Sewing for Others: Lola Dress for Ella

My “to-make” list is a constantly growing behemoth. There are so many projects to try and so many techniques I want to learn. But honestly, there is not enough room in my closet (or my husband’s or daughter’s) for all of the garments that I want to make. And there aren’t enough days in the year to justify having all of that clothing!

So I’ve started reaching out to friends and offering to sew for them and their families. So far, this has been a wonderful experience. I learn a lot by sewing for a broader range of individuals and I get to make beautiful things for people that I love!

My Model: Ella

Ella is the daughter of one of my friends. She is a spunky girl who loves to run and play. She was my model for the pattern test of the new Lola Dress by Peek-a-Boo Patterns (link here).

Ella was a joy to sew for. She loved both dresses I created for her, but especially the floral print. When we took pictures, she would pose for the camera, energetically run to the next destination, and then wait patiently for me to catch up. As you can see in the pictures, her vibrancy brings these dresses to life.

The Pattern

The Lola Dress and Tunic is a simple dolman style garment. The details of the Lola are what make this pattern special. The cuffed sleeve with an optional button tab is a great accent. The hi-lo hem on the tunic and the shirttail hem on the dress are contemporary finishes that are easy to execute.

The simplicity of the dress makes for a quick project. I am not an especially fast seamstress, but I was able to complete the second version in one [long] evening! This included assembling the pattern, cutting out the fabric, sewing and finishing.

The Lola is definitely a beginner friendly pattern. There are very few seams, no separate sleeve pieces, and only one (required) button! The most complex parts of the pattern are applying the bias binding on the neckline and creating the keyhole closure. Luckily, the pattern includes a helpful photo tutorial that clearly illustrates process.


This pattern test had two versions, with version two featuring only a minor change to the keyhole closure. Gratefully, that meant that both versions ended up fitting Ella well.

For version one, I used a blue cotton chambray shirting with contrasting white neck binding, cuffs and waist tie. Button tabs on the cuffs complete the look.

For version two, I used a black rayon with floral border print. The rayon gives the tunic a beautiful drape. I wanted the border print to be the emphasis of the garment, so I omitted the waist tie and button tabs but kept the cuffed sleeve. To keep the cuff from unfolding when it’s worn, I tacked the cuff in two spots (top and bottom).

Notes & Tips

Minimal detailing on the front and back panels of the Lola dress means that this pattern accommodates prints very well. Scroll through the pictures on the pattern page (here) to see the other prints and patterns used by my fellow testers.

Shirttail hems look easy to do, but they can be a little fussy. I have found the easiest way to do them is with help from my serger. Start by serging the bottom edge all the way around. Then fold and press the serged edge up twice. Use plenty of steam to help ease the curves and avoid puckers. Then topstitch all the way around. The serger stitches give you something to hold onto when you are folding and pressing, and they end up completely enclosed.


The Lola Dress and Tunic is available on the Peek-a-Boo Patterns website in PDF format for $7.95. If you end up making one, let me know! I love to see the work of other people. Connect with me on Instagram @octavesofcolor or on Facebook at

Happy Sewing!



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  1. She is super cute in those styin’ boots and that dress. Love it! What size is she wearing? Is that pattern sizing true to ready to wear clothes?

    1. Thanks! She is wearing a size 7. I think that this pattern runs a little bit big compared to ready-to-wear clothes. Check the measurements closely on this one.

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