purlwise on every row

Now rib (K1 P1) to last stitch, then slip last stitch purlwise

Repeat this for a total of 8 rows

Rib 8, cast off 8 stitches, rib 7, slip last stitch purlwise

Rib 8, cast on 8 stitches, rib 7, slip last stitch purlwise (24 stitches in total) (this creates the hole for your collar to thread through, it’s the same procedure as when making a button hole)

Rib for 8 more rows, remembering to always slip last stitch purlwise

Now knit every row (always slipping last stitch purlwise) for approximately 15 inches (or however long you need the collar to be, check your neck measurement as you knit to ensure a comfy fit!)

Rib (K1 P1) for 18 rows, always remembering to slip last stitch purlwise

Knit 30 rows, again remembering to slip last stitch purlwise

Knit 11, slip next stitch purlwise, slip remaining 12 stitches onto a stitch holder

Working on the 12 stitches left on your needle:

Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to last stitch, slip last stitch purlwise

Knit to last stitch, slip last stitch purlwise

Repeat the above two rows until you have 2 stitches remaining

Cast off

Pick up 12 stitches from stitch holder

Knit 11, slip last stitch purlwise

Knit 9, Knit 2 together, slip last stitch purlwise

Repeat these two rows until you have 2 stitches remaining

Cast off

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If you do knit your own bandana to wear on Friday 3 March, don’t forget to share a picture using the hashtag #WearItOut, and why not text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

Thanks for your support!

Lucy x

A Weekend in London: What I Wore

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A handy consequence of having a slightly out of control fabric stash is that I can quickly whip up a whole new wardrobe for a weekend away! I planned a trip to London last weekend to catch up with friends and eat lots of cake, and I made a few fun outfits to wear while I was away.

Raised On a Diet of Broken Biscuits

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I’ve been so excited about this biscuity outfit ever since I first had the idea! I’d been planning to try out the Tilly & The Buttons Cleo dungaree dress pattern after seeing about 3 million amazing versions on Instagram, and had chosen the baby pink denim kit. Then the Nikki McWilliams Biscuit Babe patch I had separately ordered arrived (Instagram is a bad influence on my online shopping habit!) and it looked perfect against the pink denim! Which also reminded me that I had bought a Makower biscuit print fabric last year which was still loitering in my stash, and would complement the dungaree dress nicely, so the idea for the ultimate biscuit outfit was born!

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Although I mostly wear dresses, I also want to keep improving my sewing skills and I fancied trying to make a shirt. Generally speaking shirts don’t often fit me well, but I liked the curved lines of the Tilly & The Buttons Rosa shirt. A biscuit print shirt to match my dungaree dress seemed the ideal choice. It’s quite a full on outfit, but I’m not usually one to shy away from a bold print – go big or go home!

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I really enjoyed making both the shirt and the dungaree dress as I learned a few new techniques. As usual with Tilly’s patterns, both were easy to follow and fun to sew, and resulted in modern, wearable, comfortable garments with lovely feminine silhouettes. I’ll definitely be making more of both.

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I was a little concerned about sewing up the denim dungaree dress since I haven’t worked with denim before, but it was lovely to sew. I’d highly recommend one of the Cleo kits since it comes with absolutely everything you need to make the dress. I always find it frustrating when I want to start a project but haven’t got all of the bits I need (zips, linings, interfacing etc) so it was very handy to buy it all in one package! The Cleo is a surprisingly quick make, and very satisfying to sew.

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I’m quite proud of how the collar on my Rosa shirt turned out as it’s the first time I’ve assembled a collar stand. It’s pretty sharp for my first attempt if I do say so myself! I used a contrasting pink and red polka dot print for the inside of the collar stand and button band facing, and finished it off with one of my new mint green “Smile & Make”labels.

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I wore this outfit to meet up with Daisy of Make Thrift London for a fun day exploring Brick Lane. Daisy had whipped up her own dungarees to wear too so we wear proudly flying the flag for handmade!

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D’ya Wanna Cwoffee, You Schmuck?

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Next, I made a classic Christine Haynes Emery dress in this incredible retro coffee pot print by Melody Miller for Kokka, which I picked up from The Eternal Maker’s destash Instagram account last year. The Emery always seems to be my pattern of choice for fabrics I really love, as it looks so good in pretty much any print and I know it will get lots of wear. The fabric is a cotton/linen blend with a lovely weight, so I made a pleated skirt since the fabric holds the pleats well, and it creates a great full shape.

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I only had 2 metres of this fabric, and although it was a little wider than the usual quilting cotton width it was still a little tight to cut out an Emery with sleeves. So I’m quite pleased with my pattern matching across the sleeves and around the skirt given how little fabric I had to play with!

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I wore this dress to meet friends for coffee & brunch at the Palm Vaults cafe in Hackney. Yep, I like to be literal with my outfits – a coffee dress for a coffee date!

Bullseye Mark Two

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Have you ever had a fabric you love so much you bought it in more than one colour way? I already have a Mortmain dress in the navy version of this Cotton & Steel print, and when I spotted the pink/coral alternative in the sale on The Crafty Mastermind I decided I needed a second arrow dress. The print is particularly special to me as it’s one Michael chose for me last year. I’d created a Pinterest board for fabrics I loved which he had obviously been looking at, and he said I absolutely had to get the navy striped arrows, so I immediately ordered it. And now I get to have two versions.

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Since this will really be a dress for summer, I made a By Hand London Flora with a full gathered skirt. I think the dress has definite Palm Springs vibes, so I accessorised with ice cream, cacti and a mid century Palm Springs house!

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My favourite detail in this print is the metallic gold touches. I love any fabric with a hint of metallic.

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I wore this dress to meet my best friend Jo for dinner at All Star Lanes on Brick Lane. I think I’ll be wearing it lots more with my range of pastel Sun Jellies in the summer.

Beauty School Drop Out

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I could have purchased all of Melody Miller’s latest collection for Cotton & Steel, Jubilee. Ultimately I settled on the ladies with balloons and this make up print from The Fabric Fox, which has so much detail and great mid century design references, making it the perfect balance of girly and retro.

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I made a princess seamed bodice with a full gathered skirt for a classic vintage silhouette. It was a great match with this Tatty Devine harlequin necklace which I picked up in the sale after Christmas.

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I wore this dress for afternoon tea at Hoi Polloi with my lovely friend Livvie, and jazzed it up with some bright pink tights!

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I had a really lovely weekend in London, if a little exhausting! I snapped lots of photos of the places I visited which I’ll try and share in a separate post soon.

Lucy x