Completed: French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

1 May

Here we have a tale of fabric bought wrong, then made right. Gather round, my children.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I bought this french terry from Mood Fabrics on a whim back in September. I usually swatch fabrics before ordering online – even with my knowledge of fabric and fibers, you can still be surprised by texture, hand, and color – but sometimes I get a little wild and order shit blindly. It usually works out fine, but every now and then it can backfire. Guess what happened here.

So, the french terry – it’s a glazed french terry from Helmut Lang (since sold out, yo’re welcome), which I figured would be great because 1. Helmut Lang is always expensive; and 2. It’s fucking french terry, how could you go wrong?

This, this is how you go wrong. This is one of the weirdest fabrics I’ve ever received from Mood. It was stiff and kind of scratchy, remarkably similar to how your bath towel feels when you dry it on a clothesline. I’m not going to sugarcoat this – I was really disappointed that I wasted part of my allowance buying it, because I absolutely hated it. The color was nice, but color doesn’t mean anything if the fabric itself scratches you when you touch it.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I did try washing the fabric multiple times to see if perhaps there was a sizing on it (or if the glaze has something to do with it?) that would be removed and thus soften it – but no matter what I did (hot water, cold water, different detergents, high dryer heat, etc), it didn’t change the hand of the fabric. I stuck it on my shelf and tried to figure out if there was something I could do with it. I don’t back down from a challenge, but sometimes I have to roll a problem around in my head for a minute before I come up with a solution.

During this time, I was sent an advance copy of Tilly’s newest book, Stretch! (hello, hi, that’s an affiliate link). I love most of the patterns and projects in that book, and the one that really stuck out the most to me was the Stella Hoodie pattern. I am not a huge fan of the athleisure trend, so the joggers were a bit lost on me (it’s fine if you wear them, but those are PJs are far as I’m concerned, and I don’t wear PJs in public), but I looooooved the pictures of the hoodie lengthened into a dress! I thought my weird french terry might work with that pattern – and, at the very least, it would probably function great as a swimsuit coverup.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I made the size 2 of this, based on my measurements and the suggested size from the book. I don’t remember how much length I added, whatever the book suggested (probably 8″ or 10″ – and then I cut some of it off when it came time for hemming). I did simplify mine a bit from the book – rather than line the hood and the pocket, I just turned under the seam allowances and stitched them down. The whole thing was sewn on my serger, other than the button holes (which my machine had no problem sewing, although I did back them with a little piece of fusible interfacing first), and the hems were done on my coverstitch machine. This fabric was very, very, very easy to work with – stable, not at all shifty of curly, and only shed a little bit when cut. It pressed nicely, which was great for getting those sharp hems.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I originally envisioned a black drawstring for the hood, but red was all I had on hand. I actually like it! It’s a nice little sporty pop of color. God, I sound annoying.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

If you’re curious about my leggings – they are the Virginia leggings, made ages ago (in 2015, I think). My fabric is a wool knit from Paron in NYC. And those white lines are mock flatlocking done with my serger (where you sew the two layers together and pull them apart, or whatever it says to do in the instruction book I honestly I don’t remember haha) – which I 100% did because I didn’t have enough yardage to cut full length legs, so they had to be pieced. I added additional piecing so it would look intentional. It actually, in retrospect, looks kind of stupid, but honestly I usually wear these as long underwear so whatever I don’t care.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

So that’s about it for this little dress! I actually quite like how it turned out – despite being apprehensive up until the very last minute of hemming. It’s cute and sporty and I feel cute in it. I think it will make for a good swimsuit coverup – but it also works as a cute little dress. As much as I didn’t like the fabric when receiving it, it works really well for this garment since it hold its structured shape. And since the garment is not close-fitting, the fabric isn’t scratchy or uncomfortable to wear. A very pleasant surprise!

In other news, if you’re still holding out for a good french terry, may I recommend this french terry from Mood Fabrics. I got a few yards of this and it is GREAT – super soft, super stretchy, super drapey, super bamboo (yas bamboo). Plus it comes in tons of colors!

**Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. I also received the Stretch! book from Tilly & the Buttons as a gift, but was under no obligation to post a project from it (I just really like the book!). All opinions, as always, are my own!


31 Responses to “Completed: French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress”

  1. morningsprite May 1, 2018 at 9:15 am #

    Woohoo! this pattern is on my list. I feel like it will make a great post workout dress. I’ll keep an eye out for that French terry when I am in NYC in 2 weeks….that blue is right up my alley.

    • LLADYBIRD May 2, 2018 at 7:05 am #

      Yes! It’s a great blue! And I think you’re right that it would be ideal for a post workout garment!

  2. Deborah May 1, 2018 at 9:26 am #

    The garment looks great. One tip—wash a stiff fabric with a can of Coke added to the water. No soap or anything. It cannot be Diet Coke. This is recommended for stiff denim. Love French terry, although it can be trouble with shedding or curling. Sounds like this one worked well for sewing.

    • Teri Augustine May 1, 2018 at 10:16 am #

      I use that tip on denim and it works so well. I’ve been wanting to try it on other fabrics but was worried the coke might stain them. Have you had any problems with that?

    • LLADYBIRD May 2, 2018 at 7:06 am #

      I’ve heard that tip for denim before but wasn’t sure if it applied to other fabrics. I’ll give it a try with a swatch, thank you!

  3. Teri Augustine May 1, 2018 at 10:14 am #

    The top looks really good and really comfy. I always have the worst luck buying french terry online. I’ve only gotten exactly what I wanted once and that was being used for someone else.

    • LLADYBIRD May 2, 2018 at 7:06 am #

      Really??? I’ve never had issues with buying french terry online – it’s always exactly what I was expecting. This was the first time I have been disappointed!

  4. Genevieve May 1, 2018 at 1:31 pm #

    The red drawstring looks really good.

  5. Let’s Get Sewing May 1, 2018 at 2:20 pm #

    Your dress looks great! So comfortable, and I love the red.

  6. Ciara May 1, 2018 at 5:31 pm #

    Good save! This dress turned out really cute. I’ve been wanting to make myself a hoodie dress forrrrevvvverrrr, I don’t know why I haven’t just done it already. I guess probably because I have a weird block about sourcing sweatshirting/French terry. I’m so picky about it.

    • LLADYBIRD May 2, 2018 at 7:07 am #

      Order swatches first and then you’ll know exactly what to expect for the yardage 🙂

  7. Max California May 1, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

    Wow it actually looks really amazing?! you’d never guess the fabric was a dud 😮 I hope you wear t lots bc it’s cute as heck!

    • LLADYBIRD May 2, 2018 at 7:08 am #

      Thank you! Yeah, it turned out pretty cute despite the fabric! And it’s more comfortable than I was expecting it to be, so I think it’ll definitely get some wear!

  8. Clare Baker May 2, 2018 at 2:33 am #

    Interesting post but no need for the “f” word hey?

    • LLADYBIRD May 2, 2018 at 7:08 am #

      On my blog, there is always need for an f word.

  9. shoes15 May 2, 2018 at 9:51 am #

    You have created a MONSTER! Since you posted this, guess what Mood is advertising on its “top picks” list? Helmut Lang glazed French terry. Oy!

    • LLADYBIRD May 4, 2018 at 9:01 am #

      hahahaha how funny! BE WARNED! BE VERY WARNED!!!

  10. Sharon Sproles May 2, 2018 at 10:22 am #

    As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed your review of both the fabric and the pattern. It may be my age (or the fact that I live in Texas where the heat is relentless), but sleeveless and hoodie just don’t go together for me. (If I need a hood, I need sleeves.) As for the “f” word (hey), you just “f” as much as you want, honey! (so there)

    • LLADYBIRD May 4, 2018 at 9:03 am #

      Nope, I totally agree with you – I always associate hoods with sleeves. It was a stretch for me to go with this pattern, but I just loved the way it looked and I am hoping it’ll be a good transitional garment – or a swimsuit cover up! And even if it doesn’t get worn at all, I had no other intentions for that fabric so no huge loss either way 🙂

      And thank you!

  11. Big Red May 3, 2018 at 9:59 am #

    I feel like “fabric bought wrong, then made right” could basically sum up my still-early-days sewing life. I feel like I should put that on a patch or make a crest or something. Funnily enough, Tilly patterns (especially but not limited to the ones in Stretch) have been my main recent saviors. (Ohai, Freya!) I’ve got some super snuggly and squishy turquoise sweatshirt material that I got specifically for a Joni dress that I’m getting ready to cut into, though, and it feels kind of awesome to be making something using the actual pattern/fabric pairing that I originally had in mind, ha!

    • LLADYBIRD May 4, 2018 at 9:04 am #

      Ooh I just made a Joni dress, it is WONDERFUL! So good for the boobs haha. And I agree – ‘fabric bought wrong and then made right’ can also well sum up my early days of sewing 😛

  12. helennearsydney May 3, 2018 at 5:36 pm #

    Thanks for a great review, always f-fun to read!


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