As you probably know, I’ve tested garments a few times for Beth from Sew DIY – and was more than glad to test the updated version of the Lou Box Dress 2 for her recently: particularly since it was on my list as a straight-up make before the call for the testers went out!
I first took notice of the pattern when I saw Beth’s own grey version in a thin knit (you can see it on the bundle cover) and thought it looked like an elegant take on a comfy knit dress. So when I decided to make my own, it was a fairly quick process to pick this version and view of the Lou Box Dress 2 – and equally easy to select this thin botanical knit with a ton of drape. It’s been languishing in my stash for several years now, waiting for the right project, and I think this was a nice match.
The Lou Box Dress 1 and Lou Box Dress 2 patterns are not new as such, but Beth has updated them to include many more sizes (there are now 17 sizes in the range) and they are also now drafted to a height of 5’10”. This matches the reissue of the popular Lou Box top and, in fact, the pieces from the top can be matched with any of the dresses with ease.
The Lou Box Dress 1 is a cocoon-shaped style, but I had already decided to go for the slightly more shaped Lou Box Dress 2 with an elasticated waist. I’ve not had 100% success with elasticated dresses in the past – it’s been a bit hit or miss – but I felt that the ballet neck and scoop back option (View B) with the full-length sleeves added some elegance to the silhouette, and so was aiming for a slightly more “grown-up” effect with this dress.
Adjustment-wise, I’m only 5’6″, so I normally would have taken 4 inches from the pattern. I had planned to take 2 inches from the bodice and 2 from the skirt (tip: don’t just lop them all from the bottom!), but decided I wanted a slightly longer hem to match the vision I had in my head. I also needed to take around 4 inches from the sleeves and I tapered them in by an inch or two as well. The Lou Box dresses can be made in either woven or knit fabrics, so I felt that for a thin knit I needed to slim the silhouette a little; I’m sure on a woven the ease would have been fine.
Construction is very straightforward. The instructions are completely split into two sections for knits and woven fabrics, and I really appreciate this. It can get a bit annoying flicking through instructions for the various steps that apply to your own view, so I appreciate this has been made nice and easy. The dress is made up much like any tee or t-shirt dress and is simply a case of sewing the bodice and skirt side seams separately, adding the sleeves and then joining them. A channel is then created for the elastic to be fed through and you adjust it to your preference.
There were options in the instructions for either a regular tee neckband or to use the neckband as a facing. I had actually intended to do the facing, but it all felt a little bulky when I got to it, so I left it flipped out and cover-stitched it down – and actually I like the framing effect. There are inseam pockets, which are very neat and don’t affect the silhouette at all – I know that bugs some people. And, honestly, even though I wasn’t sure how well this would suit me, I’ve had more compliments on this dress than anything else I’ve made recently, so there you are! It just goes to show – you never can tell.
I made the dress in a quick couple of hours and it was a straightforward sew, but there is a sewalong on the Sew DIY website and I think Beth is going to produce a few more tutorial videos too, so there shouldn’t be any issues for a beginner making this up. It’s on sale right now over in the website, so if you’re interested, take advantage of the discount and snap it up now!