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
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Happy Birthday Mum!