Houndstooth and Distraction

I have a new dress to add to my stack of Washington dress hacks! This time a mash up of the Washington Dress from Cashmerette for the bodice and sleeves, the Moneta from Colette for the neckline, and a self drafted half circle skirt.

My husband was out of town, so I had my enthusiastic four year old take photos for me. It’s something she loves to do. “Do a pose mommy!”

The dress overall turned out pretty great. I love the fit, but oh that pattern placement. As I was cutting the fabric the dog was walking back and forth over it and the four year old was standing over my shoulder asking me for snacks. I did great at placing the pattern for the sleeves and top, but the skirt is off. Dang! I totally forgot to make sure the center fronts lined up.

Hello photo bomber!

The fabric is Ann Kelle Remix Knit from Robert Kaufman. It is a 100% cotton interlock. I’ve used this fabric a few times before and this is the most success I’ve had. Why? Well I took a step away from my serger and made the entire dress on my regular machine using something like a baseball stitch. It has become my go-to stitch for knits since I don’t have the lightning bolt option.

I really wish I could fix the pattern placement. I suppose I could, but the fabric doesn’t take to seam ripping very well. I’d ended up having to cut all the pieces apart and deal with having the lengths of the skirt and bodice be too short. So I think I’ll just leave it and try to take the misplacement as a reminder to slow down when I’m cutting. At least the fabric only cost me about $9 at M & L Fabrics and about 2 hours of my time.

And here is what it looks like at the end of the day. Stretched out for sure, but a run through the dryer will tighten the fabric back up for the next outing. And I at least have one more nice heavy weight knit dress for winter!

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Goldilocks and the 3 Monetas

Colette’s Moneta is an incredible popular knit dress pattern. It has a wide size range (33-54 inch bust), is simple to make, and a nice easy silhouette to wear. But I seem to be the one person in the blogiverse that was an utter failure at making this pattern.

Exhibit 1 – This dress is too big!

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Here I am in all my weekend mom glory. Comfy dress, Anna stickers from Frozen, and slippers because I was spending the afternoon sewing.

This was my first attempt at making Moneta and at first I really liked it. It is super comfy! But with time it has gotten saggy and frumpy looking. Based on the pattern envelope recommendations I made a L in the shoulders and graded out to an XL from the underarm down. Mistake! The sleeves have huge bags of extra fabric. The neckline is huge! The only part that worked was the waist.

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Oh my gosh, the back is just as bad. Look at how low the waist sits! The whole thing is huge. Thank goodness for cardigans to hide most of this when I wear it. Did I mention this was the length for 3/4 sleeves? WTF is that about? I do not understand patterns that mark elbow sleeves as 3/4 sleeves. Not the same pattern companies!

The fabric is a lovely interlock from Robert Kaufman that my friend gave to me, so I am sad this dress was such an utter failure.

Exhibit 2 – This dress is too small!

So then I regrouped and made another version in some Art Gallery jersey I had on hand.

Moneta 2 Front

This time I cut a large for the shoulders then graded to an XL at the waist. I also narrowed the neckline and swapped the sleeve for the pattern from Cashmerette’s Appleton Dress pattern.

Actually the dress looks okay from the front. Sleeves look a tiny bit tight, but not too bad. So let’s look at the back.

Moneta 2 Back

Eek! What the heck? Still too long in the back length of the bodice, but the worst part is my arms look like they are eating my sleeves. Sob! Another dress that looks okay with a cardigan, but I feel awkward wearing it on its own.

At this point I put the pattern in time out. Bad pattern! Bad sewist for not thinking the fit through!

Exhibit 3 – Goldilocks gets it right!

Well then last week while I was coming off the high of finishing a few well fitted dresses  I thought I’d pull out Moneta and see if I could hack it into something better. Plus I’d stocked up on some $3/yard bargain fabric so if the dress failed, I’d only wasted about $10 including tax.

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Bam! Success! The elusive 3/4 sleeve didn’t quite happen, but that’s a very easy fix next time. Beyond the sleeves I love everything about the fit.

So, how did I make it happen? Well I did it by drafting the Moneta neckline onto Cashmerette’s Washington Dress bodice. Then I used the Moneta skirt as is. The drafting took a little time, but now that its done I could make this pattern again in a snap. Plus doing a little math can be fun!

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The back turned out pretty perfectly too. It’s meant to be clingy, especially in this Robert Kaufman jersey, so I don’t mind the closer fit. At least its a dress I can wear without a cardigan and feel comfortable which seems like a huge achievement in getting used to my post two kids body.

In the end, I am starting to think that even with the extended sizing Colette’s patterns just don’t suit my shape. I’ve made 3 or 4 now and they have all been terrible flops even with careful measurement and fit tweaks. The problem is that most indie pattern companies design super casual clothes. So, anyone know of a pattern company designing slightly more professional dresses that go up to a size 16 or 18? Otherwise I fear I might be headed towards drafting my own, but I’ve always been better at modifying than drafting from scratch. Hmmmm, something to ponder.