An Autumn Dress

Autumn is by far my favourite time of year and, although we are perhaps now edging into winter, the countryside still bears the hallmarks of a classic autumnal day: the trees are alight with a whole array of reds and oranges, the countryside heavy with the smell of wood smoke and bonfires, fresh with a nip in the air. Leith Hall in Aberdeenshire – one of my favourite places in the world – is currently looking exactly how I expect autumn to look. I hadn’t been to Leith Hall since before uni and, having spent a lot of time there as a child, I was worried rose tinted spectacles may have set in. They hadn’t – it is as perfectly beautiful and unspoilt as I remembered, especially as we picked a spectacularly clear, sunny day to go. It definitely didn’t feel like October 31st! This dress, made a month or two ago, could have been made for the autumn gardens at Leith Hall – they were the perfect background for photos.


The fabric I used for this dress looks like autumn. I spotted it on the Croftmill website ages ago, where it was described as having a pattern of wildflowers on it of ‘the sort Cathy would run through to meet Heathcliff.’ I was sold (I’m easily pleased). The red makes a lovely backdrop to the creamy beige of the flowers (if they were a tube of paint I’d call them buff titanium) giving it a vintage feel, whilst the busy nature of the pattern meant that I didn’t bother worrying about pattern matching. I wanted to create something fairly free and easy – no fussy details or ties – as I felt that this was most in keeping with my hedgerow inspiration, so I chose the bodice from By Hand London’s Anna dress and the gathered skirt option of Sewaholic’s Cambie dress. I know, done to death and blogged about a million times – this paring is hardly new and inspired but it’s new to me and I’m totally in love. I have a whole series of these dresses planned; my wardrobe will be bursting with them. I made a toile up for the Anna dress and found I needed to take a big chunk out the back – it gaped terribly – so, following the tutorial on Ginger Makes blog (http://gingermakes.com/2013/09/06/by-hand-london-anna-dress-narrow-shoulder-adjustment/), I did the necessary adjustment and it seems fine, although if I’m going to be nit-picky it does gape just a wee bit at the front. Not enough to make a big issue of though, I’m not really that fussed.

Kicking up leaves - back view
Kicking up leaves – back view

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The gaping at the neckline looks really bad in this photo (perhaps sitting down makes it gape out?) – it’s generally not so noticable/bad in real life!

This dress is going to get such a lot of wear this autumn and on into winter – it’s ideal for layering up and oh so comfy (yet still pretty). After a year of garment sewing I feel that I’m finally beginning to make clothes whose finish I am pleased with and which I’m pretty sure will withstand regular wear and washing.

The gardens at Leith Hall – beautiful in Autumn colours

Hannah x

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6 thoughts on “An Autumn Dress

  1. I like your dress! Today I spotted Anne dress on Miss Maddie Sews site, and now I want to sew it for myself.
    The long version of course 🙂 Althought, Im not sure which fabric I want to use… Polyester fabrics are cheap but Im looking for something natural. Silk is too expensive… any suggestion? 🙂

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 I spotted her dress too – isn’t it beautiful! I would love to sew the long version too, it would be such a lovely dress to have for summer. How about a rayon (I think rayon is also called viscose) – it has a lovely feel and drape to it, and isn’t generally too expensive. It’s not strictly speaking natural though (I don’t think). I’ve used a cotton lawn with this one – the fabric recommendations on the pattern packet suggests using a voile or a chiffon which I might try for a light summer version. Excited to see what you end up doing! 🙂

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      1. Haha, thanks 🙂
        Hmm, yeah, here in Hungary we call it viscose (sometimes I feel so lost in the fabric terminology…), I spotted a nice light jacquard fabric which might work. http://www.eurotextil.hu/termek/Lagy_jacquard_selyem-7325-5820
        It is made of viscose.

        And I am wondering to buy some of this as well: http://www.eurotextil.hu/termek/Vekony_selyem_santung-4170-2220

        I have a very white/pale skin, I might use some stronger shade.

        (sorry for my English, it is not my native)

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  2. I get a bit confused with fabric terminology too – especially when buying online and I can’t actually feel the fabric before buying it. The light jacquard fabric is very pretty – it would make a lovely dress! But so is the other fabric – that lovely minty green fabric would be perfect for a dress which you could then dress up with jewellery & accessories….
    Being pale though you’d definitely get away with stronger warm shades too!

    (You’re English is perfect – way better than I could ever speak another language!! 🙂 )

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    1. Haha, thank you 🙂
      I’m thinking about the jacquard (grey) fabric, but Christmas is coming and I have to save money – meanwhile I gotta buy some lingerie notions as well… hmm, I’ll think about it.
      Yeah, I love warm shades also, with my red hair I love the autumn colours, but funny thing I don’t intend to but I never happen to wear green (I think I want to, I’M just more attracted to pastel colours, purple, pink, burgundy, icy blue) but this season I successfully bought second-hand green jeans! 😀

      I don’t want to be awkward, but is there any way to get in contact with you? I barely find “newbie’ seamstresses with whom I can share my sewing journey, especially not from Europe. Either they are professionals, or just too basic. 🙂

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  3. I can’t believe how close Christmas is coming – I’m trying to resist buying fabric so I have some money for Christmas shopping! It’s hard though…!
    You’d really suit green with your red hair – green jeans sound fabulous! 🙂

    No not awkward at all! It’s nice to meet someone who is just getting going with dressmaking too 🙂 I’ll send you a message on the fold line 🙂

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