Sewing our Sanity

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Handkerchief Dress

Dear Monica,

A few years ago I bought a book of sewing patterns called Sewn With Love by Fiona Bell.  It is a lovely book with vintage inspired patterns and I made the boys short sleeved button up shirts.  The fit was odd, but I chalked that up to their super long torsos.  I had the itch to sew something and I had some gorgeous baby wale corduroy from Hobby Lobby, so I pulled the book off the shelf and dusted it off and decided to make Natalie the Handkerchief dress from the book.

Absolutely darling dress (and pretty cute little model too).  The details of the square neck, the trim on the bodice and waist band, and the large square sleeves where all things that caught my eye.  

But it was the WORST pattern I have ever sewn!  The directions were awful.  I consider myself to be a pretty advanced seamstress and I had a lot of difficulty figuring out the directions.  There were missing steps, poorly explained directions, and some I would have done differently.  I felt like the patterns had never been tested or edited.    

And there was no lining.  So I had to draft my own because I knew that there was no way I would ever get her to wear the dress with all the exposed seams on the bodice.  

And the sash is too short to tie in a bow.  Something told me I should have made it longer, but Mom told me that some vintage patterns and dresses had shorter sashes meant to be tied in knots.  

I do love the vintage buttons I used on the dress.  I picked them up at The Scrap Exchange in Durham. But the button placement was completely off and I had to change that around or end up with a button right on the seam of the waist band and bodice instead of centered in the middle of the waist band.  

I really do LOVE how it turned out but I don't think I will make one again (though I did make notes in the book just in case). I did go back on Amazon to look at the reviews because I thought maybe I was going crazy with all the problems I was having.  But, no, it seems everyone had problems with the patterns.   I think if the patterns were tested and edited that the book would be wonderful.




  1. I love it. Precious. And I like the use of the corduroy! Since I am vintage I can honestly say we wore lots of corduroy in the fall in the coastal plains of North Carolina....we didn't wear wool until Christmastime.

  2. The concept of this blog is absolutely beautiful. Warm. Home. Life. Love.
    Thank you for it!