It's only really been through watching this last series of the Great British Sewing Bee that I've realised just how many different dressmaking techniques I learnt at college. Now this would stand me in very good stead now for making my own clothes (or even making them for other people) if only I'd continued making them. Four tailored suits in my final year, and they weren't bad at all...sure I could do it now but it'd take me an age and would involve a lot of swearing!
The Bee has however made me want to do a little more than the soft furnishings which have become my make of choice in recent years, so I'd been keeping my eye out for a suitable dress pattern. I was after something simple, but that I'd actually wear.
Tilly Walnes (from series 1 of the Sewing Bee) came to the rescue with Coco....
Everyone said it would be easy but I wasn't sure I believed them! Therefore I bought the rather fetching (and exceptionally cheap) pink knit fabric you see here so I could have a go (a toile if you like) before splashing out on something more expensive.
Coco is a rather lovely (and yes, simple) pattern which is very easy to customise. As you can see from the image above there are different options in the pattern itself, although changing it further is pretty simple. I knew I was after a dress, and decided to make a sleeveless version as I tend to live in sleeveless dresses all year at the moment (long sleeved t-shirt underneath in the winter, on it's own in the summer).
Other than leaving the sleeves off, I pretty much followed the instructions (which are very clear and well photographed) and finished the arm holes off in the same way as the neckline. Some of you will have seen the finished article before, but here it is again...
Afraid I was without a photographer that day! I'm really pleased with it and like the way it hangs. It looked very shapeless before I put it on and I thought it might end up being a bit sack like but actually fits really nicely. My only criticism is of the fabric (but then it was very very cheap) - it's a bit too thin and a little see through. Next time I will definitely go for something more substantial.
I really enjoyed making it so there will be a next time (I've seen that several people have made 4 or 5 of them!). I'd like another sleeveless dress version for the summer and fancy making one as a top too (I actually have a tutorial planned for you which is using this pattern for some shaping - keep an eye out in the next week or so!).
If anyone can recommend some great fabric to make my next one from let me know! I am thinking of getting hold of a knit version of one of my fabrics (one with a smaller print like Office) for a dress, but we'll see....
You can get hold of the Coco pattern in the Tilly and the Buttons shop - I've also got my eye on her other patterns, and the book. One for the birthday list perhaps!!