• Dresses

    Happy hula girls Flora dress By Hand London

    Hopefully the name of this post has you intrigued! I have a a fun new dress to share in the most awesome print fabric you’ll see today!!

    Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

    I am super excited to pair up with Spoonflower for their British Blog Hop. I’m in fab company as well:

    Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

    Blog Tour Schedule
    Saturday, May 27 | Kate | The Fold Line

    Monday, May 29 | Sarah | A Million Dresses

    Tuesday, May 30 | Manu | Sew Manju

    Wednesday, May 31 | Amy | Almond Rock
    Thursday, June 1 | Rachel | House of Pinheiro

    Friday, June 2 | Marie | A Stitching Odyssey

    Monday, June 5 | Zoe | Sozoblog

    Tuesday, June 6 | Kerry| Kestrelmakes

    Wow I’ve actually shopped, ate cake, danced and gossiped with everyone on this list. And their blogs are really inspiring and diverse in aesthetic. It’s the best possible virtual party!

    So have you ever tried Spoonflower? First set up in the US, they’ve expanded into Europe about a year and a half ago. Having operations in Berlin is a real benefit for all of us here in the UK because with a much closer factory than the US you get a faster turn-around on orders, and you know exactly what you’re paying because it’s all nicely there in GBP at the checkout with VAT included! That last point is pretty important to me as I’m TERRIBLE at maths.

    Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

    This was a really fun chance for me to get a print from one of my favourite designers…Taisya Kordiukova aka Tasiania. I know, I know, I could have designed something unique but having loved Tasiania’s mid-century modern inspired scenes of life for a long time I couldn’t resist choosing this hula girls design.

    Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

    Brief disclaimer: Please excuse the pictures. They were taken on the HOTTEST day the studio had so far this year so I’m a little pink in the face heehee.

    My dress is the Flora from By Hand London. It’s view 2 but with a gathered skirt so my hula ladies wouldn’t be placed sideways on the circle skirt. On all my versions of this dress I have adjusted the bodice to be single darted. This was done through a Small Bust Adjustment where I rotated the fullness into the waist. I don’t need a lot of room and one dart covers it! Finally as an act of insanity I made the tiniest rouleaux straps I could manage. They were excruciating to turn through. I didn’t have any cord or string thin enough to sew into the top when I tried the same with an overlocker chain it got caught in the side seam. In the end it was my loop turner that had to take on the task.

    Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

    Construction was a breeze. The fabric washed really well with no colour fading and it kept it’s gorgeous sheen. I have actually washed the dress three times after an unfortunate curry incident this weekend and it’s holding up amazingly well (the curry stain is almost out too). There’s a nice stretch recovery and the fabric is thick enough not to show the darts and seam allowance through which I was worried about. I lined the bodice in mint sateen suiting from Minerva Crafts, and the skirt in peach anti-static lining. Then I added a nice deep single-fold hem and a lapped zipper. It looks a little misaligned in this photo for some reason.

    Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

    I already owned a swatch pack and colour printing guide which I highly recommend before buying as the descriptions are not enough to know what the handle of your fabric will be. From the fabric pack my recommendations for dressmaking are definitely the Kona cotton, crepe de chine and sateen ultra. My cotton sateen was £25.30 a yard which is 53″ wide, plenty for a nice full skirted dress WITH POCKETS. Top tip, it would be a lot easier if you picked a multi-directional print rather than a one-way design as I did.

    Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

    Ooh pockets I love you.

    In my book £25 per metre is worth it for the Spoonflower sateen if you’re getting a custom printed design. Although this fabric was provided free in exchange for a review, it’s a high quality fabric that I would definitely order again. No one is saying you need to be a technical whizzkid to make your own prints; Spoonflower have an awesome book that guides you through the whole process in fact and there’s a lot of info on the blog. If you’re still unsure, check out the epic print gallery for a pre-made design.

    I hope you liked my dress and continue to follow the blog hop as it continues! Keep an eye on the hashtag #Spoonflowerbritishbloghop on IG and Twitter for more inspiration and if you have any questions about the quality, print or order process please let me know.

  • Other stuff

    Top 5s of 2013! Goals

    And now the last. Some goals for the new year!


    I have so many plans and there isn’t enough time to do everything but I’ve put a few things down below that would make me happy to have a go at specifically in 2014. Hey these aren’t set in stone (just like last year!) but since you’re asking me about it…


    1. Specific Big Hitter Items – Jeans (Kathryn, next time we meet up I’m totally going to bore you to death about Jean sewing as these are mid-construction and I can already see myself making more pairs), a proper button-up blouse (meaning one with a proper collar), a weekend or satchel bag and finally the perfect knit dress.


    2. New Exciting Classes, events and exhibits – I want to take a screen-printing class, maybe a digital design class and definitely go to the amazing Couture Inside Out session at FTM (reviewed here by Janene) when it returns. I have to convince the Mr to take a trip to the Bowes fashion gallery. And most importantly I want to keep meeting up with the fabulous sewing ladies of the blogisphere.

    3. Better blog photography – Now obviously I don’t have total control over this goal as I need a willing photographer to assist me but I’m getting him on board by being extra sweet to him! Hopefully we can put together some better photoshoots and show off a bit more of what Leeds has to offer while still showcasing my makes.

    4. Spoonflower/Be Fab Creative printing – I’ve been teaching myself Photoshop during the past year and have learnt some fun techniques for creating repeating prints. I’d really like to try getting some of these printed up on fabric. I’m not saying they’ll be the most inventive genius designs the world will have ever seen but hopefully they’ll entertain me if no one else.


    5. Attitude to goals and deadlines – My final goal is to not beat myself up if I don’t finish my goals or perfectly meet deadlines (heehee). It just seems silly to get upset over some self-imposed target. Saying that I know there are a few items I want to make this year that definitely do have firm deadlines so as long as I hit the bare minimum I’ll be happy with slipping on any others.

    I really enjoyed doing these posts again this year. Thanks to Gillian for cooking the whole idea up!

    Out of all the areas I have to say I find people’s inspirations and goals the two best areas. Things that inspire your fellow bloggers can totally lead to new inspirations for you. And seeing each other’s goals help you maintain perspective on realistic challenges to set yourself and see if your goals align with anyone elses! Instant moral support.

    If you’re not writing a post on your goals for 2014 let me know in the comments what your plans are. I’d love to hear them!