Introducing our newest PDF sewing pattern - The Zeena Dress!

They say all clouds have a silver lining, and today this couldn't be more true for us - on our very last day at BHL HQ. As I type we are packing, cleaning, sorting and saying goodbye to the breezeblock temple that we have called our own since last Summer. It's bittersweet, for as we leave behind our past, we are ushering in our future with the release of a brand spanking new sewing pattern! Ladies and gents, boys and girls, please welcome.... The Zeena Dress!

Inspired by and named after our good pal, and super talented printmaker Zeena Shah, the Zeena is an infinitely versatile dress that will take you from daytime to partytime without a hitch. With sweet little box pleats to cinch the waist and kimono sleeves - short or 3/4 length - lending the bodice a relaxed yet feminine feel. Make like a lady with a knee length pleated skirt, or dare to bare and cut it short - but always keep things practical with side seam pockets!

Fabric recommendations

Zeena will be happily made from a myriad of fabrics. Opt for soft, lightweight cottons for a no-fuss Summer dress, such as lawn, quilting cotton, broderie Anglaise, batiste, double gauze and cotton silk, or add a bit of drama with drapier fabrics such as viscose rayon, silk crêpe de chine, sandwashed silk or wool crêpe.

For our sample dresses, we used a deliciously soft and floaty pink double gauze by Kobayashi for the longer sleeved Variation 1...

...And Sunday Dress by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel for the shorter Variation 2. Huge and resounding thanks go to Annie at The Village Haberdashery for providing these!

We'd also like to extend our love and appreciation for our amazing army of pattern testers - thanks to their eagle eyes and stitching finesse, we have been able to iron out typos, beef up the instructions, and hopefully deliver a pattern that is the best it possibly can be! We'll be sure to spam your various feeds with their stunning makes over the next few days...

As well as these beautiful samples we sewed up, and reluctantly handed over to Zeena herself as a thank you for being our muse, all three of us have been consumed by Zeena fever! Probably our easiest and fastest sewing pattern to date (no lining and no setting in sleeves yo!), Zeena can be whipped up in less than a day, so it's no surprise that we already have multiple variations to show for our testing period - all of which we can't wait to start photographing and sharing with you soon! 

We see a long, hazy Summer of many Zeenas in our immediate future, and we really hope that you guys fall as hard as we have! As ever, we can't wait to see how you make her, so please feel free to tag us, email us, and generally just bombard us with your Zeena Dresses - you can find us on Facebook, follow us on Instgram & Twitter or ask us anything by emailing help@byhandlondon.com.


The smallprint ~ the Zeena Dress is multi-sized sewing pattern - UK6 / US 2 - UK 20 / US 16. To make the Zeena Dress, you will need to download the PDF file to your computer upon purchase in order to print it out and assemble at home. This can only be done from a computer or laptop - smartphones and tablets won't work! 

  • Elisalex de Castro Peake
  • dressnew patternnewssewing patternsZeena Dress

Comments on this post ( 6 )

  • Jul 17, 2015

    Any plans for a Zeena sewalong?

    — Jan

  • Jun 30, 2015

    Such a lovely dress! The kind of dress I had long been dreaming about. Can’t wait to find the proper fabric!

    — Helen

  • Jun 29, 2015

    absolute cracker!! I think this will be a huge success xx

    — Scruffy badger

  • Jun 29, 2015

    I am wondering if you will be offering ‘print at copy shop’ large size options (eg. AO size) for your PDF patterns?
    I really hate piecing together multiple pages of a print at home pattern – it is SO time consuming & tedious! Also as I don’t have a home printer I have to pay to print it anyway. I much prefer being able to go to a copy shop, pay $4 and have it printed on one (or two) large printouts.

    — Tracy

  • Jun 29, 2015

    Oh no! I might have to take a break from sewing lingerie to make this dress! I could make a matching set of undies to coordinate!

    — maddie

  • Jun 29, 2015

    Congratulations on another gorgeous pattern ladies. I’m so chuffed that you asked me to test this one because like you say, it’s a pleasure to run up so quickly and it’s so lovely to wear. :-)

    — ooobop

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