24 September 2013

The Breton Tunic Dress


So this dress isn't perfect but omigawd I love it sooooo much! An experiment in drafting an everyday, slightly A-line Breton tunic dress, I knew there was a good chance it'd end up in the "wearable toile" category, but I have a feeling I'll be wearing this wearable toile every day. You know when you put something on and you think, "Right, I'd better get this in the wash early this evening so I can wear it again tomorrow"... or is that just me?



Moving swiftly on, the part I'm not totally happy with is the neckline. As explained earlier, I'm not a massive fan of neckline bindings so, in an effort to create a classic marinière look, I tried simply overlocking the raw edge, turning and topstitching it down. It seemed fine at first, but when I put it on, the neckline just wouldn't behave itself. To get it to sit still, I had to turn quite a bit of it over a second time, resulting in a wider and deeper shape than the beautiful boatneck I had in my head.

Slightly deflated, yet determined to make the perfect Breton tunic dress at some point, I called it a day and resolved try something else on the next version. Yet when I eventually put the dress on, you know, with tights and accessories rather than just for a fitting, I ruddy loved it!!! I'm super happy with the shape of the dress - it's easy to wear, the stripes don't make my hips look huge, and it's got a gorgeous modern 1960s chic aesthetic going on.


I'm not usually one to stress out over the details, as IMHO life is too short and I've got better things to do. But for some unknown reason I went to the trouble to match up the stripes on the armhole and side seams - but not so well on the sleeve seams, as by that point I'd almost lost the will to live. Check it out!

Now I'm on the look out for similar stable striped knit fabrics to make myself a wardrobe full of these...



[Soundtrack: 'Jessica' by Major Lazer]

62 comments:

  1. First to comment. Yes!! In my honest opinion, I love this dress! I know it's probably super simple to draft, but if you came out with a pattern for this, I'd totally make it (and be a pattern tester too - hint hint :) )

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  2. Oh this is too cute! I love it Tilly! The red tights and chic little scarf match so well. I used to turn down all my hems before I knew about facings and would end up with dresses falling off my shoulders - but I guess with a toile you can incorporate seam allowance next time and it will be fine!

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    1. that's superb basic t-shirts its price is excellent ... its a little baggy and this material is little scratchy. this shirt is good for the screen printing...
      Champion Mesh Shorts

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  3. Oh my god Tilly, this is too cute for words! You look super sweet in this and I really love the cheeky length on you! Spot on...I've just had to pin it to my 'sewing inspiration' board!

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  4. This is amazing, so cute! Where did you get the fabric from? It's beautiful :)

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    1. Thank you! I think it was from Simply Fabrics in Brixton.

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  5. Here's a tip for you in future. Instead of facings around a neckline, just make some self-binding with the leftover fabric. There's plenty of videos and tutorials on how to make yards and yards in a manner of minutes without having to piece them together individually. You can finish off the edge of the binding, but not necessary. The bias won't fray. Attach the binding to the necline, stay stitch and then turn. Voila.

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    1. Do you mean binding just on the inside of the dress? Good idea, I may try that next time, possibly even in a different colour as a feature.

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  6. Cute Cute! It turned out lovely, and it doesn't matter that the stripes don't match as well on the sleeves. ;)

    Brigid
    The Middle Sister and Singer

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  7. Cute cute! I l adore a good 60's dress, and you did a splendid job on this one! Love your shoes too!

    -Charlotte
    boyerfamilysingers.blogspot.com

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  8. This looks great, especially with the scarf and red tights! i'm not surprised you want to wear it every day! It must be super comfortable too. I could do with a few of these myself!

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  9. Your dress is a lovely shape and will be fun to wear. Expect lots of compilments.

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  10. So cute!! I probably couldn't pull off your adorable styling but it's still so versatile! And I agree with Madalynne, I would totally buy a pattern for this adorable dress/tunic :)

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  11. love it. it's so you! it is a tad wide on the shoulders but def wearable. could you add some kind of band to bring them in a bit? where's the fabric from? i'm looking for a navy and white striped knit for the new cake patterns jacket pattern!

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  12. I would wear the stink out of this dress. I agree with the comment above re: using self-binding, but also thought you might be able to use a skinny twill tape? I haven't tried it, but seems like it would be a simple solution with finished edges (I dislike a visible unfinished edge on jersey) and a stability that would keep your boatneck from drooping. Those stripes are dreamy, BTW!

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  13. Gorgeous! Love the shape of the waist and the flare. I want one!

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  14. Very cute dress! Love the fabric and the style is perfect for everyday wear:-)

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  15. I love this dress! I would totally buy this pattern . . . or a book with this pattern in it. ;)

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  16. Love love love! That's super cute! I'd buy the pattern if/when you release it ;-) Where did you get the fabric from (I'm wanting stripes for my first Renfrew top)?

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  17. I love it!! I totally do the, "I better wash this to wear it again..." thing too!

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  18. So cute!!!! Looks amazing with the red tights. Btw, I loved your video on 'crafting your blog' from Folksy Summer School. I took notes :)

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    1. Thank you - so glad you enjoyed the video!

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  19. Tilly you look gorgeous, at my age even I could wear this lovely garment with leggings, it is a dress any woman could wear. I just love it and wish I had the skills to make one myself. Well done you, another fab success.
    Lots of love
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxxxxx

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  20. Love it! Good drafting if you ask me! you'll get it in the end I like the neckline so far. I'm pretty obsessed with stripes at the moment,
    I'm always on the look out for stable knits too, if you see any awesome stripes let me know, i'll ignore my self imposed ban! x

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  21. Very nice dress and suits you so well :)

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  22. Lovely look you've created here. The dress is gorgeous :)

    Slightly Skint Blog

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  23. This dress is gorgeous, it's looks really wearable too! You look lovely in it :)

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  24. I love this dress too, I think the neckline s deeper than you expect for the style, but that's what makes the dress interesting and different.

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  25. Really sweet dress! I'm a big fan of the boatneck, though haven't the faintest idea how to sew one (frank terror of knits!).

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  26. It's super cute :) Loving the red tights and shoes too.
    I did a shallow scoop neckline on a tshirt earlier this year with just one turn over. I tried "glueing" it down with that magic tape stuff but in the end also did a tiny hand picked ziggy zaggy stitch that I found in an old Vogue book. It's invisible from the outside, very secure and sits perfectly flat.

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  27. It's wonderful, it looks so comfy and everyday but stylish at the same time. I'm loving the stripes too.

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  28. I'm lovin' it! I know it is not what you intended but the neckline looks fantastic to me. Yea! you.

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  29. Bravo! Love this. It's so flattering.

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  30. I adore this dress! So cute! I would probably want to live in this as well.

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  31. Adorable dress! It looks great on you and paired with the red hose and shoes, design genius!

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  32. this is great! Please give us a pattern (or a recipe at least?) so that we all can make one.

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  33. Your dress is so cute and I love it teamed up with red tights. The a-line cut is so flattering.

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  34. Nice dress! If you want to use the 'turn under and stitch' method of finishing a knit neckline, the best idea is to use clear elastic to stabilise it, as described on Pattern Review here: http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/review/readreview.pl?ID=486

    Without any stabilising, if you turn under and stitch a knit it's always going to ripple and get distorted. You can also use Vilene stay tape (which is like bias tape made of interfacing) to stabilise knit necklines before sewing them. On RTW boat neck tops, I've sometimes also seen a very thin binding in a straight line, attached before you sew the shoulder seams. I'm not a big fan of facings on knit tops but they're an alternative too.

    To everyone asking for sources of stable knits, check out Tissu Fabrics. Great ponte and heavier knits, and very cheap.

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  35. Love it! I am fom Brittany and I wish I had this dress! I love how you always stay true to your style (your post on that topic was really great).

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  36. Darling! Looks super comfy. I need to do more knitwear projects. They are just so easy.

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  37. Such a cute outfit! I would love to be able to make this :)

    Imogen - A rendezvous with you

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  38. What a cute dress, I would definitely make it. It looks great with the red tights and shoes too. Simple is perfect.

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  39. You have to love when a relatively simple pattern turns out so very cute. Nice job Tilly.

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  40. Tilly,

    This is lovely and very you!! You definitely make me want to make one:)) I've been looking into overlockers/coverstitch machines for a while now and can't seem to make a decision on whether to get 2 separate ones or all-in-one. Do you have any advice? Would you mind disclosing which one(s) you use?Thanks!! x

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    1. Hi Erica, I don't have a coverstitch machine, just an overlocker - this is mine.

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  41. Its fab Tilly andyour hips couldn't look big if they tried!IIII

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  42. Love the little bit of flare at the hem. Great shape to this dress! And also I wanted to say congrats on your big news. I've been slowly catching up on my reader when baby lets me ;) I'm so very excited to follow along with your new venture!!

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  43. aww you look really cute in this dress

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  44. Super cute! Isn't it funny how sometimes things you make can be mildly disappointing at first and then you try it on later and go, "What was I thinking?! This is great!"

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  45. This dress is lovely, I would also love the pattern for it if you decide to release it. Simply fabrics has a lovely stable, polka dot knit which would work really well for this dress.

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  46. It has everything I would want from and outfit too - navy blue, red, stripes, Mary Jane shoes - Check,check, check and check! As for the dress itself, I adore it and would definitely buy a pattern if you were to produce one ;o) Like you I adore stripes but it totally befuddles me as to why stripy knits are so hard to find?? At least *I* can never find them in the right width stripe or right weight of fabric. Looks like you struck gold with yours.

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  47. Great Look Tilly! it is definitely right up my street!! For the sewing novices like me, could you one day write something about sewing with stretch/jersey etc fabrics?. I have heard you need a special double needle for the machine. Is that right or can you use the normal needle? I would love to be able to make t-shirts. Thanks for any info you can give us.
    Thanks, Pati x

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  48. It is so so cute, I have fabric in my stash, ready, if you make a pattern for it.

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  49. this is so cute! I'm always on the hunt for perfect simple dress designs that I can made in a million fabrics. Maybe you could do a tutorial or a pattern for this dress?

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  50. Really cute! This is so you! I love it!

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  51. Thanks very much Tilly! For some reason I can't click the 'reply' button so have had to reply in this post.! It's the one I've been eying up - reassuring to see you use it too:) x

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