Stop the presses! I’ve sewn a dress in a knit fabric! Meet my first Colette Moneta.
Okay it’s not really that exciting, but hey, it’s my first knit dress so cut me some slack. I’m psyched! Though there’s one main issue with this dress that’s entirely my fault. It’s a bit too tight…I’m pretty much poured into this dress bodice (sleeves on the other hand are far too wide at the upper arm, and I’ll pick your brains for help on that in a minute).
I read the instructions that mention the pattern has negative ease because it’s meant for stretchy knit fabrics. Then the fabric I went and used was a not-very-stretchy jersey. Hello. I can read, and I know what negative ease means. Did I pay attention? Nope. I didn’t put two and two together until I was struggling to get my boobs past the waist, and then was staring at every seam and strap of my bra reflected in the bodice. Whooops! But hey, if Lauren doesn’t care, I’m not going to, either. And now I know that my favorite What Katie Did cone bra is really not at all smooth under a tight top. 😉
In the back there’s lots of bra strap action, and sometimes some horizontal wrinkles near the waist, judging by some different photos. I suspect a cardigan will often be worn with this. Of course I say that having worn it multiple days with no cover up. Take that, bra straps!
The fabric isn’t actually that stretched across my body, and the waist and bodice does stretch enough to get me in it, so it’s totally still wearable. So wear it I will, and often.
I’d love to sort out the baggy upper arms, though. You can see all the drag lines which wouldn’t bother me that much if there wasn’t nearly 3″ or more of excess fabric in the upper arm, where there’s only about 1/2″ of ease at the elbow! You can see it from both the front and back.
Any ideas on how I go about fixing this on the pattern? It might partially be a sloping shoulder issue (I got that idea from one of the fitting issues Shannon worked through in her Lady Skater fitting post, although the shoulder seams hit in exactly the right spot) causing the drag lines, and it’s possible I need to do a narrow shoulder adjustment (I sometimes need to), too. But there’s definitely way, way too much fabric for my upper arms that must be dealt with somehow. I feel like I need to perhaps take away some of the upper arm, sleeve cap and the upper bodice around the armhole.
I need to figure out how to modify the pattern so that all isn’t baggy. I’m all ears for good suggestions on where to start with changing the upper arm and sleeve cap shape on the pattern piece, and how to also reflect that in armhole changes on the front and back bodice. I’m kind of stumped!
On Moneta #2 (I know, already! I’ll have to blog that one soon), after finishing it, I just whittled off the sleeve and bodice side seam until it was a bit better (taking off about 2 1/4″ total at the widest point near the armhole seam), but I’d like to be able to transfer that to the pattern pieces since it’s definitely not a perfect solution, and I think it made the armscye a bit too tight anyway. I’m probably being overly anal about it, but I do think there’s some room for improvement, if I can figure it out. (Although hey even if I can’t, I’m still going to love and sew the hell out of this pattern.)
I made no changes at all when I sewed up this first version, sewing a straight size XS with three-quarter sleeves but omitting the pockets. I kept the original hemline to see if I liked it, and for reference I’m 5’2″ and it hits almost at the top of my knee when hemmed as instructed. I have a short torso and the waistline hits at the perfect spot right out of the envelope.
The only issue I had in construction was the gathered waistband. In the pattern, you use a length of clear elastic and stretch it while basting it to the skirt, which gathers it evenly. But I had such a hard time that after 4 tries I decided that method was for the birds and just gathered normally with two rows of basting stitches, then ran the elastic in (without stretching) when I sewed the waistband seam. Which was still all a pain, but it worked fine. For someone who loves gathered skirts, boy, I really hate gathering. Ha ha.
(You can just slightly see my stitches ‘grinning’ in the bodice side seam below, but it’s not due to being over-stretched—I just accidentally didn’t have my serger tension right and didn’t notice until later.)
By the way, omg this necklace, right?! It bought it from Idaho Reds on Etsy and she used vintage Chinese lantern charms. She has an adorable pink and blue version in her shop right now. I was just saying to someone how pink is underrepresented in my wardrobe—gah, now I’m tempting myself!
Wait, where we were? Oh yeah. Stupid happy face of a new knit dress addiction!
Bra lines and baggy upper arm issues aside, I absolutely love this dress. It’s exactly what I hoped it would be. It’s like Emery but in knit form. Meaning I instantly want to make two dozen more. And since the sleeve issue is really the only thing I’d like to fix, I figure I can try out a little something with each successive version until I (hopefully) nail it.
Pardon me while I go and sew about 50 more Monetas now!
And Happy Halloween a day in advance!