Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Concord Tee as a Dress ~ Part 1

I probably should have started the series with the hacked t-shirts but I love, love, love the dresses I made from lengthening the t-shirt pattern. So I'm sharing the dresses first especially since I took these pictures in 90+ degree weather! Admittedly, I'm easily swayed by the internet (but only for good! *LOL*) so after a couple of Concord Tee Dresses showed up on Instagram, I knew that I wanted a few for my wardrobe.

To get a pattern for the dresses, I just added inches to the bottom of the t-shirt pattern using my TNT dress pattern as a guideline.

The Ponte Lace Version ~
First all of the materials for this dress are from the fabric collection! Yes!!! Second, it's a quick sew. Double Yes!!!

Beige/Lace Ponte Print from the collection via Fabric Mart
Black Lace from the collection via Fabric Mart
Black ponte scrap from my scrap pile

I used a beige/lace ponte that I bought from Fabric Mart in 2014. The bodice for this dress had some of the fabric in it. Since I only used it for the bodice, I had plenty left. When I pulled fabrics for t-shirts, this piece leapt out at me. 

Originally I had a very involved pieced sleeve for this version. I'd pulled the black lace, to cut up to add to some of the lace ponte scraps and some black ponte scraps. However, when I cut the lace sleeve out and held it up to the body of the dress I loved how it looked. So I changed directions and went with the all lace sleeve. I love the dichotomy of the look.

I also need to talk about my sleeve length. I'm using an elbow length sleeve in most of my t-shirt dresses and in the upcoming tees. For years almost all of the dresses I made were sleeveless because I was soooooooo hot due to my own personal summers or men-o-pause. Now that I'm safely on the other side, I'm always some type of sleeve is very welcome now.

Oh one more thing...these dresses have a back seam in them. The first one because I didn't have enough fabric to lay them both pattern pieces on the fold. I used it for the second one because the back seam turned out so well on the lace ponte version. I will be using the back seam going forward. Otherwise, just follow the t-shirt instructions and you have a dress instead of a tee.

A few more pictures of the dress ~

Last summer I made a series of looser fitting t-shirt dresses. One of the "constructive" criticisms I received was how to take all of the extra fabric out of the back and sides of the dresses. It's interesting because I really did want looser fitting dresses, something that I could throw on and wear on really hot days. It was a deliberate choice.

Just as these are a deliberate choice to be a more fitted t-shirt dress. The top and shoulder are closer fitting. There is a waist curve to give some definition to the sides and because Jenny has really worked this pattern out, the sway back adjustment has already been made too.

The thing I regretted by the end of last summer was that I hadn't made five of the t-shirt dresses when I made the first three. I won't make that mistake this time! Three more will be made before I move on!

Black 'n Gray Flutter Sleeve Knit Dress ~
(Otherwise known as the Flamingo Sleeve Dress!)

This one has an interesting back story. I bought 3 yards of fabric for $5 from the man around the corner from my job. For the last two years, working at my new job (is it really new anymore after 2 years?) this store has been stocked with women's garments that could be purchased wholesale. However, in good weather they would always put stock on racks outside the store and sell them cheap. He would also have a cart with fabric in it. On occasion I've bought a piece or two from him because it was quality fabric for inexpensive prices. 

Last week I noticed that the store was empty. Then on Thursday I walked by and he had some racks filled with merchandise and a cart with fabric. He sold me three pieces for $10 and told me that the rent went up on the store so he and his partner decided to let it go. It's kinda sad, he's had that store for 20 years and now...forced retirement. These stories are all over the garment district and they make me feel sad and old...*sigh*

Anyway, here's the dress... 

After I added a flutter sleeve to one of the tees, I knew I wanted to add the same sleeve to a t-shirt dress. Then because you know I'm kinda extra, I thought two circles would be kinda cool and would give the dress more ummmpphhh. The sleeve definitely accomplished that! This dress was my daughter's favorite from the day.

I'm going to write a separate post on how to make the flutter sleeves because this one is just tooo long! Especially since the sleeves are the only difference in construction between dress one and two.

More pictures of the "Flamingo Sleeve Dress" ~


I love this one especially since I got the sleeves to work. However, we took these photographs on a really hot day and this dress was too hot to wear in the heat. While the fabric is thin, almost see thru, there must be some wool or a weird poly in it because it was hotter to wear outside than the lace ponte one was. Although I was very comfortable in the dress in the air conditioning inside.

The next three dresses will be made from a lighterweight poly knit that I bought from Fabric Mart last year. Some sewists are calling this fabric a LiverPool Knit. I'm sure you're wondering why I'm not using an ITY, a cotton blend or rayon blend for these dresses. I've just found that I need a knit with a little more body for my dresses. I'm more comfortable that way.

So this is the first in the series of my Concord garments posts. If you don't already own this pattern, I highly recommend that you purchase it especially since it works for curvy, plus-size and regular size women who are well endowed. Just a reminder that it's sized 12-28 with cup sizes C-H and can be purchased here.

Yes, I just did a small infomercial for this pattern but I love it and hope you will too! always more later!


  1. This looks great on you; the sleeve length works proportionally well. I'm always toggling between looser fit and finding more drape in my summer stuff. And I have finally discovered the actual seasons, instead of being in my own sauna for the last four (4? Yes!) years. I've even considered sewing a cardigan. But finding a good sleeve is tough, and this is a good one.
    Every time a fabric store shuts down, the world gets a little sadder. Spending money at my local stores is how I am rationalizing expanding the hoard. It's my duty!

  2. Two great dresses and I always wonder with the flutter sleeves how much of my dinner will be on them by the end of the evening.

  3. Oh my stars . . . both Concord Tee dresses are absolutely beautiful, but the flutter sleeve dress is fantastic! The sleeves give just the right amount of drama, fun, and pizazz! And, BTW, I cannot wait to be on the other side of my personal heatwave. :-)

  4. This pattern looks so good on you! What a great blank canvas for interesting fabric.

  5. Both are great versions & love the sleeves on both .

  6. I selfishly miss seeing you really dressed up for the last job but these 2 tee dresses are perfect for NY/NJ spring/summer and the more casual wardrobe most of us have these days. I need to pull out my Concord pattern and get busy myself. I need to pull out ANY pattern and get busy. LOL

    1. Yes Debbie you should make a few. Maybe it will kickstart your mojo! AND I miss my corporate gear too! But everything seems casual these days even church.

  7. They are both fantastic on you Carolyn. On almost all indie patterns I am a 10 to 12. I just draw between the lines. I am a full C cup but not quite a D. Do you think the Concord would work for me? BTW, I did not notice the 2 tier sleeves on the last post and they are great. I am a 60's gal and remember when I had a pair of pants that I had this look at the bottom of them. All the rage!!

  8. I especially like the lacy sleeve dress. These dresses make you look like you lost more weight but maybe it is just the more fitted silhouette. They look just great on you. Ponte is a wonderful fabric so much easier to deal with than other knits and comfortable to wear too.

  9. I know all about the personal summer thing, mine has eased off gradually but I still get too hot all the time. It's been 14 years.

  10. Love the dresses!So sad to hear about the fabric stores closing. I would love to physically fabric shop (besides the 'J' store) in the garment districts in NY and LA. Fabric Mart is cool too. Can't to see the rest of your 'Summer in the City' wardrobe!

    1. Robin - The LA Garment District is on my sewing bucket list, too!

  11. Amazing! Those flamingo sleeves are fab though I'd be dragging them through all my food by the end of the day :D

  12. You're definitely getting value for money from this pattern! Both dresses look great and I like the little details that make them different. While it is a pretty simple adjustment for anyone to turn their favourite knit top into a dress, it's great to get a reminder and see all your variations.

  13. Absolutely gorgeous! I particularly like the flutter sleeves. Very elegant.

  14. Ok, I am 99.9% sure I have that same beige lace ponte knit from Fabricmart Fabrics! I love what you did with it, and that your fabrics came from your stash. The flutter sleeves are awesome!! I will have to use my fabric sometime this year too.

  15. That first dress is so cute and fits you to a T! haha. I was wondering about whether a tshirt dress would hold its shape all day but you use ponte so I'll have to look for a cotton ponte. I melt in poly. Just can't.
    I've been admiring your slip on sneakers and would like to ask if you would please share the brand/style so I can get myself a pair. Even your shoes are inspiring! :)

  16. Oh Carolyn! You look great in both dresses. You should absolutely make more. I have had my personal summer for 15 years now.

  17. I love both these dresses, but the flutter sleeve is my favourite. They really look fantastic on you.

  18. These are great. I really love the print of the first one.

    1. Renee - you've made a bunch of the tees now so lengthening to make a dress or two would be a breeze!

  19. I LOVE THEM. The fit is perfection and both fabrics really pop.

    I can't wait for the sleeve tutorial! Sign me up!

    It is very disheartening that the shops are all shuttering. Sounds like it was quite an amazing little treasure.

  20. Gorgeous! I especially like how you've paired the first one with a casual shoe. I wouldn't have thought to do that with lace and it works so well!

  21. First - you find the best fabric. I should just have you purchase double and send me some every time - but no JB would disown both of us.

    Second - I absolutely agree with Debbie - I miss seeing you dressed up in your corporate gear.

    Third - I love these dresses! I love that they are slim fitting without being too fitted. You look great!



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