Tuesday was a pretty exciting day. Not only did the Great British Sewing Bee return to our TV screens for a second season, Tilly and the Buttons released her third sewing pattern...which I had the absolute pleasure of testing!
The Coco Dress is Tilly's third pattern and her first available in both print and digital formats. It's designed with stable knits in mind, sews up very quickly and can be done so using a regular sewing machine (not just an overlocker), making it hands down the perfect pattern for beginners and anyone apprehensive about sewing with knits. However, the number of possible (and seemingly endless) variations - dress or top, long or three quarter length sleeves, cuffs or cuff-less, pockets or pocket-less, slash or funnel neckline - make it a pretty fun pattern for the more experienced stitcher too!
Coco is quite literally beautiful, inside and out! As always, Tilly's step-by-step instructions and accompanying photographs are second to none. She's also added extra pattern markings to make the whole cutting and stitching proces as clear as possible - outlined here. Hand-holding doesn't get better than this!
For my version, I used a fleece-backed, medium-weight knit from Minerva Crafts. The Aztec print and vibrant colours are so much fun on bleak winter days and the fleece backing keeps me nice and toasty. It's an undeniably busy print though, so I went for the simplest version of Coco - slash neckline, cuff-less and pocket-less.
Fitting & Construction
My version of Coco only requires three patterns pieces, so fitting and construction is a total breeze! With proportions are all over the place, I cut a Size 3 for the neckline and shoulders, a Size 4 for the armholes down to the waist and a Size 5 from the waist downwards. Due to the simplicity of the pattern lines, grading like this is really easy to do, so don't be afraid to have a go if you're in between sizes.
I love that Coco's slash neckline isn't finished with a neckband, instead it's turned under and topstitched. This results in a cleaner and less casual finish, but I have found that this method can be prone to gaping and the wrong side peeping out. To prevent this by stabilising my neckline, I stitched stay tape to the wrong side of my neckline before turning under and topstitching. It worked wonders! Finally, I topstitched the neckline, sleeves and hem using my trusty twin needle.
The only small change I would possibly make next time, would be to slim down the sleeves just a smidgeon...but that's easily done and just personal preference really.
I'm ridiculously pleased with my stripe matching skills by the way! I know I'm a complete geek for saying it, but I don't think I've managed to match anything this well before!
Like everyone else who has tested or made Coco, I give it a big thumbs up! It's a cute design, versatile, easy to sew up and the perfect pattern for beginners and experienced stitchers alike! If you're tempted or need a little more inspiration, check out Tilly's Pinterest board chock full of design and fabric ideas, as well as 'real life' versions!