My Zeenaaaaaaaaa! Stood on a balcony in beautiful Ortigia (Syracuse) in Sicily.
Hiya and happy summer y'all! I don't know how it's been for you, but for us in London it's been pretty dramatic: regular bouts of gruesome rain and thunder, interspersed all too rarely with some glorious sunshine which makes the whole city come to a standstill as we whip off most of our clothes to reveal as much as we can of our sun-starved limbs, find the nearest patch of green and plunder the local corner shop for tinnies and crisps to take frantic advantage of the day in case this.is.it for summer 2016.
The last 6ish weeks of my life have been wild (I got married, went on honeymoon and changed jobs) but sadly have not left me much time to make that summer wardrobe I'd been planning. Which is why I was pretty damn happy to be offered the chance to have a crack at a Sprout Patterns x By Hand London Zeena Dress. Our Zeena Dress is a quick and easy project already, and when you get all pattern pieces printed in your size onto the fabric design of your choice as well, basically you've got yourself a finished summer dress in a handful of hours - yaaaaaay! I have not a huuuuuuuge amount of patience, so this suits me just perfectly.
In case any of you haven't come across Sprout Patterns before, they are a part of the famous fabric + paper print company Spoonflower. This means you can choose from Spoonflower's wide range of fabrics, ginormous library of designs and of course expect the same print quality and customer support as well. They then partner up with indie sewing pattern companies just like us and choose patterns from their ranges to print directly onto their fabric designs.
I chose a watercolour design by the talented Dinara May:
I went for these lovely summery peaches:
Check out all her designs available on Spoonflower.
In terms of fabric I went for their Cotton Lawn Ultra and it was lovely! The print quality was really excellent, the cotton was lightweight and soft and I really liked the fact that it seemed to be a gentler white, rather than harsher optic white.
The cotton washed very well at 40 degrees centigrade and normal washing powder, with literally no fading at all. Some of you may remember we had our own foray into textile printing using pigment inks, so I really appreciate that this isn't easy to achieve! Being cotton lawn it was also of course easy-going to work with, folding crispily and staying put when it was supposed to.
Here is a little snaphot of it laid out post-wash, to give you an idea of how your order from Sprout Patterns would look like:
A little late to the game I've recently decided it's time to grow up and I need to french seam all makes from here on out (rather than just using pinking shears). Soooooo, here's a little gratuitous in progress shot right here:
And one more pic of the full-length finished make (apologies for the coy / cringy fan-pver-face vibe, I just still haven't got the hang of posing in public without pulling a tense and furrowed expression and the rest of the photos were nay very good).
In short, I love it! I know I'm definitely biased towards both companies, but I reckon that if you know a friend's measurements, a Sprout Patterns x BHL Zeena Dress would make a brilliant gift for a pal who is interested in starting to sew.
Things to note:
1. Sewing on a hangover kids: DON'T DO IT. I was finishing off this dress the morning I was flying off on honeymoon with a particularly monstrous hangover. So, what ended up happening was inserting the zip wrong THREE TIMES in a row. Excellent. This fabric being pretty delicate, it didn't like my sweaty, confused and slightly hysterical unpicking and I was left with little holes all along the zip line. Totally annoying and totally own fault.
2. You can't tell on the pix perhaps, but the fabric is definitely a little see-through. I wore a white, strapless bra so you wouldn't see it too much through the bodice (which isn't lined) and the pleats on the skirt ensured my modesty was somewhat protected.
3. The styles we have up there with Sprout are the most relaxed styles which don't rely on close-fitting bodices or skirts (Kim Dress and Charlotte Skirt, I'm looking at you). Reason being is that if, like me, you are usually between sizes, it doesn't matter too much - which is important because only one size is printed onto your fabric. For instance, I am usually a UK size 8 for waist + bust and a UK size 12 for hips (classic pear yo). However, for the Zeena Dress, because the skirt is full, I knew I would be fine with just going with the size relevant to my bodice.
4. Read Elisalex's comprehensive description of the ordering / designing process in this blog post about her Anna Dress from Sprout Patterns.
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