Monsoon Daisy dress

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress, from the book ‘Love at First Stitch.’

Fabric: Monsoon Daisy in monotone cotton from Merchant and Mills

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Finally, after receiving her book last Christmas (2014..) and following her blog since she appeared on the Great British Sewing Bee, I have made a Tilly and the Buttons pattern: the Megan dress. And you know what? I love it; the fit is grand, the style is lovely, it can be dressy, casual, dressy-casual – whatever you like, it’s so versatile! I think a sleeveless version would also be rather nice for summer… Following Tilly’s instructions the dress came together with little drama. I French seamed all the seams (apart from the centre back one below the zip which I finished with zig zag stitch – I struggle to neatly French seam below a zip – is it even possible? If so how??) and am pretty pleased with the overall finish. The only slight issue I have with the fit is some slight gaping at the back. Really it’s so slight though that it’s hardly an issue at all and is due entirely to my narrow shoulders rather than the pattern itself.

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I think the dress looks rather nice worn with thick tights, boots and woolly socks, all bundled up with a woolly cardi. As suited as it may be to bare legs and clogs (roll on summer), it’s certainly not going to get away with just being a warm weather dress; oh no, I plan on wearing this dress all the year round!

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It even looks ok with a lazy pair of converse and tights – as demonstrated in the photos – for if you want that super casual ‘I care but not really’ look, naturally.

I am ever so slightly in love with this fabric – I love the block print designs on the fabric Merchant and Mills sell, the handmade quality of the print I thinks adds something really special to the overall pattern. Recently, my interest in textile design and hand dying has grown and I’m itching for the warmer months to come around so I can give indigo dyeing a go – I feel this is probably more suited to working outdoors than in (I don’t want a blue kitchen…). My brothers both gave me books on textiles for Christmas – ‘Stitch Stories’ by Cas Holmes and ‘Screen Printing at Home’ by Karen Lewis – and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the screen printing ideas to create my own patterns and prints.

If you have any interest at all in textile art beyond dressmaking ‘Stitch Stories’ is a beautiful book. I’m particularly inspired by textile artist Rosalind Wyatt – whose work I briefly came across at Uni – and her use of embroidery on garments, very similar to the item of outsider art, ‘Agnes’ Jacket’ by Agnes Richter.

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Image of Agnes’s Jacket found at:- www.theguardian.com/music/2012/nov/23/agnes-jacket-jocelyn-pook-hearing-voices.                                                                            Beautiful, beautiful, yet bittersweet pieces and hugely inspiring. ‘Agnes’ Jacket’ was in fact the starting point and main influence over my final year work at art school, her embroidered jacket hugely informing the direction my work ended up going in. Who knows, maybe I’ll try my hand at designing my own textiles this year? (I am in no way promoting these books for a third party – I just love them!)

Anyway, that’s more than enough of a ramble from me – I’m off to tackle another By Hand London Elisalex dress which I’m working on.

Hope you’re all having lovely weeks, wherever you are!

Hannah x

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