My Brighton and Hope Dress

Communicating with a higher power or blinded by the light?

This was one of those sewing projects. You know the ones. You’ve got a ‘deadline’. Say, a wedding in Brighton that’s been planned for months in a few days. And you decide that now is the perfect time to start an un-thought out sewing project to make for it! Sometimes this approach is a recipe for disaster for me, but this time luck was on my side and I’m really happy with this new dress.

The fabric has been in my stash for a few years now after buying it in Paris at one of the shops near the Marché Saint-Pierre. It’s a woven, has a sort of canvas-y feel, and has just the right amount of stretch in it. I can’t remember how much it cost but I don’t think it was very much and I bought 3 metres of it (in a burst of ‘I’m in Paris, oh pretty fabric’ enthusiasm). It’s an unusual shade of pink (which doesn’t capture too well in photos) and I think that is why it took me so long to make something with it. It feels like the kind of fabric that doesn’t deserve half measures. It needed to be a dress really!

It’s also interesting going back through the fabrics I bought a few years ago and looking at them with a more critical ‘environmental eye’. Even though I think (hope) I’ve always been ‘conscious’ about how much fabric I’m buying etc., over the last few years I’ve definitely got way more uncomfortable with the lack of information on the exact provenance of all the piles of textiles piled up in my apartment. I’ve no idea where this came from really (beyond the Paris shop where it ended up), what was the dyeing process used to get that deep pink, and I’m not sure what types of synthetic materials are woven together to get that nice stretch.

But the pattern itself is a pattern hacking act of recycling though!

p.s. not my litter!

I was about to buy some new patterns recently and then I decided to reorganise my pattern shelf and look again at the patterns I’ve only made one or two times. It can be so tempting to buy new patterns all the time but I think it is good to get a balance between buying new patterns (and supporting all the wonderful indie businesses) and getting the most out of the ones you already own.

I’ve recently been re-wearing my BHL Flora dress after reworking it (‘reworking’ sounds a bit over the top as I really just lengthened the hem) and I was reminded of how perfect the fit of the bodice is. It is fitted but still has room for lunch. So I took the bodice and altered it to this more ‘corsety’ shape. Then I made some longer straps and drafted an A-line skirt with added flare. I was tempted to go for a circle skirt but I wanted the skirt to hang closer to the body. As the fabric is quite structured it still has that ‘fit and flare’ circle skirt effect but it would be interesting to make this dress in a soft, flowing fabric which would hang differently.

This dress is really fun to wear and after wearing it to the wedding I’ve also been wearing it out and about too. I didn’t get the chance to take pictures in Brighton so these were taken in Brussels in the glaring heat of this endless sunny spell.

Yay, lampost head!

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