Recently, several sewists I follow have made variations on the Lola sweatshirt dress from Victory Patterns. Both Lauren and Teri’s recent posts inspired me to purchase the pdf pattern. I had a fabric in mind for Lola – a winter white wool/rayon doubleknit from St. John’s knits, that I purchased from Marcy Tilton (sold out).
About the fabric: I really LOVE this knit. It’s beautiful, soft, warm and a joy to sew! I don’t really enjoy sewing knits, but this was an exception. I want MORE! I’m not sure what to make with it – and I’m not 100% confident it was right for Lola. I purchased it to make a different dress, but changed my mind once it arrived. This fabric was super easy to work with, very stable, a bit spongy. Other than not knowing what I would make with more, I’m not sure when I could wear it, unless it was something sleeveless. Last night I got lucky – it was cold (to me), but today it is warm again (70). Recommendations anyone, in case I find some more?
About the dress: So, Lola is a casual sweatshirt dress with feminine styling.
I really liked what Lauren did with her versions – so I borrowed her ideas. I lengthened the sleeves, left off the pockets, and left off the hem and sleeve bands. I intended to shape it more as she did, but didn’t – more on that in a minute.
And I liked the edge-stitching Teri did on her version, so I copied it. I intended to do the edge-stitching in a contrasting coppery silk thread, but changed my mind as my edge stitching is still not perfect (especially over some pretty thick seam layers with the double knit). I should have graded/differentially trimmed my seams, but it didn’t dawn on me until I was almost finished (I graded all after that point, which was the waist). The seams are a bit bulky. (The edge stitching helps hold the seams flat).
Like others, I would say that this dress is well-drafted, with good written instructions. I never would have chosen this dress pattern on my own. I’m still not 100% sure it’s me, but my family thought it was fantastic. It’s easy to make, and the pattern is well-drafted. It has loads of match points.
As for fitting… sigh. I last measured myself about three weeks ago – and I was feeling pretty svelte! I was watching the snacking and walking briskly 30 minutes a day for several months, and had reduced myself. Those measurements were out-of-date. Shortly after taking them, I got sick with a terrible cold (still trying to shake it) and I eat when I have a cold (chocolate anyone) and was too exhausted to walk across a room, let alone around the neighborhood.
Anyway, those measurements put me in a size 6 for the Lola pattern, when I think I should have cut an 8. I had planned to pinch out for a more shapely dress like Lauren, but not snug. This version isn’t tight, but it is more snug than I would like for work (though still comfy). I would have shaped the lower back a bit more, but had no room to do so. The photos reveal fitting issues (not withstanding my poses) – please help with comments!
Two more fitting notes: I usually have to add length in the torso with Vogue patterns. Not here. Second – I couldn’t get the shoulders to fit right – I had a gap (see the photo). I tightened up the seams where the sleeves met the bodice. That got rid of some of it, but not all.
Other construction notes: Since I didn’t do the hem band, I added five inches to the length (long legs), and sewed a 2.5 inch seam with a double needle (narrow, and it worked!). I made the sleeves longer by adding 11 inches to the existing sleeve – just extending the lines out. I did a one inch hem with the double needle there as well. I couldn’t get the neck band to lay flat. I think I should have shortened the neck band some (remember, I tightened up the neck). Last, since my Lola was a bit more on the dressy side, I left off the triangle trim at the neckline.
So what happened to the Patou? When I tried it on three weeks ago, it was too tight in the rib cage. I was going to need to take the dress completely apart. I wasn’t going to be able to start until after Christmas, and the thought was too stressful. It would have been appropriate for the restaurant last night, but not the super-casual party we went to after dinner.
And, sorry about the lighting. I’m going to have to get a camera, not an iPhone camera.
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment!