Join the Kew

This blog post was originally written for the Sewalicious blog, and I was so happy to review one of my favourite patterns this year: the Kew Dress from Nina Lee. I love this dress. It’s a button up dress with so much variety – you can make it with sleeves so it’s got a 40s tea dress vibe to it, sleeveless and strappy with or without cold-shoulder sleeves for the summer weather, and there’s a skirt option too. That’s all before doing any modifying or pattern hacking. I decided to go with this dreamy cotton lawn covered in flowers and birds:

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This fabric is so beautiful so I wanted to make sure I’d get a lot of wear out of it; if I made the version with cold-shoulder sleeves it would be perfect for a wedding or a formal event, but I wanted to be able to wear this all through summer so I made it strapless, without the cold-shoulder sleeves, and with a gathered skirt to make it more daytime-friendly. I added 4cm on to the bodice length but other than that I cut a straight up size 8. I was unsure whether or not to add patch pockets so I waited until it was all finished so I could try it on and see, but decided it may be a bit too much so I’ve gone without, meaning I have a dress WITHOUT POCKETS!!!

With this beautiful bird print there was high risk of tit on tit, so I was very careful with where I cut the bodice front, and luckily, I avoided any birds nesting on my bosom! The bodice is so comfortable, it all just sits in place and the straps are short enough that there’s no faffing with them slipping down, however, the only downside is the sides come up really high so next time I need to lower the seam by a centimetre or so.

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I cannot recommend this pattern more, it’s a straightforward make and a good step up for beginners – no fiddly princess seams or tricky collars, plus it’s so versatile that you can make versions for all seasons, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. I’m so pleased with the final dress and I’m really glad I made it with a gathered skirt because I wore this so much while the good weather lasted!

I made a second version in this amazing tropical print from Fabrics Galore and added big ol’ patch pockets for holding important stuff (=snacks).

My obsession for this pattern isn’t waning and I’m planning to make a couple for layering in autumn/winter, maybe one in cord and another in a dark floral cotton linen blend from Sew Loco; they’ll just have to form an orderly Kew…

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