I made a thing! Ok, so I make things all the time, but I’m really pleased with this one. It’s so much nicer than it looks in the photos. (Photo shoot number one, in park, entirely reliant on children. Photo shoot number two, had husbands photography skills to hand, but due to rain it was indoors and I managed to pull even more silly faces than usual, sigh).
It all started with a trip to pick up a cleat for my mum for her roman blinds. The problem is, the blind supplies came from my local curtain shop, which is also my local fabric shop. I was trying to be strong, but a chance item in the remnants bin near the till led to browsing the fleece fabrics and then looking at a grey rib knit with an eye to another Lola and the assistant noticed and realised the rib was in the wrong place and led me round to the knit section where she and another assistant softened me up by competing to show me all the lovely fabric available and then they swapped with their colleague who came and gave me the hard sell, man she was really pushing fabric on me. I left with 3m of a lovely turquoise knit with black flecks in and 2m of some chocolate brown stuff, which was less than half of what she was trying to get me to buy. The assistants immediately started on the rest of the turquoise for themselves before it ran out.
It really is a lovely fabric. I’m sure the roll said 97% cotton, 3% lycra, dry clean only. I have no idea why it said dry clean only, I wash cotton and lycra all the time, so I prewashed it and it’s fine. It feels almost wool like, in a sort of fluffy way. Maybe it’s brushed knit cotton – is there such a thing? The black flecks are very subtle, they just give it some depth, reminiscent of a shot cotton. But it frays when it’s cut. Hmmm, most odd. But lovely. There were two other colour ways, bright red and magenta. I keep thinking of the magenta. Watch this space…
I had an idea of what to make, some kind of knit dress, cos I’m currently obsessed with them. Plus something for my daughter from the leftovers as she really suits this colour and will like the softness of the fabric. My original intention was to make a dress length version of the day to night drape top – but that didn’t turn out so well so I had to think again.
There are plenty of tutorials for making a tunic dress by copying a t shirt that fits, such as this cool recycling one, so I was confident that I could extend a t shirt pattern to tunic dress length and that should work ok, after all, that’s what the Coco dress is too.
In the end I went with my Birgitte with “proper” FBA pattern as that is my best fitting t shirt to date. I traced the front onto some greaseproof paper and then marked off the length of a tunic dress I own that seemed appropriate. Then I just extended the line of the t shirt downwards to the hemlength. I dug out my Coco pattern and traced of the curve at the edge of the hemline up to sides. But what to do for a neckline. I didn’t fancy a scoop, I wanted it to be a bit dressier than a t shirt and something that I could wear over a t shirt.
So, I dug out my Amy top pattern. I may not want to make it again as I now think I need a smaller size with a FBA (and being a Style Arc pattern I just have a single size), but I could steal the neckline. It wasn’t quite a straight trace as the shoulders of the Birgitte were further apart than those of the Amy. So I traced it angled in towards the centre front and then straightened it off for the bit in the middle (hmm, hard to explain, hope that makes some sense). I wanted to make sure my neckline was the same length as the Amy so I could use the cowl piece without adjustment. I even remembered to check seam allowances, 1cm for my Birgitte but only 6mm (eek, small even for me) on the Amy, so I actually traced the seam line then added a 1cm seam allowance to match the Birgitte portion.
Then I did the same for the back – the neckline ended up a few mm shorter than the Amy top but I figured using a 1cm seam to join up my cowl piece would balance that out. The sleeves are the Birgitte 3/4 length, a straight size L (like the top) without any extra fabric added for gathers. I think they work really well on this, but if I was making a t shirt I’d like the ends a bit less baggy.
Making it up went fairly smoothly. Well, until the end, when I was trying to get it finished to wear and the kids wouldn’t leave me alone. It was sort of my Grumpy Dress at that point. So don’t look too closely at the hems on the cuffs and the bottom of the dress, and the inside of the cowl isn’t caught by the stitching in places so I need to go back and hand stitch those bits down.
But since then I’ve worn it 3 days straight and have now reluctantly put it in the wash. It’s so soft and snuggly and comfy to wear and I love the colour. I’ve worn it with leggins (full length would look better than capri ones but both pairs of full length are on the darning pile, grr) and over baggy trousers and I think it’ll work with jeans too (but it’s too short to wear on it’s own). I also tried tying a scarf around my waist (as I don’t have a wide belt) – but I’m not so sure of that. The only thing I don’t like about this dress is the fact I’ve put a couple of inches around my abdamon in the last 6 months, but no tailoring will really hide that, so hopefully it’ll motivate me to do something about it!