Zeena in Barcelona

December 16, 2017

With the end of the year approaching quickly, it’s time for me to get out of hibernation and catch up on some projects from this summer! In particular I wanted to talk about this dress which was hands down my favorite from 2017 🙂

This is my second iteration of the Zeena dress from By Hand London, which I had made already last year for my Sprout Patterns review. I really like the cut of this dress: cinched at the waist without being too tight, with pleats on the skirt and bodice adding some ease, and kimono sleeves and a wide neckline which give it a very relaxed feel. The only thing I didn’t like on my first version was that due to the nature of Sprout Patterns projects I wasn’t able to make any adjustments and I thought it was a bit too short. This time I added 1 cm to the bodice and 2 cm to the skirt and I think the length is perfect.

The fabric is a Telio rayon floral crepe, heavier than the poly crepe de chine I had used for my first dress. I had ordered this at first thinking I would make the Helga wrap playsuit from Named, but when warm weather came I chickened out and the fabric stayed in my stash. A few months later I decided last minute to make a dress to wear with this metal mask I love for a “masquerade” party, and I figured this fabric would be great to whip up a quick Zeena.

And indeed, it’s perfect! This fabric is drapey but not flimsy, with a nice texture, and very comfortable to wear. I’ve bought Telio fabrics a few times now, and I’m always impressed by the quality – I made a Melilot shirt in the spring in their flamingo rayon voile (still need to post it here by the way!) and the fabric was lovely. In the US I buy them on Fabric.com, and in France I’ve found some bolts at Tissus Reine in Paris. Right now I’m drooling over their velvets ; this one would be perfect for the Gemma maxi dress, don’t you think?

That said I still had minor issues doing clean finishes with this rayon. I interfaced, under-stitched, and hand-stitched the facing in several spots, but it still peeks out a little in the back of the neckline. This might be due to the back bodice being slightly too wide for me, so it might be worth doing a small back adjustment on the next one.

I also have this issue with the shoulder seam pulling on the sleeves, causing them to ride up at the hem. I guess it’s unavoidable on kimono-sleeve bodices, and I have the same problem on my previous version of Zeena as well as on my Arum dress, although not as pronounced. In this fabric it’s very obvious, and I wonder if I should try lengthening the shoulder seam to see if that improves the fit.

But really I’m being nitpicky here, because I love this dress! I’ve worn it all summer, in particular during a weekend in Barcelona where we took the pictures for this post (I can’t resist colorful street art!). I still have a little bit of this wonderful fabric left, probably enough for a small project – maybe it’s my chance to finally try the Scout Tee?

Masquerade Dress
Zeena – By Hand London
Size UK10/US6
Bodice lengthened by 1 cm
Skirt lengthened by 2 cm
Telio rayon crepe – Fabric.com


  1. saki

    - December 17, 2017

    Beautiful dress! I know what you mean about the pull in the shoulder seams… it’s not at all noticeable in the dress, but I’ve had issues with that too in the past. I wonder if the shoulder seam issue is actually more of a seam/stitching issue than you’d think… i.e., the seam can’t “drop” in the same way an unstitched fabric can, so it’s pulled tighter. Does that make sense? Maybe a tiny zig-zag stitch or even a small stitch length would help mitigate the pulling?

    • Camille

      - December 19, 2017

      I totally see what you mean about the stitching issue, that makes a lot of sense! This is a problem I’ve had on loosely woven rayon fabrics before, like the back diagonals of this dress. Next time I’ll do my homework and try different stitch lengths on the scraps to see if that helps!

  2. francesca

    - December 19, 2017

    I don’t use By Hand London patterns after a disastrous experience with the first (and only) one I bought, but this is very pretty. Re the shoulder seams – like Saki, I’ve had these issues. I think that the fabric is cut somewhat on the bias, so I’d lengthen my stitch or use a long tiny zig zag like I do for bias seams…. that stops it shrinking up the fabric as it falls and stretches..

    ps thanks to you I am tackling il grande favorito in some Rowan angora I got dirt cheap in colours I am not crazy about – but when knitted together look much better:)…
    All the best!

    • Camille

      - December 19, 2017

      That makes me so happy! Can’t wait to see the result 🙂 🙂

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