I say this is my ‘first’ Coco (by Tilly and the Buttons) because I’m sure I’ll be making many more. I’ve got some perfect Breton-style striped fabric in my stash which I think will be perfect for the top version. I’m not copying Tilly’s style, honest (ehem)!
Anyway, to this make. I pledged to make a Coco dress as part of Karen from Did You Make That’s Made Up Initiative which is “in support of the National Literacy Trust. Did you know that one person in six in the UK lives with poor literacy? Some children never have a parent read to or with them. Many households can’t afford books. Literacy can be a game of luck, and it’s a game with high stakes. It can make or break lives.” (From Did You Make That). As someone who spent almost a decade as a bookseller, I am definitely passionate about reading. I personally go through phases of reading lots and then not so much, but I basically have a book (or several) on the go all the time. I can’t imagine not carrying one in my handbag – what if you suddenly have half an hour to kill? So reading, yay! And sewing, yay! I’m not surprised this initiative has massively taken off – there must be loads of sewists like me who also like books. Also, the deadline is 10th September, so this is (fanfare!) the first time I have finished a challenge or sewalong on time! Or in fact early!
So back to this make (again!)….The fabric was from my trusty Rolls and Rems on Holloway Road. It was another one of their remnants and was £3.99 for over 2 metres – bargain! I’ve definitely got enough left to make a top. It’s quite drapey, and has quite a bit of stretch, so it probably wasn’t the best choice for Coco. But I wanted a pattern without many seams to show off the huge graphic print and I already had Coco traced and ready to go. I made the size 2 and tried really hard to make the pattern match on the side seams and to make sure the placement didn’t do anything dodgy! I’m glad I got almost 2 repeats of the giant diamond on – but is the top one like a frame for my boobs?! It’s got, like, all my colours on it – i.e. different shades of blue, black and white!
The side seams were a relative success, but the diamonds did get a bit squished. I’m not sure i could have done anything about that and still had the main pattern centered on the front and back.
I did make a couple of tiny adjustments to the pattern. The main one was to take in the sleeves by 2cm from the cuff to the elbow, graduating to 2.5cm above the elbow and at the armpit. I tailored the taking in out at the boob level as I didn’t want to overfit the whole dress. I’m all for loose clothes, by the way, but because this fabric is quite thin and clingy, the looser sleeves looked like a mistake rather than a design feature. The design of the pattern made this change really easy – you sew the neckline, then the sleeves, and then the side seams (from the end of the sleeve all the way to the hem) in one go – it’s quite brilliant for allowing you to make fitting tweaks once the dress is mostly made. Like I did. I’m definitely keen to make it in a thicker, less stretchy fabric and take more advantage of the shape of the dress.
I sewed the sleeves with 2cm hems, as the pattern said to and I took up a 4cm hem at the bottom. With these hems and the neckline, I used a twin needle for the first time. I was a bit scared about how to use it, but it turns out it’s really simple – you just need 2 spools of thread on the top of your machine, then you thread them together through the machine as normal then thread one through each needle – simple! I did have some issues with the tension when I was sewing the hem – I think because I’d turned it up twice, like a normal hem, so then my machine kept chewing it up. Trial and error meant I figured it out in the end though…….after wasting tonnes of thread! I’m pleased with how professional it looks though, so it was totally worth the swearing and shouting at my sewing machine!
After my Sallie maxi dress and then this dress, I have definitely been bitten by the jersey bug! I can’t really believe it took me so long to start sewing with knits. It’s not as scary as I feared. And at the end of the day, if I ruin some fabric, so what? I usually have loads left after I’ve cut garments out – does anyone else find patterns over-estimate how much you need? – so can usually cut something out for a second time if I’ve totally ruined it!
I’m definitely going to expand my range of more casual garments in my homemade wardrobe – I’m not a very dressy person usually, so the fact that I’ve made so many dresses is a bit silly! I need more t-shirts, maybe some linden sweatshirts and then I desperately need to get over my fear of making trousers! I think I might try to come up with a plan for Autumn/ Winter sewing as my Summer sewing wasn’t planned at all and therefore was pretty much non-existent. Which was actually fine as we had about 3 weeks of Summer back in June/July in London and that was it! What are your Autumn/ Fall sewing plans please?