FO: The red organic cotton Tiramisu dress

After loving my first Tiramisu, I quick smart ordered some organic red cotton jersey from fabric.com (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

Fit

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.

Fabric

This was an organic cotton jersey from fabric.com, 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.

Techniques

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…

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FO: Cake patterns Tiramisu

This is my complete Cake Patterns Tiramisu dress, with a knit print, just in case you haven’t seen enough Tira’s on the internet.

P1050092

*Total disclaimer, I now sell this pattern at http://www.sewsquirrel.com.au as I was sewing it, and before finishing the side seams had jumped online to order from Cake Patterns.  Very highly recommended*

Honestly, this pattern and I got off to a terrible start, and it’s remarkable how much my opinion of it has changed.  So remarkable that here I am, remarking away for all to read on the interwebs.   Initially the style and comfort of this design appealed to me, and when Steph offered the pre-sale to launch Cake Patterns, I immediately ordered my pattern.

On arrival, it came with a correction sheet (which was communicated to the buyer prior).  The corrections, which incidentally have all been fixed very tiny, totally understandable but just slightly put me off.  If there were these mistakes, would any more appear in the pattern/instructions as people started making them?  Would I get halfway through and discover there was a crucial bit of info missing that meant I would have ruined my version?  It didn’t deter me, so I laid out my grey fabric, laid out my pattern pieces, and THEN had an epiphany .  This grey fabric (now my Kimono top), would look awful as a dress.

It was then I lost enthusiasm.  Pale knits felt boring.  The pattern errors grew larger in my mind.  Lots of stripey versions appeared.  I didn’t want to wear stripes, or solid colours, or some kind of space age synthetic to get a print going.   This tira, if it was ever going to happen needed to be BOLD.

After much whining on twitter, I was planning on making a tessuti purchase of some boiled wool, and kind of threw this knit fabric in the basket.  Luuuucky for that.

This 'action' shot shows how the tiramisu skirt drapes

This ‘action’ shot shows how the tiramisu skirt drapes.  It also shows my garage door needs to be fixed.

On wearing this to work, I cracked a total of 6 unsolicited compliments on my dress. That has Never Happened.  Sewing my own wardrobe is actually making me unshabby myself.

Fit

The fit has to be my favourite part of this pattern.  The way Cake Patterns marks up it’s patterns to sizing is based on your measurement at different points of your body, not one specific size.  On the bodice, separate cup sizes are marked, and the waistband expects you to vary your size.  It basically incorporates grading between sizes in an easy way, and all the changes are made on each corresponding pattern piece already.   I think I cut a 35D in the bodice, went down to a 27.5 waist for a tighter fit.  There has been a bit of commentary about how loose fitting it can be, so like mentioned on the Cake patterns website, if you like a tighter fit and you are between measurements, go to the smaller size measurement.

Before the underbust adjustment

Before the underbust adjustment

On doing the fit check, I ended up slicing about 2″ off the bottom of the bodice sides and it took 3 bouts of unpicking to be satisfying.  As the sides are sewn up last, it made adjusting the tightness very easy, and with taking each side in between 1/2″ and 1″ it’s still a nice relaxed fit, but figure flattering.

knit tessuti cotton tiramisu detail

The only change I would make of my own would be the pockets, they can drape to the back, so I’m considering extending them to the waistband, but keeping the pocket in the same place.  Idk exactly what it will look like, I’m going to put it on the mental backburner as the last thing I want to do is interfere with the drape of the skirt.

Fabric

Printed colours on knits often splits as the fabric stretches, so if you’re going to give this type of printed knit a try, better make it good quality.  This is a printed cotton knit from Tessuti (purchased online here) with the most awesome name of Raining Petals.

Techniques

After making this, I’m such a convert to using fusible interfacing for knit fabrics.  Never again a wavy hem…The only mishap was sewing late at night and putting fusible interfacing on the wrong side of my skirt.  Boooo.

This was whipped up on my serger, but would easily be sewn on a normal machine with a little practice if you’re new to knits.  A little testing to get the thread tension right and it was very, very fast.  I did do all the basting for the fit check steps on my sewing machine, as the serger is a little too permanent.

The only thing that was a stretch was the new style pattern instructions and sizing.  It  took a few read throughs, but let’s be honest here, it wouldn’t hurt to do that more on all the patterns I read.  Love it though, it’s easy to glance over to the pattern quickly and figure out what’s next.  (On a side note, I’ve started reading patterns sometimes as opposed to a book.  Sad much? Who even carries sewing patterns in their handbag?)

Future lessons

Sewalongs are fun.  I kinda was half following the 30 minute a day sewalong, and it was so much easier to break it into tiny little chunks of sewing.  I might try and do tiny little chunks more often, as the naps around here are getting too short for big sew sessions.

All and all, despite my initial misgivings this is a really fun, simple to sew dress.  It’s thoughtfully designed, the instructions are very clear, and it’s a damn practical and flattering dress.  While the next pattern to be released (Pavlova) isn’t my usual style, it looks like it will find it’s way to my cutting table regardless.

I might try fitting my dresses in a similar way to the Tiramisu again, with trimming in the side seams as the last step, as it really was SO easy to get a nice fit.  Now, excuse me, I’ve got Tira number 2 to sew.

tiramisu dress knit fabric

The printing makes this fabric a little stiff, so it ‘wrinkles’ on bending more than most knits would on sitting


Seriously guys, do you read patterns on the train? Now I’m thinking I’m a little odd.

Tiramisu and the colour choice

Ladies (and gentlemen) I am struggling with a fabric choice for the Tiramisu dress.  While stripes are a really popular choice I’m looking for something that ‘pops’.  Lladybird just made a gorgeous solid eggplant coloured one, which tempts for a solid colour choice, but I’m just not feeling the love.

On Sunday I laid out all my pattern pieces on a beautiful drapey grey jersey, and just before the rotary cutter did it’s ultimate business a vision of the final dress popped into my mind, and it was not for me.   Draping the pale grey around me, a whole dress of it just washes me out.  It will be fine as a tee (Maria Denmarks Kimono tee perhaps?) but the pale solid colour is out.

grey knit

So far, the layout alone of tiramisu is really good, it’s clear to me how the sizing works and how to cut it correctly, and damn having different cup sizes included is really setting a new benchmark for pattern designers.  While Steph C has had a few sleepless nights getting this out, I think cake patterns is going to be quite successful if Steph continues on the same tangent with her approach to fitting.

Anyway, getting back to the fabric choice.

The real inspiration for a fun print for Tiramisu is this dress which is just terrific fun.  If you look closely, it’s actually lots of little pink zebras.  If I look a little flushed, it’s because it was 37 degrees when I took this photo.  The picture didn’t get cropped as Mei insisted on her day in the internet seeing as the dogs made it to twitter.

zebra print dress

The current hot option is this petal fabric from tessuti, in real life it’s closer to black with petals and I do worry it will look a little kitsch?  Then again, I do have a dress made out of zebras.

Tessuti fabric

Tessuti fabric

What do you think?