Two Summery Kim Dresses

Hello everybody! If you’re following the Monthly Stitch, this is a repeat for you. This was my entry for week 2 of Indie Pattern Month: one pattern, two ways.

I had a bunch of other ideas for this contest. I was thinking of something easy to whip up like Megan Nielsen’s Brumby skirt, or Deer and Doe’s Ondee sweater. But once I made the first one, I realised that the Kim dress is super easy too (especially if you have a one-piece skirt)! So I made up the second one in no time flat. I never time my sewing, but I was able to knock one out in a couple of afternoons. The instructions are very clear and if you’ve ever worked with a BHL pattern before, you’ll know the instructions are super cute. It’s not overly technical. It kind of sounds like a girlfriend just trying to explain in plain English how you’re supposed to put it together.

Version 1: Variation 1 of the Kim dress bodice (scoop neckline) + circle skirt

BHL Kim dress version 1

I made a quick toile of the bodice to start out with, because my sister got me this beautiful quilting cotton as a gift and I didn’t want to cut right into it. It seemed to fit me right out of the pattern envelope. My sister got me enough to make variation 1, but for some reason I was  a little weary about making the tulip skirt. I didn’t toile it and I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted something more ‘fit and flare’ without having to make a gathered skirt (which I didn’t have enough fabric for anyway).

BHL Kim dress version 1

To make the circle skirt pattern, I measured the bottom of my toile and put that measurement in the circle skirt calculator as my waist measurement. I chose the half circle and went for the mini length (because that’s all I would have enough fabric for). The calculator said I would need 75cm of fabric, and that it would only work on 150cm wide. But I am a rebel and took my 115 wide fabric and folded it on the crossgrain, and it fit perfectly! I was able to get all the pieces out of 2m of fabric.

BHL Kim dress version 1

The quilting cotton version with turquoise flowers uses variation one of the bodice. To hem the skirt, I used narrow bias binding so I wouldn’t lose much length.

Version 2: Variation 2 of the Kim dress bodice (sweetheart neckline) + circle skirt

Kim dress version 2

Then it was directly on to version 2, which uses variation two of the bodice.  I originally thought this variation would be too ‘cutesy’ on me, but I got so many compliments on it! My partner even said, “Wow, you look beautiful,” when I came out wearing it, and he has never said something so ‘extreme’ about any of my makes. Usually he just says it looks cool or nice. So that is most definitely a win, in my opinion.

Kim dress version 2

I used a dark blue cotton poplin with red roses on it. I would describe the print as kitschy, and originally bought a bunch of it on sale for €3/m to make muslins with, but I’ve seen so many dresses on the inter webs using crazy looking fabric, so I thought I’d give it a go. And I like I said, the compliments spoke for themselves. Besides the bodice being different, I hemmed this version by just overlocking the hemline and turning it up once. I also attached the zipper lower than the first version. The first version, I lined up the top of the zipper with the top of the bodice, whereas the second one I lined up the zipper tape with the top of the bodice and added a hook and eye, because I thought the first version was a little bit bulky at the top.

Kim dress version 2

I was so enthusiastic about the toile ‘fitting’ as soon as I put it on, that I just jumped into it with both feet. After finishing the second version and wearing it for a whole day, I found out that I really needed to make a few changes. I noticed for example that there was a little bit of puckering at the top of the bodice and I have to hike up my boobs to get them into a good position so they’re not being squished in a weird way. I always think  I can get away with not doing a FBA, but I’m starting to realise that that’s probably not the case. I spent an afternoon toiling the bodice again. I did a FBA and a lower bust point adjustment, and now I’m fairly confident that the next version will fit well and that I’ll be able to breathe normally. (True story: at the end of the day after wearing V2, I unzipped my dress in the car on the way home and literally got dizzy from all the oxygen I got in one breath)

I already have a third and fourth version cut out. I’d also like to make a version 5, and probably 6. I might even try out the tulip skirt on one of them.


PatternBy Hand London’s Kim Dress

Fabric: V1 – Quilting cotton, V2 – Cotton poplin, cotton batiste for lining

Notions: matching thread, invisible zip, bias binding

Pattern alterations: switched out the skirt pattern with a half circle skirt, drafted using the BHL circle skirt app

5 replies
  1. Zoe
    Zoe says:

    I really love the fabric of your first version! I do that too with circle skirts, or I just make it a little less voluminous and make it fit the fabric I have (I can hear the faint screaming of a sewing teacher somewhere). I always used to skip the FBA too but now I just suck it up and do it, things fit so much better afterwards.


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