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Sweatshirt skater dress + frozen fabric in Tottenham

February 3, 2013

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments about my jeans! I am working on a second version in some strange brown stretchy fabric, and my post about how I made the first ones will be up EXTREMELY SOON.

In the meantime though, I wanted to show you this dress I made. I said I would only sew separates this year, but I made this in less than 3 hours so it doesn’t count.

sweatshirt dress wide

It’s inspired by sweatshirt dresses I’ve seen in the shops, like this one from Madewell, and this one from poor old Aubin & Wills (shut down for good, although I got some nice jumpers in the closing sale. Every cloud…)

This was ridiculously easy to make. I used the basic t-shirt from Sew U to make the top half, and then a half-circle skirt for the bottom. The neckline is my old standby, and the sleeves are just turned up twice and stitched in place. I zig-zagged elastic to the waist seam allowance, and then topstitched it down.

dress bodice

It’s all sewn on the overlocker except for one feature that you might recognise:

tiny stupid pocket

Yes, it’s the return of my faithful friend, the Tiny Useless Pocket! How I’ve missed it.

This fabric is from the semi-mythical knit warehouse in Tottenham. I ventured there one day with Julia of The Secret Life of Seams, and we both returned to tell the tale, with only the first signs of frostbite and enormous bags of fabric to remind us of our epic journey.

It was one of the coldest days in January, and my feet slowly lost all sensation as we rifled through hundreds of rolls of fabric, but it was worth it. I got all this for £11.50.

knit fabrics

I think you can tell how cold and miserable it was that day by the fact that I subliminally chose only monochrome fabrics.

Anyway the sweatshirt stuff is on the far right – it’s not really sweatshirting, but some kind of double-knit that resembles it. On the far left we have sequinned knit (£5 a metre! Pricey!), then quilted grey jersey, then knitted ikat, and finally some brown and black giraffe print that is destined to be a Dixie DIY Hot Cocoa sweater, if I can ever remember to print off the pattern.



I was wildly enthusiastic about this when I got it home, but then I googled ‘sewing with sequinned fabric’ and my enthusiasm rapidly faded. The plan was for something like this, but I might put it on the back-burner until I feel in the mood to remove sequins from seam allowances (urgh) and then sew individual ones on to cover bald patches (double urgh).

Anyway, back to the dress. I have no idea what the fabric content is, but it feels like a poly/cotton mix. It’s incredibly comfortable. And, bonus, it has enabled me to levitate!

sweatshirt dress jumping

Happy February!

35 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2013 11:28 AM

    Love the fabrics, any chance you could give more information of where the tottenham store is and how to find out when they are open ?
    Thank you

  2. February 13, 2013 4:00 PM

    To work with sequin that is glued onto the fabric, use a rolling pin to fold sequin flat, around hems and at seams. Oil the machine needle frequently to help it pass through the glued sequin. If the needle begins to yank the fabric as it emerges from the bobbin area, it’s time to replace the needle. Always replace the needle after, after sewing glued sequin, before moving on to your next project.

  3. February 10, 2013 3:35 PM

    I love this dress style! Keep seeing similar styles in the shops but I don’t suit high necks so really need to just try making my own… :)

  4. February 5, 2013 9:03 PM

    I really love your dress, it looks super comfy! And those other fabrics look awesome, esp the aztec print :)

  5. February 5, 2013 12:52 PM

    This is so cute, I want one!

  6. February 4, 2013 11:53 PM

    Love the contrast band on the sleeves and tiny pocket. It’s an elegant touch.

  7. February 4, 2013 11:02 PM

    I think I love the knit ikat best and the green quilted fabric second. Can’t wait to see what you do with them! Your sweater dress turned out very cool :-) I’m hoping to get over my sewing with jersey fears this year. No more skipped stitches!

  8. February 4, 2013 7:40 PM

    Nice dress, I like the contrast sleeve bands.

    This warehouse in Tottenham sounds amazing (despite being in Tottenham). I want to go. I must go. Are you going again anytime soon?

    • February 4, 2013 9:35 PM

      I would like to go again (when it’s a bit warmer! ha ha), but I must sew some of this stuff first! Maybe spring-time?

  9. sweary sewer permalink
    February 4, 2013 5:51 PM

    a knit fabric shop in tottenham? OH JOY! i am currently obcessed with the renfrew top and always stay in tottenham when i come into toon. i am defo visiting in march! :D

    • February 4, 2013 9:34 PM

      Awesome! Make sure you check ahead, I think Julia has been twice and it’s been shut! The guy said that if the sign is out front (it says ‘fabric sale’) then they’re open, even if the doors are shut.

  10. February 4, 2013 3:02 PM

    Cool dress! My general sewing plan these days seems to be “make almost everything Kathryn makes” – I swear it’s not intentional! But I made a Hot Cocoa Sweater over the weekend with some sweatshirt knit I found in the bargain bin at G Street, and bought McCall’s 6512 to do in some cotton voile from the same trip to G Street…

    • February 4, 2013 9:32 PM

      Ooh I want to see the Hot Cocoa sweater! I was all ready to make it this weekend but realised somehow I’d printed it off so the test square was 12cm wide, so it would have been 20% too big :( Must try again. I really want to make another McCalls 6512, with the neck tie this time! x

  11. February 4, 2013 1:33 PM

    love it – it looks like just the thing for the winter!

  12. February 4, 2013 12:33 PM

    Love the dress!

  13. February 4, 2013 10:44 AM

    Love, love, love that sequin fabric! Is it really necessary to cut all the sequins off the seam allowance? I would be so tempted to just bung the whole lot through the overlocker.

    Also I MUST go to that mythical knit warehouse! Thanks for the tip off!

    • February 4, 2013 9:31 PM

      Don’t think I’ll risk it in my overlocker, can see all sorts of shenanigans going on with sequins in the workings, but I might have a go on the machine with a v. powerful needle…

  14. February 4, 2013 12:10 AM

    This is great! I too love that sort of neckline treatment. Re: the sequinned fabric you could alter your seam allowance to fit the distance between the seqin holes/ sew between the sequin lines. Also (apparently) if the seqins are soft you can totally ram through them with a jeans needle (I have not done this but when I do I will wear my protective eye goggles incase of needle breaknfly-which has happened twice before har).

    • February 4, 2013 9:30 PM

      That sounds more my style. I have some eye goggles left over from DIY stuff, must give this a try.

  15. February 3, 2013 11:18 PM

    Great job on the dress. I hate to say it, because I’m guilty of it, but this is ‘chic’ way to wear ‘jammies’ (pajamas) in public. Agree?

    • February 3, 2013 11:20 PM

      Ha ha, yes definitely. It’s probably more comfortable than most of my pyjamas to be honest! The only problem is that it’s not quite warm enough at the moment unless I layer up like mad, can’t wait until spring.

  16. February 3, 2013 10:22 PM

    Tottenham and industrial estate sounds like a winning combintation to anyone without a guide or knowledge of the area ;-) The dress is lovely! I was also massively impressed by the jeans – half of the impress-ment by the fact you made fitting and stylish jeans, and the other half by the fact you successfully converted a burda pattern into something wearable. They seem to be my nemesis. So I’m really looking forward to your how-to post :-)

    • February 4, 2013 9:30 PM

      I have to admit I think it was mainly luck! I do like the Burda magazine patterns though, the fit seems to be good on me, not really tried any of the envelope ones before this one.

  17. February 3, 2013 10:08 PM

    That looks amazingly comfy! great job

  18. February 3, 2013 9:49 PM

    Love this on you! It’s so cute!

  19. February 3, 2013 9:48 PM

    Oh I love your write up!! Thank you for making me smile. Seriously though this,looks like a dress you would be constantly wearing – cute, comfy, stylish and easy care. Woo hoo for sew u and knits

  20. February 3, 2013 9:31 PM

    Oh, I love this! It looks so comfy and just really lovely! I want one too!

    Also jealous that you can afford 3 consecutive hours on sewing! A toddler means that is a dreamt of luxury! :)

  21. February 3, 2013 9:05 PM

    Very nice, and so impressed/jealous you found that knit place. Sounds amazing!

  22. February 3, 2013 8:55 PM

    Oh I love it! Totally the kind of dress I’d live in. I’ve actually bought some grey ponte jersey with a similar thing in mind. I also have to visit this Tottenham place. Where?! Tell me when you next go!

    • February 3, 2013 8:57 PM

      Definitely! The guy was really nice, he showed us the machines out the back knitting all the fabric. It’s basically right by Tottenham station on an industrial estate but Julia had to lead me there, I would have been totally lost on my own.


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