Why this dress?

I’ve spent a long time sewing, and a long time being ill, and between the two I seem to have been on an endless search for The Perfect Dress. One that was comfortable, soft enough not to chafe my skin, loose enough not to cause me stomach pains, easy to wear and style in a variety of different ways… I can’t count the number of patterns I’ve bought and the number of dresses I’ve given away after wearing them only once or twice. After a great deal of trial and error (okay, mostly error!) I suddenly realised that I’d been making the perfect dress all along. A square-necked, loose fitting dress, that I’ve sewn in lengths ranging from a short top, all the way down to the floor. I’ve also made many versions for my niece, who wears them often. So… the search ends here!

I make one dress. I make it in sizes from age 18 months to women’s UK size 32. Every single dress is made one at a time, by hand, by me. If you need any customisations in terms of length, size or fabric choice, I can probably make it happen for you. Just ask: claire@eternalmagpie.com.

Why this fabric?

By making my own dresses, I’ve chosen to step off the never ending merry-go-round of fast fashion shopping. This dress is slow, thoughtful fashion personified, and I wanted that to be reflected in the fabrics as well as in the style.

I try to choose fabrics that have been hand made, often in small communities, in order to support other artisans around the world. This might be handwoven organic cotton from India, it might be Irish linen, or it might be Harris Tweed from the Outer Hebrides.

I do include some mass-produced novelty fabrics and some beautiful Liberty prints, simply because people like them, and I do need to make a living! But I try to source as much independently-produced and ethically-created fabric as I can.

How much?!

One of the most important things I can do as a small independent maker is to ensure that everybody involved in my supply chain, including myself, is paid a fair wage. This makes my costs higher than those of other businesses whose primary concern is their bottom line.

I’m a very small producer (a micro business, if you like), and as a result I don’t consume nearly enough fabric in order to be able to purchase it in large quantities at wholesale prices. I shop around and I take advantage of sales when I can, but for the most part I pay full retail prices for my fabric and other materials, because I have to.

What size do I need? 

At the moment I’m still in the process of drawing out the pattern in as many different sizes as possible. The dress is extremely accommodating, and as long as it fits your shoulders and your chest (measured high around your armpits and above your bust), the rest should take care of itself.

Once the sizes are all worked out, I’ll pop a size chart in here so you can see for yourself. In the meantime, the measurements for each individual dress will be included in their Etsy listings.