Friday, 18 October 2013

Autumn is making me Blue

Like so many countries, Scotland is just beautiful in the Autumn.  The air now has a crispness to it that wasn't there a week ago and I love it.  
Long sleeved t-shirts have been a staple in my wardrobe ever since I moved to Scotland, and I have acquired quite the collection of these long-sleeved-lovelies so I want to let them be seen.  The answer came to me after I made Butterick 5523 in May this year.  I could make this comfy and practical knit dress without the sleeves and collar in a neutral tone that would blend in with lots of my long-sleeved-lovelies and let their colours and prints really sing.  But the colour would also need to go with my boots - I practically live in boots during the cold months and have 2 great pairs: tan and navy blue.  And so my blue tunic was born!
Lucky me - beautiful country!
I am loving this dress and have already worn it to work, to meetings and on this day for a long car journey.  It looks great with a blouse underneath too and the fabric is quite a thick two-way stretch knit that doesn't crease too easily and is very warm.
I still love the back tab and pleats too!


I added 4 " to the hem and made some cutting changes to the neckline.  The original pattern has a collar but without the collar it would be too low, so you can see on the right hand piece in this photo I kept a bit of fabric in the dipped curve of the neckline.  On both the back piece and the front piece I folded the shoulder pieces in to eliminate a bit of width on the shoulder - I folded it to the 5/8 stitch line (you can just see these folds on the far left and far right of the photo below)
back pattern piece and front pattern piece

Now that it is finished and I have worn it a bit, there are three things that I am going to change about this dress.  Firstly my stretch stitch.  I chose a stitch that does 3 stitches then jumps to the side for one zig zag.  I used this on my other Butterick 5523 and it worked a treat.  But this time it looks awful.  The point of the zig zag stitch is really visible.  I should have had the bulk of my fabric inside the arm of my machine so that the solitary zig zag would point inwards towards the seam allowance, then the 3 long stitches would have created a sharper more regular seam line.  I am going to do the waist, side and shoulder seams again.  You can see what I mean about the visible solitary zig zag points along the waistline in the photo below.

The second thing I am going to change is the method I used to edge the neckline and armholes.  I just made it up as I went along when really I should have searched for a tutorial first.  As soon as I had cut out my bodice pieces I stitched a strip of white woven tape to the stitch line, 5/8 from the edge.  Then I folded over the seam allowance to the back and stitched it down onto the woven tape.  It does give it a firm edge and from the outside I am very pleased with the way it holds the shape of the fabric.  But the problem is that I can see the white tape!  I should have used black or at least have folded the seam allowance over further so that it would cover it up. 
Thirdly I wish I had made it two sizes smaller.  Now that there are no sleeves there is a lot of gape in the bodice beneath the arms.  I am going to take in the side bodice.

All in all, I do love this comfy, just-throw-it-on dress and it will get a lot of wear this Autumn.  This is also the first of my Fall Essentials Sew Along completed.  One down, four to go!


  1. So lovely! I'm living in boots at the moment too! :-)

  2. yaay - lovely! i have the very same scarf. it's great with my red coat.

  3. Lovely darling, I'm in wooly jumpers and boots too

  4. Lovely tunic, lovely outfit altogether actually! that blue colour really suits you and it looks great with those boots :)

  5. Lovely outfit! It looks very wearable! I am waiting for winter, so I can wear my boots too:)

  6. Great outfit! It's not so much crisp in the air here as, err, soggy!

  7. Boots and dresses are definitely my fall staple, too. I love this dress idea!

  8. I dug my boots out a couple weeks ago and they have been in heavy rotation ever since and will be until March. Love this dress - you look great. Did you make the tee? what a fun print. g

  9. Hi Nessa I love your tunic dress, followed your link to your May version and love it too, great fabric!. I do love Autumn time getting all layered up! :-) x

  10. That's a great idea to let your colorful long sleeved shirt show through!! I also love your boots!!

  11. Love it! Just remember who s first in line when you start taking orders!!!

  12. Love your outfit, I need to make some suitable autumn clothes but as I am trying to only sew from my stash the fabric choices are getting limited, maybe I should just buy some more...!


  13. So lovely and I'm so jealous of your countryside! The gathers and buttons in the back have to be my favorite. I understand why you're not happy with some of it, though I really can't tell! I think it's darling and it should be perfect to run around in this fall.

  14. You are right, your countryside is absolutely stunning! It just cries out for lovely tweeds and knits and corduroys :)
    Your tunic looks very nice- and oh so comfy and practical for blustery days!

  15. Love this dress. I really like the t-shirt under the dress. I typically do cardigans when I layer-up, but I may have to try your approach out!

  16. This is lovely! In the US, this style of dress is called a jumper (a sleeveless dress meant to be worn over a shirt or sweater)! I know jumper means something else entirely to you!


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