So… every so often you see a pattern you just fall in love at first sight with. And then, like any good girl with a crush, you Google stalk it relentlessly. The tiramisu was the greatest thing to flit across my screen since Kevin Costner in Prince of Thieves first stirred 16 year old me’s hormones.
Here was a dress that satisfied so many of my needs – the sort-of-empire-line to flatter us poor no-waisted ladies, fully (and easily) gradeable between bust and waist, and in a knit fabric, so I’d be able to transport it crease free on the back of my bicycle and finally be able to wear one of my pretty hand made dresses at work!
I wasn’t going to risk this relationship not working out so I diligently did my homework. I must have read every single blog review written by everyone who’s ever made it. I paid postage all the way to the UK from Australia because all the UK stockists had run out of the paper version of the pattern. I honed my sewing skills, making sure I had a few successful garments under my belt before I went for the big game. Oh and I hoarded 12m of different knits because I was that convinced I’d be making so many versions of this dress. (Hey I’ve seen how many moneta dresses some of you ladies out there have)
For my first flirtation with both the pattern and knits, I used a heavy teal ponte roma from my stash. I’d never been that keen on the colour so figured it wouldn’t matter if it all went horribly wrong, but it grew on me as the dress grew. The fabric had a wonderful stability to it and ended up feeling like a spirit guide gently introducing me to working with stretchy fabrics!
I’d pinned all my pattern pieces to cut out as I usually do, but it was a little challenging to slide them in and I noticed after that some of the pins had snagged tiny holes. I’d heard that might happen so happily had only put pins in the seam allowance, but decided that for my next attempt I’d have a go at cutting with pattern weights and a rotary cutter. I’ve never tried until now as I absolutely adore pinning (I know weird right? Don’t ask me why I just find it immensely therapeutic) and only have a tiny cutting mat but I would force myself. I couldn’t help wondering though how you went about sliding the mat underneath the fabric so you don’t cut the table…
Anyways, back to T1. I used wonder clips to piece everything together during construction and that was fine. I also dutifully changed to a ballpoint needle and the lightning stitch setting on my machine and both of those worked first time too, which was gratifying as while I’m happy to spend hours pinning in the prep phases, I don’t have the same patience for fiddling with machine settings!
I measured myself and decided I’d go with a B cup and a bit of ease in the waist. Big mistake! The bust seam line now sits just below the nipples instead of nicely under the full set of puppies and it was a tent! Thankfully the side seams are the last thing to sew on this dress so I took them in a full inch on either side to make it more fitted.
And somehow I got away with it because the finished object is pretty good! In fact, it’s in weekly rotation as part of my work wardrobe. In the summer I cycle to work every day so this will be really handy for throwing in my rucksack and not being screwed up when I get changed at work.
So that was a success with the fabric I didn’t really care about. Time to have a go with something I did love! Which was a much lighter weight much stretchier navy polka dot. I did give rotary cutting a try and found it a really accurate way of cutting knits. Also a really great way to scratch your table and I never could get the hang of shuffling the mat underneath the fabric to cut the next section without everything bunching up and losing your cutting line. So I found a much better solution of going and buying a much bigger cutting mat. Problem solved!
I retraced the pattern to use a bigger cup size and smaller waist size on T2 and that made for a much better fit. Plus really made me feel quite smug as neither of those are adjustments I normally have to worry about!
The lightweight fabric was much trickier to work with and I wouldn’t swear blind that a few seams didn’t get stretched out along the way … but I’m calling it another win and I just need to practice more with knits!