The Fairytale of New York


A month or so ago, my ‘New York Dreams’ fabric design was announced as the winner of By Hand London’s ‘Once Upon a Dream’ fabric competition which they ran following the launch of their custom and designer fabric printing service. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me – it means so much and I am SO excited to have my building drawings on fabric!


My design was influenced by my love of NYC architecture and, in particular, the iconic brownstone houses. I had originally designed it to be black on white, however I fell in love with the blue/white nighttime variation and knew it would look really cool as a garment. The blue had to be lightened a bit to make the white houses stand out but I love the new blue and think it’s such a lovely shade.

Part of the prize from BHL was a few metres of my own printed fabric, which is also for sale on their website with some of the other awesome designs for the competition. I was so excited when it arrived and put it straight into the wash ready to sew up!


The fabric is cotton poplin so is stiffer than I’m used to, and it has practically no drape. Also, as warned on the BHL website, due to the inks they use to print, sometimes the colours can be prone to fading with multiple washes. Mine did a teeny bit but I am sure that is due to the dark background on my print. I’ve  only washed it once and I have made it into a fairly formal dress so I doubt it’ll need to go through the wash too much anyway and I may even get it dry-cleaned instead as it is one of my favourite garments ever!

I decided to make a Kim Dress with my fabric as it is my favourite BHL pattern ever and I have made all the adjustments so it fits pretty perfectly now. I chose the full skirted option as it has always been my favourite and it also hides side seam pockets well which is always a benefit! I was concerned about the lack of drape in the fabric, however I think the Kim pattern really benefits from a heavier fabric as it gives the full skirt some structure.


It’s so twirly!

I’ve been calling this dress my ‘cinderella’ dress – it might be the shade of blue or the fact it makes me feel like a princess. Either way, I’m in love. Sewing this up, I made all the same adjustments as my last kim dresses, size 10 with 4cm out of bust and 5 cm out of the top of the cb seam. I also added pockets so I can carry around the essentials.


I really took my time with this dress and it has definitely paid off! It is easily one of the best garments I’ve ever made and it’s even more exciting because it’s made from my own fabric! I think I’ll be designing more once my degree work is out of the way! Maybe I’ll even wear this to my degree show in June?

I just want to say a massive thank you to By Hand London for running the competition and all the awesome people who voted for me! Thank you!!!


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