I lied. There was no love.
Every time I sewed with them, I would end up so frustrated that I would swear to never sew with them again... but I never learned.
And now? I decided to give knits another go with Colette's new Moneta Dress pattern, and I honestly can't get enough of them. They are so fast to sew, and so comfortable to wear!
There's a bit of a story behind this fabric, first of all. My friend, who is learning to sew, found an ad on Craigslist for a whole bunch of surplus fabric for sale by a fashion designer, so we went to check it out, and the prices were amazing! Her focus was on eco-friendly, ethical clothing, so nearly everything was natural and, from what I can tell, excellent quality.
This particular fabric is a bamboo jersey knit that we bought 4 metres of for $3 or $4 a metre. It's super soft, and not too flimsy like a lot of the bamboo you can buy. I only used about 1.8 metres of it for this dress, so you'll be seeing it again! Possibly as a Bronte Top?
This fabric was so easy to work with... I don't know what went wrong in the past when I've sewed with knits, but this sewed up beautifully. I used my serger for everything except the shirring at the waist and the hemming, and it went very smoothly.
The pattern itself is great. I made version 2, with the short sleeves, and added the tie collar that's part of the Moneta extras that you can download for free. I love the collar! It stops a solid colour dress from being too boring.
I sized down the upper bodice, but left the waist as-is, because I didn't want to size down the skirt pieces. What I didn't realize is that it wouldn't have mattered if I had sized down the waist, because the skirt is gathered. Oops!
This would have been a super fast make, if it had fit. The shoulders, not surprisingly, were too wide (they are on nearly everything), so I took them in a bit, but that was simple enough. The problem was the waist...
First of all, I attached the skirt, and realized that the waist was far too low. I cut off my serging, shortened the bodice by 1 1/4", and then tried again. By this point, though, the waist was huge! I ended up taking about 1 1/2" out of each side seam at the waist, tapering to the armhole and the bottom of the skirt. This meant that I lost the pockets, but I wasn't too worried about that. I thought that the pockets, in a knit, would be too stretchy to be useful, so I cut them in a woven instead. This might have worked, but the woven was an off-white, which looked pretty bad. I wasn't expecting them to be so visible! So, this version is without pockets, which is too bad, but not the end of the world.
Since I had to take so much out at the waist, the part right above the waist ended up being a little tighter than I might normally like it, but it's still comfortable and wearable.
I love the method of shirring with the clear elastic - it's so much faster than sewing gathering stitches and pulling! My machine, on the other hand, didn't like it. The thread kept breaking, and the tension would suddenly go way off. Then, when I serged the skirt to the bodice, most of the elastic came off anyways. I wanted the elastic there to stabilize the waistband, so I sewed some more on, although I'm not so sure that was a great idea. I don't like the clear elastic that I used very much... it's quite solid and makes the waistband a little scratchy. I used a different brand for my second dress (yes, I've already sewn a second), and I like it much better.
All in all, my gathering at the waist is pretty wonky (as is my seam matching under the arms) if you look closely enough, but I'm still really happy with how this dress turned out. I was particularly proud of my hems! I used Stitch Witchery to stabilize them, and sewed them on my mom's machine that has a walking foot, with a twin needle.
I originally lengthened the skirt by 2", but ended up taking off the extra length when I hemmed it. I prefer my skirts below the knee most of the time, but this just seemed like a fun, summery dress that needed a higher hemline.
Oh, andI can still layer over it! I was a little worried that the collar might make that difficult, but I have a few sweaters and cardigans that go over it well.
The collar can be double-knotted or single-knotted, and although I thought I liked single-knotted better, looking at these photos, I really like both! What do you think?
I also had fun planning and making notes about this project in my new 110 Creations notebook! I won this when Colette had a giveaway, so I thought it was appropriate to have a Colette dress as the first project in it! This notebook isn't the kind of thing I would go out and buy for myself, but I'm having fun with it nonetheless! (Plus, it did actually get sent to me, unlike the last prize I won online. They never responded to my email about how to claim the prize, even after I sent a second one a couple months later.)
And a side note... how do you pronounce "Moneta"? In my head, I was saying it "mon-AY-ta", but when I started saying it out loud, that sounded weird, so now I'm saying "mon-EE-ta", but that sound odd too. Is there a right way to say it?
Anyways, regardless of how it's pronounced, I absolutely love this dress! I feel like it will get a lot of wear this summer, and even into fall, if I make a half slip so it doesn't stick to my tights. It's super comfortable, and I started my second before I even cleaned up the fabric scraps around my sewing room. And, I don't know what I disliked so much about sewing knits before. Now, I can't wait to sew with more of them!
Has anyone else recently discovered (or rediscovered) the wonders of knits?
Dress: Me-made (Colette Moneta)