What can I say, I LOVE my Lou Box Dress! I was actually not at all in the market to test any patterns when I happened to come across Beth’s call for testers. How could I resist?! Beth just released TWO completely different Lou dress patterns today - this one is version 2. I’ve seen the millions of Lou Box Tops – upon which this dress is based - all over my Instagram, of course. I always love how this top looks on everybody else, but for some reason I’ve never felt confident that the style would work well on me. Although I love comfortable basics, I tend to wear more fitted clothing and I worried that the Lou would look frumpy on me where it just looks super stylish on everyone else. And as my schedule has been super full of late, adding a pattern test in there was exactly one of those things you know you should not do, but do anyway. Let me tell you, it totally paid off!
This is now my second foray in to pattern testing, and I think I may be better at creating patterns than testing them. But hopefully my feedback was useful! The reason for this is that I am not big on following directions and I also just get so excited to start sewing and think “oh, I’ll just figure it out myself”. Of course, as I was testing, I did read carefully through all the instructions. The nice thing with this pattern though, is that you totally can figure it out yourself if you’re a somewhat confident sewcialist. For those more on the beginner end, or who are perhaps new to knits, this is also a great pattern. The construction is quite straight forward and all the pieces fit together exactly as they should, so there is little room for frustration.
As I live in the tropics, I opted to keep the sleeves short. Although I am not familiar with the Lou Box Top, Beth includes tips on how to use this dress pattern with the top pattern that were helpful in this regard. The steps for finishing the knit neckline are a tad different to how I would typically go about this, but that’s fine. We all have our preferences. It’s also good to note that there is really a lot of ease in this pattern, as it is meant to have a roomy fit. I appreciated the suggestion in the pattern to drop a size if working with knit. I ended up using the XS/S size (my measurements put me at S for bust and barely in the M category for hips), as well as a 1.5 cm seam allowance, which is slightly more than what is included in the pattern. I am definitely happy I went for the smaller size, and would probably do this for a woven as well, to be honest.
As I seem to be fully incapable of simply following a pattern without making some of my own personal tweaks, I did add a lovely line of buttons down the right sleeve. I’ve had this image of a Sézane top on my Pinterest board for ages, but never really got around to implementing the style. When I decided to go with this navy flamé from Nosh, I was a bit concerned that the oversized nature of the dress together with the plain knit fabric might become a little bit boring. This button-down shoulder modification seemed like the ideal bit of added detail I was looking for, and the perfect home for these fabulous buttons I ordered from Arrow Mountain.
In order to do this simple hack:
- Decide on which side of the dress you’d like your buttons (mine are on the right shoulder) and take about .5 cm off that shoulder on the back bodice.
- Using the button loop pattern piece, make 6 button loops.
- Taking the seam allowances into consideration, mark the locations for the 6 buttons on the shoulder of the front bodice, and for the loops on the shoulder of the back bodice.
- Follow steps 1 and 2 of the instructions for knits, and the pressing portion of step 3, option 2. Do not yet topstitch.
- Make a small binding for the front and back right shoulder similar to the neck binding. This should be slightly longer than length of the shoulder (from neck to arm hole). Sew the shoulder binding on the front bodice, in the same manner as the neck binding.
- Lining up the raw edges, sandwich the button loops between the back shoulder and back shoulder binding and stitch.
- Press the shoulder bindings on both the front and back bodice toward the bodice, overlapping the neck binding. Topstitch, starting from the base of the arm on the front bodice, along the shoulder, the neck and to the base of the arm on the back bodice.
- Sew the buttons on the front bodice shoulder.
I could not be more thrilled with how this dress turned out! I love the low ballet back (as you can expect) and the pockets, as well as the chest pocket (which I, of course, also slightly modified). The length of the dress also hits exactly where I like it. I may have to try the Lou Box Top after all!
Do yourself a favor and add the Lou Box Dress to your 2018 sewing queue. You will not be disappointed.