Polka dot Coco dress and she’s risking it with lace…

Ok, so she’s been a fair time in the making…but my Tilly and The Buttons Coco dress is finally completed and had her first outing yesterday, just in time for Easter…

The rain finally subsided and the sun came out, as did my daughter and the camera! My Coco took a bit longer than planned, largely, as always, due to time restraints…with my three children and their after school/evening activities and my work plus all the other stuff that gets in the way of sewing time…it’s grabbing minutes here and there! I had to re-draft some of the pattern to allow for the different top and bottom sizes! also made a few boobs which involved unpicking and starting again, and had a bit of a challenge getting my sleeves to fit…but I did it and am rather pleased with the result! I sourced a great large polka dot knit with minimal stretch from Ditto fabrics in Brighton, which I’m lucky to live not far away from! I knew nothing about knit fabric (well, I didn’t, but I do now!) and the fabric I chose was not quite what I thought it would be. It feels like it’s mainly a poly knit? soft on the inside but a tad in danger of being a bit shiny on the outside perhaps…..but then it doesn’t need ironing so that helps!

I’m totally new to knits and never sewn with them before and this pattern is aimed at people just like me so win, win!

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I was pleased with how I managed to lengthen the pattern with little difficulty and it worked!
Next came the tape for the shoulder seams…I didn’t have the proper elastic stay tape so used some ribbon I had instead as suggested in the pattern as an alternative.

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Tilly suggests attaching the funnel collar with the collar seam lined up with one of the shoulder seams on the dress. However, I decided to line up the collar seam so it was at the back of the dress, centrally…make sense?? to me, that was aesthetically more pleasing and avoided more bulk as the shoulder seam with the ribbon tape in the shoulder seams felt a little too bulky attaching the collar seam here. It worked well and when the funnel collar is folded over as you wear it, you can’t really see the seam.

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I have found that the collar does sort of ‘flop’ a bit when I’m wearing it…I’d possibly consider putting in interfacing in future to keep it more stiff and ‘standing’….it could be the fabric is a little too floppy or too heavy…hmmm…not sure, but I saw a Coco that Karen made and she used interfacing, although not for the same reason, but it gave me the idea that this could work to keep the collar stiffer.

I didn’t do the pockets because ideally I really wanted them in a contrast colour but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for so,rather than halt the make by having to find from another source, I left them out. Instead, I decided to experiment with some lovely chartreuse green stretch elastic I had in my stash…

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Does it work? well, getting it attached was the first hurdle…a stretch elastic to a stretch knit…challenge!!! but I did it! With the help and advice from some lovely sewists blogging friends (they’ll know who they are!) I attached using a zig zag for attaching elastic to fabric…I had a few practice runs and didn’t quite have the perfect match thread but it doesn’t look too bad! First I was going to trim the sleeve cuffs and then went the whole hog and decided to trim the hem of the skirt too! Not sure if the hem is too much…haven’t decided yet if I should keep or take it off, what do you think? but the overall effect is certainly different and that’s what I wanted!

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I think this is a lovely dress and pretty straightforward to make. I was SO pleased with my sleeves…it’s the first time I’ve made something with sleeves and probably a baptism by fire using a knit fabric for my first time! Putting them in did require a few attempts at re-pinning…I cut the same size sleeves as bodice but seemed to have too much ease on the bodice and not enough of the cap? of the sleeve to fit! despite all my notches matching! careful re-pinning using a lot of pins and gently easing and stretching the sleeve as I went, and bingo! The finished result was smooth and flat with not puckering and a perfect fit…wey hey!!!!

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I’m not sure if this dress is quite right for me…it’s so comfortable and warm and although I cut a size smaller for the bodice and graduated at the waist to the next size up for the skirt section, it still feels a little big around the bust…I’m not sure I was quite ready to manage altering the bust again with a knit yet, so left it. The dress looks so lovely on so many people I’ve seen post pics and I’m still trying to find the style and fit of a dress that suits me best…I think I prefer a more fitted bodice and fuller skirt for a dress, but that is my personal preference for my short waist and tubby middle! This is a lovey dress pattern and I love the whole 60’s A-line dress look, but perhaps not so much on me…

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This was a dress and make that taught me some new skills…

* I lengthened a dress pattern for the first time by adding an extra 2 inches as apparently this dress does come up quite short
* I re-drafted the bodice to waist to skirt size to fit me
* My first ever sleeves….panic over!!!!
* Sewing a stretch lace to a stretch knit fabric
* Sewing with a knit fabric

All in all I’m chuffed to bits with my achievement…and if you’re new to sewing with knits and considering it, then give this dress a go! Tilly’s accompanying pattern booklet and instructions are brilliant and super easy to understand…as always, with great pictures for guidance. I didn’t use her blog this time for help but honestly felt the tips and instructions in the booklet were ace and I didn’t need to refer to her blog; but it’s there if you need it.

And at the end of the day of her first outing, I rounded it off in true Easter style with some great chocolate Easter cake and a cup of tea…..

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Thanks for stopping by. It’d be great to hear what you think of my polka dot Coco!!

Kate x

Crochet granny triangles :: pompom trimming :: lace :: Beginners sewing guide fab find!

Half term is almost over, which despite being a full on time at home, is a long awaited week away from work, time with the children and a break from old routine….. We’ve spent a lot of time outside, including in the garden, which is such a joy to just sit in the sun…and crochet

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This was me following Lucy’s latest crochet triangle bunting pattern over at
Attic24 and I was having a little tea and crochet time with some odds and ends of yarn.

Even the dog was enjoying the rays…..

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I took an afternoon trip to Brighton with my man and the eldest one, for some lunch and a much wanted browse through the lovely Dïtto Fabric shop in the North Laines. I just adore this shop….they’ve just celebrated their 30th year and I remember being a regular visitor when they first opened, buying little squares of fabric off cuts and ribbon to make lavender bags! My wedding dress was made using some of their fabric and a wonderful dressmaker who had her studio just round the corner…..and came as a recommendation from the shop.

Still have the dress….but not the figure!!!

Anyway, I digress. I popped in there as I needed a few trimmings for some projects that needed finishing off….but it’s so hard not to just buy their little bags made up using a mélange of ribbons, lace, etc….a sort of pick ‘n’ mix! I managed to contain myself and just ended up with these…..

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Isn’t this pom pom trim divine?? All washed down with some beautiful stretch elastic lace….the green is a beautiful chartreuse but unfortunately it doesn’t show up so well in the photo…

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Lovely heh? I’m saving this lace as I’d love to have a go at making a pair of Tap pants (after my success with my Trixie knickers….just need to find a pattern I like.

A visit to a friend had me rehoming a piece of fabric she no longer wanted and was lying enticingly by the recycle bin, and I couldn’t resist!! It’s a small piece only but could be used for all sorts of little things…. I need a sunglasses case so could go on a make for that….
Here it is…….

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See what I mean? Gorgeous colours and prints…..this came from Dïtto fabrics but sadly it’s a discontinued print 😦 still, I could just look at it in all its’ turquoise splendour!! So maybe adding it onto a cushion cover to maximise its’ daily viewing….what would you use it for I wonder?

Finally, I received a brilliant package in the post in the week….it’s a vital resource to get into sewing clothes which are more than just two pieces of fabric stitched together!! Actually I’m being a bit unfair on myself….. I have put in zips, waistbands, button holes, binding and sewn elastic in the Trixie knickers, but not yet tackled sleeves, collars and more complex patterns….and it’s been a while since I’ve made any clothing. I desperately want to get into making as many of my own clothes as possible. I’ve got a couple of items to start and complete but felt I could do with a handy reference book….which is why I bought this……

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I did quite a lot of research into good sewing reference books and this Reader’s Digest got lots of rave reviews. From what I’ve read so far it does seem really very good….detailed but with great easy to understand explanations and it also gives you cross references when looking something up…..such as if you’re looking up making bias strips, it will give you page and reference for clipping or making notches in fabric for arm holes for instance….brilliant! So there’s really no excuse for me to not get going…..just need to make sure I actually take some time to start….and do it!!!

Hope you all have had a great half term, whether you have any ankle biters or not!! Kate x