Spooky Breton

Posted Thursday, 1 November, 2018

Hello Sewists!

Just thought that I’d quickly throw this blog post up before I get too ahead of myself finished object-wise.

In the weeks since Flynn was born I’ve managed to carve out very small windows of time to plan and complete projects. Post-partum I’m finding that my wardrobe needs have changed more than I had anticipated and this has entirely been due to breastfeeding (although this make isn't the greatest example of that). It has been so nice to welcome back my waist. I still get dressed every day, even if we're just at home and likely will continue to do so until the day I die. HOWEVER, I definitely need more separates and dresses that are suited to caring for my little boy, while still enabling me to feel like myself.

With my new time-constraints and needs in mind I have been relying on Tilly and the Buttons for my retro sewing fix. Tilly’s patterns have a bit of mid-century flair and are very wearable for every day. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve sewn a Dominique skirt (yet to be photographed, but already oft-worn) and this lovely Striped Breton-style Coco dress. Am I the last person in the sewing community to get on the #sewingcoco bandwagon? Probably. The fact that my first Coco is a Breton stripe just reinforces a cliché, but I’m not even mad. Everyone needs a Breton Coco.

I purchased Coco as a paper pattern from my good friends at Indie Stitches months ago, and in my stash she lay forgotten until Halloween crept up on us. Luckily, I already had this striped ponte from Spotlight (a gift from my lovely mother) and so the pattern/fabric pairing was very clear to me. Along with the red lipstick (a gift from my thoughtful friend Sue. Thank you Sue! x) and heels, I decided I could deal with an outfit that had subtle shades of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Other little accessory details that excited me were the “trick or treat” brooch and sweet little bouquet hairpiece from my current Aussie rockabilly obsession Bel-Air-Baby. (I also have their Palm Springs T-shirt and I love it).

My hat is the same trusty straw hat that I’ve had for years. She’s copped a lot of beatings and is quite misshapen, but is still going strong!

I love the idea of Halloween and getting dressed up, but when it comes to costumes I don’t like making them very much or even owning them as I find they’re often a one-wear only type of garment and I don’t like those. Just knowing that it will be taking up some of my very limited cupboard space irks me and it somehow feels wasteful (does anyone empathise, or is it just me?). I don’t tend to sew formalwear for this same reason. I much prefer clothes that can be worn everyday and enjoyed. For me if it’s vintage or retro then that elevates my dressing above plain daywear and I can take my chosen look as far as I want. I find rockabilly dressing great for this reason as it’s very open to interpretation.

Beyond the fact that I sewed a Coco and love the dress, here are some sewing notes:

  • I whizzed through this pattern quickly using my new Babylock Evolve overlocker/coverstitch machine, purchased from Echidna Sewing. (I’m definitely visiting their bricks and mortar store next time I’m in QLD as the service was phenomenal). I also loaded up my regular machine (Brother NS55) with a twin needle for the neckline and hems. Using an overlocker for the majority of the sewing is a game-changer time-wise and is my preferred way of handling knits.
  • I matched the stripes where I could. Unfortunately, my fabric was a bit cheeky and the stripes lay off-grain, meaning that even on straight seams there was a bit of a disconnect in parts. I’m not entirely heartbroken about it because at least I managed to get the sleeves match. If they didn’t that would have really annoyed me as paradoxically, I hate my handmade clothes to look home-sewn.
  • Another tip for stripe matching: Sometimes you have to pick your battles. Because of the curved nature of a sleeve you probably won’t be able to get the stripes to match all the way around. Just pick the most visible areas and work to ensure that they line up. That being said, if it doesn’t work out it’s very unlikely that another person would notice. All you can do is keep moving forward.
  • Size-wise, Tilly and the Buttons probably has my favourite indie sizing and I love how easy to locate the finished garment measurements are. I could have gone down a size or at least graded down through the hips, but I decided to chance it and cut a straight size. It will be easy to make this dress smaller if I decide it’s too baggy afterall.

My second Halloween make was Flynn’s little imp hat. He ended up looking like a pumpkin top, which was perfect for the pumpkin that Luke carved for him.

Knitting Notes:

  • I knitted this in small chunks of time over a week. This is the second time that I’ve used this pattern (Gumnut Hat, by A Maker’s Burrow) and this time I decided to knit up size 6-18 months. This way it looks adorable oversized, but Flynn can also get more use out of it when the cooler weather comes around again.
  • I used US size 8 (UK 5.0mm) and US size 9 (UK 5.5mm) circular needles, as well as straight US 8 needles for the i-cord.
  • Yarn used was 1 strand of orange 5 ply Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino from my stash held together with 2 strands of 4 ply Pickle Sock yarn in colourway “Lynne” by Pickle and Co Fibres. When I saw this skein on Marnie’s website, it screamed HALLOWEEN (pardon the pun).

We had grand plans imagining that we’d have some beautiful Anne Geddes-esque keepsake photos…..Clearly as first time parents we didn’t realise that we were overreaching! Flynn did not like the pumpkin his father spent the morning hollowing and carving (but to be frank, it was mainly for us anyway). I’m not sure if it scared him, or if it was the fact that I had put him down that was upsetting him. Either way, I still love the photo and am sharing it here and over on insta because it makes me smile so much.

Until next time,

Brooke x