When we first saw the Lotta Dress pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, it didn’t grab us and shout ‘MAKE ME’. We thought it might be a little frumpy and difficult to style, right? Wrong! Once we started seeing other makers posting their versions on Instagram, we quickly changed our minds. Alex thought she could make a similar dress by franken-patterning together a circle skirt and the top of the Suki Dress from Tilly’s 'Make it Simple' book. The result was something that she didn’t even take a photograph of... the moral of the story is to leave the pattern drafting to the experts!
Image Credits L-R: @modistasewing @jessandthebee @amyzechann @coffeeandglassslippers @paigejoanaa @jemeter
As is often the case, the cover image doesn’t do this pattern justice. In reality, Lotta is a lovely elasticated waist, knee-length or mid dress, with optional dolman sleeves and the BEST POCKETS EVER! It also has a flattering rounded neckline, which is finished with facings or bindings.
Perhaps the best thing about Lotta is that it is designed for both woven and knit fabrics, meaning you can make it out of literally anything you like! Choose a drapey woven, such as a viscose chalis, for the ultimate in work from home chic, or a soft satin for swishing about in when we’re all allowed to meet up agin. Alternatively, you could choose a snuggly Ponte Roma jersey for winter or a lightweight cotton jersey for summer - the options really are endless.
We recommend choosing a fabric with good drape to make the most of this pattern. Anything too heavy has the chance to look bulky around the waist due to the elastication. For her first version, Alex used up a remnant of the Navy Spot Viscose from our All Wrapped up Christmas Box. This is a lovely lightweight fabric with great drape making it a super flattering garment that Alex has worn again and again. Alex had also been eyeing up our Lady McElroy Dotty about Dots Viscose since it landed in the shop in Autumn, but had been waiting for the perfect pattern to use it. She decided that Lotta was the one, and whipped up her second version over the weekend, and she already has plans to make a Jersey Version in the very near future.
Notes on Making
As both the front and the back of the dress are cut on the fold, it can lead to a lot of fabric wastage if you fold the fabric selvedge to selvedge as recommended in the pattern instructions. Instead, we recommend folding both selvedges into the centre, so that you have two folds one which to cut your bodice pieces, sleeves and facings. You will then have to fold it back normally to cut the skirt.
When reviewing the midi version of the dress, the pocket placement seemed very low - so low that Alex had to stoop to reach them! We decided to place the pockets where the pattern indicates they go for the knee length version.
You can see from the photos that this is a long dress when made as the midi. Alex is 5'11" and it is still a good midi length on her. We think that this would be a very long dress on anyone who is not as tall, so bear this in mind when tracing off and making alterations.
The elastic channel is really clever and makes for a neat finish. It can, however, be a tricky part to sew, as you need to ease the fullness of the skirt into the width of the elastic channel when sewing it down to avoid any tucks in the seam. Take your time, and baste in place first if you are unsure.
Mini Facing Tutorial
Tilly's instructions are, as always, really good. Tilly gets you to finish the edge of the facing with an overlock or zigzag stitch, which is fine and works perfectly well. Here at Sew Creative, however, we love getting that couture finish on our me-mades, so we have a few ideas on how to sew the hem of the facing and up your game a little.
Follow Tilly's instructions on interfacing and constructing the neck facing, until it is sewn into a circle. Then sew one line of stitching, all the way around the outer edge of the facing, about 5mm in from the edge. Use this stitching line as a guide to press up a 5mm hem all the way around the facing.
Sew down this tiny hem using a small hem allowance of 3-5mm. Carefully trim the excess seam allowance off the tiny hem. Now press this tiny hem over once more and stitch in place. You will have made a small rolled hem all the way around your facing. Keeping the hem small makes it easier to avoid tucks and puckers when sewing in a circle.
When it comes to attaching the facing, we have a few tricks up our sleeve. You should have stay stitched the bodice necklines right at the beginning of the construction process. This will help avoid most of the stretching that can occur when handling the garment. You may still find that the neckline is slightly larger than the facing. In order to overcome this, pin carefully, matching seam lines and notches, easing in the excess bodice evenly around the facing. When it comes to sewing, sew with the facing on top, so that the feed dogs can pull the excess fabric through evenly. Once sewn, check that you have not caught any tucks and trim down the seam allowance to half the width.
In order to secure the facing and stop it from peeking out, follow Tilly's instructions on under stitching. if you find that the facing still looks like it is going to poke out, secure it further with a line of stitching directly onto of the shoulder seams, through all layers. Then give the whole neckline a nice steamy press with the iron.
Alex finished her second Lotta with a label, again stitching through all layers to further secure the facing.
And here is the finished product! Alex has fallen in love with this pattern all over again and is wearing it here with leggings and a belt for work-from-home comfort and chic combined.
Fabric Suggestions Woven
Choose a lightweight fabric with drape for a floaty, flattering dress to swish about in. We recommend Viscose, Cotton Lawn, Chiffon or Satin. If using a sheer fabric, why not pop a slip underneath for an up-to-date glam look.
Fabric Suggestions Knit
Choose a light to mid-weight fabric with some drape and plenty of stretch. We recommend Cotton Jersey, Crepe Jersey and Lighter Ponte Roma.
L-R: Black Polka Dot Viscose Jersey, Navy Ponte Roma, Hi-Fives Cotton Jersey, Navy Stripe Cotton Jersey, Grey Rib Knit, Lady McElroy Terracotta Moons, Charcoal Stripe Cotton Jersey, Snow leopard Cotton Jersey
We'd love to see your Lotta's, remember to tag us in any makes!
Stay safe, and happy sewing,
Alex and the Sew Creative Team x