The amazing Janet made this Peter Pan collar coat for one of her clients in a viscose crepe that has been heavily embellished with metallic thread – so whilst the fabric base has drape the embroidery has stiffened it all up and Janet has shown some serious skills by getting it all to seam together beautifully. Finished off beautifully with covered buttons with gold rims.
Jane made up this old Karl Lagerfield pattern FINALLY after it lurking in the pattern drawer for nearly 20 years. The Linen is the Japanese designer nani IRO for Kokka. Jane had a bit of tweaking to get it right – too small on the bust but massive everywhere else – such as life goes with a pattern for the first time, but having been altered it is now PERFECT 😊
It’s got pockets!
It is lined in Venezia faced with extra light interfacing and there is a concealed zip up the back. The pattern is Vogue 1412 (long since discontinued but possibly available second hand).
Rudi the Siamese cat has to be in the photo too. Even if he didn’t get his ‘best side’.
Bess nearly didn’t make this white cotton broderie anglaise dress because she was worried about cursing the summer but in the end decided 2018 sunshine was a dead-cert. Yayyy for proper summers! The pattern came out of the June 2018 Burda magazine, it’s supposed to have wing type things over the armholes but Bess decided to not do them <s>because she couldn’t understand the instructions</s> because she decided they were overkill.
The dress is lined in white cotton lawn with a splash of red in the piping around the neck. Bess’s favourite bit is the POCKETS 😊
This is Braenna wearing her self drafted yellow linen circular skirt dress; made all on her own in the summer holidays. Isn’t she amazing? We ❤️❤️❤️!
Jane wearing her superb self drafted shift dress made up in Japanese nani IRO printed linen. Lined in Venezia and piped with fine satin (self made) piping.
Isn’t it fabulous? And we ❤ the shoes too!
Julie made up this super jacquard jersey into a three quarter sleeve dress and is really pleased with it (as are we!). The pattern is self drafted and works brilliantly with this stable jersey that behaves much like a ponte roma jersey does (although this is a lighter/looser weave).
Daiga here again in this super flattering and beautiful bluebell velour stretchy dress.
Moira sent us this pic of her wearing this amazing hot pink and acid yellow rose print stretch cotton sateen shift dress made from the Wendy Ward’s “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking” Book. Isn’t it fabulous?
Petra sent us this pic of her dress made up using spotty silk twill from LG. You will notice the spots are arranged inline rather than offset which makes them a super finnickity to match but she did it really well.
She said: A week ago I googled dress fabric shops in the uk and came across an article in The Guardian titled 10 best fabric shops in the uk. I looked at your website and found exactly the fabric I wanted. It came on the Monday and now I have a dress to wear for a wedding! Thank you for you friendly and professional service. I will definitely look at your shop for other fabric.
I know we always say this but is there anything out there better and more versatile than a wool crepe? Here we have Bernie (from French France) at her son’s wedding (in the UK) wearing this lovely shift dress expertly fitted by Bernie’s teacher Brigitte. The pattern was out of the Burda magazine (and they clearly remembered to add seam allowances 😂)
We have been looking at this stretch cotton sateen multicolour stripe for a while thinking “something FANTASTIC could be made out of this”, and here we have the proof. Marion, with her dress made and designed by the clever stick Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead). We love the chevron detailing on the back, and the perfectly matched seams. This kind of attention to detail really pays off. 👍
Marion wearing this great animal print stretch cotton sateen dress with asymmetric zip detailing and shawl collar. Made and designed by Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead).
Anne had help matching the tulips at a sewing class in Bath (the pattern is Vogue 8997). The wool crepe in the bright pink for the jacket was lovely to work with and drapes well (the pattern is Burda 8997).
Penney made up this dress for her daughter Rosie using silver satin and overlaid on the bodice with silver guipure lace, originally the plan was to have the lace all over but they opted (quite rightly, we think) to stick to just the bodice, even though Penney had already matched up all the pieces (doh!). The pattern is made up from two other patterns – Vogue 2913 (one of Penneys from the eighties) and Vogue 8076. She used used a full toile to fit it and amend. Rosie was very specific about what she wanted as teenagers do best!
White Broderie Anglaise embroidered cotton dress made by Jane for Lulu using Vogue pattern 1942 (discontinued). IT is trimmed with turquoise blue satin bias, soft cotton bias and piping around the neck, and lined in cotton voile.
Sandra visiting the shop on a super sunny day wearing her light and breezy navy polka dot viscose shirtwaister dress.
The pattern is McCall’s 6891 and has various length and sleeve options. I suspect every girl needs one of these dresses, right?
This is Sophie who has a degree in Costume Design and keeps turning up at the shop with friends and family working out what she will make next. She is quite an inspiration.
The pattern was drafted herself and is using a cotton brocade which is heavy enough to hold shape but drapey enough to swing and not stick out.
Frances made up this fabulous silver grey stretch brocade shift dress for her sister who was needing an outfit for her son’s wedding – she didn’t want anyone else to turn up wearing the same dress! She knew what she wanted and was delighted with the result (Obv!)
The pattern was copied from a dress that was bought a long time ago and made a few minor changes to the shape at the back, a toile was fitted first.
It is lined in Venezia but there is no interfacing as the fabric was weighty enough to hold its shape. as a bonus she says it was really easy to cut and sew.
Well, Frances, we think you made an exceptional Mother of the Bride Outfit for your sister right there! Well Done! 👏
The pattern is Vogue V1410 which has a wrap front rather than a front opening. The whole point of dressmaking is making exactly what you want* so of course these details are for us to alter!
*when I say we dressmake to get exactly what we want I mean within reason. We cannot alter patterns to remove a middle-age spread, or dropped shoulders, or [enter personal body hang-up here]. But we can dressmake to disguise these things.
Marion looking fabulous in her peacock blue abstract print short sleeve stretch cotton sateen dress made and designed by Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead)
Julie at her daughter’s graduation wearing the navy lace shift dress she made with fuchsia pink lining (the Champagne was made in France). This looks like a very simple dress that is easy to make but as with many simple things, the devil is in the detail and Julie has become an expert on fitting dresses beautifully to her curves. Beware: Once you take the time to do this you will never be able to buy shop bought again.
Marion wearing her lovely blue and yellow geometric print stretch cotton sateen shift dress made and designed by Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead).
Fit for a Princess. Spotted in the Torygraph on 15th March 2017. 60’s inspired dress made by Eponine –I hasten to add the red and white checkerboard suiting was bought from LG at source, not from us, but it is the same.
Marion blending in nicely at the nursery with her orange and green floral print stretch cotton sateen dress with fabulous peplum detailing, made and designed by Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead).
Marion here wearing this super fitted stretch drill dress with lovely cut out detail on the back. She
cheats by getting the uber talented Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead) to design and make it up for her (I must say if I had a Dawn I would too).
There is a danger with not-so-good designers to make ‘funeral clothes’ -clothes that look great on the front but are plain and boring on the back (you don’t need the back to look pretty if you are lying in a coffin). When we look at ourselves we rarely see our behinds (hoorah for that I say!) but other people do so it’s good to make it look pretty.
Jane made this “Channel” inspired dress using a LG tufted bouclé mixed fibre tweed for her daughter Lulu. The pattern is a discontinued Mizrahi vogue pattern that has been altered by adding a sleeve.
The whole dress was quilted to purple silk habotai lining – Jane cut all the pieces bigger and recut after the quilting was done (because the quilting tends to draw the pieces smaller), then a few more lines of quilting were added near the seams once it was sewn. Jane trimmed the neckline and pockets with velvet gimp braid.
Linda was waiting in for a delivery and thought she’d make a dress for Hogmanay… as you do. So here is what she made. It’s a New Look 6000 pattern with the gathered side made here in stretch velour. Isn’t it amazing?
Bess was supposed to be making a princess dress for her niece Eloise but it kind of mutated into a Wonder Woman dress instead. This is what happens when you sew with no real idea of what you are making! The skirt is made up of many layers of tulle with a Venezia lining, the bodice is yellow viscose jersey that was a bit thin for the job so was interlined with a cotton jersey, and then appliqued with a piece of sequinned fabric. There is elastic in the waist and sleeves to draw it in and red plastic snap fasteners on the back bodice.
The skirt was made without a pattern (gather the tulle until it is 7″ bigger than the waist), the bodice was pinched off a bridesmaid dress -long since discontinued and certainly not intended for floppy jersey. The worst bit was sewing the heart on straight…. or getting the bulk of the tulle onto the bodice (it had to be ripped apart and regathered with pleats as just gathering was too bulky with all the layers). Despite the moments of GAAAHHHHH! WHAT AM I DOING! it was a great fun make.
Bess made this pink tutu for her niece Amélie (who is 16 months) for Christmas, numerous layers of tulle were gathered and pleated (there is a few layers of cream underneath), and then fitted to a silk dupion waistband and drawn in with elastic. Then, Christmas being Christmas and the bling level needing to be raised Bess added beads and sequins to the waist.
Bess used the formula of gathering the tulle to 7″ bigger than waist measurement which worked okay but for a skirt this small 5″ is probably enough.
Sue looking STUNNING in Greece getting married, wearing the dress she made using fabulous embroidered silk organza. Sue slightly amended the Vogue Original pattern so she could make best use of the scalloped edge, removing part of the lining to allow for 180” of skirt material being gathered into 27” (few sleepless nights there) but all in all, it was the best possible fabric choice she could have made.
Rudi is a Siamese boy who has a healthy obsession with tulle and netting. He says he wants to be a ballet dancer when he grows up (except he’s so heavy he can’t jump). Here he is hanging out with the Action Man fairy and not looking remotely suspicious.
Jane made this sequinned tulle dress for her grandchildren Kitcat and Miaow (they share). The armholes are bound in lightweight satin bias binding, the hem is taken up with turquoise lycra binding and the neck has a plain mandarin collar made from cotton jersey so the scratchy sequin factor is minimised. This dress makes all the grown-ups exclaim “I WANT ONE!”.
Viccy sent us this photo of her stunning digital floral print viscose jersey dress made with black contrast bindings and waist.
Anna from Munich (brightening up a dull day in Totnes) wearing this fabulous maxi dress. It was made up in digitally printed viscose lawn and velvet for the bodice, the pattern was taken from a dress bought in the market.
Jacoba triumphant in her Chado Ralph Rucci dress made up in red scuba jersey, she said it’s been great to do some sewing again. The (minor) changes made to the pattern were raising the front slit by 2 inches, omitting the front panel pockets (didn’t want the extra bulk), and also slightly changing the curve on the shoulders. She said the jersey was remarkably good fabric to work with. Huzzah for that top-stitiching!
Bess was looking at this purple piqué for well over a year before she decided she was able to wear purple, and is rather loving the extra colour in her wardrobe. The pattern is a long tried and tested pattern she took from a Jaeger dress (seen here in many guises). This time it is unlined and piped in green satin around the neck and has green bias binding inside the hem (just in case anyone should look inside.
Despite the close fit no zip is necessary – she just wiggles in.
Clair made this cream daisy lace maternity dress with pink linen viscose yoke for Rosie for a Scottish high summer (ha ha) wedding… on the morning of the party! The toile had been sorted out previously (see pic below in embroidered linen and viscose). The pattern is a 80’s /90’s vintage McCall’s pattern found on Ebay.
Marion wearing her fabulous orange and blue floral print stretch cotton sateen v-neck back dress. Designed and made for her by the genius Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead).
Marion wearing this superb mock wrap lilac and ochre print stretch cotton sateen dress. Designed and made for her by the genius Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead).
Marion wearing her jade and coral floral print stretch cotton sateen dress with v-neck and peplum detail. Designed and made for her by the genius Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead).
Marion wearing this superb floral and animal print stretchy cotton drill dress designed and made for her by the genius Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead).
Marion sporting her coral and blue stretch cotton sateen dress, designed and made for her by the genius Dawn Hooper of Hardy and Hooper (Maidenhead).
Kerry wearing her green lace print silk crepe de chine princess line dress using Simplicity 2247, which she said she would not make again in such a delicate fabric but we think it looks fabulous. Hems were hand rolled.
Celia looking stunning in her rose print stretch cotton sateen dress made using Burda pattern 6920 (slightly lengthened). The dress is unlined as the fabric is already quite structured. Celia loves these stretchy cotton prints, as they are so easy to make up and fit beautifully.
Tracey in French France wearing her fabulous 3D floral printed Stretch Cotton Sateen pleated skirt using McCall’s 6706, there is cotton lawn lining (pink, of course) and pink and black tulle underskirt.
Rowena being a very glam Mother of the Groom in her black and magenta abstract print silk satin flared dress and matching dupion silk fitted jacket. She was a busy bee as she also made her hat and bag plus grooms men’s cravats and hankies. Also her daughter in law’s lace gown (which she beaded!) her veil and headdress.
Blimey! Now she is off to do some gardening.
Bess enjoying a glass of bubbly wearing her black guipure lace dress which was lined in cream silk rep suiting. The pattern is her very basic dress block that only has bust darts and a centre back seam for shape. It’s tricky to tell in this photo but the lining is 3″ shorter leaving the scalloped edge unlined. Also unseen is the perfectly matched centre back seam (You’ll have to trust me on this one).
The lining and the lace are made up separately and joined at the neck with a vibrant turquoise satin bias binding. There’s no zip- it just chucks over the head.
Kitcat singing us all Christmas carols in her sequinned dress made by Jane. It is lined in heavy tricot and the armholes and neck are bound with jersey binding.
You get fabulous movement with this sequinned fabric as each sequin is black on one side and silver on the other, so every move is exaggerated with the movement of the sequin. They are surprisingly easy to sew -just snip them out of the seam allowance so you don’t need to sew through them.
You can find various sequinned fabrics HERE
Sarah looking pleased as punch in her poly chiffon circular skirt dress made exquisitely by Joan, her Grandma. The pattern is Vogue 9141.
We’re a bit speechless with how well this dress is made, Joan must have the patience of a saint, chiffon is not easy!
Clair made this sooo sweeeet baby satin dress and tutu using viscose satin coat lining (much too good to hide inside a coat) and light pink tulle tutu.
Bess in her not-very-over-the-top coat at all made using red guipure lace and 6″ feather trim.
The coat was prepared ever so slowly making sure the spots matched and everything would line up properly and then it was izzywhizzied together on the overlocker in about 3 minutes.
Then the feather trim was hand sewn on (Bess’s fingers are still calloused from the needle – that trim has got sticky stuff inside the satin binding (that stop the feathers falling out), it’s not nice to sew!
Then the feather trim was un-picked and sewn on all over again not so tight in an effort to make it hang straight in the middle. It’s almost there, Bess weighed up further hand sewing and the possibility of losing her fingers with her OCD of straight edges and the fingers won.
Then the front edge and neck were bound in fold-over petersham binding which magically saved the jacket from being a bit ‘crafty’ (in the derogatory way) and Bess wore it to her baby step-sister’s wedding.
Also seen: bag made from offcuts of leather and a London bus e-plate. As you do.
Debbie modelling her shrug made using navy corded lace with scalloped edges. She was very pleased with it as it really updated a dress she had had for a long time. She drafted the pattern using a short sleeved shrug she already had as a pattern. Debbie had to do a bit of juggling with the scallops and hand stitching so that they would go around the curves but was glad with the finished effect. It turned out a little tight across the back and around the armholes but wasn’t a problem when it was worn for a posh event as was still able to dance in it!
Suzanne from Cyprus celebrating her son’s wedding (he’s the one holding the flowers) wearing Silk Damask made up in a v-neck flared dress by Ralph Rucci for Vogue (V1381). This pattern is not simple – there are quilted yokes and bands, an attached belt with some tricky rouleau to tie it together —all in a fabric that doesn’t easily yield. It took her a while but it was very much worth it.
We love this photo. Such fun.
Jane at the Royal Academy Summer exhibition flaunting her floral stretch cotton sateen dress. The pattern comes from her block -which if you look at flat on the table looks absolutely barmy but fits her fabulously so don’t argue- Symmetrical, she is not!
The dress is lined in Venezia and there is a concealed zip up the back.
Matching shoes: model’s own.
Helen made this fabulous pleated dress for an afternoon tea get-together in London. She’d had a bit of a slump before this with a couple of disastrous projects and this put a proper smile back on her face (yay!). She used sea green stretch cotton pique with daisy trim decorating the hem. The pattern is McCall’s 6953 which we’ve seen made up in a variety of fabrics and on a variety of body shapes and always looks good. The Bodice is lined in Venezia lining.