Spring is finally emerging in Portland so I immediately need to make something summery! This dress is the spring 2017 pattern from Gretchen Hirsch (Butterick 6453) and she’s currently doing a sew-a-long for it.
I bought 4 yards of Cotton + Steel 1″ Checkers gingham in aqua to make it originally. But then I decided I wanted to make it in View B first and I dug out this neat brocade type fabric I got from Joann’s ages ago.
I cut out my standard Big 4 size (18) and got to doing my flat pattern adjustments before cutting it out. It’s a pretty straightforward sew with the addition of the lapped zipper. I met Gretchen at Modern Domestic last month and she said she prefers doing lapped zippers because they are stronger than an invisible zipper and you don’t need an exact color match.
Flat Pattern adjustments to the front pieces
- 3″ FBA
- Remove 1/2″ from princess seam under bust
- 3/4″ broad back adjustment
- Raised armholes 1″ (for bra coverage)
- Added 1/4″ to strap width (to 5/8″)
- Removed 2″ from bottom before hemming
- 1″ full abdomen adjustment
- Shorten bodice by 1″
- Move rear strap extensions in toward center
The June issue of Seamwork Mag is all about knits. I love knits! There are two cute patterns in this issue – Mesa a simple shift and Aurora – a swingy tank. With the hot weather I need more sleeveless tops, so I went scrounging for some fabric in my stash.
I had a bit of black and white polka dot jersey left from my Coco top. It was just enough to cut out the front and back pieces. I didn’t have enough to cut the yoke, but I think that would have looked weird anyway. I didn’t have any white knit but I did have a promotional IcelandAir t-shirt! Cheap t-shirts are cut so off grain thatI had to do some fussing but I managed to get my pieces cut out of the white shirt. Recycling for the win!
I cut the 1X size and made no modifications to the pattern. I was a little concerned that the straps were going to be too narrow based on the model photo, but this is well drafted to be proportional to the overall size. I’m glad I didn’t have to redraft that to make it cover my bra straps!
This is a very quick and easy top that is cleverly constructed. The yoke is doubled to be self lined and the armholes and neckline of the main piece are hemmed before attaching to the yoke. I did end up using my sewing machine, serger and coverstitch machine, but thankfully they were almost all threaded with the right color thread to begin with!
The pattern instructs you to top stitch the yoke after attaching the main pieces. I’ve held off on this for now. I’m not sure what color thread I want to use or if I want to do it at all. I might end up doing it on my coverstitch machine so it matches up with my armhole and neckline hemming.
The one issue I had with this pattern is the bar tacking. After attaching the yoke to the body you are supposed to bar tack the seam allowance down. I understand that this strengthens your seams, which is needed because of the serging and keeps them from poking out, but it also stretched out my fabric and distorted my armscyes. This is more obvious on the back of the shirt. I think on future versions I will do this by hand.
I’m not sure this is the most flattering top I’ve ever made, but it sure is comfortable. I like that the yoke is wide enough to cover my bra straps and that the fit and flare silhouette skims over my problem area. I could see making another one in a solid color.
I made those shorts too, but that’s for a future update.
Summer is finally here which means it’s sundress time! When True Bias released the pattern for the Southport dress a few weeks ago I snatched it right up! I love the blouson silhouette and the tank style works so much better for me than thin straps.
I happened to have the perfect fabric for this – a geometric rayon challis I picked up from the “designer” section of Joann for $5/yd. Despite possibly inducing vertigo in observers, I had intended to make the maxi length until I realized it was only 44″ wide. Oops! I actually really like the short version so I’m not too disappointed.
Although my bust is bigger than the pattern should make, I looked at the finished measurements and made a straight size 18. No FBA needed. The other adjustment I made was to not make the front plackets. There’s never going to be a need to unbutton this so I did a faux placket with topstitching and just sewed the buttons on. Look Ma! No button gaping! My neckline gapes slightly so next time I make it will take a wedge out of the neckline so it lays flat.
This is a very comfortable dress to wear! It’s been in the 90’s the past few days in Portland and I’ve been keeping nice and cool. The shape really works for me and I don’t have to worry about wearing any shapewear to smooth out my lumps and bumps. I also love that it has pockets. Yay for pockets!
I can definitely see myself making more of these in a maxi version and maybe in a knit too!
The pattern is by Tilly & the Buttons and it’s called Coco. The digital version costs £7.50, which is about $12.50. On a side note, this is why my British friends love coming here to shop!
Anyway, I wasn’t that interested in making this shirt when the pattern first came out especially since it appeared to be £12.50, but that was for the printed pattern. Soon after getting another Boden catalog, I realized I needed a Breton top, so I changed my mind and bought it.
My Polka Dot Coco
I did a no-dart FBA and curved out the front side seams in the bust area to accommodate my DDDs. Since I’ve never done a no-dart FBA before, I made a test top using some leftover knit fabric to ensure this fit properly. I was very happy with the fit in the bust area. I also took the sleeves into make them more fitted.
My final garment was made using this fab black and white polka dot jersey I found at Mill End Fabrics. Since I was sure about the fit, I did the entire thing on my serger except for finishing the hems and neckline. I sewed those on my sewing machine using a double needle for a professional looking finish.
Overall I really like this pattern and I can see using it as a base pattern for my own variations. However I had a couple of problems with it. First and foremost is that the amount of fabric required is specified inaccurately in the Supplies section of the pattern. It says you need 2 1⁄4 yards x 60in wide, but this is the amount you need to make a dress. You have to go to the layout page to see the amount needed just for a top (1 3/4 yds). And I think that is still inaccurate since I was able to make my larger sized top and still have over a yard leftover. I think the pattern should at least specify in the supplies section where you need to look for proper fabric amounts.
My second issue is that the instructions tell you to do a lot of your hem and neckline finishes using zig zag stitch. Nothing screams homemade to me like zig zag. If you make this top I would definitely recommend using a double needle as it provides a great looking finishing seam that also stretches. I wore this top today and and no one in my craft group had any idea it was homemade. That’s sounds like success to me!
The good news is about my extra polka dot fabric is I can pair it up with some to-be-purchased striped fabric and make one of these Boden Breton tops I love!
I kept getting the stellastarr* song My Coco stuck in my head while making this top. Here it is for you to enjoy, too.