Early this Fall, while I was pondering the ideas for my upcoming Fall / Winter wardrobe, I got hooked on a notion of layering knit tops with sleeveless dresses. I remember doing that growing up in early 90s and at first I wasn’t so keen on this look, but slowly my mind was changed. I simply needed a light turtleneck and a sleeveless dress in my life.
I knew right away that my dress will be Willow Dress by Grainline. I bought the pattern a few months prior to that but at that point I still haven’t made anything with it. The pattern is a simple a-line tank or dress with bust darts. The dress has an interesting horizontal fold detailing as well, which I wasn’t so keen on for this particular idea. Instead I envisioned a seam line and pockets right where the fold is supposed to be.
I omitted the fold, cut the back piece as one continuous piece and hacked the front piece to have a seam line right where the fold was and added two in-seam pockets. The final design is actually very similar to Grainline’s new Farrow Dress, which hasn’t been released yet at that point. Except my hacked Willow doesn’t have a center front seam and my pockets are horizontal. Because my hacked Willow is so similar to sleeveless version of Farrow dress I am not going into details of hacking it, but if you are interested let me know!
The pockets are definitely slightly heavy and they pull the fabric down a tiny bit, but that is the look I was going for. I wanted a very relaxed, easy dress.
The pattern fit very well right away. The only thing I had to change was to raise the bust dart slightly to point to my actual bust apex, but I find that is what I have to do all the time.
I used a rayon blend suiting for this dress. I had just enough left over from when I made these Emerson Trousers. It is a medium weight suiting with gorgeous drape. It is also very soft and pleasant to wear. I found it at a local FabricLand in early Fall and snagged a few meters on sale. I love a good fabric find!
The dress turned out exactly how I wanted it to! I wear it all the time, both layered with knit tops and by itself. When it is not layered I find it looks quite a bit more dressy. Just look at this glamorous bathroom selfie!
I hacked the Willow dress to have inseam pockets right in the front of the dress. At first I wasn't sure how I like them, but after wearing the dress for a day and realizing I am not taking my hands out of my pockets, I think I nailed it. #grainlinestudio #willowdress #willowtop #patternhack #handmadeeveryday #sewcialists
For the turtleneck I used Rise & Fall Turtleneck pattern by Papercut. I loved the loose fit of the body and casual drape of the roomy neck. It was exactly what I wanted! Unfortunately I was not extremely satisfied with how it turned out… It is absolutely my fault and thankfully it is still a very wearable item which I turn to a lot this winter.
The Fall turtleneck pattern has an extended shoulder line, which curves down with the shoulder, and I incorrectly assumed that it would fit my broad shoulders and would not require a wide shoulder adjustment. Well, I was wrong. As a result, the shoulder on this turtleneck fits a little tight and the garment pulls in the upper bust. It is not the end of the world and it is something I would get in RTW all the time. I am just spoilt now that I can make items that fit me well. Nonetheless, I still wear this turtleneck all the time.
For the fabric I wanted a very soft lightweight jersey in neutral color. I searched everywhere and finally settled on this Latte Modal Knit from Emerald Studio. Erin sells amazing bra making supplies, and her modal knits are also fantastic. She usually carries about 6-7 color ways for underwear making. Modal knits do make super comfy undies, but they also make beautiful basic knit tops. I have made a lot of basics out of her modal knits and I love them all. The best part is that I can use the scraps for my undies. Win-win!
I liked both patterns and I see more of each in my future. Willow dress is super comfy and I find even though it is not fitted, it is still very flattering. I can see myself making something similar for the upcoming Spring / Summer season. Fall Turtleneck is also a good pattern. If I do end up repeating it, I will just have to admit that my quarterback worthy shoulders need some extra inches in that seam.