Making My Own Wardrobe: the Summer Holiday Edit

In preparation for our last minute break to Sussex, I had a lovely week of sewing to make a new handmade holiday wardrobe. I ploughed through all of the summery prints in my stash, which turned out to be an excellent decision as the weather was beautiful! It was pretty special to wear only dresses I had made for the week. One of the reasons I love making my own clothes is being able to choose fabrics which tell a story or have a personal meaning for me, making lots of dresses full of happy memories.

Ice cream is gonna save the day


For my birthday last year, Michael decided to theme my presents. He bought me an Emily and Fin dress in an ice lolly print, socks with ice creams on, a Lego ice cream van, an ice cream light, and lots more. Even after my birthday, he still bought me anything he saw that was ice cream related. I even found a mug he had bought for me with an ice cream van illustration on it stashed away after he died – he couldn’t stop! So now I can’t resist anything ice cream related, making this fabric an obvious choice. I know Michael would have loved the bright sunshine yellow background and the ice cream vans.

Dress made by me in ice cream van print cotton (Makower) using the By Hand London Elisalex bodice with the  Christine Haynes Emery skirt / Ice cream van necklace – birthday gift / Yellow clogs – Lotta from Stockholm / Atomic Tote Bag – Sun Jellies

Flamboyance of flamingoes


Dress made by me in Flamingo border print cotton (Michael Miller) using the By Hand London Flora bodice with the  Christine Haynes Emery skirt / Flamingo necklace – Erstwilder / Spotty Shoes – Boden (past season) / Atomic Tote Bag – Sun Jellies

Pink tulips


Pink tulips are the first flowers Michael ever bought for me. We’d been together for a few weeks and I was about to head home from Oxford for the Christmas holidays so we arranged to have an early Christmas together. When I met Michael in the covered market he was standing waiting with a huge bunch of pink tulips, so this dress reminds me of that day.

Dress made by me in Tulip print cotton (Sommer range by Michael Miller) using the  Christine Haynes Emery pattern / Broderie Anglaise Necklace – Tatty Devine  (sold out online – available here)  / Red spotty clogs – from a lovely shoe shop in Rye / Picnic Basket bag – Accessorize (past season)

We fly balloons on this fuel called love


Dress made by me in Hot Air balloon cotton using the  Christine Haynes Emery pattern with a pleated skirt / Hot Air balloon necklace – Erstwilder  / Trainers – Cath Kidston (past season) / Hot Air balloon satchel – Disaster Designs

Marry me


This fabric is extra special to me. Michael proposed to me with a message in a bottle on Broadstairs beach, the most romantic proposal I could have imagined and so perfectly us. We even re-created the scene as part of our engagement shoot. I even have a beautiful Message in a Bottle brooch from Erstwilder to match.

Dress made by me in Message in a bottle print cotton (Robert Kaufman) using the By Hand London Flora bodice with the  Christine Haynes Emery skirt / Bag – Jane Foster / Sandals – Seasalt

Anniversary flowers


Dress made by me in Fancy & Fabulous cotton (Riley Blake) using the  Christine Haynes Emery pattern / Floral necklace – Layla Amber  / Yellow clogs – Lotta from Stockholm / Picnic Basket bag – Accessorize (past season)

Little black dress


This print has little yellow taxis and travel themed illustrations, and makes me think of our honeymoon in New York.

Dress made by me in Bon Voyages print cotton (Rifle Paper Co Les Fleurs collection for Cotton & Steel) using the By Hand London Kim dress with a partial circle skirt / Floral necklace – Layla Amber / Orla Kiely red wedges – Clarks (past season) / Picnic Basket bag – Accessorize (past season)

A field of daisies


Dress made by me in Painted Daisies cotton (made from a Cath Kidston duvet cover) using the By Hand London Kim dress pattern / Atomic Tote Bag – Sun Jellies / Broderie Anglaise Necklace – Tatty Devine  (sold out online – available here) / Mary Jane shoes – Clarks (sold out online – similar here)

Here are close ups of all the fabrics I used:

Now I’ve used up all of my summery prints, I’m seriously planning my Autumn wardrobe. Lots of woodland prints coming up!

Lucy x


5 thoughts on “Making My Own Wardrobe: the Summer Holiday Edit

  1. Meg Buck says:

    Hi Lucy, I’m loving your blog and I’m so glad to have found it. Your dresses are such an inspiration. I’m in Australia and we’re now coming into summer YAY! so I’m now thinking about some new summer dresses. Could you please let me know the pattern and fabric (if you can remember) of the dress you’re wearing on your ABOUT page??? Kind regards, Meg in Brisbane x


  2. Lynsey says:

    Wow you have made some awesome dresses, they fit great and you look fab. All the prints are utterly gorgeous and it’s wonderful you have me memories attached, each dress now has a special place in your heart and can give you a warm feeling when your wearing them. I hope you are able to find some Autumn prints that have similar meaning but imagine that would harder. I’m starting to think of warmer clothes, I need some winter dresses to get me out of my skinny jean phase (I look after children so they’re so easy but boring) x


    • smileandmake says:

      Thanks Lynsey! Yes the autumnal prints are less meaningful but there’s a few with nice stories. Mostly lots of cute woodland prints! I imagine it must be hard to find fun but practical clothes! And there’s nothing wrong with skinny jeans!


  3. Gill says:

    What a wonderful collection of beautiful quirky frocks! Being a big Christine Haynes Emery fan myself, please can I pick your brains? When you make the sleeveless version, do you alter the armholes at all, or do you just leave the sleeves off with no other bodice alteration? I ask, because yours seem to fit perfectly, and I’d like to make a sleeveless version.
    Thanks, Gill


    • smileandmake says:

      Hi Gill, thank you so much! Well, the first time I made one I just left the sleeves off but to be honest the fit wasn’t perfect so I had to make some adjustments. I’ve had to taper in the side seams to take out some of the extra ease from under the arms, and made the arm hole a bit smaller. At the moment I’ve just done it by adjusting seam allowances but I really should properly redraft the pattern piece! There was a blog post in the sew along for the Emery about making it sleeveless and the adjustments you might need, have you seen that? Good luck! Lucy x


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s