A couple of weeks ago Daniela of DG Patterns contacted me to test the Tessa sweater. You’ve already seen this pattern featured in my chevron trimmed dress I made for That Sewing Blab. Before I made that dress, I made this one, and this Tessa sweater dress is a project that was all about transformation.
Tessa Sweater Dress
Wrap neck style
As for the pattern, I really love the wrap around style of the neck on view D.
It’s nice to have a neckline in cold weather that you can wear sans scarf or other extra warm layers. Also, this neckline is sleek enough that I can still play violin while wearing it which is not the case for turtlenecks or other “winter” styles. For those, I have to add a little capelet like this one I made as part of my Handmade Holidays series I’m currently doing on YouTube.
Kind of chenile, kind of towel like, kind of hard to classify
Colorado Fabrics is often a source of really unusual fabrics. The one I used for this dress is no exception. I bought it as a flat fold, and I really have no clue what it is. It’s a stable knit with a lace face and some raised flowers that feel rather like chenile. The texture of this knit is absolutely fascinating, but the baby pink color is a little offputting.
For before and after effect, I took a couple pictures of the dress all made up before I metaphorically blow up the whole thing.
It’s not that it was bad, it’s just kind of plain and really lacks the depth that the knit’s texture has naturally.
Why you need a dedicated dye pot
I have this unwritten rule in my sewing room that plain fabrics will always be embellished in some way. Another rule I have is that if something has been in my stash for more than 2 years, it’s fair game to dye/bleach or otherwise alter. My logic is that if something has managed to stay in my stash for such a length of time, ignored, then I must not like it enough to use it.
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I’ve blockprinted, painted, and bleached out many fabrics. Dyeing is a recent addition to my altered cloth arsenal. Before I bought a cheap stock pot for dyeing, I was rather hesitant about mixing dyes. Now that I have one that resides in garage, I often turn to it to add a little extra flair to my projects. Dye all the things!!!!
I can’t emphasize it enough, but when you set out to dye a fabric, you need to do swatches. Mixing dye is a bit of trial and error and different fibers react differently to every batch of dye.
This particular fabric is most certainly nearly all polyester. Rit DyeMore has quickly become my favorite product since it can actually legitimately dye synthetic fibers. Whatever is in that stuff binds to the fabric in a way that regular dye does not.
The flowers in my fabric have at least a certain amount of cotton in them. It was interesting to see how they took the dye very differently than the rest of the fabric. I mixed up a bath of mostly apricot orange, tan (not a DyeMore color, just a regular Rit liquid), and a little super pink. The result is a coral that sings fall.
Embrace the uneven
I know people get really concerned about how even the dyeing is on their fabric when they dye things. You stir and you stir the fabric in the pot. In the end, the dye does what it wants, and I kind of love that. Perhaps it’s my background in doing batik from junior high-college, but for me, the beauty of dye is in the unpredictability of it.