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!
Moneta dress: made by me
necklace (with vintage Chinese lantern charms!): Idaho Reds
Bakelite bangles: misc.
Bakelite earrings: misc.
shoes: Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals
You’re going to town with knits! I have no advice on pattern mods, because I have such limited experience with knit patterns and fabrics, but I’m sure somebody out there will be able to help straighten things out. I’m glad you’re still able to wear this. The color is beautiful and looks especially lovely with your red locks. And, that necklace is SUPER cute!
Thanks Michelle! I think now that I’m not as fearful I’m super excited that knit projects go relatively fast, so more time for actual knitting, too. 😉 Thanks on the color, I really love it!
Love this! The blue really makes your bakelite accessories pop 🙂
Thanks, Emily! I’m definitely going to have to wear that necklace with the dress a lot! 😉
I had the exact same sleeve issue with the Moneta! I tried modifying the sleeve by shaving a little bit off the back of the sleeve cap, but as you can see in the pictures here, it helped a bit but not much:
After those photos were taken, I pinned out a LOT of excess from the underarm seam, and it looks a ton better now. I didn’t make the armscye any smaller, and there’s still a little fold of fabric there — but it’s a big improvement.
So, basically, I’m exactly where you are on the problem. If you find the perfect solution, please do post.
Sorry you’re having the same trouble but at least we’re in the boat together! I’ll definitely post more about it if/when I get it sorted out. I may just try a little something on each next version to see. I don’t want to try out too many things at once otherwise I won’t know what did the trick.
However, I did find this tutorial on Miss Make and while it’s for the sleeveless version, I suspect it might help, if I can figure out how to make the corresponding changes to the sleeve, too:
I had a lot of issues trying to baste in the clear elastic using my sewing machine. After much swearing and unpicking, I used my serger instead. I cut the elastic to the size of the bodice, marked the quarter points on the top edge of the skirt pieces and on the elastic, then pinned the points together. I ran the skirt pieces through my serger, stretching the elastic to size as I went (and carefully removing the pins to avoid a broken serger blade disaster!), just running the edge of the fabric and elastic against the blade so nothing was trimmed off. The fabric gathered evenly first time!
Nice! Yeah, I just absolutely couldn’t get it to baste with my sewing machine to save my life. It was kind of a comedy of errors. One of the times the needle even came unthreaded before I noticed “WTF is going on here?!” 😉
Nina Keilin says
Hi, Tasha: Wow, I am replying to this years late. I decided to make this pattern today, and I made a test version. I had never done clear elastic before. What a pain!!! I think there are too many gathers. I am going to rip it out and cut the skirt waistline a bit smaller.
I have that issue with the underarms of my Monetta too, and I see it in almost every other version! I think it’s just drafted too big right at the top of the bodice at the arm, which you can see when you compare it to the Lady Skater. So I just folded a little wedge out of pattern bodice, then a little wedge out of the top of the sleeve piece.
I’ve be staring at Monetas and Lady Skaters for a few days, since I plan to make Lady Skater next and I’m curious how they’ll compare on me. The wedge you folded out on the bodice and the sleeve cap– do you mean like a horizontal wedge? Or different on both? I’m trying to envision what you did.
When you wear the dress, you should see that you can make it look better by taking a pinch out of underarm area, right below the arm. I did that, and then tried to match that on the pattern.
I folded out a wedge on the bodice on both front sides, starting right under the arm and going about an inch wide, then tapered it to stop right near the bust point at the bodice side. If you lay the Lady Skater bodice on top of the Monetta, you might be able to see that. Then, I just kind of eye-balled the sleeve the same way, a wedge from the underarm on each side (and once I just completely just sewed it without making a cut change, that worked too, I just trimmed it a bit). Also, I find if you line the Monetta, that helps with the bagging a lot, I guess because it’s a tiny bit smaller.
Sew the Lady Skater! I can make one of those faster than I can do a load of laundry, so guess how many of those I have made. It’s getting bad. WIth the skater, I find it almost perfect, except that the bodice seems a bit low on people (which they usually fix by wearing a belt). I just raised mine an inch and a half and love it.
Nina Keilin says
I’m have been holding on to the Lady Skater for a while too. That will be my next one.
Alyson Clair says
If you are good with the shape of the armhole, remove the extra fabric from the interior seam of the sleeve. Start about 1/2″ down from the point of your armhole seam as a 0/0 point, and then your sleeve opening (if happy with that) to the other 0/0 point. Don’t be afraid to curve the line! It’s something I do often when patterning knits. 🙂
Thanks so much, Alyson! I’ll definitely play around with this for a future version! Can’t wait to make an armload more! 🙂
Brittany Cole says
Hey! I have the same problem with just about every pattern. You need to do a sleeve cap height adjustment to make the height taller. This will help get rid of the wierd diagonal wrinkles and will also slightly decrease the sleeve circumference. If you have the book “every sewers guide to perfect fit,” it shows this alteration beautifully on page 66. If your arms are very slender you might have to do some additional narrowing of the sleeve. Hope this helps!
Interesting! In my investigating, I’ve read about sleeve cap height as a possible solution for drag lines. I’ll look into that book for sure.
Stunning, and so you! I just love it. I can’t wait until you eventually redraft the bodice for a kimono sleeve and share the alt with us all. (um HINT HINT).
Ha ha! That does sound like something I would do doesn’t it?! 😉
cute! nice work! I want to try working with knits too
It’s definitely nowhere near as scary as I thought!
You rock that dress (and the bra lines- seriously, who cares? everyone knows girls wear bras, no secret there)! I loooooooove the color too. It goes so well with your complexion and hair color. Can’t wait to see Moneta #2. 😉
Really good point about the bra! And thanks, I love this color! 😀
Ooh great job on your first sewn knit dress! Yeah it’s a bit of a tight one but still totally wearable. 😀
I’m having a hard time seeing if the armscye is too low or wide in the bodice, but if that’s the case then you can reduce in the sleeve & bodice together. If it’s just the sleeve, you may need to reduce the width of the bicep and add length to the cap to make sure it all fits together again.
I’ve been known to use my “fav sleeve pattern” for various blouses with no issues whatsoever.
I found this sewer’s blog that may or may not help you: https://infectiousstitches.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/ufo-busting-knipmode-dress-turns-into-lady-skater-dress/
Can’t wait to see your next version, Tasha. 😀 Congrats on tackling knits.
Thanks, Liz! I’m not sure about the armhole yet since I didn’t try the bodice on without the sleeves in. I should try to baste a sample together to really see. I suspect there might be some gaping or that it’s too wide around the armhole since I do have narrow shoulders, but not sure. I saw the blog post you linked but I’m not sure from her photo and description what exactly she did other than the small vertical tuck I can see. I’m also going to get the Renfrew pattern as it looks to have tighter sleeves overall, and do a comparison with Lady Skater, too. Eventually I’ll get a sleeve I’m happier with!
Lovely colour on you. Sewing with knits is a bit scary at first but you’ve done a great job with this dress. Cute bangles and necklace.
Thanks! It’s much less scary now that I’ve done it a few times, though I definitely still have things to learn!
bonita vear says
My hero! You’ve gone and done it! Can’t wait to see how further versions on this turn out, or the different patterns you’ll try. It’s all so exciting! That dress looks totally cute as well as cozy and comfortable. Well done. 😀
bonita of Lavender & Twill
Oh that color is just amazing!! It makes your accessories pop!!
I’m really excited to see your other versions of this pattern, and all the little pattern hacks I’m sure you’ll implement on them.
Ha! I had to look twice but this was the pattern we used for my daughters bridesmaid dresses. We gave them a lace overlay. I never noticed a problem with the sleeves but wondering if it’s because we used lace instead? Less bulk? Although knit fabrics aren’t that bulky. Hmmmm.
Pink Haired Princess says
Ha, there will be no stopping you now with the knits! Golly, I do that boob thing at the waist of almost every dress I own (I always figure if I can get a dress on with the zip closed, then it’ll be easier to get off because I can open the zip), so it gets to my chest and I’m like ‘do I try one boob past the waist at a time or just give up and get it off?’! Of course then it gets stuck and I can’t move it up or down and spend the next half hour with my head and shoulder stuck in a dress and otherwise naked! Anyway, it’s a great colour and that necklace is so cute!
I’m so glad this isn’t only happening to me! I’m attempting the Moneta as a first go at knits and was so diheartened in trying on the bodice to have all this extra arm fabric. This post and all the comments have been very helpful. Great color choice on your version!