This is a really useful basic pattern, which I’ve deliberately made into a dress suitable for cycling in. And given the rain started just as I was about to head out on my bike today, I thought I’d delay my departure and take a few pics instead.
It is of course useful for many things other than just cycling, but it suits cycling for several reasons.
Firstly, it’s a bright colour so I’ll be easy to spot while I’m riding around. Secondly, and very importantly, it has a higher, cycling-friendly neckline (which I changed slightly from the pattern – more on that below). Thirdly, it is a loose fit and a stretch pattern so there’s loads of room to move freely.
And lastly, the knee length hem. It makes it possible to cycle with or without leggings underneath, with or without cycling shorts, but is also long enough just to cycle on a step-through bike (like mine) as is.
You’ll find the Frankie Dress pattern on the Tessuti website here – but I bought the paper copy when I was in Melbourne recently. I got the fabric from Catwalk Fabrics here in Adelaide. It’s a lighter weight ponte which is made in Italy. It is quite soft on the skin and has a nice matt finish. There’s not much of it left, so if you’re keen I’d suggest you hop in there soon.
It wasn’t until later that I realised that wonderful people at Tessuti people had also stocked this fabric at one point, and made it up into this same pattern. I can see why – these two are a pretty neat match and if you like the fabric, the pattern becomes an almost obvious choice.
So there is a tiny risk that I’ll bump into someone wearing precisely the same dress one day. But given we’re in different states, I guess that risk is low. We’ll probably bump into each other on Instagram though.
It’s a very simple but also quite adaptable pattern. A simple A-line shift for stretch fabrics. No darts, no pockets but multiple lengths (top, knee length dress or long dress) and multiple sleeve lengths (short, elbow, 3/4, and long). So overall very useful and it would easy to add pockets or embellishments if you wish.
I decided to open the neckline a little, just because I thought it would suit me better with a bit more of an open style. So as you can see in the photos above, it is designed for a boat neckline but I’ve gone for a round neckline instead.
That was really easy to do. I just got a top I already have and worked out the shape for the front based on that. Once I’d worked out how low I wanted it to go, I cut that shape out of the front piece leaving enough fabric to fold over the neckline hem. I made sure it joined the original hemline precisely at the shoulders, so it did not impact the back piece or back facing at all.
The only other change I made was to hand-sew the neckline hem, back facing and the hems for the sleeves and the bottom of the dress.
Again, very simple. The pattern tells you to overlock the edges and then machine sew with a twin needle from the front. So I just overlocked the edges and then hand stitched it down from the inside instead. This gave me a nice smooth invisible finish and removed any risk of sewing machine-related puckering. I’m really happy with the smoothness of how it turned out this way, and would definitely do it again.
Not much else to say about this dress.The fabric choice makes it very casual, so it’s definitely a dress for weekends and not work. But in another fabric I think a work version would be very possible. In a dark colour and perhaps a merino ponte or something along those lines.
Maybe next time I would add inseam pockets. I considered it this time but decided I didn’t want the extra bulk at the hips. But I generally do include pockets in dresses and skirts, and I’ve already reached for the (non-existent) pockets a few times since I finished this yesterday.
I can imagine it with a V-neck or some buttons at the neck as well. I’d just need to make up a matching facing and follow the back facing all the way around when stitching it down. Very doable and that would look really good in a plain fabric I think. Maybe even some embroidery?
It’s really comfy and cosy and nice to wear, and I’m pretty much lovin’ it.