That bow. Isn't it just the cutest? A small detail that instantly elevates a simple jersey dress into an interesting, fun and modern look, perfect for many an occasion.
The Romy top and dress pattern by Tilly and the Buttons was released back in the Summer and wasn't one that I instantly purchased (somewhat unusually), but the more versions that I saw pop up online, the more I fell in love it - and I knew I needed one in my Autumn wardrobe this year!
I was also pretty chuffed when the lovely Katie from Sew Sew Sew said I could write a guest blog post for her this season! It took me an ashamedly short time to decide on what fabric too choose... I just love this fabric! The mustard base colour, the cute navy birds and the fact it was a jersey, all drew me in and the Romy pattern appeared in my mind as a perfect Autumn dress. It's a perfect medium weight cotton jersey of excellent quality, it washed and dried really well with minimal shrinkage and I used my rotary cutter and mat to cut all the pattern pieces out.
The pattern comes as a top or dress variation with a few different back neckline options. My fave, and the one I chose to sew up, is the cute tie bow back detail style but you could also make a plain back top or dress with contrast binding to finish the neckline edges which is also cute. I had heard a few murmurings online about this dress being quite loose fit and after checking the finished garment measurements; I decided to cut out a size 1 which is one size smaller than I normally would make in Tilly patterns. For reference my measurements are 32", 27", 34" so I would normally make a size 2 but decided to go for a 1 as there was plenty of ease in the final measurements.
I whizzed through the first half of the instructions for finishing the neckline edges and making the bow back detail. Clear elastic is used to do this and the instructions are so clear and teach you exactly what to do to sew the garment creating a really neat finish, whilst giving you pointers and tips throughout for sewing with knits if you're a newbie. The construction is lovely and straightforward and the dress only took me a few evenings to sew from start to finish and would be even quicker if you went for the top or plain back version! The plain back top version you can also fit into only a metre of fabric so this is a great scrap buster project too!
The instructions recommend you baste the sleeves to the shoulders to check the fit first before sewing them up properly and I would highly recommend doing this so you get the back pieces to fit right. The bow can obviously be tightened or loosened to get this part to fit correctly but the lower back edge could be prone to gaping depending on your shape so it's worth spending a bit of time getting this right. If it does gape you can just make the seam allowance a bit bigger for the upper edge of the back lower piece which pulls the top edge in more to avoid the gaping. Tilly has written a great blog post all about how to do this on her blog here .
After the shoulder/sleeve seam was sorted it was just a case of finishing the armhole seam allowances, sewing up the side seams and hemming! Easy peasy!
I'm really happy with the final shape and fit of the dress, despite making a size smaller there is still a nice amount of ease at the bust, waist and hip too and I didn't adjust these any further. The only other adjustment I made was to take 6.5cm off the length as it came well below my knee when I tried it on. So it finishes just above my knee now and I think it's perfect!
I'm so happy with my final dress and I think it looks gorgeous in this fabric too, it'll go really well with a navy jacket and tights as well as some autumnal boots for chillier days. It's super comfortable to wear and the bow back detail adds a really interesting detail whilst still keeping me warm and cosy. I've definitely got a long sleeve top bow back version on the horizon and I can see me making many more of these come the Springtime next year too!
Thank you so much Katie for letting me sew something beautiful with this fabric!