Laggardly Lola

I think the Lola dress by Victory Patterns was one of the first indie patterns to seriously sink into my psyche. I’m thinking of Farbenfreude’s many early versions. Renée made an awesome one, too, more recently, but the internet hates me and I can’t find the blog post I remember reading. It may have been the first time “sweater dress” sang to me as a thing I might actually wear. (Somehow, every store bought version I ever met was bleh, to the point where I just thought they didn’t suit me or something.)

Yet somehow, I never quite bit. Even last winter, when I made all. The. Sweater. Dresses. But at some point in the spring, I found myself back on the website, and clicking the purchase button.

Except, of course, it was spring. I’m not sure what I was thinking.

Anyway, it marinated in the back of my brain all summer. In September, which got cold really fast, I inventoried my sweater-knit collection (not an extensive part of the stash), and rediscovered a remnant of red sweatshirt. It wasn’t enough for much of anything on its own, but Lola is perfect for colour blocking. There followed a series of phone-colouring experiments while I figured out what I liked best for a colour arrangement, followed by some very careful pattern Tetris.

And it worked!

Once everything was cut out (there are a lot of pieces) it was fairly straightforward. Almost. The pattern has a LOT of notches, which are annoying to cut but make it a dream to sew, because everything lines up so beautifully.

I did most of the construction at a sewing afternoon at my friend Jacque’s. Aside from being one of the sweetest people you’ve ever met, SHE HAS A COVERSTITCH.

And she let me use it, to hem the pockets of the Lola. My very first coverhem! It was more or less flawless (sweatshirt fleece being a magical fabric) and I want a coverstitch machine even more badly. Maybe with next spring’s tax return. Sigh.

Except, I hemmed the wrong edge. The pattern piece is more or less a rectangle, with slightly curved long edges. One of the short ends of the pattern piece is helpfully labeled (can I just say, this pattern has ALL the helpful markings?) “Hem”… so I hemmed it. Then, when I went to pin the pocket piece to the skirt piece underneath, lining up all those clever notches, I realized that the bottom of all the skirt pieces was labeled “Hem”. To help you keep all those subtly shaped rectangles in order. I had just hemmed the wrong edge.

The right response would’ve been to grab a seam-ripper, but after some flipping the pattern piece around I decided the subtle shaping was almost entirely within the range of the seam allowance, and that with a little careful fudging I could just flip the piece around and proceed. So, being a lazy sort, i proceeded. Everything else about the construction was very straightforward, especially with eighty million notches to line up.

I cut a size 6 on the top, eight on the bottom, and I could’ve sized up more. This might be down to my fabric—sweatshirt fleece is pretty stable—or maybe I was just looking for a moreoversize fit than it’s designed for? It’s also possible that my serger takes off a wee bit more than the 5/8″ it’s markings indicate. Anyway. It’s quite close-fitting. Not uncomfortably so, but definitely not roomy. And the sleeves feel a little short, ending distinctly above my elbow. Monkey arms strike again, perhaps. I would probably lengthen those next time.

Although I made no fitting alterations other than the size gradation, I did sew the underarm seam a bit narrow, as I often have to raise the underarm. However, this wasn’t needed and I’ll probably go back and normalize it.

On the whole I’m pretty happy, especially with the pockets. The only problem is, my children have informed me that the red-and-black colourblocking makes me look like an employee at Sephora. The other option is a Star Trek reference, which I gotta say I prefer. The key point is that this dress brings my sweater-dress count up to five, which means, if I so desired, I could do an entire week of sweater-dresses.

That kinda sounds really really good.



Filed under Sewing

11 responses to “Laggardly Lola

  1. I have this pattern in my stash but haven’t made it up yet. Like you I was unsure about sweater dresses & me but just the other day I was putting on a RTW sweater dress with leggings and realized I’m wearing this a LOT I need more of these for sure 🙂 Love your colour blocking 🙂 I didn’t realize this pattern was so colour block friendly!

  2. I have wanted to make this forever. As soon as I have some energy, this is my inspiration. Also, I was at an event a couple of months ago where Kristiane was the speaker!

    • I do recommend it! It’s not tricky at all, though there are a fair number of pieces, and I have to say it’s one of the best-labeled patterns I’ve ever used.

      • Hey – I do love this version. A couple of things: Yours is def more snug fitting than mine. Maybe it’s the fabric (mine is the stretchiest, drapiest terry). And much shorter (did you not shorten??) But my pattern indicates 3/8″ seam allowance (not 5/8). It’s possible that’s why you sewed a smaller (than designed at that size) version.

        • My fabric was definitely not stretchy—old school sweatshirt fabric. Man did I mess up the SA? I don’t even remember but that’s certainly possible, and would give me a tiny bit more room. I did not shorten at all, and I wish it were a couple of inches longer at least (obviously I’m a few inches taller than you)…

  3. Perfect timing for today’s weather!

  4. kathyh

    I got the star trek reference too — and I have a star trek badge (embroidery file) to really make this a statement dress, — out of sweatshirt fleece.

  5. tlhup

    Some Trekkie I am, Star Trek didn’t even click until you mentioned it! I see Deadpool, especially in the top angles of the black looking like the mask.

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