Talvikki Sweater Turned Dress


Well, here we go, my first personal sewing blog post.

I have to begin by telling you how much I love this pattern by Named Clothing. It brings together simplicity, elegance and practicality in just the right measure. The first one I made was not exactly worth writing about. I used a plain black jersey fabric which didn’t do the pattern any justice. It’s still lovely to wear, you just can’t see the delicate details. This one, on the other hand, makes me veeeeery happy!

Just to clarify, I’m not writing a blog about how to make this pattern as this is perfectly clear on the actual pattern instructions and there’s not much I could add to it. The blog is about the adjustments I made to the original pattern to make it into a dress, in the hope that someone might feel inspired or find it useful.

I made the size 8/10 UK (36/38 EU) and since I had enough fabric I really wanted it as a dress. I also wanted to add pockets, of course! If anything can have a pocket, then I really think it should! The fabric is not stretchy enough for the neck opening so it needed to have a zip on the back, as well. I love the curve of the hem too much to lose it, so decided to keep that but omit the vents. To make this work I had to equalise the back and front lengths.

Having laid the pattern pieces on top of the fabric (all 1.70cm of it), I calculated I could add exactly 25cm to the length of the front. That was perfectly enough for what I was trying to achieve. After marking the darts carefully, I drew around the front pattern piece only down to the waistline. I marked this point then dropped the pattern piece 25cm down. I drew a straight line from armpit to hemline then around the curve of the hemline – missing the vent allowances completely.

For the back, as I was adding a zip, I had to have a seam in the centre so I added 2cm to allow for this. Also added length but please note that the back doesn’t need 25cm added length as it’s longer than the front to start with, so just added enough to make them equal on the side seams (from armpit to hem).

Sleeves stayed exactly as they were on the pattern.

The lovely wool mix fabric I was using has multicoloured specks, with red ones being the most prominent, so I chose to use some leftover scraps of red fabric to complement them. I used this red for the neckline facing and pockets only. For the pockets I used a simple pattern I’d previously self-drafted for a skirt, which worked just fine.

Sewing it up!

First things first – darts! They are the main feature of the pattern so they deserve some care. After marking them I tacked them as to make sure they were perfectly symmetrical when machine sewn… and symmetrical they were!

 The next step was stitching the centre seam and inserting the zip. I used a 20cm invisible zip.

The pocket placement is really up to the individual. I placed mine 20cm down from the armpit, making sure they’re not hanging too low towards the hem. I then pinned and stitched together the shoulder seams as well as the side seams, including around the pockets.

I did not make any changes to the sleeves. I simply prepared them according to the pattern and attached them to the main body.

The neckline facing needed to stay open in the back since I’d added the zip. Attaching it was pretty much the same as in the pattern instructions apart from the back where I turned what was supposed to be the seam allowance towards the wrong side of the facing. True to my habits, (I love invisible stitches!) after pressing the facing back to the wrong side, I blind-stitched it along the zip and also tacked it discreetly in the points where it meets the darts so it stayed securely in place. The pattern instructions may very well tell you to do the same, but the truth is I have not read that part… and that’s another one of my habits!

To finish the hem I turned 2cm towards the back and machine blind-stitched it. That was it… and then I wore it 🙂

My gorgeous 11 year old son took the photo!