In the Folds Sweater Dress hack

In the Folds Sweater Dress hack

Did you do Me Made May this year? We gave it a go, starting out reasonably strong with our awkward selfie skills, peaking on our little trip to Japan, then failing to show up again for the rest of the month. Despite our extreme selfie aversion I’ve gotta say I really enjoyed it this year – both as a (part time) participant and a voyeur. I felt like a learned a lot – about what I wear, what I tell myself I wear (but don’t), what I need to add to my wardrobe, and what I really need to let go of. What surprised me most this year is that it wasn’t a huge effort to wear at least one item of me-made every day. Not full outfits, but lots of bits and pieces. This is a bit of a jump from last year, and something that has crept up slowly. Because I sew at a snail’s pace and am just as time-slammed as the next person, I try to be realistic about how much I can sew versus what I need to buy. But over May it dawned on me that I’ve built up quite a little stable of home makes, and as a result have been shopping for clothes far less frequently. Just like that.

 

Frill Jumper pattern

 

Frill Jumper pattern

 

I may not be buying as much rtw – but I still look. Online. Sometimes quite a lot. On my phone. On the train. Etc….Maybe it’s habit, maybe I still subscribe to way too many newsletters and sale alerts, or maybe I just like to get inspiration for my sewing. Yeah, let’s go with the last option. Soooo I was, um, ‘seeking inspiration’ from a little Karen Walker browsing a few weeks ago and, as always with KW was struggling not to shut my eyes and press ‘add to cart’ under every damn thing on the site, when I stumbled across this little sweater dress: a simple, super short black knit dress with ruffly sleeves. ‘I could totally make that’, I thought (the ever-optimistic refrain of every sewist, everywhere), and set off to search the for fabric options. Who needs Karen Walker when you have a sewing machine and a stash the size of a small country?

 

Frill Jumper pattern

 
I bought this black (charcoal? midnight?) French terry knit with a slight sparkle from Nippori Fabric Town on our recent Tokyo trip, with very solid plans to make a short-sleeved sweatshirt. I got the knit from a small offcuts store behind the main Nagato, it was stupidly cheap and I only bought a (very wide) metre because that would be plenty for my planned tee. How plans change. Once I had my heart set on the dress, I spent simply ages trying to work out how to squeeze it out of a wide metre and decided I could just pull it off. I knew the In the Folds Sweater Dress pattern (free from Peppermint Mag!) would easily lend itself to a bit of gentle hacking, and printed it pronto.

 

Frill Jumper pattern

 

And just as I was about to cut those sparkly Sweater Dress pieces out, one of those little MMM-earned realisations popped into my head: I have too many short dresses. I don’t really wear short dresses unless I’m going out. I don’t go out much. I need tops. Work tops, weekend tops, going out tops, and tops that can do all three. I had to face the truth: the sweater dress had to be a sweater. Back to the original plan I went (but with some frilly sleeves for fun).

After all that deliberation you’d hope the top came together very quickly, but you’d be wrong. The body and neckline were a piece of cake and the ruffles were easy enough – just a couple of rectangles at double the width of the sleeves as they measured at the elbow, gathered using a couple of rows of wide stitch. But I fussed around with the length of the sleeves (four attempts); and couldn’t decide whether to add a row of rib to the bottom or not (four attempts) – and unpicking black stitches on black fabric takes SO MUCH TIME! There are some tiny holes in the fabric for my troubles, but a few little hand stitches hidden in the sparkles and all is forgiven.

 

Frill Jumper pattern

 
Turns out my MMM instinct was correct – I’ve worn this top almost non-stop for a couple of weeks now and have no plans to take it off, ever. I love it. I wear it to work and feel smug in my office-appropriate windcheater. I wear it on weekends and ignore my mister’s jokes about pirate sleeves (the Seinfeld generation are so sensitive about pirate shirts!). And I wore it out for a drink with a friend and felt semi-glamorous because of those sparkles. MMM was right – I didn’t need another dress after all. Kind of makes all those awkward self-timer poses seem worthwhile…!

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4 comments

  • Sewing black fabric is such a chore. I just sewed two pairs of black jeans and realised why I hate it so much! Although the fabric you used is a real beauty and totally worth the effort!

  • I love that about MMM. I also participated part-time (mainly because I wear a non me-made uniform 4-5 days a week). It really does help you to see what you wear. After wearing my stripey long-sleeved dress/tunic thing over jeans an entire weekend I made another. Even though the second fabric was earmarked for a long sleeved fitted tee. I don’t really wear those. I think I should, but I’m a boxy top/skinny jean kind of girl. Skinny top and bottom just makes me feel on display and discombobulated (don’t you love that word?). And I’ve pretty much created yet another uniform (just swap between the tunics). Anyway enough of that. I Love you top with a capital L. I can see how you’d wear it always. I think you need another 😉

  • Love your top, next time you get a puffy/pirate shirt comment you can reply it’s your Tina Sparkle top! I spent May in a misery of nausea and tracksuit pants, so I rarely surfaced, but still could see the gaps needed to continue building a cohesive wardrobe. I reckon it takes a good 2 years of non-shitty sewing to get to enough daily pieces. But perhaps you could allow yourself one slightly more frivolous garment out of four or five…

  • I quietly participated in MMM which just meant I played along at home without the selfies. Totally cheating, but it showed me how far my me-made wardrobe has come along in 12 mths. This year it wasn’t a struggle… I basically wore what I normally wear which always includes something I’ve made. I few recent makes – I’m looking at you Berlin Jacket & Axel Skirt – that stray from my usual tops & dresses makes the wearing me-made in all areas of my life so much easier. But enough of my navel gazing… I adore this top… all the trial & error (and unpicking) was totally with it.