Pattern testing: BHL Sophia

BHL Sophia dress

If you heard a rumour that there was a new BHL girl on the block, you heard right. And I can assure you that Sophia lives up to that By Hand London reputation of gorgeousness.

Victoria contacted me with an emergency test request. And despite my ongoing mega work load I couldn’t turn this one down.

By the drawings alone I knew I wanted this dress. I mean, check out those darts and oh that 50s style collar. Totally up my street with a little nod to vintage.
bhl_drawing_sophiaI chose the pencil skirt version as my vision involved ‘old man Prince of Wales check’ fabric! I was after a bit of structure backed up with office chic stylin’!

And so here is my first testing of the test pattern itself!


And yes, call me crazy, but I did opt for checked fabric to test a pattern, and not for the first time. My thinking is that if it does turn out good then I haven’t wasted time. It happens… occasionally!

Truth is, not accounting for any amendments to the pattern that might be made by BHL in the meantime, I do need to make a few tweaks, including a small fba and to taper the skirt a bit. But that’s just personal preference.

bhl sophia collar detail

The fabric was from Dave the Drapers in Goldhawk Road. One of my faves. But lesson learned with cheap fabric: Even though the quality isn’t bad (its a wool mix) the grain is slightly off and that matters one helluva lot with checks! Well that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!

I love the way the darts radiate from the central front and back seams. I’ve seen this approach in vintage design books but not on a pattern I own, vintage or modern. So it was a real treat to get to test how this works. I just have to figure out how to do an fba with this kind of dart. Presuming I swing to the side seam and proceed as normal but very open to suggestions if anyone knows of another way.

Sophia should be making her appearance in the BHL pattern shop soon So keep eyes peeled. Shes a good’un!


23 Replies to “Pattern testing: BHL Sophia”

  1. I’m glad to see this is the next pattern they’re releasing, as it’s the one I voted for! You’re definitely a braver person than me making it in checks, but it looks lovely. I particularly like the orange and blue/green hues of the fabric.

    1. Matching checks is a bit of a bore to be honest but when it works it’s a proper hoorah moment! None to wise using checks to test though especially when you’re pushed for time! I think the colours haven’t translated too well. They are black and red!

  2. Oh yum! I absolutely love the way the checks swing into the central bust darts, like a swallow’s wings. It would be a shame to lose them, they are such a great design feature. If you can’t make them deeper to get a fuller bust, a slight amount of easing through the bustline on the side seam in lieu of a small dart may be enough, if the fabric has some ‘give’. Or a sliver of a dart there?
    This dress is so YOU – smart and sassy and original with more than a nod to punk AND the 1950s. I was quite surprised as the teaser photo on FB only showed the bodice and I”d only seen the full skirted version sample, so the pencil skirt is a lovely twist! Though you’d have totally rocked the full skirt one on that unexpected fabric too!

    1. Thank you MrsC. I’m with you on that. I don’t intend losing the central darts at all. I think I will swing to the side, make the fba and then swing back to the centre front, if that makes sense. I’ll definitely do another and let you know how that worked out! x

    1. I’m sure the BHL girls will give some direction when it is released. They are good like that! I’m definitely going to make another when I get a mo. I love this style! 🙂

  3. I just love that v-back with collar and the option of a straight or ‘swirly’ skirt. I’ve vowed not to buy any more patterns for a while but this one is very tempting I must say. I won’t be making mine in any sort of tartan as I am still reeling from a past experience but well done to you – it looks great!

  4. Ooh, great cutting and sewing – and this dress it looks so “you”! I love a bit of a pattern matching challenge too, when it works out it is so satisfying. I’ll look out for this one when it’s released; those unusual darts are really appealing.

  5. Ooh what a great new pattern. And I love how you’ve played with the checks!
    I think I’ll be getting this one myself for a full skirted version.

  6. Lovely dress! I too have issues with plaids being a little off-grain, which doesn’t really sound possible unless it’s printed fabric. Your finished garment looks really lovely. The neckline with the deep V at the back is what’s really captured my interest!

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