Lola met (St.) John: New Year’s dress

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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  Those measurements were out-of-date.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.

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Left shoulder at neck, before pinning out excess.
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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!

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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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