petrol green knit dress

Here is the sibling of the midnight blue ponte dress!

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Fabric: A fine cotton stretch rib from Stoff&Stil, in a heathered petrol green color.
Pattern: Dress #23099 from Stoff&Stil, bought in size 36 but probably closer to size 34 now after all the alterations.
Techniques: Sewing with knits, overlocking, twin needle stitching.

Same pattern as last time, with a few changes. For some (now forgotten) reason I thought the sleeves were too long on the midnight blue version, so I shortened the sleeves on this. I actually like the longer version better, now that I’ve used these dresses for a while. I skipped the zippered pockets, but added a back zip to the bodice since I felt like the fabric was maybe less stretchy. I can still pull the dress on without using the zipper, so it really isn’t needed! Most noticeably I added a front seam and a v-shaped neckline, modelled on a favorite RTW knit dress.

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Since there were seams both on the front and the back, I decided to shape the center front and center back by curving in 3/8″ or so, to avoid gaping.  In a sense that works the same way as adding a dart, I just built it into the seam instead. So in the front the fabric curves in over the bust, and in the back the top of the zipper lays flat against my back. Our bodies are curved there – we don’t have to look like Quasimodo to benefit from a back shoulder dart! The fit adjustments from the previous dress have worked out quite beautifully. I’ve made no alterations on this one – it is just cut and sewn. I’ve already trimmed off an additional 1/2″ of the pattern on the bodice back length, but looking at the dress now, that extra half inch of length could be from the zipper stretching debacle more than a pattern alteration need. The waist seam does sit a little lower in the back than the front, but the skirt length is totally even. Which means, future self, if you make this dress again you need to add length to the top of the skirt back pattern piece. Yes.

Oh, and the zipper debacle? Yeah. I did not hand baste or even pin the zipper to the back bodice before sewing. You might be able to guess where this is heading. I stretched the shit out of the back bodice, and after sewing the zipper to both back pieces, it looked like I had a dinosaur back – like Stegosaurus-type. Not a good look. I unpicked and repinned and did it again and it looked weird flat, but worked out beautifully in the end, and the lesson is this – measure the zipper against the *pattern piece*, and pin to the fabric based on that.

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Look how nice and neat the narrow facing for the neckline looks on the inside! Yey. I cut  a 1 1/8″ strip in the shape of the necklines, and serged the exposed outer edge before sewing the facing to the dress. On the previous dress I serged the two layers together, but I thought it got a little bulky so I did a regular seam here. I also understitched the facing before topstitching it down, because… well, it looks pretty! My overlocker had black thread in it from the previous dress, and I was really contemplating just leaving it in there, but in the end I spent the 5 minutes rethreading and I’m very glad I did. See how beautiful the matching thread is! Just lovely!

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The back of the armhole looks a little wonky to me, like there is too much fabric there. I think I might take out a wedge from the armhole edge to the center back line, to reduce some length (or height?) in the armhole. The sleevecap would then need to be reduced, and it does look a little tall to me anyways. Oh, and I made a silly user error with the pleats. Having sewn something twice in two weeks you get a little cocky maybe, and I  misinterpreted the notches, and made single pleats instead of double pleats in the skirt. I don’t mind too much – it just makes the dresses a little less identical, but in the back the single pleat is a little boxy and slightly unflattering. Not a big enough thing to bother fixing though.

I am seriously looking to buy lots of similar weight courtelle jersey, ponte-knit, double knit wool, whatever I can find, and just make a ton of dresses based on this pattern. I might not do anymore of this cotton rib, since it’s less weighty than the ponte, and more “sticky”. I could just use a slip, but I do like simple fabrics that just… work. I would like to do a plain skirt next, maybe with a slit in the back for walking ease. There are just so many variations I could make now that I have the basic fit nailed! Feel free to offer some suggestions – what variation of this dress would you make?

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6 thoughts on “petrol green knit dress”

  1. This is such a winner! I love the colour, the neckline, the way the dress hits you at the waist, everything! I have never tried doing a knit v-neck with this facing technique, but I’d like to give it a try. THanks for explaining how you did it!

    1. Aw, thanks Gillian – I think it’s a winner too! I found the v-neck shaping really flattering on my other dress, and on this one too, and the middle seam just allows a bit more shaping! I’m glad my description makes sense, and if it stops making sense – feel free to email me!

  2. It definitely looks like the type of dress of which you could use a dozen. I really like the colour and the back zipper on this one! The middle dart shaping sounds like a very smart technique, especially with a v-neck like this. I’ll have to keep it in mind!

    1. Thank you Alessa! It feels good when I pull it on (I’ve actually kind of stopped using the zipper – the fabric has enough stretch). The middle dart is an idea I got from a beautiful purple dress that Idina Menzel wore on Glee , where all the shaping happened along the middle seam. I’ve been wanting to copy that ever since, just haven’t found the right purple fabric! In the meanwhile though, I get to practice. ;)

  3. Ooh this is so lovely! I don’t mean to copy but honestly, it’s so perfect for an occasion I’m going to soon. Would you know by any chance if this is still available and where it’s from?

    1. Oh, copy away, that’s only flattering! :) The fabric and pattern are both from stoffogstil.no, I saw the pattern on their website just yesterday. I’ve made some tweaks (beyond fitting changes) to the pattern to get this look though – like the added seam down centre front, the reshaped neckline, and the single pleats in the skirt. I used a pure cotton jersey fabric, but that faded quickly and badly around the seams so I’d actually suggest some poly content in the fabric. Good luck – do share your dress if you make it! :)

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