Completed: Denim Rosa Dress

16 Nov

Good morning, everyone! As I write this, I am preparing to experience what will probably be the shittiest day of my life (literally – I have a colonoscopy tomorrow and today is prep day) (lol) (bet you never expected to read THAT on a sewing blog). I haven’t had solid food since last night and I’m stuck in this house for the rest of the day. Lucky for you, I am writing this blog post to pass the time!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me when this project was going to be posted (Rosa made her debut on my Instagram nearly 2 months ago, and I’ve worn her several times since – including to all the workshops I’ve been traveling to in between!), and honestly, the only reason it’s taken so long is because I really hate taking photos! So, with that being said, sorry in advance for the quality of these – namely, how freakin’ wrinkled the dress is! It looks much worse in photos than it did in real life – otherwise I would have at least steamed it a little – however, I have been wearing it pretty rumply in real life so I guess this is as close to authentic as one can get.

Also, I’m sorry if I don’t make any sense in this post. I’m blaming it on the lack of food.

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Rosa is one of Tilly & the Buttons‘ newer patterns, and it includes options for both a shirt and shirtdress. The pattern features front and back princess seams, a pointed back yoke (which I LOVE!), plus all the features that make for a proper button-up shirt – collar, collar stand, button placket. There’s also an online video workshop if you need help with the steps, although I didn’t use this (I’ve made plenty of these sorts of garments before, and plus, the instructions are pretty great as they are).

I made a size 1, as I wanted a very fitted dress. I made a muslin before cutting into my real fabric, which I’m glad I did because the arm holes ended up needing a little adjusting for me. Apparently I have very small armscyes – arm holes almost always tend to be too low and/or too large for my body, which restricts movement when you add sleeves to the equation. The sleeves in this dress weren’t necessarily bad as-drafted, but I knew they could be better. I ended up raising the armscye 3/4″ higher at the bottom, and also adding 3/8″ to the back arm curve, which made the entire arm hole that much smaller. I reduced the sleeve cap ease, so that the sleeve would properly fit without a bunch of gathers. This worked perfectly and I have a full range of movement with my dress, woohoo!

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Style-wise, I shortened the hem 1″ for a real mini length, and also added a curved cuff so that sleeves would be full-length (the bracelet-length sleeves are sweet, but as I mentioned before – it’s either full sleeves for me, or none at all!), as well as a tower placket so I can roll the sleeves up if I need to. I left off the sleeve tab, because it just ended up feeling too bulky with all the denim. To make the curved cuff, I used the straight cuff from my B5526 pattern and just curved the edges using curved ruler. The tower placket pattern piece is from my Negroni pattern.

The denim that I used to make this dress – honestly, I have no idea where it originally came from, ha! It was in my stash and it’s a much lighter weight than what I would use to make jeans. I imagine I probably bought it intending on a skirt, but I don’t think it would really even be suitable for that (considering how easily it wrinkles). It’s a woven cotton denim with no stretch, and clearly I should have pre-washed it at least one more time because it has shrank a little since I finish this dress. On the flip side, I intentionally made the sleeves a little long in anticipation of that – and now they are the correct length. On the downside, the dress is even shorter than I was planning and it pulls a bit across the bust now. Oh well! Lesson learned haha.

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

My inspiration for this dress came from the Rosa inspiration post, in fact. The top left denim dress immediately caught my attention and I knew that was exactly what I wanted mine to look like. A few clicks later brought me to the Net-A-Porter page, which at the time showed close-ups of the dress from several angles (unfortunately not the case now, I guess, since it’s sold out – sorry!). This was extremely helpful in assisting me with my blatant rip-off.

I used a brown/taupe thread for all my topstitching – it’s just some weird cotton crap I had in my thread rack, and I used the triple stitch on my machine so that the stitches were nice and thick like topstitching. Most of the topstitching is two rows – the first row 1/8″ from the edge, and the second row is 1/4″ from that first line. Instead of doing a true flat-fell seam, I just mock flat-felled them as per the instructions (stitch as normal, serge, and then topstitch from the right side). The tops of the pockets are secured with bar tacks. The snaps are gunmetal snaps done up with an industrial snap setter (I use the one at Elizabeth Suzann’s production facility bc they haven’t shooed me away yet haha). I LOVE hulking out of this thing at the end of the day, y’all!

What else? I think that’s about it. Have a picture dump (pun intended looool):

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

As I said, I am pretty happy with this finished dress and I have worn it tons! It’s a nice autumnal version of my beloved chambray Hawthorn (which, 2 years later, is still one of my most worn me-mades to date) – a good neutral base that can be worn as-is with flats when it’s warm, or layered with tights and a slip when it gets cold. I’d love to make another version in corduroy – currently on the lookout for a good one if you have any suggestions! 🙂


51 Responses to “Completed: Denim Rosa Dress”

  1. cameliadb November 16, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    Very nice ! I love denim dresses ! Really like the snaps, I think I will remember that for my next one.

    • LLADYBIRD November 16, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

      Thank you! The snaps are probably my favorite part 😀

  2. Beth November 16, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    This is gorgeous — just how denim is supposed to look, worn and happy 🙂 . And I second your comments on muslin making. My sister and I were the envy of the prom crowds as our mom made muslins before cutting the bodices, so they fitted like second skins. Just fabulous!

  3. Deborah November 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    Love your dress! It is a little snug for me but I could see myself in a bit larger size. My sympathies on the test prep. My spouse had this recently.

    • LLADYBIRD November 16, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

      Well I like my clothes pretty tight-fitting but I understand that not everyone shares that preference 🙂 It would be cute a size up, too!

  4. Francesca Amodeo November 16, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    Great dress! I’m waiting for some lightweight denim to arrive to make a Rosa.
    Best of luck. Been there. Preps are a bitch.

    • LLADYBIRD November 16, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

      Yeah, it’s obnoxious! Mostly that I’m STARVING and can’t leave the house, so awful! Thankful that I only have to do this for one day though.

  5. Deirdr November 16, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    This is gorgeous and really makes me want to order the pattern! I think Tilly had a free supplemental pattern download available now which offers a cuffed sleeve option, not sure if the length remains the same though

  6. bcrisp56 November 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    Love the dress. My sympathies on the prep… in your place I’d be planning a special treat for tomorrow. Jam donuts maybe?

    • LLADYBIRD November 17, 2016 at 8:06 am #

      Oh believe me, I have been daydreaming about my treat options all day! 🙂

  7. steelyseamstress November 16, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Lovely dress. Interesting to hear what you do with armscyes. I am plagued with this problem too and have never been quite happy with the adjustments I’ve made in the past. Wishing you well for tomorrow.

    • LLADYBIRD November 17, 2016 at 8:07 am #

      In general, the smaller the armscye/the better it fits to your body, the more range of movement you get. If you try on a garment with an ill-fitting armscye and try to move your arms around, you can feel where it needs to be changed. In my case, it was pulling up from the bottom and across the back.

  8. Sarah November 16, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

    Love the dress! I’ve been thinking about trying this pattern but too many other projects in line! I recently bought some corduroy (cranberry color) from Style Maker Fabrics which I like a lot. Kind of a medium weight and the color is vey rich.

    • LLADYBIRD November 17, 2016 at 8:08 am #

      Oh, that’s good to know! I love their fabrics, they always have such good stuff!

  9. Abi Dyson (@craftypinup) November 17, 2016 at 1:43 am #

    This looks so good, a classic denim version with snaps is definitely on my ‘to sew’ list!

    • LLADYBIRD November 17, 2016 at 8:08 am #

      It’s certainly become a wardrobe staple for me!

  10. Lynsey November 17, 2016 at 3:32 am #

    Fab dress, looks amazing! My podge tum puts me off making it though 😦 hope all goes well, I had one a couple months ago, the pre-diet was awful! Worth having done though x

    • LLADYBIRD November 17, 2016 at 8:14 am #

      Oh yeah, I’m glad I’m getting it done finally but I will be sooo happy when this is all over!

  11. bracken November 17, 2016 at 5:37 am #

    Nice dress. I like wrinkled too! May well buy this pattern after seeing your version because I have very fond memories of a shirt I owned and wore to death that was just like this pattern. Thank you for sharing and I hope all goes well with the op.

  12. LinB November 17, 2016 at 7:42 am #

    Could not have told it wasn’t rtw. (Is that a compliment? It is meant as such.)

    Ancient, ancient tip from one who has experienced bust-strain in the past: Put a buttonhole in the lower (button side) band, at the point of stress. Sew a button on the underneath of the top band (buttonhole side), Button through to the inside — holds things together at the point of stress, invisible to onlookers. Keeps out the cold wind, as well as keeping strangers from getting a free peek at your brassiere. They should have to pay you for that privilege.

    • LLADYBIRD November 17, 2016 at 8:15 am #

      I take it as a compliment 🙂

      And yes, I’ve done the secret button before! However, this dress doesn’t pull enough to actually gape open and show anything, so it’s probably fine as is 🙂

  13. Liz November 17, 2016 at 8:33 am #

    So cute! Stonemountain & Daughter fabrics has a bunch of great color choices for corduroy right now! I just made a Tilly Cleo with their rust colored cord.

  14. Sandy D November 17, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    Love the dress! Where do you source your snaps? I made my first denim jacket and the buttonholes…..

    • LLADYBIRD November 17, 2016 at 9:13 am #

      I’m not sure where the snaps came from- i just come in and use them haha. Likely, they are from Wawak. That’s where Elizabeth gets a lot of her supplies.

  15. PsychicKathleen November 17, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    I had to ponder what you said about the armscyes – that if they are too big it ends up actually restricting your movement. Very counterintuitive 🙂 But of course you’re right. Getting it right is so important – normally I don’t have to do any alterations in that area (shoulders are typically right but I always have to do a foreward shoulder adjustment). Love LOVE your denim dress! I was writing some notes this morning (I love the new Collette journal by the way – very inspirational and what an organizational boon!) about my favourite garments of all time (I’m 62 so that’s a LOT of garments to reminisce about) and first on list (ironically) was a denim tunic I grabbed on the fly off a mall sale wrack outside the shop. I had no time to try it on but it was only $10 (down from $100!) and it appealed to me so I grabbed it. I practically wore that thing to rags. It was this fabulous crisp but light green/blue denim, cowl neck, 3/4 sleeves with cuffs and you just slipped it over your head. Denim in a tunic or dress is a lot more practical than probably most people realize. You can wear it anywhere – dress it up or down – it acts like a jacket over a turtle neck in cool weather or with nothing under it and it’s a comfy dress in most climates. You’re right about washing though – the one I bought was a distressed denim (very distressed) 🙂 so it didn’t shrink at all. Thanks as always for your great post 🙂

    • LLADYBIRD November 21, 2016 at 9:08 am #

      Yeah, armscyes are pretty much the opposite of most other fitting issues – instead of getting bigger for more movement, they need to get smaller. I think that’s why so many people have problems with them (I can personally vouch that that’s why I had issues with them in the past, anyway) – they are confusing! I can totally understand how versatile a denim tunic is – it’s like jeans in dress form! Goes with everything!

  16. Cindy November 17, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    I would live in that dress. Love it!

  17. Suzie November 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

    Love the dress! It looks so cute on you! On a “poopy”note, the prep for a colonoscopy is far worse than the procedure. .I had one this past summer, the nurses are talking to one moment about what’s going to happen, then drugs are administered, you’re out, and about 20 minutes later you’re done! And for me, there was no lingering side effects the day of nor the day after. Sending you positive vibes!

    • LLADYBIRD November 21, 2016 at 9:10 am #

      Thank you! I agree that the prep was worse than the procedure, although the next day I was weirdly wiped out from that anesthesia! Just wanted to lay on the couch and do nothing for the rest of the day – not even knit! But I’m pretty much back to normal as of now so it’s all good!

  18. Staci Flowers Carpenter November 18, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    Adorable! And the wrinkles don’t look bad at all. Just gives it more character. It is denim 🙂 Thinking of you and hoping the colonoscopy went well. Not a fun procedure by any means. The prep is the worst part, as I’m sure you are well aware :p

    Take care sweet Lady! Hugs!

    • LLADYBIRD November 21, 2016 at 9:10 am #

      Thank you! Glad to be done with all that mess – at least for now (I have to go back in 3 years! WHYYYYY) ♥

  19. RainDayPerson November 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    Gahdammit. I love this!

    • LLADYBIRD November 21, 2016 at 9:11 am #

      😀 😀 😀

  20. Donna November 19, 2016 at 2:16 am #

    Ah! That’s making me rethink Tilly and the Button patterns. Love the dress and I would actually wear it!
    I hope the colonscopy went well – the prep is definitely the worst part!!

    • LLADYBIRD November 21, 2016 at 9:12 am #

      Thank you! Just glad it’s all over 🙂 And you should make one! Let’s be Rosa twins haha 🙂

  21. Megan November 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

    Oh poor you, you have my sympathy! I love all the top stitching not he dress, very pretty indeed.

  22. Robin Rodgers November 20, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    I love your site. This dress is impressive. There is A LOT of piecing and sewing! It looks like the seaming is causing some of the puckering. ??? You are fun to follow. We’re in transition trying to find a home. I’m eager for a craft space again! I’m going to buy a new sewing machine and I’ve been looking at the one Spiegel has. There is a doc for my tablet so I can follow classes, etc. Thanks for all you do!

    • LLADYBIRD November 21, 2016 at 9:14 am #

      Do you mean the puckering along the topstitching? That’s just the nature of denim as it gets washed and dried 🙂 and good luck with your home-hunt! Yay for new craft spaces 😀

  23. Bethany November 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Looks great as usual! Question — how much did you reduce the sleeve cap height? 3/4 inch the same amount you raised the armscye? Or a little more to account for the sleeve cap ease?? I am petite in
    shoulders/armholes/torso, so really need to start doing this alteration!

    • LLADYBIRD November 30, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

      It’s less about removing the height of the sleeve cap to any particular measurement, and more evenly trimming it down until the entire length of the sleeve cap is the same circumference of the measurement of the armhole (including whatever ease is needed for movement – which I’d measure first on the original pattern so you know how much). I am not sure how else to explain it, but it’s pretty much what is outlined in this blog post from Casey Maura.

  24. Jonathan Caswell November 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


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