Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Refashioned Blackberry Dress

Since Google reminded me this morning that it's the first official day of Autumn (the weather has been quite clear on the matter for some weeks already!), I thought I'd show you this refashioned dress next. It feels like the perfect Autumn dress to me, particularly for Maria who absolutely loves blackberries.

Yesterday I used just the sleeves and one strip of an old, burgundy coloured top of mine, so I had the rest of the top still to play with. Fortuitously, a friend was having a clear out of some of their fabric recently and threw some very cute blackberry fabric my way, which seemed to team up perfectly with the burgundy top - perhaps I should now call it a blackberry coloured top instead. And after hunting around for a suitable green, I decided on an ancient homemade skirt and jacket of my Mum's, here's the skirt, but I'd already cut into the jacket in the past so it wasn't very jacket like anymore.

Some of my Mum's old homemade clothes have worn really well and are either fairly timeless or have come back into style, but these were very dated in many ways and did need a new lease of life.

Maria is incredibly particular with what she will and won't wear. She doesn't like anything that feels restrictive in any way, she's quite fussy about where a 'waist' band might be, things can't be too big and lets not even mention the itchy factor. Venetia and I frequently call her the Goldilocks of clothes - it has to be just right. So making something for Maria can be a bit of a minefield, but I find a 'peasant dress' style is fairly foolproof for her, so that's what I went with here.

If you would like a pattern to follow for a peasant dress then Pam over at 'Threading My Way' recently wrote a glowing review of one here, so that could be worth checking out. I made a few night gown/dresses in this style last year and found this tutorial/pattern here was enough to get me going, and I just used some existing clothes to get the sizing right. It is a very straightforward and forgiving make, so if you're tempted but nervous, have some confidence and give it a go - you can always make it in some fabric you don't really want first to be sure you get your sizing right (it's incredibly quick to make so that wouldn't take much time either).

Anyway, the stretchy, burgundy fabric was perfect for the body section, since both the other fabrics are quite 'heavy' and I'm sure Maria would have found them uncomfortable against her tummy (did I mention she's a bit particular?).

Since I was splitting the dress into different fabrics my early stages of construction looked like this - with the green sleeves to the sides.

Then the blackberry skirt sections went on...

And the sides were sewn up, right from the ends of the sleeves to the bottom of the dress.

A quick casing for some elastic at the neck (you can just fold over your fabric at the top, but I wanted the contrasting green up there), a couple of hems and it was done. 

And the perfect photo shoot - blackberry picking of course! Perfect most of all because it's quite possibly Maria's favourite thing to do at this time of year. 

Although she was also very happy just having her photo taken, clearly she has none of my self consciousness about posing!


And here's a close up of the fabric so you can see those lovely blackberries...

Does making an Autumn dress count as embracing the season and getting over the end of Summer? I think maybe it should - see I'm doing fine this year at not mourning the passing of the Summer!

Happy Autumn to you all!



  1. The dress is so cute, and so is the model :) My girly girl has reached the grand old sge of 10 and now won't let me make her anything. Well I can make it but she won't wear it. Sob :(

  2. Adorable...the dress and Maria :)

  3. She is SO sweet! Perfect model for a sweet dress. My favourite is the raised eyebrows with both her hands stuffing berries into her mouth!

  4. Happy Autumn to you too. Maria show the dress off, beautifully. She's a charmer in front of the camera.

  5. In that closeup I am also admiring how much she truly does love blackberries! The dress is lovely and I like that it brings your mum close to her, too.

  6. What clever refashions you have been making! I quite like this little dress on Maria, but my favourite part of this post is her expression while she snarfs back blackberries!!! :-)

  7. I really like how you've added the contrasting casing, Sally - finishes the dress off beautifully. Thanks so much for the link back.

  8. Yes it does! I love the dress, and the repurposing of old clothes of your mum's. I spent Isaac's infancy snipping labels out of every tee shirt he owned,and even now he struggles with school uniform because by its nature it is a little restrictive. X

  9. Oh what gorgeous fabric- I love the blackberries and it makes the perfect dress for one very happy little girl :)

  10. Oh my, I don't know what is cuter : The dress or the model! <3 Great job...


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