New to Me: By Hand London Kim

This is my second Monthly Stitch post. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get my act together for the separates party, though I do still have some pants on my sewing table.

So instead, I have this new-to-me dress to show you in the form of this sexxxy Kim dress from By Hand London (I am a sucker for a tulip skirt). Something about the purple one the cover model wears got me.

Anyway, on me, it looks like this:

bhl kim 8 bhl kim 1

Not terrible! But it took a while to get it there and I’ve got a few things to say. A lot to say on fitting, but I’ve cut out the musings from my first muslin for your reading’s sake. If you want those details, hop over to the old Wasted Weekends home base.

This is what I devised for the second muslin.

Bodice: size 8/12 in the bust and waist. I did a 1-1/2″ full bust adjustment (so 3/4″ on each side). Because I had mad back gaping — as many sewists seem to have had on this pattern, actually — I took 3/4″ out from the back. How that didn’t make the overall circumference of the bodice too small is something only the gods can know.

bhl kim

still with the back gaping though. probably didn’t help that i forgot to do up the hook.

Hips: oh baby. size 4/8 with some major surgery. So since I carry most of my ‘hip’ weight in the back (gross. sorry), I decided to grade down to a size 4/8. I then did a “full butt adjustment“, which sounds really inappropriate, adding back in 2″ — one inch on each side back piece. So! I preserved the hip circumference but transferred the room to the back side from the hips. I think this is a good method for me going forward.

I also lowered the butt darts about 1″ and took a 1” sway back adjustment. But unlike that tutorial from BHL, I took all the distance out of the skirt piece. It might have something to do with my height (5’3″), but the fabric pooling was happening below the waist seam, which was level.

On fabric and construction

I used a lightweight cotton lawn that is an absolutely bonkers pattern. For me. I’m just really into solids. But I liked this, and it was cheap and I wanted a dress in it. Whatever.

I underlined the bodice with silk organza since I thought the cotton might need some substance. At first I tried to machine baste them together, and then I remembered past lessons, and did a quick hand basting. HAND BASTE your layers. It sucks, but puckered seams suck more.

I used a light weight china silk for the lining and used the same bodice assembly method BHL described. It’s the same idea as the construction used to illustrate in this Fashion Incubator post.

On the skirt, I used the china silk essentially as an underlining, an idea I ripped from Jenny at Cashmerette’s post on the same dress. I did mine a bit differently, though, cutting the three skirt pieces in china silk and then sewing them all together, essentially as a second skirt. Then, right sides together, I sewed the entire length of the tulip hem, but left the waist open. I turned right sides out, pressed, and then attached this ‘lined’ skirt to the bodice.

I tacked the underlayer of the wrap to the top layer. Because this.

bhl kim 2 < — oh hey leg.

I did not, however, avoid sweetheart neckline woes. Nearly everyone pointed out that the sweetheart neckline stands away from their body, and said it would be better to cut a strip of selvage shorter than the neckline and then ease the neckline into it. That is a totally necessary step. Ask me how I know.

bhl kim 6

I wanted a better picture showing how much the neck stands away from my body, but damn if I couldn’t figure out a non-obscene way to do it. Sorry. It stands out a lot, you’ll have to trust me and those little shadows on this one.

Also, the shoulder straps are still about 1/2″ too long. That only exacerbates the gaping problem.

So! I like it. But it really needs some tweaks to be perfect. I HAVE worn it once, so I still classify it as a finished project. Let’s see if I can stomach ripping my seams and redoing some major construction before the late July wedding I’ve got!

(I was actually contemplating throwing the whole thing in the wash to see if a little second-wash shrinkage would do the trick — all my fabrics were pre-treated. Thoughts/chastisements on that idea? )

12 thoughts on “New to Me: By Hand London Kim

  1. I really like the dress, the colour and print are great and the tulip skirt fits very well but the whole pattern adjustments sound like a nightmare! I like a bit of tweaking but too much puts me off! I think it’d be worth doing those extra tweaks to end up with a truly lovely dress!


    • Thanks so much! I think it might just be what I need with my body– I’ve never had anything for out of the envelope. And you’re right about seam ripping and redoing those parts. I’ve just got to get up the will!


  2. Love the fabric choice the pink looks great on you! Did you lengthen the skirt length by any chance? I really like the way it hits your knee 🙂 the kim dresses i see out there seem a little shorter (or I need to get my eyes checked! ) 😉


    • Thanks! I didn’t lengthen it, actually. I’m only 5’3″ to begin with, and I have a hunch more of that is owing to short legs than a short torso. So…where it hits has much more to do with my anatomy than the pattern. Sorry I don’t have any tips for you there!

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