Cardigan · Dress · Sewing

Tilly and the buttons / Midi Coco dress


This summer has been all about stripes around here and it looks like I don’t want to give it up either! I have had this quite thick cotton knit in my stash forever and finally decided to make something with it. I think I’ve waited so long before using it just because it hasn’t much stretch and the weigh is a bit funny, not light nor heavy, so not ideal for t-shirts and too light for sweaters. The idea of a dress seamed perfect, so dress it was! Soon is going to cool down and I’m trying to sew garments to transition towards autumn, therefore longer length and sleeves.


I’ve had in my mind the idea of a oversized t-shirt dress for a while, but I didn’t want to buy yet another pattern, so I’ve decided to alter one I had already and see what would have happened. I set on the Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons, a pattern I’ve already made once, a couple of years ago. I really liked the fit of that top, so I thought it would be a perfect base for my dress.


Modifications were very easy to make – I’ve just shortened the sleeves, redrawn the neckline to make it more scooped and extended the skirt portion to mid calf length. I’ve cut the original dress pieces a size 4 and blended to a 3 at the hips, then found the hipline, slashed and spread the pattern by about 35cm and joined the lines back together. I’ve also added a neckband for a clean finish at the neckline. I’ll see how it wears, but probably a forward shoulders and a sway back adjustments are needed as well – there is definitely some excess fabric in the waist area on the back.


The dress came together in no time – I’ve serged all the seams and used the twin needle to finish the hems and topstitch the neckline. Being a fairly stable knit, matching the stripes between front and back wasn’t that hard, but before serging I’ve machine basted the seams together, so they wouldn’t shift around.


As I said, I’d like to wear this dress on cooler days as well, so I’ve made a cardigan to go with it. Again, I’ve used a pattern I’ve already made twice before (a double knit version here and a gold stretch woven one here), but modified a bit to make it more cardigan-ish. The pattern is the Morris Blazer by Grainline Studio, a true wardrobe staple of mine – I’ve worn the polka dots one a lot (my sister has now the gold one) and I really wanted to make more.


For this version I’ve lengthened both the body, by about 10cm, and the sleeves to reach my wrists. Following the footsteps of Gray All Day, I’ve distributed the new added length amount in two different areas. I’ve added about 1″ 1/4 above the peak of the lapel and about 3″ at the shorter/lengthen line, creating a slightly bigger and more proportioned lapel. I’ve also made a 1/2″ narrow shoulders adjustment (on top of the already altered pattern with a 1/2″ forward shoulders) which is very unusual for me, having broad shoulders instead, but I found the shoulder line of my previous two Morris being too long. To avoid any stretching, I’ve also stabilized the shoulder seams with some lightweight poly tape I’ve got from work, it’s almost invisible as it doesn’t add any bulk at all, perfect.


Also, once I’ve already started cutting, I realized I nearly run out of stretch interfacing, so I gambled and risked using a light woven interfacing cut on the bias for the lapels, while I played safe and used the little amount of stretch one I had left for the hem facings. This trick worked out quite good and even if there is a little difference in give, I can live with it. To avoid any drooping in the lapels area, I’ve hand stitched them down, as I did for my previous two Morris, but this fabric is pretty soft so I guess some dragging lines are normal



The fabric for this cardigan comes from the awesome The Fabric Store in Brisbane, which I’ve been lucky to visit during a day trip in the city last year. It’s a wool knit, with a certain amount of polyester too, which I remembered only when I tried to press a seam and the iron stuck to it. Luckily it was on the wrong side! Anyhow, it’s a super soft fabric and great for wearing next to skin. I love the little polka dots pattern and the two different tones of black, they go well with the black and white stripes of the dress.


I really enjoyed playing with different length – I don’t usually wear many mid calf skirts, apart from culottes, but I quite like the look of this modified Coco. For the next one I want to try adding some side splits, maybe this one is a bit too “conservative”! Lengthening the blazer was also a good idea, I think it’s gonna be nice having some more bum coverage during winter.


I’m very happy with the whole outfit and I’m already planning to make more t-shirt dresses, talking of which, have you seen the latest Christine Haynes pattern release? It’s a lovely tank top and short dress, but me thinks it could be make a great maxi dress as well!


4 thoughts on “Tilly and the buttons / Midi Coco dress

  1. Your dress is super, I’m starting to plan for cooler weather and both the dress and blazer work be great. I think the stripes really work for the longer length and I like the belt with it too.

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