Adventure Is Out There!

Time for a round up of the second week of #noveltyoutfitclub, “Adventure Is Out There!” It’s been another fabulously colourful week and I’m having so much fun seeing everyone’s outfits!

My Outfits For Adventure Week

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Day 1 – Up!

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Day 2 – Paris

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Day 3 – San Francisco

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Day 4 – Camping!

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Day 5 – Bon Voyage!

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Day 6 – Boats

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Day 7 – New York

Highlights From Adventure Week

This week’s fabulous outfits took us to London, New York and Paris with @miss_strawberry_shortgirl, @alyssak316  & @hp_sews

There were more gorgeous handmade creations in some very fun fabrics! (Clockwise from top: @sewistella, @thedressgarden, @catherine2147, @whiskandstitch)

Some of the outfits even took us into outer space! (Clockwise from top: @miss.v.stitch, @thecupcakequeen, @katieloveskittycats, @therealfairymary)

And there were some gloriously colourful accessories! (Clockwise from top: @geminigemgems, @noleenashby80, @lespetitloups, @myshewasyare)

We’ve cycled and sailed off on our adventures… (Clockwise from top: @lola_and_squirrel, @j9shappiness, @sewoldfashioned, @chimpsteaparty)

As always, there was excellent head to toe outfit styling from these gorgeous ladies! (Clockwise from top: @pippaquigley25, @miss_lottie_rose, @pinup_is_my_prozac, @rebeccarowlands)

And our adventures even took us to the wild west, and up snowy mountains with @dinoprincesschar & @vendouris

Again, this really is only a small sample of the fabulous photos people have shared, so do have a look through the hashtag here. Thank you again to all of the wonderful participants for creating such wonderful and imaginative outfits, it’s an absolute joy scrolling through the hashtag now! And apologies for sharing this round up a little later than planned – I’ve been struggling with headaches and migraines so have had to avoid too much screen time, but I think it’s starting to get a little better now.

Week themes

Moving on from adventure week, this week’s theme is “Sweets and Treats” and there are already some truly delicious outfits on the hashtag! I’ll be back this weekend to share the top treats – yum!!

Lucy x

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A Week in Wonderland

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As I was finishing up my latest handmade dress last weekend, I realised I now have 7 Alice in Wonderland themed dresses in my handmade wardrobe – one for every day of the week!! So this week, just for fun, I’m decided to wear one each day and spend a week in Wonderland. I shared pictures of my outfits over on Instagram throughout the week, and I thought I’d post a round up here too!

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Day 1

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Dress: Picnic dress (which I sell over at smileandmake.tictail.com!) in Rose Cameos print, from the Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton & Steel (previously blogged here)/ Cardigan: CollectifShoes: Irregular Choice / Necklace: Smile & Make

Day 2

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Dress: By Hand London Flora dress in Procession print, from the Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton & Steel / Shoes: Irregular Choice / Petticoat: Palava

Day 3

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Dress: Christine Haynes Emery dress in a Japanese border print fabric (previously blogged here)/ Collar: Gather Kits Tallis – make your own version on our upcoming workshop! / Shoes: Irregular Choice

Day 4

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Dress: By Hand London Flora dress in Tea Party print, from the Wonderland collection by Blend Fabrics / Shoes: eBay / Necklace: Handmade as a gift by Spotty Daisy

Day 5

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Dress: Picnic dress in Magic Forest print, with contrasting collar and cuffs in Follow Suit, both from the Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton & Steel / Shoes: Orla Kiely for Clarks (past season) / Brooch: gift

Day 6

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Dress: Picnic dress in Rabbits print, from the Wonderland collection by Riley Blake / Shoes: Irregular Choice / Necklace: Little Moose

Day 7

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Dress: Christine Haynes Emery dress in Wonderland light blue print, from the Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton & Steel (previously blogged here) / Cardigan: New Look / Shoes: Irregular Choice / Pin: House of Wonderland

So there you have it, a full week of Alice in Wonderland! I’ve also recently made a few custom dress orders in other colour ways from the Cotton & Steel Wonderland collection which are rather lovely, so I think I might need to add these fabrics to my wish list too! Perfect for Autumn/Winter in their deep colours…

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Lucy x

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The Perfect Sun Dress – Butterick B6453

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I managed to sneak in a couple of new handmade sun dresses just before summer disappears here in the UK using the Butterick B6453 pattern by Gertie. I’ve been wanting to find a pattern for a strappy dress similar to the popular Jenny dress by US brand Pin Up Girl clothing, which I’ve long lusted after online but have never quite been brave enough to order by the time you factor in customs & shipping. The B6453 is the perfect shape and I love Gertie’s style, so it was precisely what I’d been looking for! I also joined the Facebook group Gertie set up for the sew along to accompany the pattern and it’s been so inspiring to see all of the gorgeous dresses the ladies in the group have created!

Caturday

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I made my first B6453 in this beautiful cat border print fabric, from the new Caturday range by Windham Fabrics, designed by Felice Regina. Felice and I had arranged on Instagram to do a pin swap and as we were exchanging details I mentioned that I loved the latest fabric range she had designed and the photos I’d seen of her gorgeous booth at Quilt Market, so she very kindly sent me some of the fabric to try!

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I’m always a sucker for a border print and this fabric is just darling. The main body of the fabric has tiny polka dots, but when you look closely some of them are paw prints! And the cats lazing around against their backdrop of doilies – have you ever seen a more perfectly twee print?! I’m in love!

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When it came to sewing the dress, I made sure to choose my size based on the finished garment measurements as Gertie advised since Butterick include quite a bit of ease in this pattern. I had to shorten the bodice slightly for my proportions, and I still had to take it in a little on the centre back seam to make it fit, but I’m very happy with the result!

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I cheated a little and didn’t put sliders on the straps as the pattern requires but instead measured and sewed them at a fixed length. I’ve seen quite a few versions with tie straps too which looks very cute, so I’d like to give that a try! The only other change I made was to line the bodice rather than using the facings. I think the bodice is very flattering and I love the shape, it’s exactly what I wanted.

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Vintage Daydream

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I made my second version of this dress using a Riley Blake fabric which is pleasingly called Vintage Daydream, purchased from the lovely Hollies Haberdashery.

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I’m a big fan of bunting and will have it absolutely everywhere if allowed, and even own several bunting necklaces (which will likely be no surprise!!) so this fabric was the perfect choice. I particularly like the bunting strings that look like floral vintage handkerchiefs knotted together!

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I always find it hard to take photos of the back of dresses as they can be so unexciting and hard to capture. But this dress has such a beautiful scooped back I made an exception!

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I’m really pleased with both of these dresses, they are so unashamedly girly! I’m certain the B6453 pattern will become another staple in my handmade wardrobe as it’s perfect for pretty cotton sundresses like these, and will also work fabulously as a fancy dress for a special occasion. I might need to make a posh version for Christmas!

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I think I’m definitely back on the blogging train now and I’ve still got a few more dresses I’ve made recently to share, so I’ll be back soon!

Lucy x

The Laneway Dress

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After an unintentional blogging break, I’m back with a gorgeous new dress pattern to talk about, the Laneway Dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade!

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When Jennifer got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in trying the pattern, I was excited as I love the vintage silhouette and the unusual collar detail, but most of all because the dress is cleverly drafted to allow for different cup sizes and achieve an excellent fit!

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I didn’t quite get the perfect fit on this dress as I actually made it a little too big, but that’s my fault rather than any flaw in the pattern, which I found to be very well drafted and didn’t disappoint! I was nervous of how the dress would fit around the middle since it has a fairly flat waistline and so I graded out to a larger size on the waist, but I over compensated and it ended up being a bit too loose. The fit is just right around the shoulders so I will know next time that I can be less cautious and just make my straight size. I ought to have made a muslin first but I’m too impatient! When I spend time sewing I want to get a finished garment out of it so my usual approach with a new pattern is to just go for it but keep tinkering with the fit each time I make the pattern. I already have my next Laneway cut out and another planned after that, so I’m sure I’ll have it spot on soon. I do particularly like how the bodice is shaped with double open-ended darts in the waist rather than usual bust and waist darts – which is similar to another pattern I have made and loved – and I think once I get the sizing right it will be a fabulous shape. I’ve taken the side seams in a little and I’m still very pleased with the finished dress, it is completely wearable and very comfy!

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Just look at this collar detail, isn’t it swoon worthy? It’s also really easy to sew as it’s all part of the facing – so no fiddly extra collar to attach! I chose the asymmetric line as it adds a quirky touch, but you can also choose a centred collar, or make it without the collar. I usually line the bodices of all my dresses rather than using facings, even if the pattern doesn’t require it, but this time I did make the facing so as to follow the pattern correctly the first time I made it. I’m actually quite happy with the facing as the collar does help to hold it properly in place. The dress also has a v neckline at the back which is a nice extra detail.

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I did add a little extra swing into the skirt as it is drafted as an A-line but I prefer a fit and flare shape, so I just extended to curve of the hemline as wide as I could when I cut out the skirt pieces. I also want to try making the dress with a plain neckline and a gathered skirt, which should be another lovely combination!

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I’ve had my eye on this beautiful Art Gallery fabric for a while after seeing it on Instagram and in a couple of haberdasheries. It’s from the Pastel Thrift collection, and the vintage record players and gramophones are charming. I’m always drawn to anything yellow and the tone of this dress is somewhere nicely between a bold yellow and a mustard yellow, so it adds a slightly different position on the spectrum to my wardrobe!! I think the fabric choice actually gives the dress quite a 1960s feel, despite it being a 1940s inspired shape, which shows the versatility of the dress pattern. It was the first time I’ve made a dress with an Art Gallery fabric and it was an absolute dream to sew with and lovely to wear, it’s quite soft and silky with a nice amount of drape for a quilting cotton. The collar is a Cotton & Steel fabric from the Sprinkles range, using material left over from an Emery dress I made last year. That dress is very special to me as Michael chose the fabric, so I wanted to draw on the colours and style for this dress. As a serious vinyl lover and collector, I know he would have loved this fabric too.

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Overall, I found the Laneway dress to be a really fab pattern with an elegant vintage feel, and I’ll definitely be making more!

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

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