Rainbow T-Shirt dress

Rainbow T-Shirt dress using Sew Over It Molly dress and Seamwork Astoria patterns
I fell in love with this fabric as soon as Tilly and the Buttons began teasing images of their upcoming fabric line on Instagram. I waited it out until I went to the Stitch Festival in March though, as I wanted to pick up a few pieces from their stall. Then came the difficult part that many sewists find; having an idea of a finished garment in mind but no readily available pattern to make it with. As an expert bodger, I managed to find a way to make the t-shirt dress that I envisioned....and that is going to be mainly what I will be wearing through the rest of spring!

Rainbow T-Shirt dress using Sew Over It Molly dress and Seamwork Astoria patterns


This is an organic cotton jersey from Tilly and the Buttons, priced at £12 per metre (available in half metre increments). As I bought mine at the Stitch festival, it was in a 1.5m precut, which was more than enough for this project, and would also do you for quite a few projects in Tilly's Stretch! book (there's a more in depth review of that book here).
The fabric was really lovely to work with and I would recommend it for anyone new to working with stretchy fabrics because it behaved itself really well - very stable when cutting and sewing, keeping folds when pressed and not stretching out while making. Obviously stripe matching comes into play which can be more difficult when new but in Tilly's book there are some handy tips for doing that successfully. It also is pretty good for these kinds of projects because it isn't too thin and drapey, holding some form, without being as thick as a Ponte Roma fabric. You could easily make tops and t-shirts from this. I would hesitate for a wrap dress, based on previous makes that haven't gone so well in similar fabrics. It would be perfect for any loungewear too.

Rainbow T-Shirt dress using Sew Over It Molly dress and Seamwork Astoria patterns

Patterns and alterations

After I made this, (literally, the day after) True Bias released their Rio Ringer T-shirt/dress pattern which was pretty much what I had in mind.
However, it wasn't released when I started making. I couldn't easily find the pattern that I wanted so I looked through my extensive pattern collection to find something else that would work. Eventually I paired the top of the Seamwork Astoria pullover (many versions of which I have made can be found here) with the Sew Over It Molly dress from their Capsule Wardrobe ebook: City Break (original version and review can be found here). The reason I didn't just stick with the Molly dress (which is the bulk of this project) is that the drop shoulder is not flattering or comfortable for me. I would recommend giving it a look if you are wanting to make something similar though - it's a personal preference for me.

I used the top of the Astoria pattern until the armpit (sorry - it's the easiest way of describing it), merging to the Molly dress from there downwards. Both patterns are pretty much the same width so it worked out really well. However, I did modify the Astoria neckline at the front because I knew it would be lower than I wanted for this dress. I simply redrew the curve 1.5cm higher at the centre front and blended the curve out to the shoulder seams. This required a smaller neckband too. I didn't use any mathematical calculations for this (shock!). I tested the original band against the original neckline, establishing how much was required for the back and what the finished joining points were. Then I followed the new neckline keeping the same tension to determine how much smaller it needed to be - about 2cm in the end. [I wish I had taken photos as I did it - it's very hard to describe].

Other mods include shortening the sleeves and taking the dress in at the waist by about 2cm (I blended from the armhole into the waist and back out again, ending at the hip).

I wasn't thinking when I was hemming, and did the hem recommended in the pattern on the sleeves. I wish I had done it a lot deeper, like I did at the bottom of the dress, but that is quite minor really. I also used a normal sewing machine throughout leaving seams unfinished. As a result, this took a day to cut and sew in total. I'm really pleased with the outcome!

Rainbow T-Shirt dress using Sew Over It Molly dress and Seamwork Astoria patterns


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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