Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Esme Dress Sewing from Everyday Style By Lotta Jansdotter

Have you had a project that everyone is sewing, but you just haven't made up? Every time you see a new version, you think, "I have to make mine!" That is me with the Sew Together Bag. It has been on my list for over a year and I have yet to make it up. 

I have been seeing the book and projects form, Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter in my Instagram feed for weeks. I knew I had to get my copy and start making the wonderful projects like the ones I was seeing. I did not want to repeat my endless coveting like that of the bag.


The first project I chose to make is the Esme dress. It is a simple shift-shape top, tunic and/or Kaftan. I love shift dresses especially those with the mod look. The silhouette of this dress is a blank canvas for a large scale print. I decided to make my dresses in tunic length.

Esme Dress
If you are not new here, you know I am not a fan of tracing patterns. I have passed on many a cute garment because it required tracing or PDF printing. It is a bad trait of mine and I am working on it. I love the few versions of this dress I have seen. and I knew I need to buckle down and make it. To transfer the patterns,  I ironed freezer paper to the pattern sheets, traced the pieces, remove the traced paper, then cut the pattern out. 

I struggled to find the right fabric in my stash for my tunic. I narrowed it down to two top picks and decided to make one of each.  My first choice is Stockholm, a sturdy cotton fabric from Ikea with white black and yellow designs that looks hand-painted. It is not meant for apparel, but I love the bold graphic print. I have had success with Ikea fabric in my whimsical button dress, so I was happy to try their fabric again.  

Tunic length mini dress.
The dress is sized XS-XL and based on my bust measurement, I cut the size M sewn with the directed 1/2 inch. seam allowance. When I fit it, I thought it was unflatteringly loose in the way it stood away from my body. To remedy this, I resewed the side seams with a 1-inch seam allowance. It was a simple fix and easier than retracing the smaller pattern size.  

I had fun playing with the placement of the motif especially with the sleeves. I was undecided if I wanted the wrist design to mimic the hem with the yellow circles. Or to have the sleeve cap design flow from the motif of the upper front and back allowing the wrists to be white. I chose the latter and love the balanced effect.

The tunic length is short! I will be making some opaque leggings to go with this one. Here, I am wearing it with textured tights, but I need more coverage in the future. 

I liked this one so much that I immediately cut and made another one. This time, I chose Cotton and Steel Luminescence Starlight Sparkler by Rashida Coleman Hale. I made the "medium" sewn with the 1-inch seam allowance. 

I added 3-inches to the length to make it a bit more modest for this soon to be 40-year old lady. 

In addition to making it longer, I added large crescent shaped exterior pockets. 

I used my out of print Vogue 8893 pattern for the pocket. It is a double layer of fabric stitched right sides together and flipped. 

positioned the pockets 8-inches below the top of the side seam along the side seam. 

After pinning, I sewed them on taking care to not catch the back of the dress.

The Esme dress comes with  square pockets for you to add. I really like this style of pocket, so I went with it.

Style here with leggings and flats.
I really like the simple stylish pieces in this book. This is my first experience with this designer and I am hooked. The book is about wearable garments that are fairly easy to make. It is good for a beginner, but also provides a blank slate for those who want to do more with the patterns.

I an excited to do some hand-painting of linen for a coat in the book. I would say that will be my next project, but I really should get working on that Sew Together Bag.

**** Update*****

My yellow Ikea dress was featured on the Lotta Jansdotter Instagram page this week. I am pretty flattered that she liked my take on the dress. It is one of my new favorite makes.

I enjoyed my Esme dress so much, I made another in tie-dye stretch denim. I bought the fabric at Hancock Fabrics in a "spot the bolt" sale. I made this one with no alterations and it came together faster than the others. I considered adding pockets like the Cotton and Steel dress above. I decided against it as it would break up the flow of the dye. I tried side seam pockets, but they added bulk and were not flattering. I removed them and am happy with this result. 

Hubby liked the shorter length, so I kept it in this version. 

Now a big shout out to my big sister. She and my nieces made this button necklace for my birthday. It is a mix of metal, coconut and plastic buttons and  I love it!  It is the perfect statement piece.

I made the Wilma bag from the book and will blog about it soon.

Happy Sewing,


  1. You look amazing in that first tunic! The color is so great in you. The second one is cute too, but I like the shorter length and you have the figure for it. Don't let turning forty freak you out!

  2. Beautiful!!!!! Love the first one a lot!!!

  3. Both dresses are lovely. I am drawn to warm colors and thus in love with the yellow version!

  4. Love the yellow dress and the pockets on the blue one are so cool!

  5. Absolutely darling! I love both dresses! The fabric so compliments them so very well!

  6. Beautiful dresses. I especially like the first one - yellow is one of those colors I like, but cannot wear, ever; it looks great on you!

    1. I really love the yellow one too; thanks! I bet you would look great in yellow. Maybe, try it in an accent color to test it again.

  7. Both dresses are adorable and I love this style paired with leggings and tights! Thanks for sharing your inspirational dresses!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I will be making some more of this one!

  8. Love both of your dresses. They are so colorful, happy and vibrant!

    1. Thanks Tomasa! I really love them! I am always uncertain about bright colors in Fall/Winter. In the end I just decided to sew what I love!

  9. Awesome Mod look. I always look at that fabric and this is a perfect ideal for it! Nicely done!

  10. Another stunning version of this dress!

  11. I love your style & fabric choice.Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Eli Cat! You are welcome :) I believe in sharing the love.

  12. These are amazing! Especially the yellow one. Great job! I ordered the book and am checking around to see what the patterns look like, so far so good!

  13. Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future.
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