Hello, there! I have a long backlog of projects to document, and I am back today with my latest make, which I have wanted to make for ages – a Breton-style Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons. Because I haven’t yet talked about Coco on my blog, I am taking this opportunity to share my previous renditions of this pattern. This has to be one of the best-known and most-sewn patterns by an indie designer, and with good reason – once you’ve made up one, all you want is make more! The lines are so simple yet so flattering, and the result is an incredibly comfortable dress that can be elegant or casual depending on the choice of fabric, and can easily be dressed up or down for a variety of occasions and weathers.
This was my third time using this pattern. Last winter I made a Coco dress out of a warm Ponte di Roma in a vibrant royal blue that had been forever in the stash:
I then made a cropped Coco top out of
black organic cotton jersey
for a long-sleeved t-shirt that has since been in heavy rotation – one of my goals this year has been to make more basics and wardrobe staples so I can truly have a 100% handmade wardrobe, preferably in natural materials.
Regarding this black organic jersey – I feel I need to say a note on the
Tula organic jersey
from tissus.net. At 230 g/m² it is definitely on the heavier side for a cotton jersey, which is quite rare when it comes to organic cotton jerseys. It is stable, sturdy, and has excellent recovery. Perfect for dresses as well as tops, and I can definitely see some leggings out of this fabric in my future. I have used it a lot for the children as well. I alway have some extra in the stash.
And now let’s focus on my latest version. This time I went with what I feel will become another wardrobe staple, albeit one with a fun, cute twist: a Breton Coco. Such a classic in the sewing world!
Fabric: for this version I used a striped black and white cotton jersey from Buttinette. I have never been disappointed when purchasing jerseys from this Germany-based website. The larger black stripes and thinner white stripes have just the right proportions for my taste, and this cotton is soooo soft. At 190 grams/m2 I didn’t feel this cotton jersey to be quite thick enough for the Coco, but I really wanted to use it for this dress. I worked around this issue by cutting the dress one size larger than I would need, so it wouldn’t cling to my body despite the drape. As a result, in this soft, drapy knit, it’s even comfier than a ‘regular’ Coco.
Construction: The construction, as always, was fast and easy. I had so little time last week (and I was sick and soooo tired, as you can probably tell from the pictures!), and still managed to sew this up in a few evenings after putting the children to bed – and I took the time to match the stripes at the side seams, so it would have been even faster with no patttern matching.
This would be a great first garment if you are new to sewing with knits. There is a sewalong on the Tilly and the Buttons blog with detailed pictures of every step if you feel you need a bit more guidance.
Alterations: I made this one size up from what I would need, to accommodate my fabric choice. As a result, the back is definitely on the roomy side, but it does not bother me for this relaxed style.
Conclusion: Making this third dress reminded me of how fast the Coco sews up, and what a success it always turns out to be. It is such a nice project when time is scarce and you feel like a happy new dress. In my size it only requires 1.5 metres of fabric for the three quarter sleeves with cuffs. It looks just as good in solids as in pretty prints, and because there are so few lines in the construction, it would work wonderfully to showcase a large print, as well. I am definitely dreaming of making another in a large floral print! As well as one in a teal ponte di Roma for the colder season. And one in organic black jersey for a perfect little black dress. And… The list is endless.
(A note on the title: “T’as le look, coco” is an idiomatic phrase in France – it comes from a delightfully kitschy 80s clip. Do click. It will make your day.)