My Valentine’s Look Book

I considered doing some fabric shopping for Valentine’s Day until it suddenly hit me – I have an array of items in my handmade wardrobe that are perfect for the occasion. Whether it’s for date night or to go for a few cocktails with the girls, it’s always nice to make the effort on Valentine’s Day – I love a good themed outfit.

I thought I would share these looks in a special Valentine post (and have subsequently realised that I need to make some of these patterns again).

Look 1

The Kosedo Studio Lima dress

This is a really pretty, feminine dress – perfect for Valentine’s Day. Featuring princess seams, V-neck, a gathered skirt (with length options) and those gorgeous puff sleeves, this dress ticks all my boxes. I think it is the drama of the sleeves that really make this dress for me. There is something so fabulously feminine about the puff sleeves – and they’re so easy to do for the amount of impact they provide to the dress.

One of the things I really like about indie pattern companies is the instructions; they are so much better laid out and illustrated than what you get with the Big Four; Kosedo Studio is no exception. You cannot go wrong with this pattern. Vanessa has provided full-proof instructions so I’d recommend this pattern to sewists of all skill levels, even beginners. The princess seams might be daunting to beginners but the instructions recommend stay-stitching the pieces before seaming them together (which is a great tip). If you haven’t tried gathers yet, this pattern is a perfect introduction.

The size chart for this pattern is incredible and unlike anything I have ever seen before: it includes three bust sizes to help you customise the fit. No FBA here!

As for the fabric I’ve used… I love the drama of the rose print. It’s so vivacious and when paired with this style of dress, it’s a really striking look. I love it!

Look 2

Closet Core Patterns Elodie Dress

How I have only made this dress once, I cannot explain! Well, I can… a little. It’s well over a year since I made it and – with approximately 6 months sewing experience under my belt at that time – I didn’t know enough about fitting to make it work for me. So, I think it may be time to revisit and test out what I have learned over the last year. Aside from the nightmare I had getting it to fit well enough to wear, I have worn this a few times and – even though I am so aware of its imperfections – I do quite like the dress, not least for the pretty rose print viscose which I had bought from Rainbow Fabric Kilburn. I’ll put this one back on my to sew list because it really is a beautiful style of dress and exudes femininity – perfect for Valentine’s, I think.

Look 3

By Hand London, Kim Dress

I know I have better, up close photos of this dress somewhere but I cannot turn my hand to them. Everything about this pattern is reminiscent of 50’s style – the sweetheart neckline, the princess seams and the gathered skirt. Absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day with its timeless elegance. It’s another pattern I used at the start of my sewing journey that is really owed another visit and a re-fit.

Look 4

By Hand London, Flora Dress

There really are so many By Hand London patterns that would be perfect for a Valentine’s outfit – I should have included the Hannah, of which I have a beautiful pink Tencel variation in my wardrobe – but I have a real love of Flora. This particular one I made from a scuba and, even though the pattern is intended for wovens, I think it translates really well as a stretch pattern. All I did to transpose it to stretch fabric was size down a size. It is hard to beat a traditional rose print for Valentine’s Day, I think.

Look 5

Sew Over It Maisie Dress

The Maisie dress is another pattern I made over a year ago and while I wear the versions I made, I would like to revisit the pattern to apply the fitting knowledge I have learned since then. It has a real vintage feel with its wrap over V neck, pleated side seam and half circle skirt; it is a little bit sexy, too! I also really like the raglan sleeves which saves me from a common fit issue – the biceps. I almost forgot that I made a Kate Spade taffeta version as well as the red in the image above, which would also work for Valentine’s.

Look 6

Sew Over It Betty Dress

Structurally, Betty is a really simple make but she looks impressive; reminiscent of vintage styles, every wardrobe needs a Betty or three. It is perfect for any occasion. I made this pink with navy polka dot version for my birthday last year – I love a polka dot. They’re more than a pattern on fabric – they offer an illusion of texture, too.

Look 7

Charm Patterns Scout Dress

If you’re doing something more casual and need a day dress, I think it is hard to beat a shirt dress. Functional and fashionable at the same time. With its vintage provenance, the Scout dress is my favourite. My version of it here is made from a cotton poplin so it is very ‘everyday’ but you really could elevate this to evening wear by making it from something like a taffeta.

Look 8

Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses Boatneck Dress

This is such a classic style that it can be dressed up and down and worn to pretty much any place. It is a basic boatneck dress with a scooped back detail, lapped zip and gathered skirt. Although, in this mini polka red cotton I decided to add a swing skirt instead for a little more drama.

Look 9

Charm Patterns, Picnic Set

I live in Ireland so, to be honest, this isn’t really an outfit I would wear in the middle of February (unless I was staying at home). But for anyone in warmer climes, celebrating Valentine’s Day outdoors, it is the perfect flirty, romantic outfit. I love the combination of the navy and red roses on the cotton lawn I used for these garments. There’s something ethereal and romantic about this set – and I love the puff sleeve and square neckline details.

Look 10

Sew Over It Marguerite Dress

It is no secret that this is one of my all time favourite patterns and made up in this heart print rayon, I think it is the ultimate Valentine’s-inspired look (and most likely to be the one I wear this year. Floaty and fitted, at once casual and elegant, it is hard to beat.

I hope you enjoyed this round-up of patterns and maybe I’ve even inspired you to give one a go.

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