The pattern is the Tanja Dress by German pattern company Schnittchen. I have heard of them before, but haven't been particularly drawn to any of their patterns. And to be honest, I'm not enamoured of the version on the pattern cover, which I don't think looks great. However, as I said, Charlie's version is beautifully made and fits perfectly. I was sold, and from nowhere the pattern jumped the queue right to the front. If you are unfamiliar, it's a "fancy dress" (their words!), with a tulip skirt with pleats, and either a cap or long sleeve. It has waist darts at front and back.
It's designed to be made up in wovens; they recommend cotton or wool with some body, presumably to preserve the tulip shape of the skirt. But I couldn't shake the knit idea, specifically ponte. My plan was to make it in a woven first, but I didn't have anything seasonally appropriate in my stash. I did, however have quite a lot of this purple ponte, which I bought in Mandors last Feb.
My measurements put me at a size 36 on the bust and hips and 38 on the waist, but because the fabric has stretch I sized down to the smallest size the 34. The picture on the pattern looks pretty roomy at the waist, and I knew I'd prefer it a bit more fitted.
Thoughts on the pattern:
Well... it was OK. The instructions were brief to say the least. The pattern level suggests Easy+, but the instructions were half a page of A4 with no diagrams. There was mention of a sewalong/tutorial on the website, but no direct link and I couldn't find it. The instructions themselves were pretty straightforward, and the dress was very intuitive to put together, so I didn't really use them, but a beginner would really struggle.
I bought the pattern on PDF, although a printed version is available. The pattern pieces are full size, rather than half, which is nice, but I'm not sure I understand why it's necessary, particularly when I then had to trace, as they were overlaid. I'd rather have half pattern pieces and not have to trace. There were also a few printed blank pages, which always annoys me, as they are never truly blank and so it's just a waste of paper. Some of the pattern markings were different to what I am used to, but they were all explained.
The construction would have been fairly straightforward but I made a few stupid mistakes. The ponte shifted around a bit during cutting meaning my pleat marks were off on the front skirt. I then realised I'd cut my back skirt piece too large. There must have been a fold in the fabric when I cut out. I know cutting flat is meant to result in a more economical use of fabric, but when your clear bit of living room floor isn't wide enough to accommodate a 170cm wide fabric, it just becomes problematic! I had to do a fair bit of unpicking as a result, which, in a lightening zigzag stitch was not fun.
I changed a few things to accommodate the knit fabric. I omitted the hem facing and instead just turned once and hemmed with a twin needle. I also omitted the bias facing at the neck, and again just turned and twin needled. The sleeve hem were meant to be turned twice by 1cm, so I cut off the first 1cm to reduce bulk, and so it got the same turned once and twin needled treatment. I added clear elastic at the shoulders and waist to help support the weight of the fabric. Finally, I omitted the side zip, as I can get it on and off without. I used a lightening stretch stitch/twin needle throughout, and my walking foot on some bits. The edges were left raw.
The cap sleeves are really only half sleeves. I'm not sure if there is a technical term for this, but by that I mean that they don't fully enclose the arm. I find this difficult to explain so have a look at the techincal drawings above and the photo below. I have a RTW dress with sleeves like this which I love. My sleeve notches didn't match, but this could have been my markings - I didn't go back to check - so I used the shoulder seam one and ignored the others. The instructions had you finish the bottom half of the armscye with bias binding, but I opted to turn and twin needle. But this kind of presented a problem in that the top stitching was just going to kind of stop in the middle of nowhere. I chedked my RTW dress, but it has princess seams, so they top stitched to there. After a quick headscratch, I decided to continue the top stitching and curve it round to meet the top stitching on the sleeve hem. I'm quite pleased with it.
Thoughts on the dress:
I love it. Love love love love it! It has turned exactly as I envisioned in my head. I was concerned that it just might not work in a woven, particularly with the darts and pleats, but it does. Yes the darts could be a little sharper and the pleats a little more defined - the fabric doesn't press well - but actually I like the looseness of the pleats as they are. I'm really pleased with the finish. I took care to ensure my side seams matched and that the pleats were even. I love how the fabric hangs, I think it looks quite luxe, although it will be interesting to see how it washes and wears. I understand ponte is prone to pilling pretty badly.
|Nice view up my nose, but it's the only photo where I actually look like I love this dress!|
I'm in danger of rambling on forever about this, so I'll wrap this up now.