My By Hand London Zeena Dress

I am taking part in the day and night dress challenge that is being hosted by the lovely Elizabeth made this, the idea is that you make a dress for the day (a coffee date) and also for night (cocktails), check out Elizabeth's page/vlog for more info about this fun challenge.

For my coffee dress I wanted to make the By Hand London Zeena dress from beautiful linen that I got for Christmas (blimey doesn't Christmas seem like ages ago) from Merchant and Mills.

However, I couldn't possibly cut straight into the linen, I needed to make a toile.

I cannot bare to make a toil that I will be unable to wear e.g. from muslin, so instead I will make it from less expensive fabric that I will wear, so at least if it works out I can wear it, if it doesn't work out I haven't ruined my "best" fabric.

Enter the Orla Kiely duvet set.

Ok, so you might be thinking "Orla Kiely bed linen, thats certainly not a cheap option" but actually that is not the case.

I purchased a king size bed set for £46 from TK Maxx, this provided me with about 4m of 2.5m wide fabric, think about it, its a duvet cover so the fabric is doubled up!

As usual I had a PDF pattern, and it pieced together really well. What I love about this dress is the box pleats, its full of them, even the bodice has pleats!

By Hand London Zeena

The duvet fabric worked really well as its quite stiff, so the pleats hold really well.

The dress was really easy to sew, box pleats are very simple as long as you transfer the notches accurately, the dress isn't lined, instead it has a neck facing.

It comes in a couple of versions, mini and midi (I went for the mini) short and mid sleeves (I went for midi) low and high neck (I went for high).

I decided to pattern match the fabric at the back bodice, but it did pull slightly out when attaching the zip (ah well its not the end of the world) but I didn't bother to pattern match the back skirt as the pleats hide the centre back seam anyway.

I shared the finished dress on my Instagram and its my most popular post ever with 370 likes, amazing! It also got shared by By Hand London with 1534 likes, eekkk!! It just goes to show that a toile can work out pretty well!


I have since made up the dress again in the linen, its so beautiful, but the dress has turned out totally different with the change in fabric, its drapes in a totally different way which is an added bonus for me.

On the linen version I did have to add a belt as the weight of the skirt pulled the waistline down a little, I will share better pictures of the linen version once I launch my day and night dress challenge post.

Oh, and check me out smiling at the camera! You may or may not have noticed that I seem to prefer pictures looking away from the camera, but we are currently focussing on portraits in the Makelight membership group, and my key focus was to learn how to look at the god damn camera!

By Hand London Zeena Dress

I have posted a video on YouTube so that you can see the dress "in person" so be sure to give it a watch below (I didn't get to take many photographs of it, so the video will give you a better idea).

In summary, I love this dress and pattern and will have loads more versions in the future!