The entire process was fairly straight forward. Using the By Hand London patterns as a base made the project easy and quick. The only issue was changing the zip from the centre back to the side of the skirt, but that was a very simple adjustment, and made the skirt construction process easier, as I didn’t have to pattern match.
Costs of making the Lemon Grove Dress (excluding labour and power costs)
Fabric – £35
Notions – £6
Patterns – £18 (please note, I already owned the Charle dress pattern, prior to this project)
Total = £59
Time to make – 7.5 hours over 4 days
Price of D&G dress
£810 (source matchesfashion.com)
The Lemon Grove Dress by Champagne Twist
Back of the Lemon Grove Dress
I really enjoyed making this dress and am very proud of the result. It’s looks great, fits well and feels glamorous and fun to wear.
I’m so glad I made plain shoulder straps, instead of the elongated bow ones, as these would have been too fussy for my personal style, with this busy print. But I’m considering making many more of this style of dress, and will use the bow detail with less bold print fabrics.
The dress cost me less than £60 in materials to make, a small fraction of the cost of the D&G dress. But the awards are far greater, as I had a lovely week making this little number, with successful results. I could have saved even more, if I drafted a new pencil skirt pattern.
Even thought it took me 7 and half hours to sew, this is actually a very quick make. I took my time with the hand finishing and hacking the 2 patterns together, otherwise, I’m sure the dress would have been completed in half the time.
In all, I’m very pleased with this project, and can’t wait for any excuse to wear it.
The Lemon Grove Dress by Champagne Twist
The D & G lemon print dress
My next project is a Christopher Kane gingham floral skirt, made from a self drafted pattern. If you would like to read about my new project please subscribe so you don’t miss out. As always, thanks for reading, see you soon.
The dress that has featured on many a fashion blog is soon to be homaged. Using no less than 2 By Hand London patterns, I attempted to create a dress inspired by the D&G lemon print dress, at a fraction of the cost.
The aim of this project is to prove that it’s possible to make a couture style wardrobe, without needing a millionaire’s budget. Check out the previous posts here, Post 1 and Post 2.
Fabric selection and notions
The choice was simple – the 100% cotton lemon print, on a black background, has been selling in several haberdasheries for months I purchased mine from Pigeon Wishes’ etsy shop at £7 a meter. I purchased 4 metres, but used less than 3.
I also used a high cotton content mix lining from my stash, which was purchased at approximately £2.50 a meter, of which I used approx 2.5 metres. It is light weight with a lovely, soft feel.
Notions used from my stash included a 40cm long invisible zip and 1 reel of black machine sewing thread.
Cutting the main fabric was, thankfully, an uneventful process. Having previously made the Charlie dress bodice and drafted my own pencil skirt, cutting the pattern didn’t pose any issues. Unusually, I didn’t bother much about pattern matching, just ensured that the print didn’t cover or highlight things it shouldn’t!
Like the Charlie dress, I lengthened the bodice by 5 cm. I excluded the decorative collar, to leave a plain neckline.
I changed the skirt back zip opening to a left side opening, to match the bodice and for ease of wear. I cut the back skirt pattern on the fold, instead of cutting 2 separate pieces. It also resolved any need for pattern matching.
The skirt was shortened by about 15 cm, to rest above the knee. This was for ease of walking and so I could attach the flounce. As the flounce is made from light weight cotton, it should have a nice movement as I walk. This is the only selection of the dress which will be unlined.
Note to self, don’t sew when you’re tired. At one point the lining of the front bodice was attached to the back skirt lining. I like to add my own spin to my clothes, but even that for me would have been a little avant garde! Still, my unpicking skills are improving, and it now only takes me 2 minutes to rip out a seam. In effect the black lining became a silver one (worse pun ever).
I changed my mind in regards to the elongated straps, opting for plain shoulder straps. I felt that the elongated bow straps added too much detail to an already busy piece. It would be also difficult to wear with a cardigan or other cover up in cooler temperatures.
The Charlotte Skirt required a little more thought, as I changed the back zip to a side zip, and needed to ensure the waists of both the bodice and the skirt matched. I eliminated the skirt waistband, which meant the skirt waist was a few mm longer than the bodice waist. However, this extra fabric was easily absorbed into the seam allowance.
One thing I did not anticipate when adding the side zip opening, due to the shape of the skirt, I can’t pull the dress over my head. Instead I have to step through the side opening in order to put the dress on. It’s no big deal, but it does take a little getting used to.
Adding the lining was simply a case of duplicating the patterns in lining fabric, then attaching to the main fabric from the neckline.
I completed the dress by hand stitching the hem.
The construction process has ended and it’s time for the reveal. How did the dress turn out? Why not subscribe so you’re notified as soon as my next post is published. Thanks for reading,
Yesterday, I started a new series called Refashioning Couture, where I document my journey towards making a couture inspired wardrobe. For my first project, I’m making a dress based on the popular lemon print design by Dolce and Gabbana.
Recently, I started a sewing sketch book, where I draw out my ideas and include fabric swatches. It has proved to be a very useful tool and a fun way to keep track of my sewing projects. Below is my sketch for the Lemon Grove dress.
The main fabric will be the lovely cotton print which I purchased from Pigeon Wishes over on Etsy. The print is a near perfect replica of the original, and the fabric itself is a lovely soft cotton.
After some thought, I decided to also fully line the bodice and half line the skirt with some black light weight cotton. This, I hope will help give the dress structure and longevity. I’m only half lining the skirt as it’s a Summer dress and I don’t want it to be too heavy or uncomfortable to wear in the heat.
I think the way to go about this design is to pattern hack not 1 but 2 patterns from the By Hand London collection. Having successfully made the Charlie Dress, I think taking the bodice from that design and adding it to the Charlotte skirt, I can hack together a dress similar to the original D&G design.
Adjustments and Alterations
This time around, for the bodice straps I will make long ties, which will be tied into bows at the top of the shoulders. I like this feature from the original, and I think it can work on my dress.
I am not going to add a collar to the bodice, as for this project, I would prefer a clean neckline. Every thing else will remain the same.
I will shorten the hem, and add a longer flounce, as the current length while flattering, may would be too restrictive for walking. I like fashion, but I have no intention to suffer for it!!!
I’m eliminating the waist band, so I need to double check that the hem of the bodice matches the waist line of the skirt.
Cutting out time! I will not make a muslin because I live on the edge (actually I’m too excited to make a muslin – this could be dangerous!). I will also start the basic construction, reporting on any issues I may come across as I sew.
To find out what happens next on the Lemon Grove dress project, please subscribe to ensure you don’t miss out.
Today, I’m starting a new series featuring sewing pattern hacks to create couture inspired clothing. Over the next few weeks, I plan to develop my hand made wardrobe, featuring pieces which I have either designed from scratch, or have adapted using independent sewing patterns as a base.
First up is a lemon print dress, inspired by the 2016 Dolce and Gabbana Spring Summer collection.
Background and Inspiration
I’m trying out something a little different with my new sewing project. As a fan of the recent Dolce and Gabbana couture collections, I have been inspired by their bold use of prints and colours. However the price margins are a little steep, and when I was able to buy a pair of trousers from the Harrods sale eons ago, sadly I found the quality wanting.
Some of you may recall my attempt to make a version of the daisy dress below. I still have not been able to source suitable daisy appliqués to start the project.
While searching in vain for the appliqués, I came across the lemon dresses from the same design house.
Oh my, how I adore these summery dresses.
So how do I go about making an D&G inspired dress without forking out a fortune? The answer unexpectedly came via By Hand London (BHL).
Whilst studying the other BHL patterns, I came across the Charlotte Skirt, a simple pencil skirt which can be modified with a peplum or ruffle hem. Now I’m not a frilly girl by nature, but that ruffle hem caught my eye.
Then I had an idea …
Why not create a D&G dress, by combining the bodice of the Charlie dress with the Charlotte skirt?
I will show my design sketch of the dress I hope to make and my fabric choices, as I embark on one of my most adventurous sewing projects yet.
Please subscribe to ensure you don’t miss out. Thanks for reading and see you soon 🙂
Yes, we are a little late this month … but June was so jammed packed it was hard to choose which would make the final edit. Now that the techno stuff is also on the mend, the video backlog will soon be cleared, so watch out for even more.
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It’s the first time I have sewn a By Hand London pattern, and the Charlie Dress was a great introduction. Surprisingly quick to make, it took me about 4.5 hours from start to finish over a couple of days. I used a cotton fabric from my stash – Riley Blake’s ‘Desert Bloom’ poppy print in red. I sourced it from the internet and was inspired after seeing the fabric showcased on Kittenish Behaviour.
It is a medium weight cotton, so I didn’t feel the need to line it, making the dress even quicker to make. Also as the dress is intended to be worn during the Summer, I thought lining it would make it unnecessarily heavy.
The PDF pattern cost £9, which I thought was a very good bargain as the dress comes in 2 versions, and both dresses can be easily adapted. For example, I hope to make the bodice as a stand-a-lone top, and I now have a 3/4 circle skirt without having to do the maths!
The instructions provided are well written and easy to follow, but I wish they included how to lengthen or shorten the bodice and skirt. As I have prior knowledge, I was able to adjust the pattern to my own measurements, but would have appreciated the guidance.
I had intended to make version 2 of the dress, with the 3/4 circle skirt. Sadly, the material I had wasn’t wide enough, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, The 2 panel skirt is a different style for me, I tend to sew only straight, A-line or circle skirts, so it was great to try something different.
I was concerned about the gathered waist, as I prefer smooth lines on my waistline, but again, the result was pleasing, and hopefully doesn’t draw attention to my tummy.
I added 5 cm to lengthen the bodice
The turn over collar was made with a cotton, solid white fabric I had in my stash
I decided against adding pockets, but with future Charlie dresses, I’m considering adding large patch pockets
I added 2 cm to the length of the first skirt tier, and 3 cm to the length of the bottom tier, to create a knee length dress
I made extra long straps, and made a bow feature at the top of the shoulder – see picture below
I’m considering adding some sort embellishment to the bow, like a button or mini fabric flower – not sure yet, so if you have any ideas please let me know.
Overall, I really like this pattern, it’s quick to make and I reckon my next one can be made in around 2 hours. The sew-a-long on the By Hand London website is also a useful tool, providing clarity to the written instructions and enhanced with more, clear photographs.
I really like the ‘hackability’ of this pattern, and have already thought of several ideas to adapt this pattern to create a wardrobe of garments. Stay tuned for more on this.
For my first By Hand London pattern, I find it pretty hard to fault, and I look forward to trying more patterns from this company.
June, in terms of creative output, has been a mixed blessing. I have created a number of new recipes, made my garden a greener haven and attended an inspirational conference, which gave me a number of new ideas and techniques to apply to my social network, some of which are starting to bear fruit.
But, there have been a number of trivial personal setbacks and of course the sadness caused by the tragic events in London. All of which have taken their toll on my sewing mojo. I had so many plans this month, including a self designed outfit I was going to wear to Blogtacular, which sadly due to some rouge suppliers, I was unable to finish. Then, when news of the Grenfell Tower fire happened, somehow sewing a new skirt seemed the most trivial and pointless task. Bang, sewing mojo gone.
It has taken me the best part of the month to recoup my sewing creativity, and that is mostly thanks to Moira of Craftiosity, who included a lovely craft kit in the Blogtacular goodie bag. I will blog about the kit soon, but for now, being introduced to a new sewing material in a kit pack, allowed me to dip my toe back into the sewing pool. I finished the project in no time, learnt new skills, used new-to-me materials and have very useful, and now well used items to boot. Rediscovering my love of learning and making new things was the spark I needed to get back to my sewing machine.
So on Wednesday, whilst reviewing my insane stash of material, I rediscovered the Desert Bloom fabric, which has a red poppy flower print. I purchased the fabric, as result of watching Siân of Kittenish Behaviour. I adore watching her videos, but they should come with a caveat – watching could make you want to purchase a load of beautiful fabrics. It would be unfair for me to blame at least 45% of my stash being a direct result of watching Sian’s videos, but I’m not going to let that stop me!
So with the fabric chosen, I needed a pattern – I wanted to make a summer dress and so after a quick internet search, I thought I would try out By Hand London’s, Charlie Dress. This is the result.
A review of the pattern will follow this post.
Sometimes things appear overwhelming, and rather than fight it, I’ve taken it as a sign to take a break and try something different. I have come back to sewing with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
I’m not stopping either, the next project will be an interpretation of a designer garment, so if you want to find out what it’s going to be, subscribe to Champagne Twist to ensure you don’t miss out 🙂
So here we are in June and the #MMMay17 challenge is over for another year. This is the first time I had fully embraced the challenge and these are the 3 main things I learnt.
Wearing and/or making something everyday is hard. On some days, especially the sunny ones, I just wanted to go out in the sunshine and enjoy it. Living in the UK you quickly learn that warm sunny days are few and far between so we have to make the most of them. Sadly that becomes difficult if you have to drag a head sewing machine along.
On some days, such as the Manchester bombing, sewing became unimportant. Thankfully most of the time, sewing is a fun and creative outlet. I learnt that there is little point forcing yourself when you don’t feel like picking up a needle. Sometimes it’s best to walk away for a couple of hours and then return when the time is right.
2. I’m pleased my handmade wardrobe is building up nicely. I have made and worn a lot of skirts, a few dresses but oddly no trousers! I could do with a few more tops too. The gaps in my handmade wardrobe have certainly been highlighted, and I wouldn’t have noticed had it not been for the MMMay17 challenge. I shall spend the rest of the year addressing these wardrobe gaps, when my current projects are completed.
3. I have a lot of sewing ideas and plans in my head, but few on paper. I discovered the best way to resolve this was to start a sewing sketchbook. It has been fun going through magazines and Pinterest, and adding them to my sketchbook. It is also a helpful tool for designing new clothes and addressing gaps in my wardrobe. I shall be writing a post soon about how to create a sewing sketchbook.
Next year, I’m going to change my tactics and vlog MMMay18 weekly, rather than a daily basis. The extra pressure I had placed on myself to blog, vlog and make, especially with a computer which was acting up, was too much.
However I did enjoy this challenge and hopefully this time next year my wardrobe will be nearly 100% complete.
Did you take part in MMMay17? What did you learn from the process? Please leave your thoughts and comments below.