Cornflower Fairy



Jessica Carter-Syme


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Make up and photographs by my talented wife Abbi Davey

Outline the story …

I’ve loved the "Flower Fairies" since I was a little girl dressing up as the Cherry Tree Fairy, so once I started sewing I knew I wanted to make a flower fairy dress at some point, and the competition was the impetus I needed. I chose the Cornflower Fairy partially because I had an old dress in blues, and mostly because it is my wife’s favourite flower. The Cornflower Fairy in the books is a ‘boy blue,’ but I decided to turn this into a ‘girl blue’ instead. I’m also much older than the children in the paintings in the books, so I decided to embrace this and create an outfit for an adult flower fairy, one which would show off my pregnancy bump once it becomes properly visible..

I chose a handkerchief skirt primarily because I naively hoped I might be able to wear it at a festival once the plague is over, but also because I think the light fabric and uneven edges lend themselves nicely to a wildflower fairy. The crop top shouldn’t be considered as part of the competition as it’s an existing top to which I added cannibalised sleeves and some binding, but I wanted to include it in my photos as I think it completes the outfits.

My previous sewing experience is turning pillowcases into scrub bags and making rectangular masks, so this is by far the most complicated thing I have made to date, but the competition helped motivate me!

Outline the construction…

I took apart an old dress for the fabric as I love the colours. I found a guide online on how to make a handkerchief skirt and used this to draw up the pattern, although I forgot to leave seam allowance on the waistband which I regretted later. While planning I found out I was pregnant, so I used my hip measurement for the waistband so I could wear the outfit when I’m showing. I originally only put together the outer layer, but then realised that this was see-through, so created a second layer and stitched the two together. I took pockets from another old dress and added them, although the right pocket is a bit too narrow for my hand! I realised it needed to open and close and so cut an opening in the back. I did this based on the centre of the skirt, forgetting that I have a twisted pelvis (!) so the opening is not centred when I wear it. I made a waistband from bias binding, and closures from poppers and hooks and eyes because I didn’t want to work out how to put a zip in, and I thought this would give me more flexibility down the line. If I was to make it again the main thing I would change is planning it through in advance, and taking a lot more care with my stitching and lines. However, I’m really proud- I want to try making an actual pattern now!




  1. Avatar Avery on March 11, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    I love all of the textures and shades of blue!

  2. Avatar Missy on March 12, 2021 at 12:48 am

    I really love the colours and the flower concept, and how you’ve repurposed so many materials. And also that it has pockets!!!
    Congratulations on the bump by the way, I hope this is comfy for you as it grows!

  3. Avatar Teri Plemel on March 12, 2021 at 1:08 am

    Great combination of colors and textures. I admire your perseverance. Well done!

  4. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:17 am

    This is beautiful- the many blues are so beautiful, and cornflowers are my favourite flower! Gorgeous

  5. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 12, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Love the fabric and inspiration! Nice work adding pockets! Congratulations on the bump!

  6. Avatar Nicola Taylor on March 12, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    It is lovely, I like that the fabric is so light and airy.

  7. Avatar Valerie Meachum on March 15, 2021 at 1:16 am

    Excellent upcycling, and adapting the fit for a body in flux is smart planning indeed! So pretty, and you look comfortable and happy in it.

  8. Avatar Rebecca on March 15, 2021 at 2:50 am

    I *love* the flower fairy books so much! and the cornflower fairy is one of the best– though it’s very hard to choose!) makes me think of a line from “Room With A View”– “I find the cornflower the most delightful of flowers, don’t you?”
    Congratulations on your baby! Maybe you can make them a forget-me-not outfit! Best of luck from Icarus!

  9. Avatar Jessica on March 15, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Thank you everyone for your lovely comments! I was incredibly nervous submitting this due to the incredible caliber of the other entries, but everyone has been so ridiculously nice that you’ve put me at ease 🙂 I also love the fabric- I didn’t want to let it go to waste!

  10. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 20, 2021 at 4:20 am

    Repurposing is a favorite of mine. Congratulations on your baby, that’s so exciting! This is a fun garment and I am sure you learned so much in designing and putting it together. Thank you!

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