Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Emergency World Book Day Coco Dress

I made this tunic dress because at the end of last week I found I was to sit down and read for 3 hours straight to 6 different classes (of varying ages) for World Book Day (Thursday 6th March). As my family will attest it's incredibly rare for me to sit down for 3 hours unless I have the flu so I don't really own comfy lounging clothes. The thought of sitting for that long in my usual skinny jeans or denim skirt sounded really uncomfortable. So I sewed this:


The pattern is Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress. Construction is straightforward if you are used to knits. My fabric is interlock which is probably the softest fabric recommended - I think it would be even better in a firmer knit but as you may have guessed the fabric choice was a bit of a heart decision (from Kitschy Coo, here. To say I love their organic jersey prints is an understatement and if I had a small child I would totally be kitting him/her out in them. Also: excellent customer service and speedy delivery.) I followed the short list-style instructions that come with the PDF pattern. They are clear and unambiguous. I think Tilly has more in-depth instructions on her blog for those who want a little more advice on how to sew with knits though, and even a sew along. I would have loved to take part in case I could have picked up any extra tips but as mentioned the deadline did not allow!

I found the pattern to be true to size and finished measurements were included too. This made a big difference to me choosing the right size as I held the measuring tape around myself to see the amount of ease I would end up with. I don't understand why all patterns don't include finished measurements. I am sure I would have had less mistakes starting out if I had always had them to use. The only sizing alteration I made was to half the seam allowance in the bust area because of my large cup size and this worked well, but wouldn't be necessary for anyone smaller than a D cup.

That diagonal line is caused by my pose! 
The dress looks quite different on me to Tilly's photograph as I am not the 'traditional British pear shape' I hear so much about, I am the other way round. I think it looks like more of a shift dress. I probably could have pulled it in at the waist for a more fitted silhoutte but then I would have lost the ease (which is why I made the dress in the first place). So, for all you fuller busted ladies out there this might give you an idea of how this pattern will look on you.

If you are thinking of making the dress up I have a couple of comments that might be useful, although these are just my preference. Initially I sewed long sleeves and felt the dress looked a bit nightie-ish, although this could be my choice of print combined with my body shape. When I looked at Tilly's dress I realised her sleeves were 3/4 length so I shortened them as marked on the pattern. This really improved the look of the dress on me. Also it's drafted quite short but if you like the cute flippy look of the pattern you are better off keeping the shorter length. I hemmed it in bare feet as I could also see this dress worn in the summer with tanned legs and flip flops after a day on the beach (sigh!), although that could just be where my head is right now!

As you can see I didn't add the pockets this time (although my daughter really thinks I should). I'm too worried about fluffing up the placement as the pattern is a lattice and it would need to be spot on. Well it would for me anyway as I would never wear it if things were a bit skew whiff. Adding to my insecurities, the pocket placement isn't marked on the pattern - you position them where you like. Not a problem on a plain or stripe but on this...sometimes you have to know what to leave out ;)

I will definitely make this pattern again. Next it will be the top version instead of the dress (the jury is out on the dress until I've road tested it, but the pattern utilises the top half of the dress for the tops and I'm very pleased with the fit there so I know they will work.) They are the kind of thing I would wear on a daily basis. So I think this pattern will work out to be great value for money (I paid £7.50 for the PDF version and plan three tops).

Dogs + new dress = certain amount of stress
My own best tips for working with jersey (so far) are: cut as a single layer to avoid shifting (especially important with geometric prints and stripes), handle the fabric very lightly and as little as possible to avoid stretching, never allow the fabric to droop over the edge of the cutting or sewing table and practice hem finishes before you sew on to your garment. There are quite a few hemming options and I find the best finish varies greatly according to the type of jersey. When I started sewing with knits I really enjoyed this post by Lauren Lladybird.

Happy World Book Day to you all. I hope you can find a little person to curl up and share a book with, or at least have some precious quiet reading time to yourself :)

Happy sewing, 'till next time,

Philippa x

28 comments:

  1. LOVE IT!! Oh the fabric is beautiful and the dress looks so good on you! I thought about this pattern but seeing it on you I may just have to get it!
    (and I also wish finished measurements were listed more often)

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    1. Thank you Kristin! I think the dress might look better on you than me because of proportions, so it might be worth giving a go - as long as you don't mind going short ;)

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    2. LOL, going short is easier said than done :P
      I'd go short if I wore leggings or jeans under it. (I really don't like my knees!)

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  2. That looks really good! I'm really bad at imagining things on a different body shape and yours is more like mine that Tilly's is so thank you. I've been wondering about making the Penny Pinafore myself, but now I'm not so sure, that one has less seams!

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    1. I've just popped over to Kitschy Coo to have a look. Their knit patterns look pretty nice. Reading the description of the Penny Pinafore I guess it will fit very similarly as it has less ease at the bust and more through the body. Rather like that sculpting contrast panel though. I think the Lady Skater looks good for emphasising curves. I might put that on my (very long) list for another time!

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  3. This dress fits and suits you perfectly! I hope it does well on the road test, and good luck with your classroom visists. Also, I've never heard of the "traditional British pear shape" - is that really a thing?

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    1. World Book Day mission accomplished. They actually sat me in a 'throne' type chair - terrifying! Anyhow, the 'traditional British pear shape' certainly is a thing - in the media at least. Our magazines are obsessed with analysing women's bodies (yawn) and a multitude of articles are written about how to 'cope' with this figure type. I've lost count of the number of articles devoted to 'pear', 'apple' and 'athletic' types while my figure type rarely gets a look in! Opp, sorry for rant. It might be an urban myth but it's a thing in the media anyway, is the short answer.

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  4. It's a good shape for you and looks super comfy. I wonder if some shapes are more common among certain groups than others - as I've lived in different parts of the U.S. among different pockets of ethnicities, I've noticed trends. People in northern Minnesota definitely trend more toward the inverted triangle, for example.

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    1. I like the idea of this theory but haven't noticed it myself. I am going to start being more observant!!

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    2. That's the curse of being a sewer...you can't help making the most bizarre observations (:

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  5. It looks lusciously comfortable and I love the sound of it being transeasonal with flip flops (yes, I call them thongs). The 3/4 sleeves look great & I also wish every pattern had easily found finished garment measurements. Happy Book Week 2014 ;)

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    1. I can confirm one can sit for three hours then eat an extraordinarily large lunch in this dress without any restriction whatsoever!

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  6. It looks wonderful! Perfect for 3 hours of reading :)

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    1. Very comfy. Had a few compliments, too! :)

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  7. Love it - the dress looks stylish and comfy! A definite winner. :) I have bought this because I cannot print at the moment! xx

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  8. It's really comfy Debbie - I highly recommend it! It's a quick make, too. I'm sure it will look even better on you!

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  9. This is really pretty. It does look very different to Tilly's, but that's the beauty of sewing! Good luck with the reading!

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    1. Thank you! I think it looks so different primarily because of my body shape but also because of the fabric. I've had a look at some of the other Coco dresses on the internet and those in softer fabric hang like mine. To look more like the original, a ponte or very firm jersey would be better, but a nice one is quite hard to find (round here anyway). The less firm jersey I used (interlock) would be fine for the top version though.

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  10. You look great in this dress! The fabric and the print is lovely and the fit looks comfy yet stylish. I'm going to keep a lookout for knit fabric now :)

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    1. It's really comfy! If you use this pattern it is a good introduction to knits as it doesn't require an overlocker any advanced techniques...but would probably look best in a firmer knit! Thanks for your lovely comment.

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  11. Such a pretty Coco! I hope you enjoy wearing your dress.

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    1. Thank you! I loved making it - it's a very comfortable and versatile pattern.

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  12. What a wonderfully pretty, comfortable looking frock. I adore that colour palette and floral pattern. On a larger (flower size, I mean) scale, it actually reminds me a fair bit of a lovely wallpaper that I had one of my childhood bedrooms. Terrific job on this new garment, dear Philippa.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Funny you should say that. I also have some curtains with a similar trellis design. It's such a pretty, timeless print.

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  13. It's fantastic! This is looking like a pattern I need to add. Very wearable.

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  14. I recommend it for a quick and easy sew. I think it will be a great basic pattern for me to use over and over again.

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  15. This is gorgeous! I also love the comment about not being 'pear' shaped (I have totally copied this on a recent blog post!) It is interesting to see how the patterns fit different shapes. We all know that the 'big 4' use some outdated sizing that is decades old, and when I took some fitting classes last year, the instructor advised us to check out the shape of the designers of the the smaller independent companies and they tend to design (quite obviously really) for themselves. So with Tilly and also Tasia from Sewaholic being pear shaped - their patterns particularly suit those body shapes.

    Having said that, your dress is lovely on you - and looks very versatile. I have downloaded the pattern as I love the stand up '60's style collar.

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    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful and altogether awesome comment! I really wish I had thought of that whole designer shape thing - it seems quite obvious now you've said it. I'm going with a sixties mini vibe for the dress I made - completely accidental of course, as it looks so different to how it did on Tilly. I will have a look at the shape of designers before I buy another time to see if it helps, and if there are any out there who do allow more ease on top that I might not have come across please let me know! I have bought some of the Simplicity patterns with different cup sizes in the pattern as I think they might be good for me. (I blogged a simple top from one of them a while ago but have a shirt and jacket to try, too)

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