Feeling uninspired

Stone henge dress_2It’s my first ever sewing competition and I was feeling very uninspired. I signed up to Top Stitchers because I love a challenge, but I think I got ‘challenge’ and ‘competition’ muddled up. The fact it was a competition actually stressed me out, I was certainly feeling the pressure (and not liking it).

I was put head to head with Jenn from A Jennuine Life, she designed this dress and this top that I made last summer. Our prompt was ‘The Seven Wonders of the World’. As much as the 7 wonders are truly amazing, I really struggled to relate it to sewing. I was feeling very uninspired. I had loads of ideas that sounded great in my head, but nothing that translated into a practical outfit for a 7 year old, that she was going to like and wear for anything more than a photo shoot.

Stone henge dress_6Since we didn’t have to stick to the ancient wonders, I eventually chose Stonehenge, the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe.

Stonehenge is a huge stone monument built roughly around 5000 years ago. There is nothing decorative about it. It’s stark but beautiful, bold but simple, grey but dramatic. This was the basis for my creation.

Stone henge dress_3Stone henge dress_back

The pattern is from the Japanese sewing book Filles & Garçons, that I got from our Paris trip sponsor Telaria. The online shop has loads of Japanese sewing books that are difficult to find elsewhere (they sell fabric too, go check them out).

And to challenge me further the book had been translated from Japanese into French and guess what! I can’t read French. Good job I can read pictures.

Stone henge dress_pocket detail

Japanese fashion is known for being radical, boundary-pushing and extreme, but the patterns in Filles & Garçons are subtle and full of style and grace. Just what I was after.

I particularly like how you can slip the dress on and off without buttons or zip. The neat little slit at the top is enough. It adds charm and you get a little peak of the Liberty Mitsi fabric which I used for the facing and the pockets.

Stone henge dress_7As a pioneer contestant, I had to challenge myself and use a ‘sewing wonder’ too. Something that I have little or no experience with. May I quickly add that I do not think I am a pioneer in any shape or form, but the category I wanted was given to another pairing. This was the only category left apart from a mixologist who likes to cram as many prints as possible into everything they sew. Not me at all.

lattice smocking by Needle and Ted

I chose lattice smocking because of it’s resemblance to Stonehenge, (what! you can clearly see the resemblance can’t you?). Even though I have little patience for hand stitching I gave it a go. It was actually quite relaxing and quicker to do than I expected. Again, I used pictures and not words to learn how to do it.

Stonehenge backpack_1Stonehenge backpack_2So I made a rucksack to match the dress, and used the smocking for the front pocket.

Stone henge dress_8

My fabric choice was influenced by the smaller stones of Stonehenge called bluestones. They have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken, the colour being similar to the cotton chambray that I used.

Stone henge dress_1   Stone henge dress_5I’m really pleased with the dress, its relaxed and comfortable yet elegant. I’m not sure I can win a competition with it (when my mum saw it she said “That’s nice, is it school uniform?”) but if Darcy likes, it’s a winner.     Stonehenge dress and backpack_1The rucksack is another thing that I’ve made for Darcy that I might have to pinch when she’s not looking. I’m rather proud of the smocking. I might have a go at some other designs next time.

Stonehenge dress and backpack_2Now head on over to Top Stitchers where you can mark me against Jennifer on technique, creativity, presentation and difficulty. I’m looking for some 5 stars peeps. Thanks.

Stonehenge backpack and Ted


The competition is now over. Thank you so much to everyone that voted.

Did I win?

You can find out here, (I’m such a tease).

25 thoughts on “Feeling uninspired

  1. The dress is beautiful and I can totally see your inspiration! The little fabric details give such a nice touch of softness. The rucksack is amazing and the hand-stitching detail… wow… I’m speechless! Congrats!


  2. wow! yes I do see the link between stonehenge and lattice smoking! of course!:) (ah!! you made me laugh so much!) I love the outfit: dress and backback really look avant-garde if you ask me!


  3. I think you did fantastic. You didn’t give yourself an easy inspiration, but I totally feel you nailed it. The dress is very beautiful and that smocking in the bag!!! I like the pictures too.


  4. wow olu, i’m blown away and really impressed by this dress! absolutly gorgeouse!!! the suptil shape with the grey fabric the split in the front with the princess seams perfection! nothing more to say, 5 stars olu!


  5. Ace! I did vote – but wondered how helpful it was as I ended up giving fairly high scores for both! It would be nice if there was a category for taste preference too. By comparison – I was in the project run and play final ten again this month with both entries, but I’m going to come in last! 🙂


    • Every vote helps, thank you. My sister did the same, I think the voting is fairer like that. Yes, taste preference would be good or aesthetics. Going to check out your run & play entries. now 🙂


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