I've been thinking about how to describe Cottage Core so that there is a solid definition to follow, but I keep just coming down to vibes. This aesthetic is all about vibes and the way the clothes evoke a feeling, rather than a particular style element or design characteristic. In my mind, the style sort of floats between something you would see Alexis Rose from Schitt's Creek wear to a music festival and something you could imagine a young woman wearing on the plains in 1890.
As a whole, Cottage Core celebrates a simpler way of life and embraces the beauty of nature, which seems ideal for our April theme, the first of spring. The cottage core patterns we've chosen reflect the renewal and growth of spring as it kicks into full bloom, and they make us excited for the new season. They emphasize ease and movement so that you can go into spring with a wardrobe that feels effortless and timeless. And they're absolutely gorgeous too!
The fabrics we've chosen are serene and charming, with a muted, earth-toned color palette incorporating greens, pinks, and creams, and with natural patterns such as sweet florals, textured solids, and yarn-dyed fabrics. They feel fresh and bright, and will look stunning whether you're running through a field of wildflowers or walking through a parking lot.
So, without further ado, let's dig in!
Sew Essential Box: Ilma Smock Dress from Named Clothing
If you're not looking to go full Coachella with the Cottage Core theme, the Ilma Smock Dress is a great place to start. It seems that every new pattern release from Named Clothing could be used for this month's theme, but we fell for the easy construction and deceptively complex look of this top and dress. What looks like an intricately shirred top is actually just an easy-to-sew elastic channel that gives the same great effect!
At the bottom of the dress and top are curvy ruffles that add a softness and flair to the simple, boxy fit. The overall effect is fun and flirty and so comfy to wear. We imagine just how simple it will be to wake up, throw on this top or dress and walk out the door with a sense of airy ease (if making the top, we recommend the extra step of adding pants 😉)
To continue the floaty feeling of this pattern, we chose fabrics that are light and breezy, but not lacking for color. Cottons, rayons, and linens are the name of the game here, in meadow-ready hues.
Here they are!
- Sky Blue Washed Lawn - This pale blue washed lawn is about as light and airy as you can get. Like a little fabric cloud. The weave is simple, with a slightly crisp drape and voluminous flow - perfect for showing off the A-Line twirl of this dress and top. It's also thin enough to gather without bulk through the neckline and shoulders. And the color! Like a sunny sky on a cold day, it will put you in the mood for long, warm days spent outside. A dream of a fabric!
- Swirling Flora Blush Pink Rayon - When sorting through fabrics for this month, I never wavered on using this dynamic rayon. I HAD to use it. Between the light peachy pink and the deeper floral accents, the fabric has a sense of movement and painterly space that had me swooning. Combine the pattern with a silky soft hand of the rayon and luscious semi-fluid drape, and you have a knockout of a fabric for a truly gorgeous spring dress!
- Jade Vines Linen Chambray - Spring always makes me think of greens and pinks, and this linen chambray has both! The fabric itself is a linen rayon blend, similar to the viscose noil we like to feature, minus the nubbly texture. This combo creates a soft hand and supple drape that will work so well for the shape of this dress/top. Plus the botanical pattern - a blend of pink irises, red buds, and dark blue vines - is vibrant and fresh, just the vibes we want for the coming warm weather!
Sew Select Box: Nicks Top from Closet Core Patterns
When Closet Core released this pattern late last year, we were overjoyed. We had already been planning this theme, and it was the perfect pattern to show off everything we love about Cottage Core. Inspired by Stevie Nicks, the grand-dame of music festival chic, the pattern is bohemian, flowy, and effortless.
But it's the details of this pattern that really get us. The rouleau-style buttons are drool-worthy while the gently gathered yoke creates volume without bulk and the loose fit of the top drapes wonderfully. We are especially enamoured with the gathered sleeves on View C, but you'll have the choice of which style of top you want to make for your wardrobe.
For fabric, we wanted to accentuate the drape and sway of the pattern, so we went with soft tencels and luscious cottons, both of which will feel amazing to wear against your skin. In hazy, yet deeply saturated hues, these fabrics are already putting us in a spring mood.
Let's have a look!
- Teal Roses Cotton Lawn - We couldn't do a cottage core theme without some country calico florals, and we love the modern twist this teal color creates. Sweet and simple, the floral combines yellow tea roses with bright blue flowers and sage green leaves for an effect that is straight out of a country field of wildflowers. With a wonderfully light weight and loose drape, the fabric will work perfectly for both variations of this top for a bohemian, relaxed feel. We love it!
- Rosewood Textured Tencel - The muted, rosy pink of this fabric is just so delightfully soft! A sandwashed, textured tencel, the fabric has a wavy, striated feel that gives it a velvety hand and soft, effortless drape. The sandwashed finish creates a matte, sueded look, similar to silk. This solid color will show off the style lines and drape of these tops, and the tencel itself will feel amazing against your skin. All in a spring ready hue!
- Night Sunset Embroidered Cotton Gauze - You've probably sewn with double gauze, but discover the airy delights of a single gauze with this Atelier Brunette Cotton. Almost like a voile, but with a slight creped texture, this black cotton is dotted with glints of gold sunsets. The pattern is subtle and stunning, and adds interest to the lightly translucent fabric. With an heirloom feel and modern style, this fabric will transform into a stunning top you'll love to wear!
Sew Curvy Box: Davenport Dress from Friday Pattern Company
What I love about the Davenport Dress is that it absolutely hints toward Cottage Core without feeling costumey or overdone. In many ways, it's a simple blouson dress, with an elastic waist and loose fit bodice. But then add the shoulder flutter and a ruffled skirt hem and you have a flirty, charming look that can go from farmer's market to brunch to night of dancing with ease.
Did we mention that the dress also has pockets? And roomy, flowing sleeves? And a gathered neckline that eliminates the need for bust darts? All the details of the pattern add up to a simply exquisite dress that we can't wait to wear all spring long (and summer. . . and fall. . .).
With the fabric, we wanted to maintain the color palette with creams, greens, and sky blues. Cottons and rayons keep the dress light and airy, and we added a little bit of texture for good measure.
Let's dive in!
- Ivory Country Floral Cotton Lawn - When it comes to country florals, this fabric may be the platonic idea. A sweet cream background plays host to pink and yellow calico roses and light green leaves. It feels straight out of history and yet utterly timeless. The fabric itself is a lightweight cotton lawn with a dry hand and lightly crisp drape. It will both show off the gathers of the dress and have swishy drape through the skirt. A gorgeous, definitely cottage core-like, choice!
- Teal Dandelion Puffs Rayon Lawn - At first, we fell in love with the color of this teal rayon lawn, but it's the pattern that really got us. An unexpected print of dandelion buds blowing in the wind, it epitomizes the feeling of spring and nature that we're going for in these boxes. It's like you took a warm afternoon picnic and put it into a fabric! With a soft, cool drape and silky hand, this will transform into an amazing dress for spring and beyond!
- Denim Blue Swiss Dot - If you want just a hint of texture for your dress, look no further than swiss dot. Little bumps of thread dot this denim blue voile, and it creates a beautiful polka dot pattern that will accentuate the country feel of this dress. The fabric is wonderfully lightweight and soft, and will wear like a dream through the spring and beyond. A beautiful choice!
Sew Indulgent Box: Ibi Dress from Pauline Alice
You may not have seen much of the Ibi Dress on your instagram feed, but we like to think of it as a sleeper hit that will soon have its heyday. It's just so lovely! And with so many variations too! We think of it as a love child of other more familiar faves like the Hannah Dress from By Hand London, the Nick Dress from Closet Core Patterns, and the McCall's M7969, which I'm pretty sure may be Instagram's favorite sewing pattern.
Whether you're looking to create a strappy bodice, a loose wrap, or a tiered dream, this pattern has you covered. The overall shape of the dress, throughout the variations, is a loose dress with raglan sleeves and slight empire waist. But each variation adds its own unique flair and each one can be mixed and matched for a truly unique dress that only you can make. Talk about indulgence!
For fabric, we're leaned into the floral vibe of cottage core with calicos and wildflowers. But we also threw in a paneled cotton that we think could be used for a knockout patchwork dress that will look straight out of fashion magazines.
So without further ado, let's take a look!
- Primrose Cottage Floral Tencel - The brilliance of this fabric is the contrast of the country pink print with the silky weave of the Tencel. On the one hand, the fabric feels rustic and simple. On the other, it is modern, with sheen and drape. Cottage florals in orange and yellow create the pattern on this pale pink background for a look that is truly cottage core at its best. Feel right at home in a country meadow in the fantastic fabric and dress combo!
- Fleurs Magnifiques Ditsy Floral Cotton Lawn - Cotton lawn is always a great option for making wonderful dresses, and it works especially well for cottage core. The tightly woven fabric embraces the natural simplicity of the style while the silky smooth hand and light weight keep it fresh and flowing. Plus, doesn't the print - a calico floral made up of blue, white, and pink blooms - make you feel like you're walking through a meadow on a clear skied day? Eternal springtime in a fabric, and perfect fabric this month!
- Hopscotch Panel Print Indian Cotton - We're aiming for something a little different with this last option, a panel printed Indian Cotton. This fabric has several panels of different black and white geometric patterns - a bold black cross-check, a thin stripe, a square dot ikat - each one about 3/4 yd long. That makes for endless cutting possibilities for this tiered dress and it guarantees that it will a truly unique dress. You can mix and match the patterns with purpose on the ruffles or throw caution to the wind and see what happens with the final dress. A truly one of a kind option!
In our Tried and True boxes, we're bringing back one of our favorite boxes - Overalls! Still natural and simple, to reflect the cottage core theme, they are more workwear and less flowing, which may be just what you're going for this spring. They are definitely perfect for getting out into nature for some gardening or housework or just walking around.
And that's it for this month. Can you tell we can't wait until spring? As much as I love winter, I'm always looking forward to the return of color into the world. Bring on some early flowers and green grass buds!
Until next time. . .