This dress is a combination of a well-loved pattern of mine: the Renfrew top from Sewaholic, and a new-to-me pattern from Colette: the Moneta Dress. The lovely Teresa (whose squirrel print dress I am dying to steal omg) lent me the Moneta pattern. Thanks Teresa!
And the two patterns live together in perfect harmony! I’m so happy!
So what is it called? The Reneta? Monfrew? Haha.
You may have seen my experiments in the past with the Renfrew pattern, modding it in many different ways. I even compiled a list of mine and others’ modifications! I’m quite surprised it’s taken me this long to make it into a dress, but I’m very pleased with the result!
To make the bodice, I just cut the bottom of the Renfrew pattern pieces off at a little longer than the waist (always cut it a bit longer than you think you’ll need! And it turns out I did need it, as it turns out my waist fell below the waist shaping on the pattern, so I needed that extra length!).
I put on my Renfrew bodice and used some elastic around my waist to find my natural waist. I then marked it on the fabric with pins, and trimmed it to a normal seam allowance. Now I’ve marked it on my pattern, I know I have a reliable waistline for next time.
I also had to take it in quite a bit at the waist to get it sitting nice and close to my body.
Now, why didn’t I just use the Moneta bodice, you ask? Well, I already know that I have got Renfrew fitting me just fine and I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. After all, Colette is drafted for a larger cup size than me, so why open that can of worms? Also, I’ve already drafted my boatneck for the Renfrew which I really wanted to use on a dress! The Moneta neckline is more scooped.
For the Moneta skirt, I used the size M skirt, and since it’s gathered, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t match my bodice perfectly. I loved the fact that it has pockets, they are such an awesome feature to have, and don’t create bulk! They just hide sneakily in the gathers. Yay pockets! The other fantastic thing about the Moneta dress is the way the waistline is gathered. Well, they call it shirred, because it’s done with elastic. It’s way better than stitching lines of gathering stitches and pulling them to fit! It’s so fast! My gathering is not fully even, but I’ll do better next time now I know what I’m doing!
Being a bit of a nerd about it, I made paper pattern pieces to use as elastic cutting guides for next time. And I’m sure there will be a next time. I need to look out for a knit fabric sale…. 🙂
I think Colette Patterns have done a great job of creating a pattern that is accessible for beginners and actually uses MODERN instructions and techniques for knits.
The sleeves are set in flat, which I approve of! It even has 1cm seam allowances which I think is good for a knit! I do still stand by 1.5cm seam allowances for wovens, for the fitting and fraying insurance they give.
Since I have 1.5cm seam allowances on my Renfrew pattern, I just graded out to 1cm seam allowances after the waist.
My experience with this McCalls knit pattern showed me that there are a lot of terrible and dated knit instructions out there, so well done, Colette!
I will say there was one thing I changed: I chose to sew the side seams last. This makes it easier to take in at the waist if necessary.
The only issue I had was that my pocket notches didn’t quite line up with the skirt notches. I’ll have to check my pattern, I probably did something wrong!
I got this cotton knit fabric from Girl Charlee, whose knits I really like. I always complain about how you can’t find cute knits in New Zealand. It’s so sad! What’s even more sad is how outrageous the shipping is from Girl Charlee to New Zealand. I can’t bear it, so no more cute knits for me… *sniffle*
I wasn’t sure the polka dots would look great, but I think they work! I just thought that they needed a little breaking up, so that’s why I created a waist tie. I like the idea of wearing it with a regular belt too, I just don’t have a white one (yet!). Something about breaking up the busy print just really helps the look. Also, the dots don’t match on the side seams. Meh! They kinda do in some places… I’m not bothered. I just didn’t even remember it while I was cutting!
I think this would be a great Summer dress, but I had to pair it with tights as it’s getting pretty cold here. I had a go at styling it with my Blackberry Cardigan and Beret. Burgundy and magenta, yum!
I kinda feel like I’m cheating when I sew with knits… They’re just so easy! No seam-finishing, easy to fit… I’m grateful for Colette Patterns and Sewaholic for giving me the gift of lovely casual garments. Thank you!! You can check out more here on my blog 🙂