Sunflowers Dreaming



Lesley Keller-Reed


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

I chose a poem from Rainer Maria Rilke's "Sonnets to Orpheus" (Part 1, XXV). It speaks about yearning for someone, of a short time remaining, of flowers one cannot remember, of joy and warm days and whispering nights, and season's end looming nearby. I wanted to embody the joyful moments of spring and summer, of connection to another, and hint at shadows deepening in the sunset. The flower is not specified, but I thought of sunflowers, as they stand bold and complex, but only for a season before fading away. They remind me of a friend that I only see occasionally; someone whose path I wish I crossed more often. I wanted this garment to have the feeling of walking through a field, of gathering mushrooms in the woods, of something idyllic and practical. Something that feels warm and nostalgic. I decided on crafting a long skirt in a beautiful sunflower fabric I found, with a simple black shirt to pair with. To capture the image of a nostalgic, fleeting feeling, of someone who has passed you by.

Outline the construction…

This was made with a blend of machine and hand stitching. I began making the skirt using Folkwear's Walking Skirt pattern #209, knowing I wanted the shape of this design, but wanted to decrease the bulk in the back. The sunflower fabric is a cotton flannel, and I made two pleats at the sides to bring them more forward, and made smaller gathers in the back, so the texture is still there without the weight. This made the waistband just a hair too short, and I stitched a bit of extra fabric to extend it to the needed length. It's finished with a button and handstitched buttonhole.

For the shirt, I used vintage Vogue pattern #6793, using the top portion of the dress. Putting this together was easier than I expected, I used a simple black cotton, but as it was only half the pattern, the shirt came out much shorter than I expected. I had wanted a silhouette of the shirt to tucked into the skirt, so I hand sewed both pieces together, leaving some space in the back to be able to pull it on and off, as the only closure is the placket on the skirt. So it became a dress in the end. And there are, of course, pockets.




  1. Avatar Laura Boyles on March 11, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    Simple, beautiful, evocative. It does everything you said you wanted. Best of luck x

  2. Avatar Emily on March 12, 2021 at 8:39 am

    What a wonderful creation! And something that I hope you will get years of use out of, I know i’d happily wear it. And YAY pockets haha

  3. Avatar Andrea Olinte on March 12, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    You read the story, you see the skirt and you think “Yeah, thats it”.

  4. Avatar Carolien van Alphen on March 12, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    Lovely skirt. The cut really allows for the pattern to shine. Well done!

  5. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 13, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    I love the way you interpreted the theme! The sunflower fabric is lovely, and goes perfectly well with the simple yet elegant black shirt, you definitely captured that wistful, nostalgic feeling!

  6. Avatar Valerie on March 17, 2021 at 2:16 am

    Love the elegant update on the walking skirt and the simple top to go with it. The sunflower print is the perfect choice for your theme!

  7. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 23, 2021 at 3:03 am

    Very nicely done! I love this outfit! Thank you!

  8. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 26, 2021 at 7:25 am

    That finishing on the neckline is great! Good job!

  9. Avatar Lizzie Blake on April 1, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    This is beautiful! I love the fabric you chose for the skirt. All of it definitely makes me feel like I’m walking through a field of flowers

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