Hi everyone! I’m again cutting it very fine for my entry into one pattern, two ways!
The pattern: I chose the Tilly and the Buttons Coco pattern for a few very good reasons. First, I already had the pattern, second I could use fabric from my stash, and third (and most important) I wanted garments that I would wear – a lot! It would be hard to find a more useful pattern than this, especially if simple separates are your thing!
The Coco pattern has 3 variations:
I have already made the funnel neck top (here) and I’ve worn it to death! This time I thought I’d go for a top with the boat neckline and the dress.
Fabric and notions: It was a bit of a last minute decision to make a colour-blocked top. I was originally going to make a simple navy blue one. However, I remembered that I had a small amount of maroon ponte fabric left over from another project. There wasn’t enough of it to make a complete garment but there was still too much to throw away. This was the perfect opportunity to use it up. The Navy blue ponte fabric came from Lucky Fashions in Dewsbury during a sewists meet-up.
The spotty fabric came from the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate back in November. I have no idea on the composition of it but it has quite a loose-knit and it presses nicely.
No notions were required other than matching thread, which is a bonus when you’re against a deadline!
Alterations/design changes: For the top I cut a size 4 for the arms and bust and graded out to a size 5 for the waist and hips. For the dress I cut out a straight size 4 as the fabric has a bit more stretch to it. I’m pleased with the sizing I’ve chosen for both garments.
I adapted the top pattern so that I could colour-block it. I thought I measured everything properly but as you can see…
…the seam line goes right across my boobs! I thought I’d avoided that! To colour-block my top I drew a line at the under arm point on the front, back and arm patterns as this spot was easy to identify on all of them.
I then measured down from that line at the point I wanted the seam line (which was too far down if I’m honest). I added seam allowances on either side of this line and then folded the pattern appropriately depending on the fabric I was cutting. I’m far too lazy to produce separate pattern pieces!
As you can see in the photo above I couldn’t quite get the pattern to fit on the fabric. I always forget how wide sleeves have to be! I had already cut out the front and back maroon pieces by this point so I just had to do a bit of fabric piecing to get my sleeves out. I knew it would be under the arms, so not noticeable, and I carried on regardless!
As far as the spotty dress is concerned, I kept things nice and simple and sewed it up with no alterations. However, I did use a narrow twill tape on the neckline and I’ve done a better job of it on the spotty dress because of it. It’s a simple hem but having the tape there helped me to fold it, press it and stitch it more neatly. I overlocked the neckline before assembling the dress which I wish I had done on my top as it’s so much neater.
Pattern instructions: The instructions for this pattern are really clear. It is very much aimed at beginners. There are clear, colour photos taking you through each stage so a great pattern if it’s your first at producing a knit garment.
Other issues: I had a lot of issues sewing up the colour-blocked top and they were all to do with my stroppy sewing machine sewing up certain knit fabrics. It really doesn’t like sewing up thick jersey at all. Sewing the maroon fabric caused my thread to snap and break frequently. Sewing on the navy caused lots of skipped stitches. You can just about see them here:
The fabric seemed impervious to needles – it just bounced off! The hem and the sleeve hems look a bit of a mess. The sleeve hems were zig-zagged stitched but in places I have zigs but no zags and vice versa! For both projects I used a walking foot, a stretch stitch and ball point needles (several ball-point needles and universal needles for the top in an attempt to find one that would penetrate the fabric!). I didn’t have a single issue with the dress. I’m sure it’s me and not my machine at all but I’d love to know how to sort it out!
In summary: Anyway, despite the issues, I love my new clothes. I have worn my top twice to work already and nobody has noticed the skipped stitches, my dodgy colour-blocking or my pieced underarms! I’ve decided to call it a success! As far as the dress is concerned I’ve just sewn the last stitch before settling down to write this blog post. I’m hoping to wear it to work tomorrow but I’m sure I’ll love it!
I had to take the above photo before it was completely finished. If you look closely you can see it hasn’t been hemmed. This was because it was my photographer’s bed time (he’s seven!) but it’s all finished now!