Part of the appeal of dressmaking for me is the opportunity to add your own personality and creativity to the garments you make, especially using fabrics which tell a story or capture a moment, turning a precious memory into something you can wear and smile about. Michael and I both loved exploring cities and some of our greatest adventures were our holidays to Paris and New York, and the years we lived in London, which inspired me to make a series of dresses in homage to our favourite cities using fabrics which reflect the colour and feel of my memories.
We visited Paris twice to mark two of the most special occasions in my life, my 21st birthday in August 2008 and later our first wedding anniversary in June 2012. Since both trips were in the summer, I wanted to make a pretty pastel dress to encapsulate the feeling of carefree sunny days wandering through Paris, and what better choice than the Michael Miller Parisville print? It had been loitering in my fabric stash for a while waiting to be made, and when I planned a trip to Disneyland Paris in November with my Mum including a day trip to Paris it was the perfect prompt to get sewing.
While we were in Paris, our tour group stopped off for a lunch break in the Jardin des Tuileries. After a quick dash to Angelina for chocolat chaud and a raspberry eclair (because it’s the law that you eat cake for lunch when in Paris, right?!), I snapped a few pictures of the dress. It was lovely to be back in Paris and to relive some of my happy memories there, and very special to be able to share them with Mum too.
The “One day we’re gonna live in Paris…” dress is a Christine Haynes Emery dress with short sleeves and a gathered skirt, lined in a pink polka dot with my usual exposed pink lace zip. I made the skirt a little shorter so the hem would neatly finish in line with the print, and also since despite it’s debut outing in November it’s really more of a summer dress! The good enough to eat pink macaron necklace is from Sugar & Vice.
This is one of my favourite pictures of Michael in the Jardin des Tuileries on our first trip to Paris. My memories of Paris are mostly the feeling of contentment as we strolled around the gardens and along the Seine, explored the boulevards and admired the buildings, and ate truly delicious cakes!
New York was the backdrop of one of the most perfect weeks of my life, our honeymoon in June 2011. When we got engaged and started to plan our wedding, we talked about where we might go on our honeymoon and both immediately suggested New York.
It’s the only time we ever planned a “no expense spared” holiday, because if you’re going to New York on honeymoon you’ve got to do it right – we even stayed at the Waldorf! And on my recent trip to Disneyland Paris, we stayed in the Hotel New York which was the ideal place to photograph this dress.
The “Hey you schmuck!” dress is another Christine Haynes Emery dress with short sleeves and a pleated skirt, using knife pleats at the front and box pleats at the back. It’s the first time I’ve made a pleated skirt without following a pattern and I’m very pleased with the overall shape of this dress. It’s lined with bright blue star print cotton and an exposed teal lace zip. The skyline print fabric is a pattern I found on Spoonflower, and the little yellow car necklace (which reminded me of a New York taxi!) is by the lovely Jo of Hello Sunshine.
Our New York adventure was the perfect honeymoon. I remember heading straight up the Empire State building after we checked in, and standing there not being able to believe I was actually in New York and that Michael was now my husband. And of course on this trip we ate lots of hot dogs and burgers – we always liked to embrace the local cuisine!!
London was our home from 2008 to 2012 and it was the setting for a huge part of our love story – where we first lived together and started married life, before moving back to the midlands to be closer to friends and family. It was a brilliant adventure and, although life was hectic, we had a lot of fun. We’d usually work crazy hours all week, then spend our weekends exploring different parts of the city, Michael always on the hunt for a new record shop and me usually tracking down the best cupcakes! It was our second home, so I love going back to London now and soaking it all up.
The “453 to Oxford Circus” dress is a Gather Kits Mortmain dress with a gathered skirt, lined in a navy polka dot with an exposed red lace zip. The London print fabric is by Robert Kaufman which I bought from Miss Gingers, and the red rotary phone necklace is by my favourite retro jewellery brand You Make Me Design.
I love this cheeky snap of Michael not long after we moved to London, taken on the first anniversary of when we met. So many happy memories, now all wrapped up in three colourful dresses!