FO: The red organic cotton Tiramisu dress

After loving my first Tiramisu, I quick smart ordered some organic red cotton jersey from (which incidentally arrived the same week).  It was beautiful and slinky, and delicious to cuddle.

dress knit sewing pattern

This was an absolute pain in the arse to sew.  The weight of the skirt meant I altered the bodice front 4 times, and I need to go back and raise the back band of the waistband, as it’s significantly dropped.

Using the equivalent of steam a seam (which is fantastic) was the only way to make this dress, but the other problem?  If you went within 2 foot of this jersey with an iron it would mark.  Luckily, and the how or why of this is beyond me, after washing there were no iron marks.  It looked seriously burnt before.  Gah.

Thank god this pattern is worth it.   It’s well designed, the dress is lovely, and the way you choose your size is positively inspired. At the recent Social Shopping day, there was three Tira’s (one striped, one solid, one print) worn by BelleKirsty, and myself and it was decreed to be super dooper comfortable, although more suited to stable knits.   Incidentally, if you go to MyMessings blog, you can see us all in action shopping, and I love this photo as it’s totally pick the out the sewing patterns we’ve all used!

If you weren’t aware that knits have stability, the general guideline is the more you swear while you sew it, the more unstable it is.    You know what also doesn’t help?  Forgetting to change your sewing machine needle, and using a sharp heavy weight needle.  Oh my, did that punch big holes in the fabric.

tiramisu by cake patterns side view


While this was more frustrating to sew compared to my first Tiramisu, this version is terribly comfortable.  It’s my go to around the house and out and about dress, as I slip it on and forget I’m even wearing it.  I still love the Tiramisu pattern, and would recommend it to anyone, especially beginners with knits, however if you are a beginner do go for the more stable knits, and check out sewing cake for hints and tips, and even to follow the tiramisu sewalong.

Tiramisu cake patterns back view

In the above photo, even though I’m not standing straight (so the CB seam looks off), you can see how the whole back looks like it has stretched down. The lightweight cotton means in the fit check, I cut off at least two inches off the front of the bodice, and I need to do the same for the back, but perhaps only a inch.  Without raising the back of the waistband, the shoulder seam is pulled forward towards the bodice.

The pockets also pull on the dress and stretch, which means my iphone is too heavy for the pockets, however snotty baby tissues are fine, and considering that’s the usual contents of my pockets it still works ok for me.  Pre-baby though, on such a lightweight jersey I would skip the pockets.


This was an organic cotton jersey from, which cost USD$7.98 per yard.

The cotton is lightweight enough to wear on a 37 degree day, even with the length and skin coverage.   My overlocked at the outermost setting still was stretching any seams on this cotton, and I had to use steam a seam fusible tape on everything.

The big plus for this fabric is that even though it’s lightweight, it doesn’t stick to every lump and bump along the way, which is also a factor of the well designed pattern.


For the cutting out of the Tiramisu I used a rotary cutter and self healing mat, as it is the easiest way to maintain the grain and not have the fabric slipping.  For pattern weights I alternated between canned tuna and canned kidney beans depending on the size of the pattern piece.  I snipped all pattern markings with my scissors.

Every seam ended up being stabilised with the birch haberdashery equivalent of steam a seam.  Which is seriously the only way to sew slinky knits.  The seams were mostly just overlocked, and then a single line of topstitching done with my sewing machine (eventually) with a light ballpoint needle.

I haven’t bothered hemming the dress, it doesn’t really need it and I’m lazy.  WIN.

Future lessons

The biggest problem I have at the moment (which is actually a really small problem to have in your life) is how to remember what needle is in my machine. I end up throwing out needles all the time as I have NO IDEA WHAT IT IS. It’s getting to the point where I either need to never leave a needle in my machine, or ask everyone else how they remember…….

While the drape of this fabric is beautiful, for now I might keep using it (totally buying more) for t-shirts, and maybe some underthings.  It’s washes up really nicely, retaining it’s softness so it could make very comfy underpants.  More on that another day…


33 thoughts on “FO: The red organic cotton Tiramisu dress

  1. The red is SO flattering on you Sarah! Just lovely. Love how it drapes but man, I’m so with you when needles get mixed up. Surely they is a way they could manufacture them with SOME SORT OF INDICATOR so you know which one it is. 🙂

  2. Looks nice on you. I’ve been finding that I have to adjust this pattern differently depending on the kind of knit, too. I keep thinking I can just create a master pattern for myself but the knits are all so different. I’ve made a tira out of a light silk jersey as well as a winter worthy interlock.

  3. I love the red jersey!! 🙂 Do you think making the skirt less full would alleviate some of the stretch problems? I’m planning on doing that with mine, and my fabric is quite similar to yours, I think 🙂

  4. This colour suits you so well! Re needles I label the flat backs of mine with a fine sharpie before setting them into the machine. There’s enough room for BP/S/U and the date+size. Re unstable knits I’d suggest using the less stretchy axis of the fabric to be the ‘straight grain’ direction. That way the weight of it doesn’t pull it out of shape as much. Also, using transparent lingerie elastic along any seams that are likely to get stretched (shoulders, back neckline etc). To really get the perfect fit though the pattern needs to be re-sized to suit the stretch percentage in the fabric. I’ve never done this but it’s what all the lingerie and body suit drafting instructions in the drafting books suggest. I.e. re-size/ re-calculate negative ease for every knit type. Sounds like a pain but that is how the drafts for RTW are checked apparently..

    • That makes a whole lot of sense 🙂 Loving the sharpie idea, might pick one up soon and pre-mark all of mine (I won’t remember to do it as I go).

      It does sound like a pain, but one day when my skills are more, well skillish and less guesstimating I’ll be able to re-jig the patterns more. I’m trying to stop reading technical sewing books so much beyond my skill level at the moment, and spend more time in front of the machine. Nothing like making a wadder to remember the point of the lesson right?

      (I still can’t stop looking at the out of copyright books you post, usually on the train to work. It makes it mighty hard to start thinking about work after that)

      • hahaha good stuff-glad you’re getting something out of those books-PT is a good time to read-keeps you from lookin’ into the eyes of the ‘special’ passengers XD. When you do want to get started with the whole knit re-sizing thing start with an undie pattern (or thong if you wanna use up scraps for testing). That way it’s small enough to just use a photocopier for instant resizing down to compensate for whatever extra stretch is provided by the knit.

  5. This looks lovely on you, definitely worth the effort.
    About the needles, I just scribble on a piece of painters masking tape and stick to the front of my machine – easy on/off and readily visible without having to remove the needle to check.

  6. Love the red on you! And I too have the same issue with needles and liked the tip from “ThePerfectNose” shared for using a sharpie pen to make them… will definitely be doing that from now on.

  7. Bwah ha ha! you so have a tira addiction and I love it! This is such a fab version on you and you have really mastered the fir! So worth all of the cursing!

  8. I like this version on you.
    So you can class fabrics using a swearing index. I never thought about that. So this fabric was high on the swearing index.
    You’ve done a great job on this dress.

  9. great job on this dress! I’m waiting for the spring to arrive to be able to wear mine a bit more. The way I deal with sewing machine needles is to always keep the little case it came from in a different drawer from all my other needles (that’s the drawers from the small plastic attachment that came with my sewing machine). This way they never get mixed up!

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