It’s been just over a week since the Kew pattern was released and I’ve been blown away by the response – so, thank you! I released Kew on the Friday, held a stand selling printed patterns(!) at the New Craft House Summer Party on the Saturday and then delivered a wedding dress a few days’ later, so I feel like I’m just starting to catch my breath… But not for long, as super excitingly I’m on the verge of launching my first set of printed patterns (for Bloomsbury, Carnaby and Portobello, with Kew to follow next week) and then I’m going to be exhibiting at the Great British Sewing Bee Live event in September! No rest for the wicked, as they say… 🙂
So anyway, I wanted to share today a bit of the inspiration behind the Kew dress and skirt pattern. As with my other patterns, there’s a mix of vintage and on-trend elements behind the design. Kew Version 1 very clearly harks back to 1940s tea dresses with its ruched sleeves and shoulder yokes, whilst there’s a bit of ’90s in the button-down fronts and the high-low hem and the midi skirt are very ‘now’. But also behind the feel of Kew was my love of the British summer.
The pattern is of course named after Kew in London, most famous for being the home of the exquisite royal botanic gardens. The gardens are one of my favourite places to go for a wander (all year round) and a summer picnic (pestered by the peacocks!). (Picnic blankets and deck chairs inspired the striped version of the Kew skirt I made for the photographs.) A beautiful sunny summer day here in the UK is simply heaven, with its inevitable associations of Pimms, strawberries, lawns flanked with colourful borders, or ice creams and beach huts, but of course these are notoriously rare thanks to our fickle weather! Hence Kew version 1 has sleeves, and Kew version 3 could easily be paired with a jumper.
Here’s some very summery Kew inspiration, should you have a garden party or wedding to attend…
From left to right: 1. What Olivia Did 2. Memorandum 3. Poor Little It Girl
Of course it doesn’t have to be a dressy affair; a comfortable dress is always an easy-wear…
From left to right: 1. Reformation 2. Polienne 3. Harper’s Bazaar
The Kew skirt has the option of being made in a heavier-weight fabric such as a denim which gives it a completely different type of versatility:
From left to right: ASOS 2. Pinterest 3. Cupcakes and Cashmere 4. Steal the Look
Sure, I’ve gone on about summer rather a lot here and Kew is most obviously a ‘summer dress’ – BUT there are plenty of ways all three versions could be styled for winter. Layer version 1 with a cami, chunky tights, ankle boots and a big throw-over cardigan for a vintage-inspired autumn look. Pop on version 2 over a turtleneck for a ’70s vibe. And I for one am definitely make a version 3 skirt in faux suede this autumn!
Speaking of suede, here are just a few fabrics currently on the market that I think would make fabulous Kews.
- I am in love with this new Cotton & Steel rayon from Sew Me Sunshine. What a colour!
- Embrace version 1’s vintage feel with this polka dots rayon from Sew Over It.
- Les Fleurs Rayon by Rifle Paper Co, from the Village Haberdashery.
- Wear your own portable picnic blanket with this gingham beauty from Sew Over It!
- Go tropical for a seriously summery version 2, with this bananas cotton from Pigeon Wishes Shops on Etsy
- Cotton lawn from Sew Me Sunshine: perfect for a beach-ready Kew version 2 or 3.
- Linen or linen blends such as this from Fabric Godmother will be perfect for block-colour versions 2 or 3.
- Dress up Kew for a romantic night out with a sophisticated print like this gorgeous swan viscose from Guthrie and Ghani.
- My love affair with Liberty prints means I couldn’t help but include one here – and this from Fabrics Galore is simply so sweet.
Well, phew, that’s a lot of inspiration for one blog post! I’ve already found Kew such an easy dress to wear that I really can’t wait to make it up in more versions. Let me know if you’ve got a Kew in the works too! x