Cotton Lawn Alice & Co Iceberg, By Hand London Anna and Tilly and the Buttons Martha Dress by Dominique

For my first Sew Me Sunshine Bloggers make I was heavily inspired by the prairie dresses and bold, slightly over the top dresses that have been appearing all over the runways. I of course started by pinning and taking screen shots of a whole load of images because I love both a mood board and over planning.

For my take on these dresses, I chose 2m of the Nancy Cotton Lawn (this is now sold out, see all cotton fabrics here). I loved its vivid print and although red isn’t my normal colour of choice I wanted to test out something new. I’d seen dresses in similar fabrics over on the & Other Stories website which is my go to place for inspiration. If you’re looking to make something similar, Batsheva, Rixo and Cecilie Bahnsen are all good high end places to start searching for inspiration.

For any of you that follow me already you’ll probably know that love bright patterns and prints so when the fabric arrived I loved how vibrant the pattern was on it. Being a cotton lawn the fabric was lightweight without being too slippery which meant I knew it would be easy to sew and that this project would come together would come together like a dream.

When it came to actually making this dress a reality, choosing a pattern wasn’t as easy as choosing a fabric. While based on my inspiration boards I had a dress style in mind, there was no one pattern that fitted what I wanted so I decided that a mash up of patterns was necessary.

The one recurring theme from all the dresses I was pinning was a really good sleeve. Statement sleeves are clearly a trend for 2019 and I realised that this was a huge gap in my wardrobe because I don’t really own long sleeve dresses. As if by magic Alice and Co dropped the wonderful free Iceberg sleeve pattern which although is made for a knit fabrics, I knew I could make it work and it would be perfect. A bishop sleeve is so on trend and a great way to add a little bit of drama to a dress, as well as really good way to show off a beautiful fabric like this one.

Sleeve sorted, I also knew I wanted it to be a midi length dress because this would make it so much easier to wear with bare legs. However, because of the long sleeve there was the risk that the dress would look too covered up so I decided to use the Anna dress from By Hand London for the skirt. I’ve never tried this pattern but I really like how the split in the skirt gives a little bit of edge to the dress. You can control how high the split goes so it’s up to you how much leg you want to show.

As most of the dresses I was drawn to had a collar or some kind of neck detail, I dabbled with this idea. This led me to choose the bodice from the Tilly and the Buttons Martha dress which has a high collar. In the end, I opted for no collar as there was already so much going on but I do still like the higher neckline that the Martha bodice gives to this dress, perhaps with a more subtle fabric I would have added the collar. I really like the Martha dress bodice as the princess seams mean it is easy to fit, it also worked perfectly with my sleeve choice and I had to make no adjustments.

Overall I love how the dress turned out and I’m so pleased to have this fun addition to my wardrobe. Its versatility means I know I will get so much wear out of it. As you can see from the images I’ve opted for some casual styling with some high top trainers and a wicker bag but this dress would be perfect dressed with some clogs or even some sandals when the weather starts warming up. This dress really is quite a statement but because it is easy to wear I think it is a statement we should all be making. I can’t wait to make more!

This fabric was provided free of charge in exchange for this post but fabric and pattern choices were all my own.

To see what else I’ve been sewing and to get more of an insight into what is inspiring me head over to my Instagram @dominique.major

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