We’re not sure why we always think summer will offer up seas of free time (leftover childhood memories, perhaps?) but every year summer brings a happy twirl of events and parties all too good to say no to. Besides the fun of seeing friends and loved ones, and the general loveliness of the weather, summer parties offer the chance to dress up in pretty dresses and fancy shawls, and we can’t argue with the delight of that.
As we continue to expand our handmade wardrobe, we couldn’t resist sewing up a pretty summer party dress and then, naturally, we had to knit up a co-ordinating shawl. The shawl, Henslowe, is one of our favourite patterns (this is our third), knit up in the gorgeous Yarn Indulgences Indulgent Grand Style (600 yards in one skein!) in Buttercup. This feeds into both our love of this pattern and our recent obsession with this colour. The dress, sewn in Liberty Tana Lawn in Elizabeth A, is a bit of a mash-up: It has a similar bodice to Colette Patterns’ Dahlia, but the back is open, and it has a simple gathered skirt — the ability to customize patterns is what makes sewing so appealing to us, and we’re so happy with how this dress turned out.
One of the reasons we think this pairing works so well is because of the proportions. The open back is fun and a little sultry (especially compared with the full-coverage front), but the shawl balances that out perfectly. Its relatively shallow shape, and the fact that a third of the depth is made up of lace, means that you can cover up (for warmth or modesty) without fully covering the dress. The colour of the shawl also picks up on the subtle yellows in the print, which ties the whole look together.
We love this pairing, and (of course) it got us thinking about other fantastic combinations. For example, how about a Belladone paired with the modern lace of Rosebud? Or a full-length Anna Dress matched with a Mirepoix knit up in a slinky silk blend (Anzula Mermaid would be a great choice)? Or (one more) for a more casual event, we love the full-length Southport Dress, which would pair beautifully with a Pebble Beach Shawl.