Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Embroidered seashore gingham dress

Oscar Wilde said "I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do - the day after" and this is definitely the mantra I employed while making this dress. I procrastinated so much that I thought I'd never get it done before Christmas, never mind the end of summer.

I had an idea that I wanted to do some chicken-scratch embroidery on gingham. That was it really. I just wanted to embroider something. But after seeing £3-a-metre fabric on a great stall in Canterbury, I decided I could make an embroidered dress for my little girl. And what would be easier than a pattern I knew already - the Oliver + S seashore dress. A lovely, easy, simple pattern which looks fabulous when finished.

I had to cut the fabric first and then embroider the material as much as possible before sewing it up. The embroidery was easy. I worked out a pattern on paper to get some symmetry and a good shape for the heart. I enjoyed embroidering in the car while my daughter slept - even if I did get funny looks from dog walkers in Sandgate.

Unfortunately, the red and white heart I originally designed looked a bit OTT in real life. In fact it looked a bit like corset embroidery. Not something you need on a three year old's dress! If you need a stripper costume for a toddler, I'm your woman! So I unpicked the red and kept it simple.

This is when the laziness crept in. It was going too well, too easy. So I stopped, and watched a lot of My Kitchen Rules (MKR) Australia! As soon as Pete and Manu had bored me with their stock phrases "the star of the dish", "yum" and "melt in the mouth", I just couldn't stand it anymore. This dress needed finishing and the star of the dress was the embroidery.

Now for a short break... As nothing happens... Lots of cornetto eating, but no sewing...

After more cornetto-eating and MKR-watching, I finally finished the embroidery....

Then another long break... Wine drinking now... Tweeting, pinning and instagraming...

Then on Friday after a night looking after my daughter who had, as she puts it "a terrible case of the sniffles", I knew I couldn't just sit on the sofa. I had to keep going or I'd fall asleep. So instead of housework, I decided to get the dress done, and it only took four hours in the end.

I just got on with it and it was quick. I even did the button holes without pausing for breath and they came out fine. I spent ages choosing the buttons and eventually decided on some vintage glass ones from my stash. I painted them with acrylic paints so that they matched the material.

And ta..dahhh... Oliver + S embroidered and hand-painted seashore dress!

My little one wore it on Saturday and she looked cute in her new shoes from The Elves and the Shoemaker in Canterbury. We had lunch in Wagamamas and I just closed my eyes when she had ice-cream for dessert. Ahhhh, my embroidery!


  1. This is just gorgeous! The embroidery is so precious & your little one looks very sweet :-)

    1. Thank you Natalie, that's so nice of you. She did look cute in it, and it survived the chocolate ice cream! Ha ha xxxxx. Thank you for your lovely comments. Xxxx

  2. A beautiful dress, clever lady! Love the embroidery, so pretty. Tell little'un that she looks gorgeous in her red dress and matching shoes! Xxx


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