Dandy & Rose

Bespoke Western Shirts, Handmade in England

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Measuring up for a summer dress

The postman just knocked on the door, delivering a piece of Liberty print that I had bought for me, just me!

I’m a sucker for anything that’s a play on tape measures… I’ve got a t-shirt with a trompe l’oeil tape measure round the neck, a leather tape measure bracelet… and now this:


It’s called ‘Chris’. I saw it online, on a day when I had been wearing a favourite dress from this pattern, Butterick 5846:

B5846 drawing

That’s one of the best things about sewing… being able to find a pattern you love and make it up again and again in different fabrics. This time there will be lots of piping!

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Rites of Spring

Yes, Spring is here! It’s time for the annual shirt dress making ritual!



I’ve re-used a pattern I bought last year – Butterick 5846.


B5846 drawingI

It’s Forties-style with a gathered yoke that looks just as pretty at the back as at the front. Last year I piped the yokes, but this year I managed to resist that piping urge…I lengthened the skirt a bit to take it just below mid-knee. The buttons are maybe slightly too small, but I couldn’t resist their squareness or the fact that they are the exact shade of red.

The fabric is Liberty’s wool/cotton mix. ‘lantana’ which handles and makes up beautifully and is really comfortable to wear. I lined the skirt and it feels great.

I don’t know what attracted me to this unusual check, but I couldn’t resist it. It seems to trigger a distant childhood memory of the kitchen in the house where I grew up. Our house was built in the early Sixties – all mod cons – and I’m wondering if the formica in the kitchen had a similar design.

The photograph was taken on a birthday (hence the large slice of cake) trip to London for the V & A’s wonderful ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion’ exhibition. I’m sure it will be getting a lot more wear!


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Optimism and nostalgia, as expressed through frocks

No matter how depressing the weather, I like to express hope for the coming season by making a retro summer frock or two.

Last year I was so desperate to see a bit of sun, I  made a shocking pink dress on New Year’s Day. It helped with my mood, but did nothing to influence the weather.

The other day, my friend Andrew Wilkey, a photographer based in Hove


came round to take my photo for some Dandy & Rose publicity I have planned, so of course I put on this year’s summer frocks. And lo! the sun came out!

This is the second time I’ve used Butterick 5813. Last time I made it in blue wool crepe, with lining, but this time I skipped the lining (I just know it’s going to be really hot this summer) and went instead for a favourite combination – stretch denim with touches of Liberty print.B5813drawing

1737soft more

A couple of years ago, I bought a dress length of aqua and red floral Liberty print . It always said “40s” to me so I was thrilled when I spotted Butterick 5846 – a 1940s style shirt dress.B5846 drawing

It takes me right back to my early teens. My mum made me a similar dress during the mid-70s revival of 1940s style. It was green and had a floral shawl collar. The sleeve head was box pleated (this one is gathered). Mum even made a belt and I feel sure she used a buckle from my grandma’s box of salvaged buttons and buckles. I bet the fabric came from the street market in Nuneaton, which in those days had a fantastic fabric stall, right outside Woolworth’s. I wore it with wedge patent peep-toe shoes.

I can clearly remember dancing to Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel”s ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)’ at a youth club disco, wearing that dress.  I thought I was the bee’s knees!

But why let it be just a memory? Here’s the contemporary version…



I’ve added a cuff and piped the yokes. Of course!

And yes, I know – my legs could do with a bit of sun on them. Fingers crossed!