a blog about my adventures in dressmaking, crochet, knitting and anything else i try to make.

zeena dress – by hand london

hi internet!
let me introduce you to my latest make, the zeena dress.  
my eyes are so squinty because of hayfever, gah.
the ladies over at by hand london have created this super cute, super versatile dress that is perfect for this warm weather we’ve been blessed (definitely cursed) with. 
i saw fiona’s versions on the BHL instagram account and needed one in my life. 
normally i’m put off a pattern if it’s PDF only, but i had a lot of enthusiasm for this, and i found a guillotine at work which made my life a lot easier.  now i know that there’s one there i’ll definitely be on the PDF hype more often!
i got the super cute cotton lawn from ebay. (you can find the seller here).  i ordered the fabric at half past 2 one afternoon last week and it was through my door at 9pm – the seller only lives a mile away from me and dropped it round after work.  best customer service!
and was a bit nervous about not being able to fit the dress on to my fabric because i’d only bought 2 metres and the pattern calls for 2.4m.  however, my mom laid it all out with me and it’s turned out okay.  
we laid the bodice piece upside down because of fabric restraints, and now the flowers run upside down!   we couldn’t believe it, we’d been so careful!  
i was going to give up, but thought at least i would be able to get a wearable muslin out of it.  
now it’s sewn up, i’m not too concerned about it.  the print is so busy and with the way the pink flowers fall within the pleats, it’s pretty hard to notice.  hopefully.
after i’d finished sewing i tried it on, and the neckline/shoulders were pretty big.  here’s a terrible picture i got my mom to take so i could see what it was like with my arms down…
really not the most flattering picture in the world!
we were pinching out the excess and then decided there was so many pleats anyway, that one in the middle of the neckline wouldn’t look so bad, so…
… i put another pleat in it!  thus, my modified neckline was born.  i hand sewed it in place because i didn’t want machine stitches on show.  it fits much better now and i know i’m much more likely to wear it. 
when i make the dress again (i’ve already bought fabric for version 2!) i’ll just take out that excess before sewing it up.
i didn’t want to make the shortest length of the dress but didn’t want the longest length either, so i cut a line inbetween both and hoped for the best, and i really like this length on me! i’m 5’4″ for reference.
the construction of the dress was simple, it’s only got box pleats (no bust darts!) because it’s supposed to be a more relaxed kimono sleeve fit. 
my invisible zip went in okay, and only had to be re-sewn on one side because it didn’t quite line up at the waistband and that annoyed me.  
the second time round i used the trick of sewing the zip in properly one side, then putting a pin in the un-sewn side at the waist band point, then pinning that part to the waistband on the other side so you know it will be in the same place.  
the pleats confused me slightly as they get close to the zip and the side seams, but once i thought about it properly and pinned it out it made sense.  
as you can see from these pictures, the combination of the light weight fabric and the volume of the skirt makes for a risky windy day dress!!
trying to be serious but the wind ruined it
i’m 100% happy with this dress, which is something that doesn’t happen very often!
i’m off to wait for an invitation to a swanky garden party so i can wear my new dress. 
happy sewing!
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