Another Retro Butterick & Chelsea Physic Garden

Sorry for the radio silence of late, life has a habit of getting between me and the blog and it seems to have had more than a few tricks up its sleeve recently. Fortunately it seems less successful at getting between me and the sewing machine so I do have quite a few little projects to share with you all.

Starting with the most recent make first, I made another version of my Lady Danger dress– Retro Butterick B5209. It has been a rather exceptionally hot Summer so far here in London and so a great deal of my time seems to be spent trying not to melt. This dress was an attempt to assist in that endeavour. It is Swiss Robia cotton which is so light and fine and I lined it with the absolute thinnest cotton batiste I could find which was incredibly cheap at only £2 from Goldhawk Road- bonus! Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Robia which was a beautiful and not cheap purchase from Maculloch and Wallis.


I wore the dress this past weekend on an afternoon stroll around Chelsea Physic Garden. It was a roasting afternoon and the little shady, wooded pathways of London’s oldest Botanical Garden were the perfect retreat.


I wore my favourite shoes of the minute which are my little Agnes and Norman vintage style Mary Janes. They are as comfortable as flats because they fit so well and only have a little 6cm heel but alas I still found myself sinking into the grass a little. Still the heel is wooden so it can cope with these such challenges without any nasty scuffs happening.


The gardens are so beautiful and filled with such interesting plants a lot of which are medicinal. There is also a perfumery area where they grow all kinds of plants used in perfume and cosmetics. They even have a lipstick tree which produces a pigment still commonly used in red lipsticks.


Surrounded by fruit trees and bee hives it is hard to believe you are in London at all let alone in the heart of Chelsea, and us Londoners do love a London spot that doesn’t feel like London, ironic as that may seem!



The garden also has a lot of bee activity happening with cute little hives all over the place. I was hoping to pick up a jar of local honey as it is supposed to help allergies but we were a little early as it isn’t for sale until August.




This is one of those dresses that I was really pleased with until I saw photos of it! (a danger of blogging!) It was so nice and comfy so not a total fail but I think the dress needed to be a little smaller in this fabric than the more substantial cotton of my previous version as it looks a little sloppy in certain areas. This is probably a blessing in the hot weather so I doubt I will alter it, next time I will just wear a belt!

That complaint aside I thoroughly recommend this pattern, especially if you like a vintage style dress and are new to sewing, it’s a lovely easy one to put together.



Oh and for those of you that expressed an understandable disappointment by the lack of Gatsby photos in my last post, here is a one of him in all his splendour checking out my sister’s new wildlife pond!


Thanks for reading!

30 responses to “Another Retro Butterick & Chelsea Physic Garden”

  1. This was a great post. I enjoyed seeing your latest dress. The garden was a special treat and then the picture of Gatsby was a bonus. I miss my little cavalier, his name was Chester. Same coloring, darling little dogs.

    • Aww Chester- that was a fantastic name! They are so adorable, he is just the most loving and loyal little companion. We utterly adore him.
      The gardens are so lovely, unfortunately no pooches allowed (for understandable reasons!)

  2. The dress looks lovely, I think that fabric needs a bit of float and that’s what you’ve got. My cavalier (long gone) was Black and Tan and called Kirsty. Now I have 2 cavapoos, but they look more like poodles.

  3. This is sooo lovely that I’ve just had to buy the pattern. Coincidentally I think my recently made “Doris Day” dress (Simplicity 1459) is the same fabric as your Lady Danger version. Thank you for the inspiration! Your blog is delightful.

    • Ooo I will pop over and have a look! I love that fabric- the colour combination and the print just work so well together! Glad you bought this pattern- it’s a lovely one to make up! 🙂

  4. If only my dog would stand by the side of the wildlife pond looking adorable – instead she goes in and uproots the plants and terrifies the fish and tadpoles. This, despite the fact, we bought her her very own doggy paddling pool which she will occasionally drink out of but, for a dip, she prefers the pond. 😕

    The dress looks lovely and cool for the English summer you are having.

    • Ah bless her- cheeky little devil! Hehe! They love an outside drink of water- Gatsby prefers rainwater collected in various places in the garden to his fresh water bowl inside! Funny doggy little habit!
      It really is nice and cool- essential for me I am so pathetic in the heat! 🙂

  5. Loooove the dress – it looks great! I don’t see any issues at all (we are own toughest critics aren’t we?) it is the perfect hot weather dress. Nice to see Gatsby is keeping cool too.

    • We really are aren’t we Kimberley- I am soooo much more critical of fit and stuff of anything I make compared to anything ready to wear! Silly bunch aren’t we 😉

  6. Isn’t it interesting how different weight fabrics can make such a difference in the finished piece? Nevertheless, that beautiful dotted cotton looks perfect in a bit breezier fit – very, very pretty!

  7. Wow. Thanks for beautifyinig my Monday morning. what beautiful photos. Love the dress, the fabric, the garden – wow! – and Gatsby who looks too cute to be real! Oh, and I’m madly envious of your sister’s pond:).
    I don’t think it looks at all sloppy. Beautifully floaty, yes. Not ultra tight fitting, yes. But well shaped, without too much ease, and it looks so fresh and pretty. And those shoes – you are such an enabler – I have already looked up that site and they have so many stunnign shoes – much nicer than Miss L Fire which used to be my go-to for vintage style shoes but has become a tad vulgar of late.

    • Ooo I have never looked at Miss L Fire- although sounds like maybe I have missed the boat. Vintage can cross quickly over in to costume-y I find with a lot of reproduction brands, but Agnes and Norman have a true vintage quality about them too which I love, leather soles and beautifully made. (sounds like they are paying me but they really aren’t!)
      Ps- I am often called a bad influence but enabler is new and I like it! Hehe! 😉
      Pps- Gatsby truly is too cute to be real, he is my real-life little teddy bear!

  8. Gorgeous dress Ami and it does look so cool to wear. Is it more tricky working with such a fine fabric? My first skirt in 32 yrs is finished bye the way and I luv wearing it. A little big round the waist so fit is something I have to work on but loving the sewing thing. PJs and kaftan next there’s no stopping me now!

    • Oooo PJs and Kaftan- what lovely projects! My homemade pjs are one of my most loved makes! 🙂 I think a little big around the waist is faaaar better than too tight, I went through a phase of over-fitting everything so that it was all bleedin’ uncomfortable! Took me ages to figure fit out!
      Yep the finer the fabric the slightly more challenging I think- but all cottons are pretty friendly really, it’s the slippery ones that need real patience!

  9. What a lovely dress so light and refreshing nice for a stroll on the beautiful garden. It amazes me how you wear your vintage inspire handmade creations and how you add your own style.

    • Aw it was a beautiful trip! Was happy to share the pics! Not sure where I got 2nd oldest from- but I have changed my post now to do the gardens their historic justice! 😉 We will be back soon to buy some lovely honey!

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