By Hand London, Tamzin Dress

“One is never over-dressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress.”

Karl Lagerfeld

I have yet to make a By Hand London pattern that I haven’t fallen in love with and Tamzin is no exception. It’s no secret that I love princess seams and a gathered skirt (the Kim dress and the Kosedo studio Lima dress are firm favourites) but the square neckline is new for me and I love it. It’s the quintessential folk style piece and the neckline offers endless possibilities in embellishment as it is finished with an external facing. I chose, on this occasion, to make a simple black dress with no embellishment but as soon as my hand embroidery gets on a level which I’m happy to wear and show off, I’ll make a very different version. That’s not to say the dress I’ve made is plain because the pin tuck feature on the skirt and sleeves pops and gives a lovely texture to the dress.

The fabric I used was a black cupro (a recycled fabric), from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn – it’s a fabric I had never sewn with before but would absolutely use again; it’s so silky and fluid, and it has a beautiful drape (which Tamzin really benefits from). That’s not to say it was easy to work with – I still wrestle with finer fabrics when cutting – spot the novice! – and it’s not a breeze to iron (so those pin tucks do suffer a little from the fluidity of the fabric), but it was worth the effort as I loved the final product.

As ever, the instructions for this By Hand London dress are impeccable – they are easy to follow and could be used by confident beginners – there is no zip or anything to worry about here as it is a relaxed fit.

I opted for the back ties but I think I’d go with front ties next time as I’d prefer an even more cinched waist – I need all the help I can get!

I also downsized from my usual BHL size as the final measurements of the garment are very generous. Sometimes this can cause poor fit at the bust and arms for me, but not with this pattern. The addition of the D cup sizing to the pattern makes this perfect for me. And the fit of the arms leaves plenty of room for movement. I feel I need to take a moment to appreciate those pin tucks on the sleeves – such a simple but effective design feature!

I also shortened the skirt a couple of inches (but that’s a standard move for me at 5’1).

One of the best things about this dress is the comfortability – it is so easy to wear and added to the drape and fluid nature of the cupro, it’s so light and breezy. Perfect for those nicer autumn days (unless it’s windy which, believe me, it was when taking these pictures and my dignity was compromised many times on our Sunday stroll at Inch Abbey.

I love this pattern and I’m sure to make it again, probably in a heavier weight fabric suitable for an Irish winter!

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