Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Dress

Rosa, oh Rosa...!

Tilly, of "and the Buttons" fame, sent me her newest pattern to try, with no expectation that I would say nice things, or anything at all, for that fact. But now that I've had a chance to sew it up and love the fit, I'm going to say nice things!

Rosa is a button-up shirt or dress with a semi-fitted shape, princess seams on both front and back, a pointed back yoke. It's got a two-piece collar and stand, a separate button band facing, three-quarter length roll-up sleeves with narrow button tabs and a curved hem. There are also optional pockets. The seaming is really lovely and is a great opportunity for top stitching or piping.

Since I've recently made a couple of button-up Harrison shirts, I opted for the Rosa dress.
After making a quick-and-dirty muslin, I cut a straight size 7 (Tilly has her own sizing system that goes up to a size 8). However, I lengthened the skirt by 2 inches so it hits just above my knee. I'm 5'7.5", but I think my height is mainly between my waist and knees, which sounds weird when I write it out, but I think it's true. I also gave my belly the teeniest bit of extra breathing room by sewing the front and back princess seams with a slightly smaller seam allowance (maybe 1/2" rather than 5/8") through the belly area.

My fabric is a thick, greenish-brown herringbone sateen-type fabric with a hint of stretch that I actually bought for a blazer for my husband (don't tell!). I'll get him more for his blazer.

With this fabric I was aiming for a military-esque look, but now that I see it in the photos I think the color appears more brown than green. It's a bit reminiscent of a UPS driver's uniform, or maybe a 1980s Brownies uniform, which I totally had as a kid. I checked with my brother, however, who drives a UPS truck, and he said there is no option for a sassy dress like this at his workplace.

For a fun accent (under collar, inner collar stand, button band facings) I used the scraps from my acid-green Springfield tank. I also pulled the accent fabric in by finishing the skirt hem with a bias tape facing.

I opted for short sleeves, basically cutting the sleeve piece straight across about 9.25" from the top of the sleeve cap. I also ended up doing a full bicep adjustment of 3/4". Rather than hem the sleeve, I opted to pull in the accent fabric by doing a sleeve hem facing.

I topstitched most of the seams using the triple stitch on my machine (I would have used topstitching thread, but didn't have a coordinating color). This was my first time using this stitch and it was great. A bit slow, since each stitch is done three times, but lovely. One thing, though: I do not enjoy unpicking triple stitches. I screwed up topstitching the pointed back yoke the first time I sewed it and had to upick the whole seam. My hands still hurt!

By the way, see how much greener the fabric looks in this photo below? I swear the color is changing on me...

My thick fabric is perfect for the bodice of the dress- I like how it holds the shape of the skirt! However, it's just too thick for the collar situation. The collar was fine and actually looks quite crisp, but my collar stand is a nightmare... I'm not giving you a close-up because it's a little bit embarrassing. The fabric was just too thick for that curve at the front! Beware.

Tilly's instructions are great: very thorough with lot of photos to walk you through making your Rosa. My understanding is she has a video class available, too, to supplement the pattern instructions, so if you need the extra hand-holding, that's an option!

I really like the fit of the Rosa! The princess seams are just lovely, skimming the body. I'm delighted to be able to wear it with or without a belt. And the way the skirt kicks out is cute, without being cutesy. I could definitely see making more Rosas in the future (making better fabric choices, of course)! I've got some stretch chambray that would be perfect for this pattern.

Thanks for the chance to try the pattern, Tilly!