Hi everyone, It’s Karen from Sew Little Time – I’m very excited to be able to share my first pattern and fabric review with you for the Bobbins and Buttons blog.
Earlier this year I selected the most luxurious and soft Lady McElroy needlecord fabric from Julia and had already decided what pattern to pair it with. I thought that this needlecord would work really well for the Tilly and the Buttons Rosa shirt dress. I already had the pattern, but hadn’t got round to making it up, I was looking forward to giving it a try, especially as it is a more involved make compared to any other Tilly patterns I’ve used in the past.
The Rosa pattern comes with the options of either making the shirt or the dress. It has optional pockets and sleeve tabs. I wanted to make the dress as I knew it would get a lot of wear. I’m not really a shirt or blouse kind or person. Choosing the floral needlecord gives the dress a more feminine look, which is definitely what I wanted.
As this needlecord is quite drapey I decided to interline the dress to give it more weight and stability. Also to enable me to wear it with tights in the cooler months, as needlecord has a tendency to stick to tights and ride up when you’re walking. To interline the dress, I cut out all of the pattern pieces again (omitting the collar pieces) in anti-static lining fabric. I then basted these wrong sides together around the edges within the seam allowance. You then treat those pattern pieces as one piece and sew the dress together as per the instructions.
Whilst constructing the dress, I was in two minds as to whether I was going to top-stitch the seam lines where instructed. The fabric is quite busy and also I wasn’t sure if the thread would sit in the whales of the needlecord. So, I tried having a go on some spare fabric, just using a standard weight thread in a slight contrasting colour, and I liked the way it looked, so I went ahead and topstitched where instructed – you have to topstitch before sewing some of the dress parts together and I found this quite enjoyable and therapeutic. It was very satisfying to see it at the end and it also made a feature of the back yoke.
After I’d sewn the dress panels together along with the yoke pieces, I tried it on and really liked the look of the dress sleeveless. I hadn’t considered this at the beginning and was just going to put the sleeves in without the tabs. Looking through my fabrics to see if I had anything I could use to bind the armholes, as I didn’t have any ready-made bias binding. I found some pink curtain fabric which had a good weight to it and thought it would do the job well. So I made my own bias binding and attached it around the armholes.
I wanted to use a contrast fabric for the under collar and the inner collar stand, so decided to use the same curtain fabric as I thought the pink contrast would look nice and because of the curtain weight, it would hold the shape of the collar well. For this reason, I decided not to interface the collar pieces as I didn’t want it to be too stiff.
I noticed that whilst trying on the dress it was at a length that I was already happy with before hemming it. I usually bias bind my hems as I think it gives them a nice finish and also adds a bit of stability, so I went ahead and did this on the dress. However, this time I opted to have a bit of the bias binding poking out as a contrast to the pink flowers in the design. I’m really glad I did this as it’s added that extra bit of length and gives the dress an extra finishing touch.
I made the size 3 for this dress. This is one size smaller than I’d usually make in a woven fabric for Tilly’s patterns. I had heard this dress was quite roomy and based on the finished garment measurements, it made sense for me to size down. The fit worked out perfectly.
For the button-band I left off the interfacing because I’d interlined it, I didn’t think it needed the extra support. I also skipped doing buttons and buttonholes and opted to put some snaps down the front instead. I had originally ordered some light pink snaps to contrast with the flowers again. Unfortunately these never arrived through the post. Luckily, I already had some forest green coloured snaps and put those on instead, which I actually think I prefer.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with this dress and how it turned out. It is really comfy to wear and is something completely different to my other me made garments. I really like that it is sleeveless and will pair it with a cardigan in the cooler months. I enjoyed the construction of the dress and will definitely make it again with the sleeves. Perhaps in a chambray fabric, and again I will most likely interline it. I probably wouldn’t do this if I was to make it in a denim or a heavier weight fabric.
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