Southbank Sweater Dress - Cozy as……
I am delighted to be here as a contributing blogger for Lamazi Fabrics.
It wasn’t difficult to choose my first make, given that the weather in the UK has turned distinctly wintery. It was, however, more difficult to choose what to make it in as there is a plethora of great fabrics on offer.
How nice to be snuggly and warm, yet smart and put together at the same time. I have been eyeing up the Nina Lee London Southbank Sweater Dress for some time. It has become a staple within the sewing community, and now I know why.
Put this classic pattern together with a fantastic quality Organic Quilted Chevron Knit from Mind the MAKER at lamazifabrics.com and you have secret pyjamas in style.
I chose Dark Navy because years ago I had my colours analysed and was advised Navy was my good base colour - so I have worn it ever since, but it also comes in a delicious Bordeaux and Red, the colours of luscious grapes and red wine.
I come in at 5’6” tall, and a top heavy tube shape, but a forgiving fabric made me hopeful that no changes would be needed to the pattern.
I made a test version in a heavier weight fleece-backed sweat-shirting which showed no alterations required, my Quilted Chevron knit fabric is a little lighter, and having a smooth back allows it to slide comfortably over other layers.
Everything I read about this pattern suggested it was a quick make, and it proved to be true.
It is a couple of inches above the knee on me, I might make it a tad longer next time, and although I have no hips the low pockets make me look as if I have, despite having stitched them down a bit, so maybe I would consider leaving them off another time.
The sleeves are slightly dropped, which gives a casual sporty vibe to the dress.
The stand up collar is just high enough not to get folded down by moving your head (something I have found to be the case with taller roll neck collars), and the sleeve cuffs sit nicely. All in all its a great pattern, and with a coupe of alternate length options in the packet I know I will make it again, and again.
I sewed the dress with my sewing machine using a ball point needle, a stitch length of 2mm and width 0.5mm then finished the seams with a three thread overlock stitch on my Juki serger. This is my preferred method even though it means an extra run of stitching for every seam. I find it gives a little more freedom to make alterations to seam allowances before the seams are trimmed, I don’t use the lightning stitch on my sewing machine (a Bernina) because I find it really difficult to unpick.
The neck and hem seams were finished with a three needle coverstitch (again a Juki) simply because I prefer the look of the three lines of stitching over two lines. The cuffs were too narrow to struggle with getting under the coverstitch machine, and I have found in wear that I don’t even notice they aren’t done.
The shoulder seams were stabilised on the back piece. I like Dritz Stay Tape, but its not easy to find in the UK so I often cut narrow strips of iron on interfacing - I prefer woven.
As the pockets on my trial version rolled out a bit I made sure to under-stitch them on this one. Understitching is where you stitch the seam allowance to the pocket bag to keep everything travelling in the direction you want it to go.
and to prevent them flopping downwards I trimmed a piece off both sides of the pocket bag and stitched the edges down a short distance with herringbone stitch
This video clip shows how I do the herringbone stitch, my granny used to sew all her hems with it as it can be pretty near invisible if you catch the tiniest thread on the main part.
I am delighted with the fabric, at 240g per square metre it is heavier than a French Terry, but not as heavy as a sweatshirt fleece.
I love it when suppliers give fabric weight, but be sure to note whether they are giving grams per metre (which is the weight of 1 metre x full width of the fabric)
or grams per square metre which is 1metre x 1 metre)
The back layer is smooth and comfortable against the skin and the quilted front is quite a low profile quilt so it isn’t at all bulky - which was my concern when I ordered it.
The Navy Blue colour is slightly muted and is softly flattering.
It washed well on pre-washing, and is wearing well with no signs of pilling.
It is a mix of 85% Organic cotton and 15% recycled polyester in the fill layer.
Mind the MAKER is a Danish company who have some really interesting designs and colour-ways. I will be looking out for more in the future.
I would like to thank Lamazi fabrics for giving me the opportunity to test this fabric, and give you my thoughts. I will certainly be on the lookout for more things to make from it.