about eternal magpie dresses
why this dress?
I’ve spent a long time sewing, and a long time being ill, and between the two I seem to have been on an endless search for "The Perfect Dress". One that was comfortable, soft enough not to chafe my skin, loose enough not to cause me stomach pains, easy to wear and style in a variety of different ways… I can’t count the number of sewing patterns I’ve both bought and drafted, and the number of dresses I’ve given away after wearing them only once or twice because they just weren't quite right.
After a good long look through my wardrobe at what I actually was wearing, I suddenly realised that I’d been making the perfect dress all along. A simple, square-necked, loose fitting dress, that I’ve sewn in lengths ranging from a short top, all the way down to the floor.
It's soft, it's comfortable, it doesn't have any scratchy labels or fiddly fasteners, it's easy to get on and off, and it doesn't hurt to wear it all day. Oh, and IT HAS POCKETS.
So… my search ends here - and now you can have one too!
why this fabric?
I prefer to sew with good quality recycled fabrics wherever possible, to reduce the environmental costs of creating brand new textiles. The threads I use to stitch them are made from organic cotton.
When I do buy new fabrics, I try to choose materials that have been hand made, often in small communities, in order to support other artisans around the world. This might be handwoven organic cotton from India, it might be Irish linen, or it might be Harris Tweed from the Outer Hebrides. I like to make sure that all of my fabrics are ethically-sourced, and that everybody involved in the supply of my materials is paid a fair wage and works under good and safe conditions.
You will see some mass-produced novelty fabrics and some beautiful Liberty prints, as I go through and sew up the fabric stash that I've been collecting for years! But I do try to source as much independently-produced, ethically-created and recycled fabric as I can.
One of the most important things I can do as a small independent maker is to ensure that everybody involved in my supply chain, including myself, is paid a fair wage. This makes my costs higher than those of other businesses whose primary concern is their bottom line.
The prices I charge for these dresses are effectively wholesale rates. If I were selling them via other stores rather than direct to you, I would need to double or even triple these prices in order to cover my costs.
I use a combination of old and new sewing techniques to make these dresses, which takes time. I draft my patterns using good old fashioned brown paper and a pencil. The seams and hems of the dresses are whizzed through my trusty overlocker, but the finishing touches are stitched by hand. It's a slow process, and this is reflected in the price.
There's no factory, no mass-production, no overseas manufacturing. It's just me, in my workshop at the bottom of the garden!
what size do I need?
I want as many people as possible to share in the joy of a comfortable dress with pockets, so I make it in sizes from age 3 years to women's size 28+.
If you need a size that's outside of my current range, simply drop me a line - I draw up all of the patterns myself, so I'm sure I can make something that will fit you.
These dresses are designed to be extremely loose-fitting, so there is a great range of flexibility between sizes. The Young Adult sizes are designed for a smaller bust and narrower hip than the similar Adult sizes. Fuller Figure sizes are designed to be more generous in the bust and under the arms.
Although my size range currently goes up to a size UK 28, I can make any size you need, limited only by the fabrics that I have available.
You'll notice that for made to order dresses you can choose a "size 30+" option - simply enter your bust and hip measurements (each measured at the fullest point), and I can draw up a pattern to make a dress for you.
why isn't my size listed?
If the size you need isn't available to choose from the drop-down menu, then I don't have enough of that particular fabric available to make a dress in that size.
Sometimes a dress will only be available in smaller adults' sizes, or only in children's sizes, once I get to the point where I'm using up every last piece.
Most of my recycled fabrics are limited in quantity, which is why I offer reservations. That way I can pop your name on your favourite dress before it sells out!
If you've seen something that you've had your eye on but it isn't available in your size, please email me and I'll see whether I can get hold of any more fabric for you.