One of my pattern testers recently posted on IG that she has made FOUR (!!!) Lou Box Dress 1’s and that each of them feels completely different. First off, I love hearing when someone has made one of my patterns more than once. It fills me up with warm, gooey feelings. In a good way. :)
Second, this insight proves that simple silhouettes can be immensely versatile. Using different fabrics to make the Lou Box Dress or Lou Box Top results in very different garments, without that repeat feeling. Because these patterns can be made in woven or in knit fabric the possibilities are even greater than with most patterns. With the Lou Box Dress 1, I can use a sweatshirt fabric for a cozy, lounge dress or choose a yummy woven fabric like the sand-washed crinkle rayon that I used for this chic and sophisticated version.
Today I’m sharing a new version of the Lou Box Dress 1 made in sand-washed crinkle rayon from my shop. I made view A, size 12 with no modifications or hacking. I do love a good hack (check out last week’s LBD mashup) but sometimes the original fits the bill perfectly.
This dress has a cocoon shape, medium scoop neck, curved hem with facings and elbow length sleeves with cuffs. This pattern now comes in 17 sizes for bust/hips 32 to 58 inches. The ease is a generous 10” to create an oversized style but if you’re looking for a slimmer fit, the additional sizes will help you hone in on the amount of ease that you prefer. And isn’t that kinda the best thing about sewing? You get to pick out what you like best.
As soon as I finished making this dress, I wore it on repeat for the rest of the week. And the only thing stopping me from wearing it more is because it’s need of a wash.
As I’ve mentioned, the fabric is sand washed crinkle rayon that is available in my shop. I selected this fabric because it pairs really well with the Lou Box series of patterns. The rayon gives it a nice drape and the fabric is opaque so that you don’t need a lining. The fabric is nice and soft against the skin and just a dream to wear.
I have a few tips on working with this fabric with success. When deciding how much fabric you need, I recommend using the 45” wide row from the fabric requirement chart. Off the bolt, the fabric is 54” wide unpressed. When pressed flat this fabric expands to a width of 64” and after washing, it will crinkle up again. When pressed flat, it will retain the textured look due to variation in color.
There’s a lot of debate on the interwebs about whether to press a crinkle fabric before cutting out your pattern. To make this sample, I decided to press the fabric totally flat and then cut. It made cutting and sewing very easy. I figured that since the dress is so oversized some shrinking/crinkling up after washing would be ok. Lo and behold, after washing and crinkling up again, this loose and oversized dress became a form fitting, body-con number. I ended up pressing it again to make it wearable for my style.
So, I recommend not pressing the fabric totally flat before you cut out your garment, unless you plan on pressing your garment after each wash. Or, press it flat and cut out a size or two larger than you normally do. The great thing about this fabric is that even when it’s pressed, it still gives the illusion of being wrinkled because of the sand washing. You could also just do an in-between press and flatten it about halfway.
If you cut the fabric with some crinkles, it will likely be easier to use pattern weights and a rotary cutter. When sewing in a crinkly state, you’ll want to avoid stretching out the fabric as you sew. One suggestion I read was to use your serger to stitch the seams. The serger stitches will allow the fabric to stretch naturally along the crinkled parts. I also found this awesome tip from Janie on Sewing Pattern Review: “Before you take the pattern piece from the fabric, use regular scotch tape and tape the seam allowances. You can sew right next to the tape, removing it when the seam is done. that way you get the crinkles correctly in the seam allowances and don't have it bag out.” If you don’t have a serger, you can use a narrow zig zag stitch to create a seam that has a little stretch to it.
I hope that all of that fabric info doesn’t scare you off of this fabric because it is really scrumptious. And remember that natural wrinkles will hide a multitude of “errors”. This fabric is available in three different colors, the light navy that I used here, a charcoal black and a soft rust color. The colors can really work as neutrals in your wardrobe but due to the texture they are more interesting than a solid color. This fabric works well for any of the Lou Box patterns as well as for the Lela Skirt.
I’ve been loving wearing this dress over the past few weeks and as we move into Fall, my outfit-making-mind is slowly moving away from “how to not be too hot” to “what layers will make this a little warmer”. I can totally see wearing this dress with ankle booties, handmade socks (of course!) and a big sweater. Once it gets even cooler, I’d add leggings, a big scarf and a hat. I live in LA so we rarely need coats but this dress would also look really cute with a jean jacket. Links below so that you can recreate this dress for yourself. As always, please reach out if you have any questions. Happy sewing!