Feeling peachy

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned this before, but just in case I haven’t, a major part of my love of dressmaking is down to the fact that it gives me the chance to wear clothes that are slightly less than conventional. In this case, a dress covered in peaches. With ric-rac. And a big pink border at the hem. Perfectly normal attire for a forty-three year old, amirite?

The starting point was this fabric by Melody Miller, from her Fruit Dots collection for Cotton and Steel. Bright pink peaches printed on unbleached cotton. Love it.

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I managed to snag a couple of metres in the sale at The Village Haberdashery, as well as some pink ric-rac and a chunk of solid pink cotton to match. I then turned to my current obsession: Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book by Gretchen Hirsch. This has become my absolute favourite pattern source – it has loads of separate bodice and skirt patterns, as well as sleeves and collars, which all mix and match to make a bajillion different dresses.


I decided to use the princess seam bodice, because I’ve made it a few times already and love the fit. I redrew the neckline to have a slight sweetheart shape, all the better to show off the ric-rac.


Add on a simple gathered skirt with a wide pink border and even more ric-rac, and there you go. The perfect summery dress.


And I promise I ironed it before I wore it.


  1. Alison

    Fabulous choice. I am just about to start my first clothing project project ever (inspired by your dresses and fabric choices on GBSB which really fit my loves) and the joy of handmade is I can wear any fabric pattern at any age; not just that deemed “acceptable” by shops!

  2. Arlian

    I admired the dresses you wore on the show and it’s almost convinced permanently-trouser-wearing-me that I really should try wearing dresses sometimes.

    I like that style very much, would you recommend the Gertie book for someone new to making things so fitted? So far I’ve only really ventured into the forgiving territory of loose-ish knits.

    • charlottenewland

      it’s a great book, with lots of helpful fitting information. The instructions can be a little sparse, though. Colette patterns have excellent instructions that are really good for beginners.

  3. This book sounds good, mix and matching pieces, must take a closer look at it, But do I really need more patterns. Love your dress its fun, and I couldnt agree more about dressmaking its 100% our own choice. If we want to bring out the child, diva or sophisticate of our inner selves. Personally I absolutely love my white and red very large polka dot skirt its such fun (I originally bought it for panniers for the cycle, but forgot to order laminate fabric) and Im a great deal older than you 🙂

  4. Victoria

    Looks great! I’m pulling my hair out right now trying the make the strapless sundress from the book. The instructions for adjusting the princess seams aren’t the best, so it’s gaping at the armhole and neckline but not closing at the back. You should absolutely do fitting lessons 😉

    • charlottenewland

      I had some problems with that bodice, I think because the boning changes the fit so drastically, and I didn’t add any to the muslin/toile. It worked out ok in the end, but I did have to practically take the whole thing apart and start again!

  5. Jo Brooke-Flattery

    I love this Gertie dress book & am currently working through it for parts of my winter wardrobe, all of which will make my Hubby & son recoil in horror. You, I know will appreciate as you have the same love of bold & interesting prints… current WIP an ‘I feel poo-ly sick’ nightie in a print covered in stethoscopes, Drs, Nurses, Thermometers, test tubes, smiley drops of blood (!) & ambulances, the Hubby thinks i’m ever so slightly weird until I remind him that he was the oddball who consented to marry me.

    Loved you on the Bee, wish I found you sooner

  6. The dress is lovely and I think pink peaches are perfectly reasonable. After all I just made a shift dress with retro robots all over it for my 45 year old self!

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