Here is one from the archives; last year I made this dress for a sewing challenge and then totally forgot that I had taken proper pictures so I could write a blog post about it…whoops! Better late than never, right? 😅 The #SewRecreateTheLook23 challenge was hosted on Instagram by the incredibly talented Sharlene and Jen in April, with weekly prompts to share your inspiration, fabric, progress, a sneak peek, before the big reveal at the end of the month. It was so much fun to see what everyone was inspired by and the finished garments!
My inspiration was the ever-enviable wardrobe of Villanelle from Killing Eve. Seriously, she wore the best damn outfits! While I was extremely, extremely tempted to buy 10 metres of pink tulle and recreate that iconic dress, I instead opted for to recreate the sweet Miu Miu collared wrap dress from the scene where Villanelle is eating ice cream in one of the Parisian parks. I was so drawn to the beautiful overlapping circle print, the rose red colour way, the easy-breezy style of the original. I was so thrilled with how my version came to life, and was even more thrilled when I won one of the prizes for Best Copy for the challenge 😊
The fabric I used was such a close match, I still can’t quite believe my luck. The original Miu Miu dress was silk, but I squealed with delight when I discovered this deadstock Italian cotton pique on Selvedge & Bolts (one of my favourite fabric shops for an occasional splurge!) in such a similar print — I had to immediately snap it up. It was great to sew with, as it was very stable, and the slight waffle-texture to the fabric makes it visually interesting. It is a medium-heavy weight cotton though, so I had to make some adjustments to compensate for this; namely, I made the outer ties wider as I couldn’t pull them through on a narrow loop turner for love nor money originally, and I switched to a disty floral lightweight lawn for the inner rouleau ties of the dress.
I used my By Hand London Hannah wrap dress as the base, but had to make several hacks to get the right look I wanted. Firstly, I raised and amended the neckline to be a straight diagonal slash, instead of the ‘scooped out’ look. I then lengthened the sleeves to 10″ long, so they would hit just a few inches above my elbow. I also switched out to a different pocket with a higher opening, as I feel the pockets in my other Hannah are too low. Lastly, I drafted a Chelsea collar that would sit where the wrap crossover meets; I basted this at 3/8″ from raw edge, before sewing the bias binding onto the neckline. I also lined the collar in the same lightweight lawn that I used the inner rouleau ties, as multiple layers of this fabric was getting really bulky, and also as a sweet little hidden detail for me to enjoy.
In terms of fitting, I actually made quite a few adjustments! Last time I made the Hannah dress, I made a straight size 14; I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to do an FBA and make a bunch of adjustments on my lightweight cotton seersucker — I just wanted a quick summer dress! That dress is a bit too big for me at the waist, so this time I sized down to a 12 and did an FBA. I also moved the bust dart down and lengthened it a little, so now both the bust dart and the waist dart end approx 1″ from my apex, so there is no excess fabric pooling above the darts. I also did a narrow back adjustment and removed 3/8″ from the shoulders on the front bodice and back bodice. My initial toile made me lengthen the bodice by 1″, but I think that was a mistake in hindsight; I don’t feel like the waistline is sitting correctly now. I am guessing the weight of the skirt is pulling the waist lower, and I should have factored that in when I made my toile. I am not going to unpick my bias binding and overlocking though to amend this though, as it really doesn’t bother me that much.
This dress is definitely up there on my most-worn rotation; as it is a little thicker, it is perfect for chillier spring days here in England or for the odd overcast days in San Francisco. I put a lot of love into this dress to really try and recreate the original, and I am chuffed that I was so successful in my goal. One of my happiest memories in this dress was wearing it out to a Michelin-starred dinner with one of my best friends, where we drank ALL the wine and ate amazing Italian food.
By Hand London Hannah
Size 2/6 – 30/34
Full Bust: 32″- 61¼″
Waist: 25″- 56¼″