Geeky dress and tunic

This weekend a friend from uni and myself spent a very geeky time at Sci-fi Scarborough. We’ve been to it every year since the convention started 2 years ago (this is its third run). I’m not really the sort of person who goes to these things as a rule as I have absolutely no idea what most of it is about. The convention is about computer gaming, watching bad films and reading comics from what I can work out. I don’t do any of those things as any spare time I get I sew!

Many people who go dress up as their favourite characters. I like this part as so many costumes are home-made and I do appreciate the creative aspect of this. I’m not brave enough (nor do I have favourite characters) to dress up, but I thought I’d make a nod to the occasion by making a dress! I researched fabric, starting with Star Trek, and there was some lovely fabric out there but far too expensive. I didn’t think that this was a dress that I was going to wear particularly often so I wanted it to be cheap! My MIL made some Avengers themed cushions and bean bags for my nephew out of a duvet cover she bought so I thought I’d copy her and use a duvet cover for dress fabric! In Wilko’s there were plenty to choose from. The quality is not great but it was good enough for what I wanted.

I thought this was a good opportunity to make the kind of pattern that I don’t normally wear. The fabric just had to be made into a fit-and-flare dress! I didn’t want to spend any money on a pattern (I’m allergic to spending money!) so I went with one I already have. The Lilou dress from the recently purchased Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes. I got very confused about my measurements so I made a bodice toile where I traced off a size 3 shoulders, grading to a size 4 waist with a 1″ FBA. This was far too tight with too much space in the boob area which was odd. I decided to move everything up a size and for my second toile I traced off a size 4 bust and shoulders and a size 5 waist. I did no FBA this time (despite Tilly drafting for a B cup and me being much more than that!). The fit was much better but the bust darts were pointing to somewhere around my neck! For my third toile I pivoted the bust darts down so they were pointing in the right direction! I used this third toile as the lining for my actual dress!

geek dress

At the Spa – the venue for the convention

I never took any photos of the construction process for this one so I only have the finished garment I’m afraid. Overall I’m happy with the fit of the bodice but it’s still not quite 100% perfect. The strap at the back was really quite loose but I was in danger of only making toiles and no actual dress. I’ve also over-fitted many clothes before, making them worse so I thought I’d leave it.

geek dress 5

There was a Red Dwarf guest so Mr Flibble was brought along – if you’ve never watched Red Dwarf you’ll have no idea what I’m on about!

geek dress 4

Hastily sticking a knob back on Captain kirk’s chair. That’s why I’m pulling a face!

I did get lots of compliments about my dress which felt great! It was so fun being able to tell people I made it! There was a stall at the convention that was selling simple, elasticated skirts out of the same fabric and I asked the stall holder if she used the same duvet cover and she did!  £25 a skirt they were. Not sure how many she sold though but it certainly got me thinking!

The convention spanned two days and for the first (and probably last) time we went on both days. The kids were coming on this day so I thought it only fair that I made Bethan something from the other side of the duvet cover. The cover was reversible with slightly different patterns on each side so we weren’t in exactly the same fabric.

I don’t really have any patterns suitable for a 10 year old tween although I have been looking for them. Most patterns stop at age 8! There is hardly anything available for girls in her age group. She’s looked through the ‘big 4’ pattern catalogues and hated all of the patterns in there (the three or four they had anyway). If any of you know of non-girly patterns for girls(?) please let me know!

In the end I settled on the Bess top from Imagine Gnats. I got this as part of an independent pattern bundle and had yet to make it. This pattern is aimed at teens and women. I chose this because it went to a much smaller size than any of my other patterns and it could be made into a top, tunic or dress. Bethan chose the tunic length which I think suited her perfectly. The pattern is really designed for someone with boobs so it’s not exactly ideal but it didn’t look too bad at all. She’s quite tall though (taller than both her grandmas and her aunty -hee hee!) so the tunic didn’t drown her.

The pattern was interesting so I remembered to take some construction shots.


The tunic has a high-lo hem which explains the difference in the front and back pattern size. There is also a sticky-out bit on the back piece that extends well above the neck line. This folds over in a very clever way and forms the sleeves! Plus, being a tunic meant pockets!

The instructions recommends to use strips of jersey to bind the neckline, sleeves and hem which was a new one on me but quite straight-forward to do. I didn’t really have jersey in a suitable colour so I used clashing stash fabric – it was all an experiment anyway!


Sewing jersey strips to the neckline and sleeves. Just stitch, turn under so all the jersey is on the inside, then top-stitch in place.

geek dress 3

The finished tunic!

I think I’ll make the Bess top or tunic for myself. It was an interesting sew, which spices things up a bit, and I think the finished shape will suit a lot of figures.

geek dress 1

Both dresses together on Spa bridge – it was a beautiful day but freezing cold!

geek dress 2

And my final convention photo is of a very cool and relaxed Batman enjoying a nice cup of Yorkshire tea!



21 thoughts on “Geeky dress and tunic

  1. Great fabric and it worked well with both designs. Love your face in Captain Kirks chair! Good to see Batman on the strong stuff. Looks like you all had a good weekend K xXx

    • Thanks Karen! We had a very silly weekend. When we went back to Captain Kirk’s chair the next day most of the buttons were missing so it wasn’t just me wrecking the place!

    • Could easily be arranged! I have patterns, you have a sewing machine and Wilkos has cheap duvet covers! Sewing session in your new craft room??

  2. I am in love with the fabric!!! You’ve given me an idea about a convention outfit now 🙂 There are a couple around us that I am interested in attending but I sometimes feel I might look odd if I don’t do the cosplay costumes! This is a great alternative 🙂

    • It was very clever of my MIL to come up with the idea! It was fun for Bethan and I to turn up in (nearly) matching outfits!

  3. You both look fabulous Corrine. You should definitely remake that tunic for Bethan (and you…and me?) In more everyday fabric. Reminds me of your PPD. In other news crafty friend was over on the weekend and couldn’t believe my fab oven gloves were home made.

    • Thanks Sacha! 🙂 I still have the PPD somewhere – it’s a size 12 so it is possible I could get into it. Will have to try it on! Thanks to me posting Instagram pics of the oven gloves I have an order for 2 more sets! I’m going to be busy…

  4. Hi, I’ve also been looking for appropriate tween sewing patterns. My granddaughter is turning 11. I made the “gathered skirt for all ages” from Purl Soho (free pattern); and I’m making the tunic from Simplicity 1704 and elastic waist shorts. This tunic is probably similar to the pattern you have. I’m curious if you have found any other good patterns.

    • I must admit that the tunic was the first garment I’ve ever made for my daughter so I’m afraid I don’t know of any other good patterns for girls of that age group. My daughter will not wear skirts or dresses so I’m a little limited! I will check out the pattern you mentioned though. Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

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