Hey everyone! Apologies for the prolonged absence I’ve just finished a massive project which I was vlogging so I’ve neglected the blog a little(more on that soon!) but today I wanted to check in with you all to tell you about my new favourite beginner pattern! That’s right, you guessed it, it’s the Tilly and The Buttons Lotta Dress. An over the head dress with an elastic area waist, optional grown-on sleeves and patch pockets. One of the wonderful things about this pattern is that it can be made in either woven or knots fabrics which is amazing!!
It’s a good, easy sew and great fun for beginners or more experienced sewists alike. I finished mine today and I’m already in love! I used a viscose marrocain from Rainbow Fabric Kilburn and followed the woven instructions. In this blog post I’m going to talk about the good points of the pattern and give you a few of my notes to consider when making the pattern for the first time.
The beauty of the Lotta is the simplicity of construction, all the pieces are cut on the fold so you literally have a skirt and top each with two pieces and a neck facing/band – that’s it! It goes together as you would expect and as the sleeves are grown on even they are very low maintenance. For an experienced sewist it make the garment a very speedy make and it’s also not too intimidating for complete beginners.
Minimum Technical Sewing Required
This is the joy of the Lotta, it’s almost like a palette cleanser project, quick, simple, minimal brain work required! The simplicity of the garment construction is enhanced by the sheer lack of technical sewing. There are no zips, no fastenings, no darts, the only shaping is the elasticated waist which is the simplest of casings as it just uses the seam allowance from the top. It was a refreshingly relaxing sew coming after finishing my very technical Eden Coat.
Points To Be Aware Of:
Very Fabric Hungry
It surprised me how much fabric was required. I only just got my Size 10 Lotta out of 2 metres of fabric and that was with some extremely creative pattern laying. The pattern says you need 2/2.5 but as the fabric amounts aren’t listed for each size I assumed that I would need less. I pretty much always under-buy anyway because apart from my Eden Coat I’ve literally never used the whole amount fabric “required” for a project. The reason it needs so much fabric is because every single pattern piece needs to be cut on the fold, the larger sizes will also not fit on 45” wide fabric which is worth being aware of before you buy your fabric!
Hem Sleeves Before Closing Sides
Because these sleeves are grown on, you assemble them by first attaching the front and back bodice at the shoulders and then opening them flat, attaching the sleeve heads and finally sewing them up with one long side seam from the wrist to the waist. However what this means is that it is surprisingly hard to hem the sleeves once they are closed. This is not mentioned in the instructions and so by the time you realise it’s too late! So my advice is to ignore the instructions and hem your sleeve arms first and then sew up the side seam. You’re welcome!
Be Aware Of Hem Lengths
This is just a note for your own planning, I made the mini-skirt version which is supposed to sit above the knee however I am 5’2” and I had to remove 4 inches to get the skirt to just above my knee so please be aware that the skirt is fairly long.
The Lotta is a wonderful entry level pattern and I hope it brings lots of new people into the dressmaking community. It’s also a nice quick sew and a perfect dress for all occasions, its so nice to find a pattern that I can wear to work and socially. I am actually planning to make another one almost immediately out of a structured Navy Ponte Di Roma for a cosy winter work dress. To conclude, if you could only buy one pattern to make your first garment I would definitely recommend the Lotta! Got any tips, tricks or comments on the Lotta? Let me know in the comments below!