By Hand London Sophia dress

shopiadressbyhandlondonfloralcottonsateen16Let me share you my latest 2 months old unblogged dress. The BHL Sophia dress. A fitted sleeveless V-neck bodice with angled darts. You guys know I LOVE Y shaped darts. I have sewn a few i.e Brasilia dress(es) and Named Florence.


This pattern is even cooler because the skirt also feature Y darts. Due to my love of prints the design features are camouflaged but they create a beautiful shape. In my head this dress is called Sophia Loren because I’m totally feeling the glamour. Could I be watching the sunset at Lake Como? Totally. Could I just be boarding a yacht? Bring me those umbrella drinks.


My dress was made with one of my favourite fabrics: cotton sateen. Sateen is a term that defines the type of weave,which gives the fabric stretchability, softer and silkier feel. It offers the comfort I’m looking for in clothes and allows me to wear little ease, which I prefer. A variety of prints are generally available so it’s completely a win- win for me.

Perfect to Dance Dance Dance!


When I took this photos back in May I still didn’t have my hair cut. It is now 5 cm shorter! I’m trying to keep my hair natural and curly a little more often. All the straightening, even with protection, was pretty damaging. Can you believe that during this last 11 years I barely worn my hair naturally curly.


I love my natural hair, don’t get me wrong but the reason I kept straightening is mainly because i’m low maintenance lazy beauty wise. You see, curly hair needs a lot more caring, washing more constantly, more treatments for moisture, loads of product for definition of the curls etc. With my old office job and constant traveling it was just easy to dry and style straight. I am know to fully embrace the out of bed look. Than habit settled in and I never changed my routine. As I said, lazy!


Enough about my hair, the (Sophia) Loren dress is current one of my favourites of the year. The girls of BHL are totally guilty in providing endless favourites. Last year Georgia stole my heart, which reminds me that I need to fix the zipper. Did I tell you Victoria had to cut me out of it when my invisible zipper got stuck and broke after christmas party, when I stayed at BHL HQ? Invisible zippers do tend to be little trouble-makers, don’t you think? Have you encountered something similar?

Technical notes:


Size & fitting: my usual BHL size 10/14. In some of BHL patterns the darts need to drop by 3 cm  but some I don’t. I knew my Brasilia dress offered the right dart position so I used it as my reference to adjust the bust darts for this dress. The skirt pattern is literarily unchanged and fits perfectly.

Construction wise, there isn’t much I can talk about this dress. Instructions are comprehensive and I enjoy the sew.

Blog housekeeping. I have two further posts scheduled but than I will return to my blog break for a few more weeks. There is no denial that sewing is a great de-stresser. My mom is calling me a ‘machine’. Life during the last 2 months has been very intense so I been sewing like a mad woman as a way to cope. I found great comfort on being quiet on the blog for a while too. I miss it, so don’t think you will be getting rid of me that easily. Unfortunately than means a crazy backlog of projects to share: Ondee (Deer & Doe), Bellatrix Blazer (Papercut), Peplum blouse (manequim magazine), Sheath dress (manequim magazine), Baby gift outfits, Agnes top (Tilly and the buttons), Yoyo Skirt (Papercut), Adelaide dress (Seamwork magazine), Uniqlo rub -off trousers and a wax print low back dress.  If you are too curious all the sneak peeks on the sidebar ( Instagram). 

Happy sewing xx

  • I totally get sewing like a machine! Before my wedding last August, sewing was the only thing that kept me sane! I’d sew before work, after work, all weekend, etc just to stay grounded. I think it helped a bunch! Can’t wait to see your unblogged projects!

    • That is so comforting to know. I cannot wait to be back to blogging too. 12 days to my big day so who knows how many more outfits I will produce.

  • So glamorous! 🙂

  • I love this fabric! I’ve been searching for cotton sateen at the fabric markets, but haven’t found it yet… I was thinking of being daring and trying scuba (but it might not have the right recovery for a Sophia Dress) because I really want to try this pattern again. The cotton I used isn’t right and I’m just not comfortable in the first one I made, however I love the dress pattern & shape.

    I noticed yours is a lot higher in the neckline… I have shorter shoulders maybe so I have a lower V!?

    Happy time with your wedding less that two weeks! Yay! Enjoy and all the days before and after xoxoxo

    • I think scuba should be ok, isn’t one of the dresses of their website made of scuba? I think so. Maybe a good denim with stretch too.

      A lot of people messaged about the difference on armhole and neck. I honestly don’t remember adjusting the pattern intentionally but it may be the result when i blended my dress ( brasilia) bodice dart to the pattern. I didn’t really change the pattern much but that change of darts really made a difference on the overall shape.

      thanks, im really excited and cannot wait.

  • shernaekerber

    Absolutely gorgeous dress! I really love that print and it is very Lake Como. Is a dress good justification for booking a holiday? I think so!

    • so true, it was one of our honeymoon options. we have the family here so we cannot travel straight away so it may still be a destination that i could wear it.

  • Great dress. You’re not alone having a backlog of unblogged projects. I’ve also got a Bellatrix blazer waiting for its debut. Cant wait to see yours.

    • I love that blazer, its so elegant. Cannot wait to see yours too

  • You always find the most amazing fabric and match it perfectly to a pattern! I love the dress and you in it! Honestly, I have no idea how you manage to do it all: the wedding and the sewing 😉

    • i don’t know either my friend, maybe i should blame on the 20 plus cups of tea im having a day

  • I’m sewing like crazy right now, too, with 21 days to go before my wedding. Blogging is tough in the middle of all of the wedding stuff and needing to de-stress from all the wedding stuff. I’m looking forward to you sharing after all the nuttiness of the wedding passes. 🙂

    This is my favourite version of the Sophia dress. Your darts are absolutely perfect. I’ve seen a lot of version where they are slightly…um… 1950s bullet bra pointy; still lovely versions, but not something I would want to wear. Yours are wonderful and nicely shaped to you. Really speaks to your skill! 🙂 I love it. 🙂 I also love that fabric! So gorgeous! 😀 😀

    Have a great wedding! I can’t wait to hear all about it and see pictures. 🙂

    • Hi Andie, Its so nice to know its complete normal to spend every minute at the sewing machine before a wedding. Congratulations and I hope you have a wonderful day.

  • Wow! Just gorgeous! Somehow I missed this one from BHL so I’m really glad I saw it – I have some crazy print cotton sateen languishing in my stash that has Sophia written alllll over it!! And I’m so impressed with your sewing mojo! Can’t wait to see all the beautiful stuff you’ve been cranking out. Also, I love your naturally wavy hair – I think we might actually have very similar hair, and one trick of mine is to twist it into a high bun while I sleep – smoothes out the crazy curly parts and gives everything a nice wave and all I have to do in the morning is take it down, brush it, style my bangs and go! Good luck with the run up to your wedding!!

    • Thank you darling. I do think we do have similar hair. Having bangs also gets you on straightening mode but i shawl try your tip.

  • This bold raspberry, black and white fabric is gorgeous on you! Perfect pattern choice for such a pretty print! Eep…12 days…time will fly by! How exciting for you!

    Now about your lovely curly hair…have the read the book, Curly Girl: The Handbook? Hands down, the best book I’ve ever read…well, at least when it comes to my curly hair. My hair is short right now, for a much needed change, but even when my hair was long, it was easy to manage once I started following the Curly Girl suggestions. Let me know if you have any questions!

    • Hi Sue, I just order the book thank you so much for your recommendation.

  • This looks gorgeous on you. I couldn’t get on with Sophia so it’s nice to see a successful version. Beautiful fabric too.

    • Thank you so much darling.

  • You have been busy, wow! I want to know your secret 🙂
    The dress is so beautiful and I love the fabric – cotton sateen is one of my favourites and the print is really lovely!

    • Thanks Liliana, cotton sateen is so versatile. where do you get yours?

  • adorei o modelo e o tecido. e agora fico à espera das restantes partilhas 🙂

  • Sol

    Oooh It’s so beautiful dress

  • Absolutely gorgeous! Very Sophia Loren…. Lovely print and perfect fit, and I love the hair wavier! I too was sewing like crazy on the run-up to my wedding day – mainly because I had to finish my wedding dress….. that was the craziest thing I ever did, and to be honest, I think you are really sensible not to have made i t yourself. tooooo much stress!

    Keep calm and enjoy your wedding – it’s a great party if you can get into it:)

  • Love it! I always liked BHL designs but they didn’t seem quite special enough to justify the high price… but then I made Anna and I think I might just get the rest of their line! It may be simple, but there’s something amazing about it!

  • Absolutely beautiful. This would be my style. Thanks for sharing.

  • I really love this on you and the fit is perfection. You look ready to board a yacht for a fancy cruise!!

  • This is so beautiful on you! I tested this and only made a muslin as I was too busy at the time to make a real dress, but now I want to make one! 🙂 So pretty!