Novelty prints

The “Carmen” Dress

The “Carmen” Dress

I’ve written in the past of my love for Victorian glasshouses, but the palm house at Kew Gardens is surely the queen of them all - it’s one of my favourite places in London. My Kew membership allows me to take advantage of later opening times in the summer to stroll through the gardens on my walk home from work, but the glasshouses and galleries close before I get there most days. For just a few months during the high summer though, they stay open an hour later on Fridays. Getting there after the day’s crowds have departed (and away from the madness of the weekends), I often have the quiet majesty of the palm house entirely to myself. 

It seemed fitting to debut my latest make, in a tropical-themed novelty print, on the final late opening of the season. And a delight to find the great glasshouse empty, silent except for our footsteps and the droplets of water splashing to the floor from lofty palms. The golden hour light, diffused through the condensation-fogged, curved glass, just added to the magic.  

The "Bluebirds and Bluebells" Dress

The "Bluebirds and Bluebells" Dress

Following on from yesterday's blog post topic of reusing, recycling, making-do-and-mending, I'm delighted to unveil my latest refashion project. This rayon crepe dress was one of the very first 1940s items in my vintage wardrobe, and the first vintage novelty print I owned. Although the waist was a little high on me, and the fit was a bit odd, I worked with it and I wore and loved it. When I noticed that the fabric was becoming very delicate and fraying through at the shoulders, I reinforced the seam, then added an iron-on interfacing and darned it in. It wasn't enough though, and the beloved dress, too delicate to wear regularly, hung unappreciated on a padded hanger in the wardrobe. Until eventually I decided that a print this adorable needed to be worn; it was time to give the dress a new lease of life.

Ballerina Garden Novelty Print

Ballerina Garden Novelty Print

I was honoured to place fifth in the first Spoonflower weekly design challenge to be announced in 2018 - what a great start to the year, right? I get asked a lot about how I go about designing a pattern, so I thought it might be fun to share the design process from inspiration to concept to final fabric.