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The Big Stitch Campaign: How I made an evening dress from a curtain

My studio has over 50 lovely sewists passing through each month and many hours are spent stroking fabric and getting over excited about new projects in like-minded company. Occasionally we do some work.

Grace came in a few months ago with a vintage curtain and I literally jumped up and down when I saw it.  The design had bold fruit in gorgeous colours, surrounded by a vine in turquoise. It reminded me of Marimekko fabric and Josef Frank all rolled into one.

I helped Grace to construct a simple shirft dress with it and she took it away to finish.

A few weeks later, Grace came back with the other half of the pair of curtains and gifted it to me. A random act of kindness which was very much appreciated.


When deciding what to sew up I knew I didn't want to break up the central panel too much, so needed a pretty simple pattern without too many darts and that would let the Design Guild print speak for itself.

The By Hand Anna dress was on my wishlist and I just managed to cut out the full length version.  It's a pretty fabric hungry pattern!


I was keen not to break up the pattern down the back so I decided to insert a side zip as the sleeve curves into the sideseams at the underarm anyway. I omitted the seam allowance at the centre back to compensate, and added a little extra at the side seam.

I overlocked all of the raw edges and hand sewed the hem.

Sadly there aren't any remnants to kit out the rest of the family in a Von Trapp style - though they are probably quite relieved.

I wore this dress at the Moda party at Quilt Market  last month and everyone kept stopping to ask me about it so it made quite an impression.  I should perhaps have not told them all it's history - but to be honest I was pretty proud to have upcycled a curtain into an evening dress that fits well and makes me smile! 

Inspired to have a go? The British Heart Foundation have the Big Stitch running for the whole of July.  Call into one of their shops, buy an item of clothing, some fabric or a scarf etc and turn it into a new garment to wear. 

You can read all about how to take part here

We are offering free studio time on Wednesday 5th, 12th and 19th July from 7.30 to 10pm for anyone who would like help on a sewing machine or overlocker to make their Big Stitch entry. Just drop us an email on

Thanks for stopping by and please spread the word about this brilliant campaign. 


Also check out my YouTube channel here: 














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  • Hilary

    I love this dress Jenni! I need to make a full length version of the Anna dress so we can be twins. ;)

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