Lola met (St.) John: New Year’s dress


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  Those measurements were out-of-date.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.

Left shoulder at neck, before pinning out excess.
Right shoulder, excess pinned. Note the beauty of the fabric!

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.

And the backside.  I just noticed how ripply my hem is.  I'll have to seem if I can press that out. Suggestion to prevent that?
And the backside. I just noticed how ripply my hem is. I’ll have to seem if I can press that out. Suggestion to prevent that?

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment!


3 thoughts on “Lola met (St.) John: New Year’s dress

  1. I love it! Your fabric is so lovely! I want some. I wonder if Marcie will get more in? I like the changes you made. We’ll done!

    1. She might. I bought it in November, I think. Linda at Emma One Sock has some wool rayon ponte from St. John in stock – I don’t know if it’s the same. I was considering getting some.

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