Lace Yoke Coco Dress

I think “take photos of blue coco” has been on my to do list every weekend since November and I finally got round to it. Ta dah!

Also, new hair!

I cut this out so long ago I can barely remember anything about it so this probably won’t be a very useful blog post I’m sorry. I fiddled with the pattern straight after making my first Coco dress. Eventually cut out the fabric in May and then didn’t get round to sewing it up until October. Nearly a year after the first one. So blinkin’ slow!

But it’s done now and it has been in heavy rotation ever since. I’ve gained quite a bit of weight recently so it’s a bit too snug now. But I’ve started eating mainly sadness foods and not stuffing my face with office treats so hopefully it’ll fit better again soon.

I shamelessly copied the lace yoke idea from Katie of What Katie Sews but I can’t find her blog post with her lace yoke Cocos anymore to link to. I’m really pleased with how it worked out. I just traced off the yoke part of the pattern, cut it out in lace and sewed it to the front piece around all the edges using a zigzag stitch. Actually I used the three step zigzag stitch because if fancied trying it.

Tilly pose

I made a swayback adjustment but I’ve got hell of a lot of bunching in the lower back area that I don’t think was as bad when I first made it so I think it’s the extra hip girth causing most of it. I’m not sure I can be bothered to make a bigger swayback adjustment anyway. I can’t see my back and I just don’t think I care. As long as I don’t look at these photos ever again and forget how bad the back looks.

I’ve started giving some quite serious thought to having a go at bra making as I have quite a fat back/large band size in bras but small boobs so I really struggle to find bras to fit. In this photo I’m wearing a 36AA and my fat is bulging over the band so I think I need a 38AAA, which doesn’t exist. Anyway, that’s not really relevant to this dress but these back and side view photos make me keener on the idea so I thought I’d share.

I bought a couple of knicker sewing patterns and a beautiful kit from Evie la luve so I’m going to have a go at making knickers to practice the whole elastic thang as I haven’t even really done much sewing directly onto elastic.

The lace overlay worked really well to elevate what could have been quite a boring dress and I’m really happy with it. I love the colour of the dress with my new hair colour too. I’ve got loads of this lace left if you have any suggestions of what to do with it. Lace yokes on everything!

Trying to be bloggery – looking more like I’d seen some dirt on the floor

The details

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Measurements: At the time of making they were Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″ but now they’re Bust: 38.5 – Waist: 31.5 – Hips 41″

Size made: Size 4

Alterations: 

  • Took 1/2″ out of neckline
  • 1/2″ swayback adjustment
  • Narrowed the sleeve
  • Forward shoulder adjustment

Fabric used: Blue ponte roma from Plush Addict. I can’t remember exactly how much sorry, more than a metre but less than 2. I cut out on a single layer.

Another version?

Probably.

Any changes next time?

I think I need a little more length above the armpit. That seam digs in a tiny bit and I don’t think that’s just because of the enplumpening.

Unrelated to Coco but have you been taking part in #MIYMarch17 on Instagram? I’ve actually managed to keep up with it for the first time and I’m going to miss the prompts so if you know of any daily photo challenges for April I could get involved with I’d love to hear them.

Have a lovely day everyone.

I should Coco

I first mentioned that I was planning to make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress waaaay back in August last year but have only just got round to it for some reason.

Coco dress
It goes beautifully with my cow print wellies, as you can see.

I say only just but I finished it at the end of October and took these photos at the beginning of November but haven’t got round to blogging. I just don’t seem to have had the oomph, I filmed an October favourites video that I haven’t finished editing yet either. And I have 326 unread blog posts waiting for me in Feedly. It’s my busiest period at work at the moment so I’m a bit drained by the time I get home.

But anyway, I went for a walk in the local Country Park with my mum and Max at the beginning of November and made a point of wearing the dress to get some photos but it’d been raining a lot so wellies were the only appropriate footwear, leading to the super stylish look I’ve got going on here. (I actually quite like it)

This version is a wearable toile/muslin really because I’m not too keen on the fabric – which you can see a bit closer in this video. It’s okay from a distance but when you get close you can see bits of white through it and it looks terrible stretched. Luckily the dress turned out quite loose fit so that’s not a problem. I was expecting the dress to be a bit tighter – I sewed a size 4 despite being closer to a 5 on the size chart because that’s what I’d traced months ago when I was a bit thinner. Because I’m lazy I decided and didn’t want to trace the 5 I just went with it and used a lightly smaller seam allowance (10mm / 3/8″) on the side seams.

tilly-coco-dress
Leaning on an invisible bar

I measured the sleeves before cutting and I thought they were a bit long for where I like 3/4 length sleeves to sit so I took about 3.5″ off the length but I think they’re a tad too short now so I’ll add an inch or 2 back on for my next version. I also ended up sewing a bigger seam allowance (2 cm) on the sleeves because I like a tighter fit. It’s still not quite right for me so I’ll have to fiddle a bit with my next version.

coco-dress-side
I tried to get Max to stare off into the distance too but he was having none of it.

There are quite a few alterations I want to make to the pattern before my next version, as you can probably tell from the photo above I need to do a swayback adjustment as there’s a big ol’ pool of fabric at my lower back. The neckline is too wide too, if I pinch about an inch out of the front it feels much better. Looking at these photos the shoulders sit off my shoulders a bit but fixing the neckline should solve that. I am going to see what a forward shoulder adjustment does though as I think need to start making them on everything.

dancing-in-coco
He’s unimpressed with my dance moves

Overall I’m really happy with my Coco, even though I need to make a fair few fitting adjustments. It hasn’t stopped me wearing it at all. Ooh, I was really pleased with my stripe matching too. Excuse the terrible quality photo I just rushed to take a photo and it’s too dark for decent photos.

20151129_195305
You can see the white bits I was talking about in this one

In terms of construction, I sewed it all on my sewing machine rather than my overlocker as I knew I wanted to experiment with seam allowances. My machine handled it wonderfully, I really do love my walking foot!

Non-Clueless Versions

There are so many lovely versions of the Coco dress all over the internet but I particularly like:

The details

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Measurements: 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 41.5″ (Height 5’2″)

Size made: 4

Alterations: Sewed the side seams with a 10mm seam allowance instead of 15mm and a 20mm seam allowance on the sleeves tapering in at the armpit

Fabric used: Around a meter of a thick not very stretchy jersey I got from Minerva crafts over a year ago. (I cut it out all on one layer, which helps use less fabric)

Another version? Definitely. I have the fabric for at least two more.

Any changes next time? Yes. I’m going to narrow the neckline, fiddle with the shoulders, sew the proper seam allowance on the side seams, lengthen the sleeves slightly and take them in a bit more and do a stonking big swayback adjustment.

coco-dress-back

Lots of the Coco dresses I like seem to have contrast panels so I’m toying with trying something like that with one of my next versions. I have some royal blue ponte that I think would look great with a lace yoke like Katie’s but lace terrifies me a bit.

Sewing for myself is very much on the backburner at the moment anyway though what with my Christmas sewing list, last minute house decorating (spare room underway, kitchen hopeful but doubtful) and general lack of oomph. I’ve finished one item from my Christmas sewing plans but have added two more. Not sure that’s how you’re supposed to do it…

It’s all me Mimi

Well firstly, hello to everyone who found me through Tilly’s blog! I actually have another Tilly make for you today, I hope you like it. Meet Mimi.

mimi-blouse

I actually started making this (I really want to call it her) months ago and it seems to have taken me ages to actually get around to finishing it. The pieces sat cut out for weeks, then I had a little flurry of activity, nearly finished it and then kept putting off the handstitching and buttons – I hate sewing buttons on. Always have and even now I think I would rather sit and slipstitch a hem on a circle skirt than sew a couple of buttons on. Leigh logic.

mimi-buttons
And here are the buttons. I’m guessing from the shimmer that they’re shell or mother of pearl. The packet didn’t say and I know nothing of these things.

Mimi is the most complicated pattern I’ve sewn and I’m quite pleased with the new skills I’ve learnt and I wouldn’t say I found it too challenging a make, even though I did have several accidents. I interfaced the wrong bit of collar but looked up the sewalongs of other things with collars to see if it mattered that much and decided to still use the bit I wanted to as the top – it had the prettier flowers on and looked better. I also sewed the left bodice front to the right side of the yoke and vice versa and then had to unpick and redo them, which wasn’t fun considering I was using French seams. Oh and button holes were a blinkin’ nightmare. The buttonhole on my machine seems to be really picky and needs me to reset the buttonhole stitch if I touch anything. Just turning the handcrank slightly to make sure the thread uptake lever thingy (I know all the words) was up made it sew one side of the buttonhole and then just stop and sew the bartack over and over again. So now I reset then sew, no matter how many times I’ve already reset it because buttonholes are seriously not fun to unpick. I know this, I had to do it three times.

mimi-poser
I attempted the fashion blogger sideways gaze thing. It didn’t go well.
mimi-laughing
And then I burst out laughing.

I sewed Mimi in a straight size 3 because I made my Megan in a 4 and I had a gapey back so I thought that a 3 would fit better around the shoulders and neck and I hoped that the loose design would mean it still fit okay everywhere else, just a little closer than intended. This almost worked out but I was foiled by my arms. The sleeves are a little tight around the armscye and at the sleeve hem. Side note, am I the only one who changes armscye to arm scythe in their heads when they read or write it? I have absolutely  no idea how you actually say it – arm sigh? Arm sky? Arm shy?

But anyway, back on topic. When I move house, Manfriend’s Power Rack is going to live in my garage and I will start working out and running more than I have been over the last few months and will hopefully slim down a little bit and the sleeves will fit better. Or I the bicep gainz will make it fit even worse, we’ll see. For future makes I might see if I can trace a size bigger at the armhole anyway. I did wonder if sewing it again with a slightly bigger seam allowance would help make this version fit better. Any suggestions?

The fabric is cotton lawn from Abakhan and I really love it. I have a tea dress from Dorothy Perkins in a very similar print that I’ve always loved so I fell for this fabric straight away and bought 3 metres. I used about 1.5m for Mimi so I’ve been having a think about what to make with the rest. I think I’d probably be able to get New Look 6069 (view C) out what I have left but I have also been toying with making a circle skirt, maybe a button up version to have a sort of mix and match set with the Mimi blouse. Skirt, blouse and a sort of shirt dress looking thing when worn together.

mimi-french
French seams

I used french seams throughout the blouse, even on the armscye because I hate finishing seams with a zig zag stitch and Jen from Grainline says you can use French seams for armholes so I took her word for it and I love the neat finish it gives to the insides.

Mimi isn’t something I would normally buy to wear but I really loved the look of it and it was one of the things that made me buy Love at First Stitch. When I first wore it I wasn’t sure how me it was as the neck felt really low, which is something I tend to avoid but looking at these photos it’s not low at all so I don’t know what planet I was on that particularly day. I really love the way it looks in these photos. I adore the fabric and I really like that I can wear the blouse loose with skinny jeans or trousers or tucked into a skirt so I’m definitely considering this a win.

mimi-outside
It was far too windy outside for photos, hence us coming inside for the jeans versions.

Love at First Stitch Megan Dress

I’ve been planning to make the Megan dress from Tilly and the Buttons book, Love at First Stitch for a little while – it’s one of the main reasons I bought the book – but I kept changing my mind about what fabric to use. I had originally planned to make a red and navy one, copying one of Tilly’s variations from the book as I had some navy fabric and some red fabric left over from my first Anna but I’m planning to remake the bodice of that dress so I need the red fabric now and couldn’t decide what to use instead.

love at first stitch megan dress
Another backdrop for you (trying to find the right light)

But I did a Tough Mudder last weekend and my manfriend took me to Y Polyn to celebrate me not dying and I wanted to make a new dress to wear so I finally got my act together and decided on this butterfly print fabric to use for the bodice. I possibly should have made something a bit more roomy considering I was going to stuff myself full of three courses of the best food I’ve ever had but I’m really happy with how the dress turned out. I sewed SLEEVES!

Tough mudder game face
Thought I’d sneak a Tough Mudder photo in here as I’m bloody proud of myself. Game face ON in this one.

This version is sort of a wearable toile as I just sewed a straight size 4 with no alterations to see how it fit. The fit is pretty good, except for a mega gapey back, which will be easily fixable next time I make it.

Gapey back
Gapey back

I’ve just noticed the back doing weird things around my lower back and bum though and I have absolutely no idea what’s causing that or how on earth I would go about fixing it. I don’t care too much though, I don’t see the back. I sort of wish I’d tried to pattern match the back too but again, I don’t see the back.

And another different backdrop, best use them all.
And another different backdrop, best use them all.

Construction wise I used French seams on the skirt and on the waist seam but I didn’t on the bodice because I was worried about the seams being too bulky as the butterfly fabric is quite thick, so I zigzagged them.

I tried timing how long it took me to make this dress but kept forgetting to stop or start the timer so it’s not entirely accurate. At least seven hours though. That’s a really long time isn’t it? Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get quicker eventually. I don’t really have much more to say about Megan, except I love her, especially her sleeves. Did I mention that I sewed sleeves?

Cost:

Navy fabric – £5.99 /metre
Butterfly fabric – £7.50/metre (I have about 20-30cm of each fabric left but I’ll just use the full metre price for the maths)
Zip – £2.20

Total = £15.69

One more photo of a guest photobombing dog, meet Poppy, my Nan’s dog.

Megan meets Poppy
Megan meets Poppy