Tag Archives: dress

Blog tour and GIVEAWAY – #parissewsocial

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Today is a fun day!  Not only do I get to share with you something I’ve made using fabric and a pattern given to me by the generous sponsors of #parissewsocial, but all the other bloggers from the trip (and competition winners) are doing the same!  This means you get to check out 14 different creations (see the grid below) AND you get the chance to enter 14 different GIVEAWAYS to win some of these patterns!

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the HedgerowThis dress is the Pinafore dress from the Japanese sewing book Sew Chic Kids by Ruriko Yamada (translated into English).  I’m pleased to say it was much more of a success than the first item I sewed from this book (see this post).

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

This is such a perfect summer dress – just throw it on and go!  As with all Japanese sewing patterns, you need to pay careful attention to all the illustrations but, if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a dress that comes together quickly and looks very professional.  I made it even easier for myself by omitting the buttonholes and just sewing the buttons directly on to the dress (the neck is wide enough to go on and off without unfastening them).

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The mustard tank you can see peeking out under the dress is the new Twisted Tank pattern by Titchy Threads.  This tank has had so much wear since I made it that I need to sew at least four more!

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The fabric!  Yes, let’s talk about the fabric!  I am in love with this Petit Pan fabric and wish I had more to make a skirt for myself.  Of course you can’t reach out and touch this dress but let me assure you, the quality of this cotton is just as stunning as the pattern.  It’s lovely to work with – not quite as light as, say, a Liberty Tana Lawn, but with beautiful drape and it’s so well-behaved when being pressed and stitched.

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The fabric came from the online fabric shop Telaria.  This is a wonderful shop and one that I’ve only recently discovered.  It has a lovely, curated selection of high quality fabrics and the owner, Maria, does a great job of giving lots of information about each fabric (composition, pattern repeat, lots of photos, etc) for people who are still a bit wary of buying fabric online.  The shop is based in Spain so is ideal for European sewists (the site is in both Spanish and English).

Sew Chic Kids pinafore dress // Behind the Hedgerow

I’ll keep this post nice and short – since I’m sure you’re going to want to click, click, click on these images below to see what everyone else has been making!

And now for the GIVEAWAY!  Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to be in with a chance to win a PDF sewing pattern of your choice from designer Paisley Roots.  Karly’s patterns are classical, yet relaxed.  I’m really digging her All Spice Dress (look at the lovely extended placket!).  I’m dying to find the time to sew up a colour-blocked version.  The competition is open until 10th July.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winter into spring linen dress

mara dress linen - title imageMargot needed a new dress.  As a home sewist with a little girl, this is not something that’s said very often; dresses are the most tempting item to sew and consequently Margot usually has plenty to choose from.  But, due to my lack of sewing (discussed in my last post) and the fact that my kids now wear school uniforms, the dresses are suddenly in short supply!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Planning the dress

I knew exactly the kind of dress I wanted – something that could be worn now (with layers as it’s still quite cold here), but was equally suitable for hot summer days.

I knew exactly the overall feel I wanted – dusty pink, muted Liberty fabric…a nod to springtime without turning Margot into a pastel easter egg!

All I had to do now was figure out how to sew what was in my head!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

One of my goals for 2015 is to be more deliberate and thoughtful about the clothes I make in order to achieve my own vision for a garment – rather than just following a pattern, unthinking.  To help me with this I’ve started to be more disciplined about using two tools:

  • An online mood board.  By putting all my inspiration into one collage-like view I was able to get a clearer idea of what I wanted for the dress.
  • [Question: This mood board was thrown together quickly in Photoshop – does anyone know of a good mood board app?  Pinterest is the obvious one but I want something that allows you present it all collage-style.]

  • A fashionary sketchbook.  This is a great place to write down all the planning stages of a garment.  The book has very faint outlines of people on the pages so you can sketch the clothes – or feel free to just write over them if necessary.  The first few pages are an excellent reference tool for everything from pattern and garment shapes, to body measurements and sizes, to typography, to online colour generators!

And, although not quite as detailed (or outlandish!!) as the drawings above, I used my book to map out what I wanted for this project.

linen Mara dress notes // Behind the Hedgerow

Making the dress


Now, with all this inspiration floating around it was time to actually make the dress.  Not wanting to buy any new books or patterns, I limited myself to what I had on hand.

linen Mara dress // Behind the HedgerowThe top part of the dress is a sleeveless version of the Mara blouse by Compagnie M.  I wanted the yoke to be more of a square shape (similar to the Tova top) but, due to time limitations, I decided to leave it as it was.

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The skirt shape and length, as well as the pockets are from the Oliver+s Jump Rope Dress (view B).

The main fabric is a gorgeous shade of dusty pink that my husband bought for me from Purl Soho when he was in NYC in 2012!  If you ever want to know if your husband/partner truly loves you then send him/her to NYC (while on a business trip if you want to add even more pressure!) with a list of fabric shops and tell him to “just pick out some things I’d like”!  He chose really well!!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The pockets and piping are Liberty print – from my stash.

mara dress linen - pocket detail 2

Once all these details were decided upon, the actual sewing was quite straightforward.  As I’ve made both patterns before I was comfortable with all the processes and it came together pretty quickly!  The only time-consuming part was making the bias binding as well as the piping.


So, we’re almost into April and Margot has one new dress.  It’s a start but I need to get a move on before the really warm weather comes!

What is your planning/sewing process for a new project?  What are your go-to patterns for customising?  And finally, what dress should I make next?  I feel I’m on a bit of a roll now!

Hope you’re all sewing up something lovely on this sunny spring day!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

A wild interpretation for the Take One Dress Series

Tinny Dress // Behind the HedgerowI am currently taking part in Victoria’s (As It Seams) fun and fresh sewing series Take One Dress.  The idea is that each month a sewing blogger sews a dress inspired by the previous month’s inspiration piece and then passes another inspiration piece to the next blogger.  It’s pretty addictive viewing!

Last month Tasha from Glitter and Wit set my challenge and today I’m sharing my interpretation of that challenge.  You can see all the photos and read all about it over at As It Seams.

Airelle Blouse – Factory Dress pattern remix

Airelle-Factory Remix // Behind the Hedgerow


What do you get when you cross Deer and Doe’s Airelle blouse with the Factory Dress from Merchant and Mills?!  Come on over to imagine gnats to find out!

I’m sharing my latest creation over there as part of Selfish Sewing Week.

You can see my dress and read some advice on how to cope when sewing projects don’t turn out exactly as you had hoped.

Airelle-Factory Remix // Behind the Hedgerow

Happy sewing,

Laura x

The Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow A new dress is always something to get excited about.  When said dress actually lives up to the expectations in your mind’s eye then the satisfaction is even greater.  This month’s Minerva Craft Blogger Network project did just that – I love the style, colour, and fabric of this dress.  It appears I have quite a thing for blue at the moment – my last three projects have been in a very similar palette.  Discovering my own personal style or just getting boring and stuck in a rut?!

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow

Slightly apron-like?  Maybe.  But it’s made from slouchy, supple linen with a few glimpses of Liberty to give it a refined and slightly sophisticated look.  And the pockets!  A dress is only as good as its pockets and these are easily accessible (mostly for puppy treats these days!) and don’t interrupt the lines of the dress (like I thought they might do if I added them to the side seams).

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow

The details


This is another stellar pattern from Merchant and Mills.  The pattern is oh-so-simple which really is its beauty.  It’s well-drafted and leaves lots of room for personalisation.  I already have at least three other versions in my head.

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow


Petrol blue linen from Minerva Crafts.  Fantastic drape with the perfect weight – I’d happily wear this layered up for winter.  I love the crumpled look and make no apologies for the worn-in look of these photos.  I love it this way!


Bust size seemed to be the most important factor in determining size.  I was between a size 10 and 12 for this.  I went for size 10 as this is the same size I made my Factory Dress from Merchant and Mills so was pretty confident of a decent fit.  It’s on the snug side but overall I’m happy with the fit.

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow

Construction notes

  • Overall, a very straight-forward sew.  If in doubt with any of the instructions just focus your attention on the illustrations as opposed to the words.
  • I added pockets.  Ever since making the Oliver+s Book Report Dress for Margot the usefulness of these pockets has stayed with me.  I followed the basic guidelines from this pattern and added them to the Camber Dress.  I’m so happy with how they turned out!book-report-dress-action1

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I shortened the length by 15cm.
  • I haven’t been present in the world of social media much these days.  Each day I endeavour to get on top of my sewing projects and re-engage with this supportive and always-inspiring community.  I have however recently found a new and fresh love for Pinterest.  It was here I found this post on different hemming methods so decided to try something new for this dress.  I added some sparkly bias tape for a touch of bling.  I was enjoying making this dress so much that I even decided to hand-stitch the hem.

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow

 Final thoughts

My sewing and blogging has slowed down immensely over the past few months.  Our house move, summer holidays and settling into a new life in a new country and, most recently, the addition of a puppy to our lives, have conspired against me to force sewing to the back burner.  I have so many thoughts and ideas for the future of this blog and I can’t wait to have some time to get them all underway.  I miss sewing, I miss posting, and I miss being in touch with so many others from this community.

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow

But let’s talk about the dress.  Well, in short, I love it.  It’s simple and definitely a staple wardrobe item for me.  Although a simple style, the pattern is well-drafted and there’s a meticulous attention to detail to give a professional finish to your handmade garment.  There are so many possibilities for personalisation – my head is already spinning with ideas for pockets and different necklines.

This dress is sewn as part of the Minerva Craft Blogger Network and you can find all the fabric and notions here.

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow

So, tell me, what have you all been sewing?!  Thanks for sticking with me and continuing to read.

Laura x

Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills // Behind the Hedgerow

Another Simplicity 1652…in Liberty of London (*swoon*)


Simplicity 1652 in Liberty of London // Behind the Hedgerow

Make this pattern if: you want to spend the time to get a nicely fitted bodice.

Don’t make this pattern if: you’re larger than a D cup (the pattern only goes this high).

My youngest brother got married last month and I had a very short window of time to sew something to wear.  The call went out on Instagram and some helpful blogging buddies helped me decide what to make.

I’ve never duplicated dress patterns before but, since I cracked the “amazing fit” aspect of this pattern (well, almost), I decided to take it out for another spin. (Plus, since all the pattern pieces were cut and ready to go I was already ahead of the game).

Simplicity 1652 in Liberty of London // Behind the Hedgerow

Simplicity 1652 is part of the Amazing Fit collection.  The idea behind these patterns is that you choose your dress size and your bust size and then mix and match the pieces to make a dress that’s perfectly fitted to you.  I must say, it’s a pretty good system (as long as you fall within the A – D cup range).  I made a size 12 with a C cup.

My first version of this dress was made from a linen-cotton blend and can be seen here.  (You can also read the full pattern review is this post so I won’t repeat everything here).  I love this dress.  I wear it often as it strikes that perfect balance between easy-to-wear yet still smart and stylish.  This version, with the Liberty of London fabric, takes it up a notch in the ‘fancy’ stakes.  I’ve worn it once since the wedding but it’s not something I’d throw on for a wander down the shops for a pint of milk.

Simplicity 1652 in Liberty of London // Behind the Hedgerow

Like the first time, I made view A.  For the back I made view A (closed back with invisible zip) as opposed to view B (cut out back) that I did the first time.


Of course I forgot to photograph the back – it’s just like the one above but with the cut out bit filled in. 😉

Simplicity 1652 in Liberty of London // Behind the Hedgerow

The whole sewing process of this dress went really smoothly – it’s amazing how much repetition improves our skills!  I was a little nervous cutting into that lush Liberty (which was destined for Margot’s Ash Jumpsuit) but once the first snip was made I settled into it nicely.

Simplicity 1652 in Liberty of London // Behind the Hedgerow

Simplicity 1652 in Liberty of London // Behind the Hedgerow

So there you have it – another summer dress.  Makes a nice change from all those skirts, right?  I have Simplicity 1882, another one in the Amazing Fit collection, in my stash so really must give that a go next.

Simplicity 1652 in Liberty of London // Behind the Hedgerow

What are you making now that summer’s hotting up (or things are cooling down if you’re Down Under)?  We are T-minus 13 days to our house move so please forgive me if you don’t hear from me for a short while.  I plan to document the move over on Instagram so if you’re at all interested in the transition from city-living to country-bumpkin then please follow along!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x


The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress (Selfish Sewing Week)

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

This dress very nearly didn’t happen.  I bought the pattern and fabric back in January with a flurry of excitement about the possibility of it all.  Like all good sewists, I dutifully pre-washed my fabric and left it…for months!…on top of the washing machine.  When it came time to sew I unfolded it, looked down, and shrieked in horror for this is what I saw.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Stain remover + Irish linen + 2 months = bleached out fabric disaster! *sob*

What’s a girl to do?!  I had already only bought 2 metres of fabric (instead of the suggested 2.3 metres) so I really thought this project was over before it began.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

But, what do you know?  With a bit of creative pattern placement and good chunk of patience I managed to eek out all the pattern pieces!  The moral of that story:

  • Don’t be a lazy sod and leave treasured fabric lying around.
  • It really is amazing how far you can stretch your fabric if you take your time.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Whew – so I was back on track!  After my visit to the Merchant and Mills shop (read all about that fabulous experience here) I knew which size Factory Dress to make (10) because I was lucky enough to try on a muslin of this very pattern.

merchant and mills - purchased items

The fabric is grey Irish Linen with a faint line of blue running through it.  The texture is soft, yet slightly stubbly; it creases which (IMHO) adds to its charm; it drapes well and is up there with Liberty as my favourite fabric to sew with.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Tips and Observations

  • There is a lot of ease in this pattern.  Of course it’s meant to be slouchy and loose (which is what I love about it!) but I actually made a size smaller than my bust measurement and it’s still plenty roomy.
  • The instructions are quite brief.  This is really not a difficult sew but there were a few moments (particularly when attaching the collar) that I was scratching my head.
  • When in doubt, ignore the words and focus on the illustrations.
  • If you’re petite check the sizing before buying this pattern.  The smallest size is an 8, I made a 10 and I don’t consider myself to be the second smallest size of woman.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow


I knew from the moment I walked into the Merchant and Mills shop that I was going to like this dress.  The style, the fabric, the design details all have a timelessness about them.  My husband thinks it has a Scandinavian feel to it – I think it’s quite Japanese with its shape and construction method.  It’s one of those garments that makes you feel grown-up and mature but in a good, non-stuffy kind of way.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

I love every single thing about this dress and it’s quite possible that I will wear it every single day of Me Made May!  Ok, maybe every other day!

Have you had a successful Selfish Sewing Week?  Will you be joining me in Me Made May?  Have you ever sewed a Merchant and Mills pattern?  I’d love to hear what you thought!

Thanks for reading!

Laura x




Looking forward and a GIVEAWAY


Cappuccino Pattern Giveaway  Behind the Hedgerow

Happy Monday!  Well, we’ve all survived another Kid’s Clothes Week.  How much do you have to show for the last week of sewing?  For me it’s only one Celestial tee, one Hanami Dress and a handful of upcycled tees that I haven’t bothered to blog about.  Not my most productive KCW but hey-ho, onwards and upwards….

Now that our children are all accounted for in the clothing department (or at least that’s the idea!) we can happily turn our attention to selfish sewing.  There are two events coming up in the next month that I can’t wait to get involved in…and I hope you will too.

The first is Selfish Sewing Week and runs from 28 April – 3 May.  It is organised and run by Rachael of Imagine Gnats and this year, for the first time, will be hosted on Kollabora (as opposed to on Flickr).

Do you know Kollabora?  It’s a great place to share your makes and gather inspiration from others and aims to “unite makers, crafters, and DIY enthusiasts of all skill levels to get inspired, share projects, buy and sell PDF patterns, and connect with each other and their favorite brands.”  If you have a moment why don’t you get familiar with it before SSW gets underway?  You can see all my makes here and you can follow along with all the Selfish Sewing Week projects here.

If you’re familiar with adding your projects to Kollabora the only thing extra you need to do is add Selfish Sewing Week to the Inspired by box.  It will look something like this:

How to add your sewing projects to the Selfish Sewing Week group on Kollabora

I’ll be posting over at imagine gnats that week as one of the featured stitchers.  I’m going to be sewing and reviewing the Julia Cardigan from Mouse House Creations.  I love the look of this pattern and I can’t wait to get started on it!

You can also get lots of inspiration from the Selfish Sewing Week Pinterest board.

Once all that selfish sewing is complete, you’ll want to start wearing it, right?  Well, why not get involved with Me-Made-May 2014??  It’s hosted by So, Zo…What do you Know? and is a one-month long personal challenge of wearing your handmade duds.  You don’t need to have a blog, you don’t even need to sew anything in particular – you simply take the pledge and set yourself a personal challenge of wearing your handmade clothes for a certain proportion of the month.  For example, I have pledged to wear at least one item of handmade clothing a day for the month of May as well as having at least one handmade item on at least one of my kids each day.  You can read all about it and sign up by clicking the image below.

I also love this initiative because it gives us all pause for thought over the clothes we wear and ties in nicely with Fashion Revolution Day taking place NEXT WEEK on 24th April.  Sorry for repeating myself for those of you that already know, but Fashion Revolution Day is a wonderful opportunity for all us home sewists to stand together the help shape and change the future of the fashion industry on the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza textile factory collapse in Bangladesh.  I would love for you to take a moment to read about it and sign up to wear something handmade inside out (#insideout #handmadeinsideout) on the 24th and share on social media.  Over 120 people have taken the pledge so far!  You don’t want to miss out!!

Now for the juicy bit…

The Giveaway!!

To help get you ready for these two events and to kick-start your sewing mo-jo, I’m hosting a giveaway of Liesl & Co’s new Cappuccino Dress and Tunic Pattern!  GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED.

A while ago I wrote a Top 10 for Tuesday list of patterns similar to the Lisette Portfolio Dress (Simplicity 2245).  It’s this pattern that I used to sew the orange dress you see on my profile picture up there on the right.  Sadly this pattern has been discontinued but Liesl Gibson has updated and re-released the pattern as the Cappuccino Dress and Tunic under the Liesl & Co brand!!  Lucky for all us sewists!!  You can read all about the pattern here.

Liesl has kindly offered a copy of this PDF pattern to one lucky reader!  What a great way to kick off Selfish Sewing Week and Me-Made-May!

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment and tell me something fun!  The giveaway will be open until midnight on Monday 21st April (CET).  What fabric would you use for the Cappuccino dress?  How do you think the pattern compares to the original?  Do you have other specific plans for Selfish Sewing Week or Me-Made-May?  Have you signed up for Fashion Revolution Day??  I would LOVE to see some more names on the sign up!!  You don’t have to have a blog to participate.  To make it easy, all you have to do is click on the image below to take part:

Fashion Revolution Day. #insideout #handmadeinsideout

Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone with the giveaway!
Laura x

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2 – Hanami Dress

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

Kid’s Clothes Week is rapidly coming to an end and I’m afraid I haven’t done nearly as much sewing as I anticipated.  The kids have been off school, the sun’s been shining, there’s been al fresco dining, walks in the woods, visits to local attractions and even a day trip to Paris, but, alas, not enough sewing.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

I did manage, however, to get this dress done for Perfect Pattern Parcel (read more about PPP here) – and I am so glad I did!  The pattern, the fabric, the whole process in fact just confirmed my love of sewing.  I sew a lot – some projects tick along as you would expect, some are unmitigated disasters, and others go above and beyond your expectations.  I’m so pleased to say that sewing this dress was firmly in the final category.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

The details

This is the Hanami Dress and Top by An of Straightgrain Patterns.  It’s a great versatile pattern that includes options for the neckline (collar or no collar), sleeves (flutter or tulip), length (top or dress), and back closure (zip or cross-over).  With so many options you could easily make this multiple times and it would still look fresh.  Also, it comes in a huge range of sizes from 12 months to 10 years.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

What I did

To choose which size to make for this dress you have to do things a bit differently.  Instead of comparing your kid’s measurements to a chart, you only have the finished garment measurements to work with.  This stumped me at first (I even emailed An asking for my ‘missing’ chart) but now that I get it I think it’s a great idea.  Basically, An wants you to decide how fitted or loose the bodice should be so you simply compare the measurements of an existing dress to the chart and make your decision that way.  Perhaps not ideal if you’re making this for a gift but I do think they pretty much run to what you would expect – I made a size 6 for my 6-year-old and the fit is perfect.

The options I chose for my version were:

  • Dress length – I did hem it slightly more than instructed as I liked the shorter look and can always let it down as she grows.
  • Cross-over back – I’d never tried this cross-over technique so decided to give this a go (plus I love the pop of neon with the button holes).
  • No collar – as much as I LOVE the collar, it’s not possible to combine it with the cross-over back so I left it off.  It’s going on next time though!
  • Tulip sleeves – just because they are lovely!

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

The one only other changes I made were adding neon piping to the sleeve edges and waistline.  It’s no secret that I’m nutty for piping and this neon version has had me fall in love all over again.  I know I’m a little late to this fluoro party (and, tbh, I thought I wouldn’t join it at all) but I think this flash of colour is just perfect!  In my head I’m adding it to every new project!  Do you ever do that – learn a new technique or find a new notion that you just can’t stop using??  I was the same with fabric covered buttons a couple of years ago…and bias-binding before that.  What’s your go-to notion to personalise your sewing?  Sorry, I’m getting off track…

The fabric is from Ditto – a treasure trove of a fabric shop that I stumbled upon in Brighton, UK a few months ago.  It’s one of those shops where the beauty doesn’t necessarily jump out at you (like it does at Ray Stitch,  The Village Haberdashery or de Stoffenkamer, for example) – you have to shuffle and re-arrange a bit to find a gem…but when you do it really is like finding treasure.  This fabric was in a tiny room upstairs – rolled up and almost out of sight.  My only regret is that I didn’t buy more!

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow

The piping I found locally in Belgium – at the chain store Veritas that sells everything from sewing supplies, to tights and underpants, to handbags, hair clips, and knitting supplies.  It’s a strange concept for a shop but ask any Belgian sewist – you also couldn’t live without it for the essentials.

The construction

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this pattern.  With so many options available there is a tiny pain barrier to get through in terms of choosing which bit of the pattern and instructions are relevant to your project but, hey!, that’s a small price to pay for all this versatility.  With its combination of photos and illustrations the whole process went smoothly and, dare I say it?, effortlessly.  My only added tip or trick would be to use dental floss when gathering the sleeves and waistline for more glide (but pay attention to An’s tips for getting that waistband gathered evenly).  Check out this photo for a visual of how dental floss helps with gathering.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow


This is one pattern that I’m sure to make again!  What about you – have you tried the Hanami yet?  Have you purchased your Perfect Pattern Parcel so you can get this as well as four other fabulous girl patterns??  I’ve gotta try those Hosh Pants.  With Kid’s Clothes Week and Perfect Pattern Parcel in full swing – the inspiration is almost overwhelming!  Once we all come down from that, who’s gonna join me in Selfish Sewing Week and Me Made May??  I just wish there were more hours in the day…

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

Straightgrain's Hanami dress  Behind the Hedgerow



Simplicity 1652 – Minerva Craft Blogger Network

Simplicity 1652 // Behind the Hedgerow

The more garments I sew for the Minerva Craft Blogger Network the more I enjoy it.  Choosing from their extensive range of patterns and fabrics started out being totally overwhelming but I’m now slowly starting to know the patterns/designs that suit me and which fabrics would work well for them.  This month’s choice was heavily inspired by Trine’s awesome version.

Last month was all about kid’s pjs so this month I made sure to get in a little selfish sewing…and boy am I glad I did!  This dress is definitely in my top five favourite things I’ve sewn for myself!

Simplicity 1652 // Behind the Hedgerow

Dress: Simplicity 1652.  Size 12, Cup C, Front – View A, Back – View B.  Fabric: Black/white pinstripe cotton-linen blend.  Buttons: self-covered with Liberty scraps.  Tights: hand-dyed ombre tights ‘sunset’ from BZRShop.  Boots: Camper Annie Ankle Boots.

The Dress

Simplicity 1652 is part of Simplicity’s Amazing Fit collection.  What this means is that you have multiple choices for not just the size of the dress but also the bust size (and in some cases, the fullness of the skirt).  This allows you to mix and match thereby giving you an amazing fit.  Well, that’s the idea anyway.

The dress has three sleeve options and two back options.  I went for View A in the front (short sleeves and button tabs – just say NO! to chunky chains sewn onto clothing!) and View B in the back (cut-out triangle).

Simplicity 1652 // Behind the Hedgerow

This dress also has really great pockets that are sewn into the front section seams – easy to do and makes it a bit more interesting than pockets along the side seams.

The Fabric

For this dress I chose a versatile black/white pinstripe which is a cotton-linen blend (click on photo to learn more about it).  I love this fabric!  It’s easy to work with (yes, it frays so make sure to finish your raw edges) but it’s a great weight and is suitable for cooler weather (tights and cardi!) or just as is with sandals in summer.

Also, with this fabric there were lots of options in terms of how to lay out the fabric (ie, which direction you want the stripes to go in for each pattern piece).  I had fun sketching out all the different possibilities and finally decided on doing vertical stripes for the main bodice, skirt and sleeves, horizontal stripes for the button tabs, and bias cut stripes for the side bodice and back.


I’ve made a Simplicity Amazing Fit dress before (Simplicity 1800 – you can see it here) so I should have been fine with the method of construction.  But, alas, much time had passed and I’d forgotten just how mad this method it!  I don’t think you’ll find any sewing blogger writing about the Amazing Fit collection without referencing the odd construction process.

Simplicity 1652 // Behind the Hedgerow

In short, you sew the bodice pieces together and then you sew the skirt pieces together – this part is pretty straightforward – but then you sew the bodice to the skirt inside out (so, you sew with the wrong sides of the fabric facing each other) with a large seam allowance in order to tweak the fit.  Then you have to take it apart, make your adjustments and then put it back together the right way around.

Some other notes on construction:

  • The front bodice is unlined.  I didn’t really like this and next time would try to draft a lining.
  • I added a lining to the skirt.  The fabric is rather sheer so opted for a lining here.  I drafted the lining based on the assembled skirt pieces and then attached it along the skirt/bodice seam line.

Simplicity 1652 // Behind the Hedgerow

  • The sleeves were trickier to set than I expected.  You are instructed to set the sleeves after the side seams are sewn and lately I’ve been setting sleeves into an open side seam and then closing the side seam and sleeve seam with one line of sewing.  Next time I’ll do it this way.
  • For the buttons on the tabs I made my own covered buttons with scraps of Liberty print fabric.

Simplicity 1652 // Behind the Hedgerow

Sizing and Fit

The last time I made an Amazing Fit dress I made size 12 with a D cup.  After sewing it I thought it fit well but now that I’ve worn it for a while I realise that it’s actually too big in the bust (but I’ll still wear it!).


This time I made size 12 with a C cup and this worked *much* better.  I’ve actually worn this dress a few times already so I feel confident in saying that I’m happy with the fit.

The only issue I have is that there is a bit of gaping in the back along the top of the zip.  I’m a bit stumped about how to remedy this – if I were to take it in anymore then I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to move my arms!

Simplicity 1652 // Behind the Hedgerow

Final thoughts

So, I guess the final question is – Is it really an amazing fit?  The short answer is yes!  I didn’t really make any adjustments from the size 12, cup c pattern so, for something so closely fitted around the bust, is pretty amazing!  Now that I’m happy with the fit I want to rush out and make more from this collection (before I forget all the details of construction).  I already have Simplicity 1882 in my stash so I really should get sewing!

And here’s me taking a pic of my photographer for the day…
Simplicity 1652 // Behind the Hedgerow

…and my photographer… (follow me on Instagram if you’re interested in seeing more behind the hedgerow scenes shots!).

Kids off school. Putting them to work. #lifeofablogger

A post shared by Laura Fisher (@behindhedgerow) on

Start ’em young!

If you’re inspired to give this pattern and fabric a go then you can buy the full kit here.  It includes the pattern, fabric, interfacing, zip, lining and thread.  It also includes yellow buttons for the tabs.  If you want to do covered buttons (which are surprisingly easy to make and very effective) then you can find everything you need for that here.

Thanks for reading

Laura x