Sleek Silhouette

Finally! My Gridlock Tessuti dress….


This is my entry for the Tessuti Gridlock Competition. They chose the fabric and it was up to everyone else to decide what to make with it. This dress has been troublesome from the start. When I first saw this competition I had no intention of entering – I am such a beginner! But then the more I saw the fabric the more I liked it. Then when it arrived and I started to play around with it I began to hate it! It’s a bit of an odd blue, it’s pretty heavy but with LOADS of stretch which was affecting the fit. I just really wasn’t inspired by it at all….

But, dammit, I had bought the material and there was no way I was not going to make something. So I persevered and after an inspiring shopping trip ideas began to form. My thought was that this fabric is not fancy enough to create a pretty or sophisticated dress. So I made a dressed down day dress….


This is completely self-drafted! (Yay!) I based the bodice on my block. The other side of the fabric is really pretty so I wanted to use it in the dress. I’ve only included a little at the shoulders but I like how it breaks up the blue pattern. The pattern I made wasn’t a problem but getting the pattern placement correct was a little tricky for my small brain. I had to cut out a couple of pieces twice to get it right, but it was so worth it.


The skirt is a circle skirt. I used the instructions from by Hand. I followed their instructions for a 26 inch waist exactly but when I tried it on it was crazily big! Granted I actually have a 25 inch waist but even considering this it was waaaaay too big. I double checked what I’d done and I had done it right! The only way I can understand it is that the fabric is so heavy and stretchy that the weight of the fabric stretched it? Either way, I had to cut it down. I decided to add seams to line up with the seams at the bodice.


I didn’t line the dress, as I used the stretch in it to my advantage and I didn’t have any stretchy lining! So instead I bound all the seam allowances with bias binding – wow! there were a lot of seams…… I kinda regretted giving the skirt so many seams at this point!


Since I wasn’t lining the dress and I thought the fabric was too thick to use as facings I used bias binding to finish off the neckline, armholes and the skirt hem. I used a dark blue on the arm hole and hem and hid the binding on the neckline. I used the amazing tutorial by victory patterns for this, as I’d never done it before! I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out.


Finally I put the zip in. Thank you to everyone who helped me out with my zip problem! I could go on at length here at how amazed I was about how kind you all are to give me advice and how pleased I was to be a part of the online sewing world. I couldn’t believe so many of you helped me! For those that didn’t see, this is how my zip looked at first – bad! very bad!SleekSilhouette-1-23After reading through all of your wonderful comments I realised that even thought the jaquard fabric is heavy the zip was mega heavy! Also, as Geniknits and Debbie pointed out, I think I had stretched the fabric whilst putting the zip in – I used a walking foot for the whole of the dress but couldn’t when using my zipper foot. So in the end I decided to stabilize the zip by using a couple of layers of silk organza I had lying around and hand picked the zip to avoid the pulling issue. My first hand picked zip by the way :) I wish I’d taken a photo at this stage as it looked soooo much better, but still was not perfect, and I’m a perfectionist don’t you know? So, in the end I ripped it out and put this lighter, but still chunky, zip in. What do you think? I like it, and the blue from the zip tape matched the bias binding :) I never realised the weight of a zip could cause so many problems, so thank you everyone for helping me learn!


Oh also! I nearly forgot, this baby has pockets! Hidden side-seam pockets! Oh yeah, I’m proud of those babies.


Phew, I am so glad I’ve finished this dress. Even though it looks simple it feels that a lot of work went into it and I’ve learnt a few more good techniques that I’m proud of! I’m not sure I love it but I am surprisingly proud of it and don’t think it looks too shabby :) I have no grand ideas of winning the competition but I enjoyed the challenge!


I still have some fabric left over, I hope there’s enough for a small jacket, I think it’s a good fabric for jackets.

Check out the Tessuti pintrest board for all the other amazing creations! Some are gorgeous!



  1. I LOVE it Katy, honestly I’d give you a prize if I was Tessuti! And it’s all self drafted too! You’re amazing. I think stretchy fabric is a bit of a nightmare for sizing. I’ve had the same problems as you in fhe past when I’ve adjusted a bodice to fit perfectly, then made it in stretchy fabric and it’s been WAY too big. I love all the seam finishing on the inside too, wonderful work! x

    • Thanks Jane! It was certainly frustrating at times but I’m glad I finished it. I think I might have seen enough bias binding to last me a life time!

  2. I really like this!
    And I think you’re already going to have stop calling yourself a beginner! Maybe in terms of months spent sewing, but you are clearly such a natural, Katy!! A self-drafted pattern and all those new techniques to such a high quality? Yay you! :)

    • Thank you Tania! Ok, perhaps I’ll stop saying I’m a beginner – but I feel like there is just so much to learn :) I’m really flattered you think I’m a natural, that’s put a big smile on my face :)

  3. This is stunning! I’d want to wear it inside out as well just to show off those seam finishings. Good luck in the contest x

  4. This is so awesome! Great job and thank you for sharing tutorial links!

  5. Wow! What a dress! I’m so pleases you got it to work and that you figured out the zip issue (lesson for me too then, since I guessed!). And all that binding. You are putting me to shame for deciding not to do the same on the dress I’m currently working on! Did you make that bias binding too?

    And Tanja is right – you need to stop calling yourself a beginner. As I understand it, you are forever learning with sewing – even the “experts” are always still asking questions, finding problems and learning something new.

    Phew! Giant comment! But suffice to say, well done you!

    • Thank you for all your suggestions on the zip front – they were so helpful :) No, I did not make the bias binding…. after doing everything else I let myself off that one ;)

      You’re totally right, you never stop learning. Maybe I’ll call myself an ‘intermediate’ now, ooh I feel more knowledgeable already!

  6. I think it turned out really nice :) The inside is gorgeous – I can’t believe you did all that work in there! It does look great, so be proud of yourself and good luck with the contest!

  7. Wow, the dress looks great. Fantastic fit and great design.

  8. It’s just beautiful and really quite perfect! Well done for drafting it all yourself and for finishing it so professionally. Goof luck in the competition – if this dress isn’t a winner, I don’t know what will be!

  9. Shucks guys, you’re all being so lovely about the dress! Thank you!

  10. Oh wow I am loving all of these dresses floating about! Also even if binding your seams was a lot of work, it looks so pretty and professional!

  11. Oh my gosh, that looks great!! I would totally wear that.. loving the look of the binding, and the pockets are superr cute:) Well done

  12. Just fabulous results. I agree natural skills and beautiful results. What did you do that caused the “pinch pleat” look in the circle skirt? Wonderful detail.

    • To be honest, I’m not sure! I don’t think I can really take credit for them. It might have happened due to the seams that are in the skirt, the fabric doesn’t press that easily so it might cause another pleat? I’m glad you like it though :)

  13. I love it! I love the fabric, the fit, the figure it gives, and the fact that it is almost as beautyfull on the wrongside as the rightside! :)

  14. Congratulations! The dress looks fantastic. I am constantly blown away by how clever you (& so many other “new” sewists) are- drafting our own pattern! Well done, I am looking forward to following you in your sewing journey.

  15. Katy – i would just like to say that this new dress is beautiful and IDEAL for lindyhop/swingdancing style! And i know you have farrrr too many hobbies already with the dressmaking and jewelry-making, photography etc etc… but i wanted to point it out :p

  16. Hi Katy,

    I have just started sewing again after a 15 year gap and I just want to say – well done for persevering – it looks fantastic. I would have been tempted to bin it at so many of the stages you went through!

  17. I’ve just given you a Liebster Award as I love following and reading your blog Hope you don’t already have one, although if you do you can just fill up your blogging display cabinet more! Hope you can pass it on as well xxx

  18. Pingback: I won an award! | Sleek Silhouette

  19. Pingback: See? I do actually wear my dresses | Sleek Silhouette

  20. This is wonderful! You’re so talented Katy! x

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