It was a beautiful day for photographs. Sadly my photographer was too distracted by the cats playing in the garden to notice things like skirts hoiking up or the lines of my top showing through, or that he might be taking pictures from an unflattering angle. But my other photographer, who is generally more engaged with the process, was still at school.
So, the dress. The jury is still out on this one. I kinda like it, but it is not exactly the most flattering thing I have ever worn.
I bought the fabric, a great quality Ponte jersey from Minerva Crafts, before Christmas, when it seemed that half the world’s sewing bloggers had discovered ponte knit (and Rachel from House of Pinheiro had used it for a Dakota) and were all raving about how great it is to work with. Which I can only agree with. It is stable, so it stays on grain and is easy to cut and sew without it shifting and it does not fray, so I did not feel the need to do ANY kind of seam finish (yay for the lazy sewer).
Talking of lazy, I chose not to add pockets or plackets. The pocket decision was because I did not love the look of a patch pocket in a fairly thick fabric, but the sleeve plackets / cuffs was purely a time saver. I finished the hems with a twin needle and trimmed the fabric close to the stitching – the fabric was too bulky to turn twice and I tried a bias edge, but it did not want to follow the curve of the hem.
I purchased the fabric in this colour because it was on offer rather than it being my first choice of colour. Now that I know what it is like to sew with I am more likely to splurge on some full priced ponte for future projects.
The pattern did go together well. The shawl collar was quite straightforward, the sleeves went in with no drama (probably aided by the stretch in the fabric) and the instructions were easy to follow (when I bothered to look at them).
I did spend a lot of time seam ripper in hand on this one and ponte is a swine to unpick, as the stitches sink slightly into the fabric. The fault was all my own, though – at one point I sewed the front of the skirt to the back the wrong way round, so half the seams were on the outside. Once I had dealt with that issue and then sewn the skirt to the bodice I realised that I had sewn all of the skirt pieces together in the wrong order. It is an 8 gored skirt and I had the front and back side pieces in the middle and the centre pieces at the sides, making the sides longer than the front (not sure why I had decided that was how it should be – it was only when I looked at the line drawing I realised my mistake). I did nearly leave it that way, as I quite liked the look, but thought better of it.
The only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen the bodice by about an inch and the skirt by about an inch and a half, which I did using the technical method of eyeballing it as I cut it out.
It is meant to be loose fitting – there are no fastenings, so you need to be able to get that waist seam past something wider to get it on – so I do think it needs a belt, but pulling the waist in with a belt also makes the fabric bunch at the front a bit and then in hangs oddly… or maybe it is my lumps and bumps getting in the way.
Overall verdict is that I like the dress enough to wear it, but if I were to make this pattern again I would use a flowier fabric. And read the instructions.