Oh, heavens! It’s a new dress! Why, how unusual? Not really, no. But I’m a dresses gal, so another one in my closet makes me happy. 🙂
This, my friends is the By Hand London Kim dress. I’ve admired this pattern since I saw Mary’s watercolor version. A few months ago I was the featured member on Pattern Review and was offered a discount on patterns. I decided that was a great time to pick up this little beauty in the never-ending search for my perfect summer dress. While I like the version with the tulip skirt, I was immediately enamored with the gathered skirt version. I love the princess seams and the straps that are part of the bodice rather than additions. And a gathered skirt? I was sold.
While I’ve admired most of the By Hand London patterns, they’ve never really been my style. But when Kim rode in with her pintucks and sweetheart neckline, how could I resist such a sweet dress. Having never sewn with a BHL pattern, I decided to make a (hopefully) wearable muslin first. This is something I rarely do as I generally make my alterations to the garments I’m working on and baste things together to check the fit. As I had been planning to use an expensive fabric for this pattern, I decided to test it out first with this black and white cotton gingham from Joann’s.
I graded this up a size to an 18 (US) and noticed that there was quite a lot of gaping going on around the armscyces and upper bust after I basted it together. I’m not certain if this had to do with grading it up myself or an error with upper pattern sizes. I added side darts and adjusted the princess seams in order to eliminate said gaping. However, I do think this is a bodice that most likely requires an FBA. Having never done an FBA myself, I never thought too much of it as I’m at the lower end of the full bust spectrum at a D, but this sure looks like that type of situation. I penciled in my new bust darts on my pattern piece and added notes for the future. I also did my usual swayback adjustment.
This “muslin” (well…. now it’s just a dress as I wear it!) is lined with red cotton batiste on the bodice. I didn’t think the skirt needed lining, so I didn’t bother with it. My bodice lining is a remnant from another dress, so I was happy to use that up. I added red piping to the neckline and armscyes, which was a detail I had envisioned when I pictured a gingham version of this dress. I originally hadn’t planned on adding the pintucks on the skirt as I figured they would be lost in the print, but some friends on Instagram suggested the piping with the pintucks, and as I had three packages of piping, I followed suit. I started sewing the pintuck piping on with a single straight stitch and decided it needed something a little more to hold it on and opted for a simple zig zag stitch. I guess I could have used one of my decorative stitches, but really didn’t see the point as I assumed they would be obscured. I decided that one pintuck was enough.
I did some pattern matching, but not a whole lot. The bodice lines up at the front and back, but not on the sides and the skirt back is a hair off. None of this bothers me and I’m happy with how this dress turned out.
So, what is my verdict on this pattern? Will I make it again? And is it my perfect summer dress? Well, as with dresses like this that have to be fitted well on the bodice, it’s not quite as breathable in 100 degree weather as something with a looser fit would be. So, no, not my perfect summer dress. I do like it quite a bit and will no doubt make another. I love the retro feel and the swooshy skirt. I’d probably make a couple more tiny adjustments to the bodice when I make it again. I doubt I will do an FBA as that just sounds like a huge mystery to me. I don’t mind having the darts with the princess seams.
I recently purchased the new Burda sundress pattern (Sundress with pockets 5/2015 #132), so maybe that will be my perfect summer dress? I had been looking at the Southport when I saw this one and snatched it up. I’d probably not put the pockets on, but I love everything else about it. It looks cool and comfortable and bra friendly. The Kim is bra friendly, but it takes one with a wider strap like a balconette. Just the things I’m thinking of during my perfect summer dress search. (BTW, I’ve been looking for my perfect summer dress for about 4 years now…)
Will I use the precious fabric I originally put aside for this dress? Not to make the Kim. I’m not swept away by this pattern enough to use it for that. Back to the drawing….er…. sewing table for that!
- Dress: By Hand London Kim dress in black/white cotton gingham, made by me
- Shoes: Swedish Hasbeen Heart sandals
- Earrings and Brooch: Luxulite