New dress: Tuuli dress from Named

I can’t tell you how long this dress has been on my project list. I definitely had both the Tuuli pattern printed out and fabric purchased in Autumn 2017. I didn’t quite get around to it though, and here we are, back in cold weather, so I dug it out a few weeks ago and proceeded to get going on it! You might think – why would you wait for winter for a knit dress? – but you’ll have to believe me when I say this is a really warm winter dress, and I am quite a warm-blooded person anyway. (Or is it cold-blooded? I never know. I mean that I naturally stay pretty warm in cold weather).

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The weather in Seattle has been historically dark so far in December, but I took the chance to snap a few pics outside a store today, while Christmas shopping. They’re still pretty dark, but I think you can just about see the detail of the dress. Dark, dark, dark. Eurgh.

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I really liked the Named Tuuli pattern when it came out as part of the Fall/Winter Evolution Theory collection way back in 2016 (!), although I haven’t seen too many versions of it on the internet. I will admit that at least some of my interest was piqued by the fabric they used for the sample (see above link). I don’t always love Named sample fabrics, but this one was perfect! For me, at any rate. Then, when I spotted this faded blue athletic knit on Emma One Sock’s website, it said “TUULI” very clearly to me. When the fabric arrived, I was slightly concerned it might be a little heavy for all those pleats, – it’s quite dense and a little spongy – but thought I’d go ahead anyway – it is a winter dress after all.

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And you know what? I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I glanced through the instructions back when I bought the pattern and had the idea somehow that they were a little complicated. Well, I don’t know what I was thinking, because this is a really simple dress to make. It has a nice low, but not too low, V-neck, which is finished off with a facing – and then the rest of the top is just constructed as per any knit sweater: sleeves sewn on the flat and the side seam sewn in a oner, before adding the skirt. The other view of Tuuli is a bodysuit and I’m quite tempted to give that a go too, I must say, as the top fits me pretty well. I made a 48 with no adjustments.

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I didn’t do a very good job of topstitching the facing down. I was slightly careless with my placement and it’s not very symmetrical, but the stitches sink into the fabric so nicely nobody will notice I don’t think. The waist is fairly high and I suppose it could be a little loose/straight on some people. The instructions suggest adding elastic if you find it to be so, but for me it wasn’t necessary. This is a good pattern if you have a bit of a “pooch” – ahem. I was actually concerned the opposite might be true: all those pleats with a tummy? Uh oh. But somehow it is flattering. One of those weird laws of sewing I guess.

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The other principal distinguishing feature of the Tuuli is the set of wide pleats that go all the way around the skirt. This is where I worried the fabric might be heavy, but it’s actually just fine – it’s all twwirrrlllllyy. The recovery helps it stay buoyant. I did make one stupid error when I was cutting and that was to cut the skirt pieces perpendicular to where I should have. I could have kicked myself. To get the pattern the right way, I had to cut each piece in half, and so I ended up with a front and back seam, which you could see a bit and it made the skirt hang a little awkwardly.

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To get round that I decided to topstitch the top 5 inches of each pleat down. This actually also helped negate the tiny bit of bulk at the hips that arose as a result of the fabric being a touch thicker than some. I crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t look ridiculous, but actually it worked out very well and helped in both areas. There’s still a bit of a break in the pleats from the seams, but I can live with it and the busy pattern helps hide it.

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I left the hem and sleeve lengths as suggested, as they are full-length on my arms, but I notice on the model they’re somewhat shorter – maybe a bracelet sleeve length? – so you may want to adjust them if you prefer that length. The only other change I would make would be to take a tiny bit out of the back bodice for my slight swayback shape, but otherwise it fit well as per the pattern.

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All in all, this is a great winter dress that turned out very much as I had hoped and continues my run of successful Named patterns. I’ve had quite a few compliments on it already and it’s very easy to wear. I would definitely make this again and can recommend it as a quick sew with an elegant shape (even with my big clodhopper boots – it’s wet in Washington!)

5 thoughts on “New dress: Tuuli dress from Named

  1. I love this too! You are 100% on your makes recently!! It’s a pattern I hadn’t seen before, and I have some navy/white flower double knit that could look good in this, I will have to think about it! I only have 2 yards though… hmmmm….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, their block is a good one for me (especially in trousers, which is both surprising and delightful)! I love a sturdy boot and am thoroughly enjoying their recent resurgence. I probably wore this outfit in the 90s tbh. I almost bought a pair of outrageously thick-heeled patent boots, but my husband started sweating a little, so I passed. I’ll probably get them in the sales. πŸ˜€

      Hope everything is okay with you. Like the rest of the world, I’m watching the devastation in Australia with sadness and alarm. My great uncle and aunt built a farm in the bush years ago when they retired and it was a magical place to visit, the once or twice we managed to get to Australia.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I’m totally safe but feel sick for the rest of the country. The scale of the fires and the devastation they have wrought is difficult to fathom. And it’s just the start of summer!

        Like

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