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Saturday, 22 May 2010

tea dresses and tea at four on the lawn...

Dear readers here is the first draft of my vintage inspired tea dress (thanks and credit to my tutor Maria here). It's a very simple shirt dress and I've deliberately kept things simple because I don't suit fussy stuff really and because this will be a tea dress I'm planning on a floral print (more on that later). The design has panels from the shoulder to add height (I'm on 5'3" so I need all the help I can get), you may just be able to see that I was considering a panel from the sleeve (faint line on the left bust) but I hope that you can also see that this doesn't create the illusion of height as the eye isn't led upwards in the same way. The dress will be flared from the hip rather than the waist to slim down the bottom area; I think too much fabric here could just add to the size of my bum, but the flare from the hip will diguise my big hips.

The belt will be wide for maximum waist creation and will be covered in the same fabric as will the buttons. I considered a little puff sleeve but decided against it, again for reasons of simplicity in terms on the lines of the design.

Now fabric. I'm thinking (ahem) Cath Kidston. Let's face it it's a tea dress and it needs a vintage print and who does vintage florals as well as Cath? Consequently, it's going to cost me a small fortune, but hey I designed it surely that deserves a little something extra huh?

So here are my thoughts on fabric: first up there's the rose floral which is very traditional, very English summertime. When I look at this I can hear the clink of china tea cups, feel the soft summer breeze as it wafts across a lush green cricket pitch to the sound of a leather ball on a willow cricket bat and polite clapping from the pavilion. This pattern says 'it's England in the summer and we're taking tea on the lawn at 4pm darhling'.

Number two is still very vintage but not perhaps so bold. To me this an early summer picnic under an oak tree by a sparking stream. It's fresh, it's pretty but it has none of the boldness of the other print. I like it just as much but for different reasons.

Number three will suit those of you with a love of irony: this fabric is called Brittania and depicts British landmarks. On a tea dress it would work so well!

Friends let me know what you think. If I've picqued your interest in all things Kidston do visit her website for more ideas and if I've left you yearning for the English countryside in summertime let me tell you that the sun is fast reaching its zenith, the sky is blue, grass is lush green and so I shall depart for a cucumber sandwich and a pot of tea.


  1. Can't wait to see the progress of this. I wish I lived somewhere near to a school for pattern drafting. I am a new sewer and frustrated in getting the proper fit to my garments. I love the last fabric. Best of luck with your dress.

  2. Charlie - go for the first one. I like the blue print but more so for the irony than the aesthetics of the finished piece. I think the small print one would add to the overall fussiness you are trying to avoid. Big old roses - what's more tea on the lawn than that?

    ps - I am so proud of you; you are so clever. :)

  3. I love the first one! Very beautiful!! The middle one looks a bit like a vintage sheet to me. :P Good luck!!

  4. How is the dress coming along? I'm dying to know!