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!
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.
Details of the hack would be so appreciated!
Okay! I will put it on my to-do list and write up a post about it soon 🙂 Thank you for letting me know.
teri dodds says
I love this outfit, Anya! The Willow looks great worn like a jumper with that turtleneck. I have the pattern but haven’t gotten to make it yet. I love the idea of making it to wear layered. I love the pockets you added to the front, too!
Thank you very much! I think Willow is a great layering pattern and I really enjoyed making it. Another great one to keep in my books 🙂 I am curious to see what you make with it!
Fabric Tragic says
Cute , love the pockets!
Thank you! Pockets are the best. Always 🙂
Sew Sarah Smith says
I love your dress hack, you should start designing patterns!!! And it’s great how different the dress looks depending on whether you layer it or no, almost like two dresses fir the price of one!! And of course, I’ve got to say it, I love the colour of your turtleneck too!! Xx
Thank you! And thank you for the confidence! I think I am a long way away from that haha Having said that I did get a drafting book and an Illustrator course enrollment for Christmas… so may be one day!
I agree! So many ways to wear the dress now 🙂 And yes, that color is just perfect. I think it is very similar to the color of your turtleneck.
LOVE this outfit, so chic and simple. Your style is totally blowing me away these days, I want it all!
Thank you so much, Helen!! I really appreciate the compliment, especially since I love your style 🙂