. . . . . . A place to contribute, exchange tips and ideas and find further info on the LDC group on Meetup.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Zoe Dress by Cotton + Chalk

Every so often a pattern comes along that is easy to make, easy to wear, fills a hole in your wardrobe and looks great.  The Zoe dress by Cotton + Chalk is one of these and, what is more, it came free with the current issue (no. 35) of Simply Sewing magazine.  It comes in a wide size range, bust 80 to 114 cm.  (Psst, there is also another lovely free pattern with this issue, but more of this later).

Unfortunately my tame photographer is away at the moment so I have had to take a snap of it on a dummy, which is a shame because you do not get an action shot and this dress has excellent twirling possibilities.  I will use my powers of persuasion, i.e. no photo, no clean laundry, to get him on his return to take a shot that I will post in the Club Member's Makes photo album.

This is the front view.  I think you can just make out where the in seam pockets are- yes, pocket lovers, somewhere to stuff packet of tissues, bits of string, cough sweets...

 And here is the back.

 This dress has amazing potential.  It can be worn as a dress but also you can put a t-shirt or jumper underneath it.  Just think of its usefulness as a holiday item, particularly as it also looks good worn with a belt.  Pack  a belt or two, a striking necklace and you can go from day to night and go from hot weather to cool by layering.

I admit mine is in boring grey but I'm a boring grey sort of person but, come summer, you might find me making another version in a bright print.
Still not convinced to make it- then I must tell you that this dress requires no fastenings whatsoever, no inserting zips, no making of buttonholes, Whoop, Whoop!  All you need is the fabric and some fusible interfacing- and thread, of course.
I was going to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace a few days after I bought the magazine and was on the lookout for some suitable material.  The bolt I picked up was labelled 100% cotton and was just the colour and weight I was looking for.  I thought it strange that the stallholder immediately offered to give me a reduced price  and that the width looked a bit more than marked on the bolt label  but only rarely do I quibble if someone is offering me a bargain.  My fellow club members at the Show also had their doubts about the nature of the fabric when I showed them my purchase so I did a burn test once I got home and found it to be polyester.  This wasn't a problem but the seams did not press down as well as they would have with cotton.
I did not need to make any changes to the pattern, apart from the length. The pattern offers 2 lengths, finished back length 46 cm (too short for me) or 76 cm(too long). I reckoned that about 65 cm would be about right so I purchased only 4 metres instead of 4.5 for the long length.  As so often happens with other patterns, by using a different pattern layout (but being careful to place the grain lines as indicated)  I used less than indicated - only 2 metres, leaving me with a whole 2 metres for another project.
The pattern instructions are straightforward.  However I didn't like the method of inserting the back shoulder straps into the front shoulder opening.  Despite sewing and unpicking several times I could not get a neat enough seam and, as I don't think people stare at your shoulder seams much, I gave up with a "Good enough" result.  I have subsequently thought of another way of doing this, by leaving gaps in the back facing to insert the straps, and will try this out if I make another one.  The only change I made in making up was to top-stitch around the neckline and back, this was mainly due to the difficulty in pressing the fabric flat but I like the look it gives so I am glad that I did it.
So here is the pattern and magazine to look out for, it is in the shops now.

And you may notice on the cover of the magazine a small photograph of the other pattern that comes with this edition The Jade Dress by Simple Sew.  This is a jersey dress just right for autumn/winter and that is soon going to be on my cutting table (alright, the dining room table).  I saw a lovely version on display on the magazine publisher's stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show where I bought the fabric for my version of The Jade Dress  - but my fabric for this is certainly not boring grey.
3 days later.  He's back so here are some action shots.
Getting ready to twirl-
 Ready, steady, GO!


  1. The "swinginess" of this dress is amazing! It drapes really nicely.

    It is interesting to see the pocket placement and I also love how neat the hem looks. What kind of hem did you do?

    Personally speaking I love the colour of this, I really like nice clear greys. You can combine it with lots of colours too which is a great reason to go for it!

    1. I did a narrow hem and top-stitched. This both went with the top-stitching around the neck and saved me hours of hand hemming.


Please leave a comment for the LDC member who wrote the post to know that people are reading their posts. You should also be able to comment now if you are not a registered user.