Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Interview: By Hand London

These stylish girls and their beautiful patterns definitely don't need an introduction. They've been the talk of the blogosphere from months, so I'm sure you've already heard about By Hand London patterns. But if you want to know a bit more about the company from one of its creators, here's a few words from Elisalex. 


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? When did you start sewing?
Charlotte and I were actually at school together! We went down pretty different routes however after we left - I trained as a shoemaker and set up my own sustainable-high end shoe label, Nina Dolcetti, while Charlotte studied Classics and ended up working in marketing roles at various London startups. Sewing for me has been a long love affair; even as a child I had an insatiable need to make stuff! I messed about with my Mum's sewing machine a lot as a teenager, but it wasn't until I studied shoemaking though, that I realised my love of craftsmanship and decided to start really honing my skills. Charlotte was always a thrifting and customising expert and has had the sewing bug for the last couple of years, simply out of a desire to have more control over her style and is fast becoming a very skilled seamstress!

How did you start By Hand London? What pushed you to begin making sewing patterns?
By Hand London all began about a year and a half ago when Charlotte randomly got in touch to ask my opinion on a hare-brained scheme she had been cooking up. At the time I had just decided to pack in the whole shoes thing and had been mulling over some new ideas of my own. We met up and talked over a coffee (or three!) and realised pretty quickly that we wanted to join forces - what followed was months of late night skype-scheming, plans for world domination, and three ideas and two business plans later, By Hand London sewing patterns were born. It was then that we met Victoria - recent fashion graduate and London girl - in a stroke of internet matchmaking perfection, having advertised for an extra pair of hands getting things started. And then we got to set about creating our patterns! It's not been easy, that's for sure! It already feels like we've had some great successes as well as some seriously hairy moments. But we are so very proud of what we have created, and are so excited for everything yet to come.

What are your main sources of inspiration? Your favorite designers or style icons?
We find that our inspiration comes from so many different avenues, and especially since the three of us have our own very unique styles! We look to sewing blogs as well as fashion blogs, vintage fashion as much as contemporary, and of course, our friends and girls we see around London town. It's because of this diversity of style and influence that we decided to personify each of our patterns, basing them on a real girl we know and who's style we admire.

What has been your biggest challenge with By Hand London?
There's not really been one distinct thing; I think when you're starting out on a new venture the main challenge is finding your rhythm as a business - setting yourself achievable goals and deadlines, each finding and settling into our individual roles within By Hand, and also being supportive of each other and understanding each other's external commitments i.e. part-time jobs and kids!

Where do you see your pattern company in the future?
At this point while it's all so fresh and new we feel like we're bursting at the seams (ahaha!) with ideas and plans for the future and we definitely want to expand the By Hand brand beyond sewing patterns. Before we take over the world, however, we want to really get to grips with what's going on right now, continue to better ourselves and our products and really get to know who our customer is. But ultimately, sure - world domination! Mwahahahaaaa!


Thanks Elisalex! Very inspiring, right?
And guess what? The girls have very generously sent me one Elisalex dress pattern and one Charlotte skirt pattern to give away to my readers!
In order to win, just leave a comment below telling me which pattern you'd like the most and your email address, so I contact you.
The giveaway ends on March 6th, 11:00pm GMT.
Good luck!

119 comments:

  1. How can I choose? If I have to, the Elisalex! I can't have too many dresses!

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  2. I would love love LOVE the Elisalex dress! My email address is thestreak@gmail.com

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  3. Ooh, love! The Elisalex dress is amazing, and I'd love to have it. I'm shannon at orangecloudhandmade dot com.

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  4. Great giveaway! I'd love to win the Charlotte skirt.

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  5. I've been coveting the Elisalex pattern for a while! I would love the chance to make a beautiful dress with it. :)

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  6. I would love the Elisalex dress! My e-mail is vintagezest (at) gmail (dot) com. I'm in the U.S., so hopefully I can still enter! I will be in London for the first time in April, and I can't wait to peruse the fabric & notions stores! Any suggestions?

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  7. Wow! Thanks for giving us some more info on how By Hand London started - I love that they based their designs with an actual person in mind. I love both of these patterns and have been eyeing them for months. If you pull my name, I'll take either of them! Thanks! poldapop[at]gmail[dot]com

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  8. I love dresses, so Elisalex dress would be my favourite!

    I am tuijahyppanen at hotmail dot com

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  9. So cool to hear more about this new pattern label! I watched the Charlotte skirt sew along from the sidelines and I was very impressed! That would be my pattern pick. Can't wait to see more from these Ladies! jaimejo(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. I'd love to try the Charlotte skirt, I've been admiring it for a while now!

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  11. I never seem to be able to fit into any of the rack skirts, so I would love to sew a custom fitted pencil skirt, like the Charlotte skirt pattern!

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  12. Great interview.. the Elisalex dress is just adorable, so I'd looove to have it. Thank you!

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  13. They're both so gorgeous, it's hard to choose, but I'd love the Elisalex dress pattern. My e-mail is sara.elizabeth.norman (at) gmail.com.

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  14. Oh, wow. I would adore a copy of the Elisalex pattern. Thanks for the giveaway, and I love your blog!

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  15. Oops. My email address (Mary) is parmentier at gmail. Grazie!

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  16. How can one choose, they are both such gorgeous patterns...but being into skirts at the moment I think I would plump for Charlotte... pennie at appetiteforcake dot co dot uk

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  17. How awesome! Both patterns are adorable, but I would definitely go with the Elisalex dress.

    kelerabeus.okereke[at]gmail[dot]com

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  18. Great interview and giveaway!! The Elisalex dress is my fav x

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  19. Oh how cute! I love both but I think the Elisalex dress would suit my body type better. I wish I could pull off skirts like that! Love that peplum :)

    wbkpd1@gmail.com

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  20. I am quite enarmored with the Eisalix Dress!

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  21. I'd love the Elisalex dress pattern! It's so cute!

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  22. I would love the Charlotte Skirt because I already have the Elisalex Dress pattern! I'm hoping to join in on the sew along in March :)

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  23. Great interview. I really like hearing about how creative people turn their ideas into reality. The elisax dress looks lovely

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  24. I'm in love the Elisalex pattern. Respect the hips!

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  25. Those patterns are delicious! But if I have to choose I would pick the Elisalex dress. I just don't have an occasion to wear pencil skirts :)


    My email is stephanieramaekers at gmail dot com

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  26. Ooooooh, the Elisalex dress is so pretty! Kellylcostas (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  27. I enjoyed reading about this new company. I love the elisalex dress.

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  28. Ooh! By Hand London is knew to me. So glad to be introduced to them. I would be excited to try out either pattern. Thanks!

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  29. Ooo I love the Elisalex dress! Thanks for sharing this great interview.

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  30. I'd love to make the Elisalex dress! It looks like something I've been working on, but with all the kinks worked out already!

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  31. Oh my word, I'm not sure how I can choose between the two! Um, I think I would have to plump for the Elisalex... Thanks for the chance to win! (sabinamoolla {at} hotmail {dot} com)

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  32. Thanks for writing an interview! I always enjoy learning more about indie business owners. And count me in for the drawing! I'd take the Elisalex pattern. :) kathhhhhy {at} gmail {.} com

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  33. Both are so lovely! I'd love to win the Elisalex dress pattern.

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  34. I would really like to win the Elisalex dress, every version is lovely.

    gracecunningham @hotmail.co.uk

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  35. Ooh, I've been obsessing over the Elisalex dress since I found out it existed, but right now sewing patterns aren't really in my budget. Put me down for that one, please!

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  36. I love them both, they're lovely. If i really have to choose, i'd say the Elisalex dress. Thanks for the giveaway (thaisa(at)laposte(dot)net)

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  37. Oh the Charlotte skirt please! I loved the interview!

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  38. Great interview! I'd love to be entered for the Elisalex pattern!

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  39. I would love the Charlotte skirt, please!

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  40. Amazing! Such talented girls. I would love to win the Charlotte skirt pattern! Jen x
    Jen_rachel_wright {at} hotmail.com

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  41. A lovely interview, an awesome giveaway, and one gorgeous Elisalex dress please!

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  42. What a great interview, if I win I'd like the charlotte skirt please ... Thank you Paunnet and By Hand ... :)

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  43. That was a really inspiring interview. Sometimes we fail to put into actions our dreams and interviews like this encourage me not to. If I win I would like the Elisalex dress please. Thank you. <3

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  44. Great interview and glad to find a new indie pattern designer. I love the Elisalex dress! twolittlebanshees at hotmail dot com

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  45. Great interview, good to know where they started from..
    I would LOVE an Elisalex pattern:) Very cute and a bit challenging for me
    beccamurph_197@hotmail.com

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  46. I love reading and learning about new independent pattern designers. The Elisalex dress is fabulous! I'd love to give it a try!

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  47. The elisalex dressing is stunning! I would love to make it for the summer wedding season...

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  48. I love their packaging design and I would love to win the Elisalex dress pattern.

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  49. They're both so cute! But I guess I'd choose the Elisalex dress :-)
    vickiegavin@yahoo.com

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  50. I am in desperate need of a new work skirt, so I would go with the Charlotte skirt!

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  51. I love the Charlotte skirt and I can't wait to see what the next pattern will be!

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  52. My blog is ready to go activate next week

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  53. sorry!!!!! cont. and I'd love my first post to be about how I won this competition. I'm in love with the Charlotte skirt and really want to see how they package it up. Great interview

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  54. I LOVE the Elisalex dress! Gorgeous!!

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  55. Hey thanks for this little interview. I've been meaning to look into Hand London for ages - perfect. I love both but the dress particularly. Thanks to you and your guests for making this giveaway possible.

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  56. I love the charlotte skirt! Love love love! So perfect for curvy girls like me :)

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  57. I love them both, but I think I love Elisalex most because I tend to wear dresses a lot more than skirts - the whole outfit in one item thing is pretty hard to beat. The By Hand packaging is really beautiful - love it !!

    http://homeecny.blogspot.com/

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  58. I would love to win the Charlotte Skirt! Thanks for the chance!

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  59. I would love love love the Elisalex pattern!!! I have been hearing a lot about By Hand London, so thanks for featuring them :-)
    elizabethszopa@gmail.com

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  60. The dress, the dress! Oh my gosh please, it is absolutely GORGEOUS.

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  61. I love them both but I'd have to pick the charlotte skirt! I'd love to make a few for work. sewmyway@gmail.com

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  62. Very interesting hearing about the girls behind the brand! I'm excited to see what is coming from them in the future. I'd love to try out the Elisalex dress pattern. My email is zoe.livana(at)gmail.com

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  63. I am drooling over the Elisalex dress. Oh my god. That's gorgeous.

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  64. Oh, that dress is lovely! And I so like these pattern-profiles, thanks for that! indigorchid (at) gmail.com

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  65. Great interview, I have been following these girls and would love to try the dress pattern, it looks as though it would be great for my curves. email is helenrk@live.co.uk

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  66. Ohh So gorgeous! I love them both but the skirt is my favourite. Thanks for the chance to try it!

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  67. So they're talented AND generous!! Such amazing ladies :) If I had to choose, I'd go for Elisalex- I'm a sucker for a low-cut back. Thanks to you all for the chance to win!

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  68. Oops, silly me... can't follow instructions! My email address is jennymoulden(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  69. Ooh I would love the skirt pattern the most. Thanks!

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  70. These are so cute! I love the dress! Thanks for another giveaway!

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  71. I love their patterns, so cute and feminine. I would love to have a go at the Charlotte skirt!

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  72. I love them both but the Elisalex wins by a smidge!

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  73. Wow! Thanks for doing the interview with By Hand - I enjoyed learning more about how they got started and I love that they design garments with a specific person in mind. I've been eyeing both of these patterns for months and I'd love either of them, with a slight preference for the Elisalex. Thanks for hosting the giveaway! poldapop[at]gmail[dot]com

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  74. i would love to make that dress.. and, dammit, where's burda review hehe? i love this issue, but i want to hear what's your opinion on it :)

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  75. I already have the Charlotte skirt so I'd love Elisalex!

    Kathryn (dot) lee79 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  76. I love the dress pattern. My email is milenushkas@gmail.com

    These girls are really great, recently stumbled upon their site and I have to say it looks great. Thank you for the interview and the giveaway! Milena from thehomeblues.blogspot.com

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  77. Oh, I didn't know them before but their patterns are to die for. I would love to try my hands at the Elisalex Dress. thanks for the giveaway!

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  78. I'd love to try the Elisalex pattern!! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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  79. I'd love the Charlotte Skirt, I need a bunch of stunning skirts to fill some gaps in my wardrobe!
    Eleanor
    eleanorkrause87 at gmail dot com

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  80. OMG thanks to bring this to my attention! i really love the elisalex-dress :) hope to win and in that case you can contact me by twitter: @bubiknits

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  81. Luv that elisalex dress :-D simplyaister at gmail dot com

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  82. I love the charlotte skirt. its soo awesome aruwien at yahoo dot com

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  83. I had a love at first sight with the elisalex dress. Thanks for the give away !

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  84. Definitely the Elisalex dress. I've been looking for a dress like this for ages! thanks for the giveaway :)

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  85. I'd love to try out the Elisalex dress! That scoop back is awesome

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  86. Please count me in! i love the shape of the elisalex dress =) great interview

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  87. Gosh, the Elisalex is a crowd favorite and no exceptions here. I think it's the perfect match for this beautiful graphic print linen my Mom picked out for me while she was traveling in the Bahamas... mmgkelly at gmail

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  88. Thanks for showcasing This brand! I'd love a copy of the Elisalex dress.

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  89. Wow, such an amazingly inspiring story! I would definitely enjoy making the Elisalex dress, so count me in! :) ela.siromascenkoyahoo.com

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  90. Thank you for doing this inspiring interview Anna!

    I’m a big fan of indie business especially the
    craftsmanship/art area.

    Best of luck to the girls!

    I’ve never sewn a dress before, and Elisalex Dress
    promises really great and joyful sewing experience.

    What a great pattern for every girl!

    visnicincilinci@gmail.com

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  91. The Reckless NeedleMarch 1, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Elisalex dress is beautiful (I think there is agreement here!)...I would love to be in the mix. Thanks for the interview, it's lovely to hear about the story behind the patterns. nx greern at gmail dot com

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  92. Ooh! I've been dying to get my hands on the Elisalex pattern. It just seems to flattering and completely my style. I love your blog, and thanks so much for the great giveaway!

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  93. I love the Elisalex dress. Just the kind of dress that suits absolutely everyone with any body type ! My e-mail is sabellef and I'm registered at gmail dot com.

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  94. Great read! I love these ladies :) I would also love to win a charlotte skirt - thanks for hosting!

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  95. oooh, I love the Charlotte skirt! Can't wait to see what else By Hand London will come out with

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  96. Oh !!! jolis patrons, j'aime tout particulièrement la robe elisalex !

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  97. I would love to win the elisalex pattern! hannah dot lona at gmail dot com

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  98. I really like the Charlotte skirt!

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  99. I already have the Charlotte skirt and LOVE it! I would be thrilled to try
    out Elisalex.

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  100. I really love both patterns. But if I could choose only one, I would pick the Charlotte skirt. A great pencil skirt designed to flatter an hour glass shape would be great. An the tutorials offered by By Hand London would be helpful for me as a slightly beyond novice sewer. Pick me pick me! nplush@roadrunner.com

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  101. Elisalex dress pattern - I love this dress!! anna@ambushdesign.ca

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  102. J'ose mettre un message en français, je viens souvent faire un tour ici avec plaisir (d'ailleurs je me suis inspirée de ta jupe Madeleine, il n'y a pas longtemps).Je découvre ces patrons et j'aime beaucoup la robe Elisalex.

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    particularly great content οn our site. Keep up thе good writing.


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  104. Ooh, I've been following By Hand London and in particular the sew-a-long and information for the Charlotte Skirt. I would love to win the pattern and been able to use the great step by step instructions they generously posted. So simple yet so sexy!

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  105. I have been following By Hand London for long and love the unique styles of the girls.And of course their patterns!I would love the Elisalex dress!I fell in love with it ever since I saw all the great versions out there!Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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  106. love the elisalex dress - thank you for the interview

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  107. I really like the Charlotte Skirt...looks very interesting in plaid....thanks for the chance

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  108. I would love the Elisalex dress pattern! Thank you for interviewing By Hand London, I didn't know them, but I already love their style! :)

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  109. Love the classic Charlotte skirt. I've got the perfect fabric for it! Thanks for the interview and giveaway! sarahbsee at gmail dot com

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  110. I'd love the Elisalex pattern! It's gorgeous :-)

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  111. I love the Charlotte skirt. It is so pretty! A nice classic skirt, I don't have one of those in my collection :)

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  112. The Elisalex Dress pattern is just gorgeous! I'd love to get one! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  113. Looove the Elisalex dress patten and would love to win it! arellispena at gmail dot com

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  114. Amanda SerrentinoMarch 5, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Oooh would love a chance to win the Elisalex pattern! I saw they're hosting a sewalong on their blog this month, and would love to join in if I can! Thanks so much for the opportunity - great interview!!

    xo ~ Amanda

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  115. The Elisalex. A few "hippy" girls have made it and look amazing, so since my hips are a little on the large size, I think I need to give it a go. Hopefully I will look amazing as well. Plus I have some rather stiff check fabric that I bought in Bali (amazing street filled with fabric stores) that would work well.

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  116. Ooh thanks for the great interview and the giveaway! The Charlotte skirt is my favourite and is in fact already on my to do list, so would love this pattern! jill.wasiewicz@gmail.com

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  117. Great interview and giveaway! The Elisalex pattern is just lovely. Beautiful neckline.

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  118. Thanks for sharing very useful blog with us. We are provide interview training uk at affordable prices.

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