I haven't mentioned any 2017 sewing resolutions on my blog, mainly because I like to have a bit of a plan in my head but nothing too set in stone so that I can change things around as inspiration hits. I did make a #2017makenine list on Instagram, but I'm treating that as a reminder of the patterns I'd like to make this year as things stand at the moment and I'm not going to worry too much if my plans change along the way.
There is one thing that I am willing to commit to in black and white though, and that's to make more knit dresses this year. While I love my pretty cotton dresses, and I'm definitely not going to turn my back on them, this winter in particular I've been craving the comfort that only knits can give. So more knit dresses are definitely needed, starting with the project I have to share with you today.
This is a Tilly and the Buttons Françoise dress. I made one just after the pattern was released a couple of years ago, and it's one of the unsung heroes of my handmade wardrobe. While I always think of all the fun prints when it comes to picking my favourite dress, my colour-blocked Françoise is one of those dresses that just always feels good when you put it on, with the added benefit of being super comfy. A second Françoise therefore seemed like an obvious place to start my knit dress quest.
The Françoise dress is a sixties inspired mini dress (although mine's not-so-mini due to personal taste) with raglan sleeves, and flattering shaping provided by French darts. It isn't designed specifically for knits, more for medium weight woven fabrics with a bit of stretch, but double knit is also one of the recommended fabrics.
As my first version worked out so well, I used the same size with the same adjustments - size 5 at the bust and waist, grading out to a 6 at the hips, and with 1.5 inches added above the waist and 4 inches added in the skirt section.
Obviously this second version is slightly different because I omitted the colour-blocked sections, but I made a couple of other small alterations too based on what I can (vaguely!) remember of the sewing process the first time around.
Firstly, I omitted the centre back seam/invisible zip which the pattern uses. They would probably be needed if you were using a stretch woven fabric, but aren't necessary with a stable knit for me at least, and I have a fairly big head so if I can get this on over my had with no zip, then I think most other people should be able to as well. Omitting the centre back seam also meant there was no need to spend any effort on stripe matching in that area - hurrah!
I also chose not to use the neck facings - I remember that last time the facings seemed really bulky and I had a bit of a battle trying to get them to turn nicely to the inside (if I can still remember that after more than 2 years, it can't have been fun!). Instead, I simply turned the neckline under and top-stitched it down. I know that's a finish that some people really don't like, but I think it has worked well in this case.
The fabric I used is some lovely navy and white striped ponte from Sewn in Bristol, although I scooped up the last of it (lucky me!) so I'm pretty sure it won't be in stock any more unfortunately. It was great to work with and it's really nice to wear as well.
The dress came together really quickly and easily - a speedy and successful process! I love the result as well; like my first version it feels great to wear and has just enough shaping to be flattering whilst still being very much in the "secret pyjama" category. All in all, the perfect way to kick off my "more knit dresses" plan. Do you have any sewing plans/resolutions for the year? Are you sticking to them so far?