The Pleated Bow Dress

I was incredibly pleased when Natalli from Nell Patterns responded to my email asking to be a pattern tester for her latest pattern: The Pleated Bow Dress. Not knowing much about the pattern beforehand, I was even more pleased when it finally arrived in Dobbin’s Bobbins’ inbox and I discovered the simplest, sweetest little design. It’s a pretty a-line dress, featuring an inverted pleat and bow. (See my 1960s inverted pleat inspiration here).


Lack of sleep and high running emotions over another project meant that I was incredibly silly and made a somewhat critical mistake during cutting (I honestly don’t know how I managed it!), and I ended up having to make a size 2T, rather than the 5T that I was supposed to be making. Whoops! I was disappointed that I’d wasted my small quantity of such lovely cottons; a soft and simple blue and white stripe teamed with a vintage floral fat quarter. In the end, it didn’t really matter, it just meant that I got to have a practice run, and that I now have the cutest little dress waiting to find a cute little two year old to match! I love the way the pleat is accentuated with the stripes.



Ensuring I was fully awake and focused on the task at hand, I finally cut out the size 5T! This time I used a cotton printed with the sweetest vintage sewing design, featuring Singer machines, antique irons, scissors, buttons and bobbins! The colour makes it the perfect transitional garment- when the British autumn takes full swing, it would be perfect paired with a cream jumper and tights.


D loved the dress and was the perfect model!

D is a little tall for her age (120cm), so I found the dress was slightly too short- if I were to make another for her, I’d definitely want to add at least another 2 inches to the length to avoid the ‘Shirley Temple’ look! Or perhaps take it up a little more and turn it into a tunic to be paired with leggings.


I also think the design would look really pretty if you reduced the length even further and turned it into a top.


The pinnacle of this a-line design has to be the beautiful bow that sits on one shoulder. I love how something so simple can instantly transform a garment, making it pretty and feminine without being sickly sweet.


Perhaps the best thing about this pattern is just how quick and easy it is to make. There are no fiddly zips or buttons to contend with and you can cut and sew the entire thing in a couple of hours. What could be more satisfying than that?! I know that I’ll be making more of these in the future!


A massive thank you to D’s Mum Amanda for her excellent directing skills, and for letting me use their gorgeous garden for photos!


The Pleated Bow Dress pdf pattern will be available at Nell Patterns very soon! It’s worth noting that if you like Natalli’s other patterns as well (which I’m sure you will), she currently has an offer of 3 patterns for $13!


The Henry Dress!

Back in May, Erin from Brooklyn Pattern Company asked me to test one of her brand new patterns and I was over the moon with excitement. The dress perfectly balances modernity and tradition; femininity and fun. I cannot wait to finally share the photos of the wonderful Henry dress with you all!


I just love this pattern. Erin’s instructions are clear & concise and make the dress a really enjoyable sew. Some of you may recognise the pattern itself as I couldn’t help but sew it for a second time during Kids Clothes Week- I featured it on my blog here. (I told you I loved it!)

Knowing I was sewing the dress for 8 year-old J (a family friend and the best model I could ask for!) I had to go out and splurge on some gorgeous bright fabrics to suit her personality. I chose these brilliant contrasting turquoise polka-dot and orange stripe cottons from Hobbycraft that I knew she’d just love! The polka-dots even inspired their own Throwback Thursday blogpost which you can find here.


The dress features beautiful gathered and pleated sleeves which add the perfect amount of girliness to this dress. Plus, for those of you (like me) who dread sewing sleeves, there’s no need to fret! Erin cleverly breaks the process into two installments making it SO much more bearable!


The dress also features some pretty awesome pockets; perfect for any little girl who loves exploring and collecting treasures along her travels!


I had such a great time photographing J! It had been raining constantly all morning but as soon as she put on the dress the sun came out and shone down over our photoshoot in my parent’s back garden. J couldn’t stop grinning and was literally jumping with excitement. The Henry dress allows a lot of movement, so jumping as well as running, rolling, climbing and dancing was no problem at all! It’s safe to say the dress was a winner!


If you would like to sew your very own Henry dress, or any of Brooklyn Pattern Company’s other designs (I can’t wait to give the Bedford dress a go!), Erin is offering readers of the Henry & Bedford Blog Tour a 20% discount on any pattern in her shop with the code: SUMMERFUN15. The code is valid now until 15th July (11:59pm EDT), so get on it folks!