Completed: ByHandLondon Zeena

By Hand London Zeena dress

Hey hey, long time no see!  It’s been, frankly, a deeply unproductive summer so far, but hey-ho.  We’ve been to the seaside for a week (to my mum’s), which was lovely, and we’re going for another at the end of the month (which I’m really hanging on for, if I’m honest).  Still, I’ve finished off a couple of bits and bobs, among which is this beauty 🙂

zeena dress

You will please ignore my inability to assume a normal facial expression

by hand london zeena

and my ratty hair – it’s seriously in need of cutting, but who has the time?

You’ve probably seen a few versions of this around by now – it’s Zeena, the new pattern from ByHandLondon, a kimono-sleeved dress, with pleats rather than darts in the bodice, and a invert box-pleated skirt.  You have 2 skirt length options, long or short sleeves, and a choice of bateau or scoop neckline.

I nearly missed how much potential this has to be my favourite pattern ever, because the main sample didn’t strike me.  Beware of rushing to judgement!  Once I saw the option photos and line drawing, I realised how incredibly wearable and versatile it would be (unlike my last BHL make, an Elisalex in emerald green silk dupion…  yes, it is beyond awesome, but not the kind of garment you can break out too often… plus it won’t zip up at the moment…).


I used a John Kaldor cotton lawn from Leon’s – possibly a touch on the crisp side for those sleeves, but very fine.  All pattern pieces cut on the cross-grain – I just preferred the pattern running in that direction.  Got it out of 2m, using half the fabric width for the skirt length. (which also meant the hem was the selvedge, so I just turned it up once and topstitched.  Lazy…)  I cut a UK 16, which is bang on for me, although I did fanny about with a muslin to see if I needed the 18.  In the end, I’ve made no changes to the sizing – there’s a bit of excess fabric at the back waist, but I’m wary of removing too much wearing ease (remembering my Myrtle…).  I like my casual clothes pretty loose-fitting, if truth be told!

The only change I made to the pattern at all was to change the closure – it has a 22″ invisible zip down the centre back, through the waist.  I’m just not that keen on that for an easy-fit, lightweight garment, so I inserted a button placket in the side-seam at the waist.


The buttonholes are a disgrace, frankly, but you don’t see much of them!

All-in-all,  I’m super-happy with this dress, especially as I think it could be a pattern I’ll make a few more times.  The most time-consuming part of sewing it was deciding what size to make – after this, it’s a really really quick make.


And it’s twirly!

Aand that’t about it, I think!  Even if it’s not, I have to go – I’m watching Inspector Montalbano, which has the massive disadvantage of being in Italian, so I have to actually look at the subtitles in order for there to be any point watching it at all…

Anyone else thinking of giving Zeena a try?  I thoroughly recommend it!



PS:  I missed out the pockets – I just think in a lightweight fabric they’re more trouble than they’re worth!

PPS:  I’ve just realised how daft those pleats look ironed down like that…  I ironed them out before I wore it properly and it looks waaay better…



  1. Sarah
    August 16, 2015 / 3:32 pm

    Love it Lucy & yr choice of fabric/colours – inspiring – thank you. Sarah x

    • August 17, 2015 / 7:39 am

      Thanks! Think I’ll be making a few more!

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