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Polka dot Moneta : #polkadotjanuary

Hello!  It’s almost the end of January and if I am to blog about what I’ve made in time for the two awesome January themes I’d better get cracking.  Today it is  my polka dot Moneta dress just in time for the Sewcialists’ Polka Dot January.  Tomorrow it shall be my contribution to Jungle January!  (Bad planning on my behalf – two blog posts on consecutive days, but hey.  So I am not a blog planner.)

Moneta dress

 

So what’s the story with this one?  I resisted such a long time getting the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns since I had the Lady Skater dress which is such an awesome pattern.  How could I justify it?  They seemed so similar, plus I knew that the Lady Skater fitted me out of the packet AND had plentiful sleeve options.  But I did like those purty collar / neckline options offered by the Moneta.  And I kept returning to ogle at them.  Also @naomimolly (on Instagram) has to be the most prolific Moneta maker ever beguiling me with dresses of beauty (& clearly practical comfort).

Moneta dress

 

So there was some kind of special discount offered by Colette Patterns last year & I jumped in for the digital download.  And then prevaricated some more as I have the most wonderful Liberty jersey that I feel is destined to become a Moneta, but clearly, I was not going to test sizing & fit on the length of jersey that had costed me the most I’d ever paid for a length of jersey.  Eventually this black & white polka dot, residing in my stash, volunteered itself.  It’s cheap & cheerful, although has more body that I expected so is actually quite warm to be wearing at this time of year (win!).  The polka dots are the kind that are “painted on”- almost literally it feels- resulting in the underside of the fabric looking like polka dot seersucker with its puckers.   Close up the white dots thinly cover the black background & look distinctly cheap.  From a distance less of an issue?!

Moneta dress

I remember trying to be smart printing out the pdf, but not realising that I had printed out the sleeveless bodiced version & had to hunt around for the longer sleeves that I required.  Such is the luck of the pdf experience.  I decided I would make the plainest longest sleeved version to see how it fit & how it works for then deciding on what options to take advantage of for the Liberty jersey.

Moneta dress

I expected a simple sew & I was not disappointed.  All on my overlocker apart from some of the hems (neck edge, sleeves and skirt hem) that I used my coverstitch for.

Interesting construction to note:  the neck edge in this version is just meant to be a turned edge.  (The Lady Skater has a separate neck band).  I was a little uneasy about this, concerned that it might gape or stretch, so I zig zagged some woven elastic around the wrong side of the neck edge before turning it over and coverstitching through all layers.  It certainly feels more robust, but even then, I could have got a slightly better tension as there is still some slight gaping which I would wish to avoid next time.

Moneta dress

Other interesting construction note: the skirt gathering.  Described as “shirring” in the pattern, you are meant to cut elastic (clear elastic) to a required length (I seem to remember it is based on your waist measurement) & then attach to the skirt like you would elastic to knickers (ie quartering, then stretching the elastic to fit in between whilst zig-zagging to the fabric).  This results in 1. a nicely gathered skirt and 2. a reinforced waist to stop sagging/ drooping.  I found my elastic was at its maximum stretch  when I was doing this, which was fun!

Moneta dress

I also put pockets in, as they come with the pattern, and are part of the design.  But I am not convinced by in seam pockets in knit skirts.  They are never quite as flat lying as I would like.  Next time I will miss them out I think.

Moneta dress

How does the Moneta compare then to the Lady Skater?  Have I wasted my money?  The differences I see, create the following distinctions – Lady Skater versus Moneta ballet dancer.

  • Both graceful scoop necks, although the Lady Skater has a neckband finish, whilst Moneta has a turned edge (not my favorite finish) but there are additional collars which are heavenly;
  • Sleeves – they both have different sleeve options – which are different to each other!  Lady Skater has long from wrist, 3/4 length and short.  Moneta has 3/4 length, short & sleeveless;
  • Skirts- the Lady Skater is a half circle skirt (I think) with no gathering.  Moneta is a gathered dirndl – with pockets.

I enjoy wearing both of them.  This Moneta is nice & warm (but then so is my Lady Skater as I made it out of sweater knit & it has long snugly sleeves).  You can see the fit of my Moneta doesn’t quite hit my waistline- something I could alter next time.  I would also consider a shorter skirt- I lazily turned up the hem allowance without trying it on 😉 But if I shorten the bodice, maybe I won’t need to.

Moneta dress

Lady Skater has more of a casual edge than the Moneta, which is just a tad more classically styled.  But then isn’t that what both Kitschy Koo and Colette Patterns are known for, respectively?  For me, the joy of a decent knit dress is the style, comfort & practicality, therefore I have room for both of these in my wardrobe.  Hurrah!  Now, when can I make my Liberty jersey up & just what neckline option shall I go for?  (I am veering towards the tie neck- surprise surprise).  If you want to see what my Liberty pattern is, it’s the same (but jersey) as Jane’s lining to her boiled wool coat , Kilburn Rose.

Oonapalooza! Edith blouse meets box pleated skirt in eye bending stripy florals!

“Betty Draper on acid”?  (to quote @angelfishcrafts on IG)

On acidLoL- I have totally played around with the filters of this pic!!  It really is on acid!

It started with the fabric, of course.  How could it not?  The fabric was pulled out with tremendous glee from a rummage bin in Abakhan fabrics, Manchester.  My fondness for visits to this shop & all the loot I have scored over the past few years has been well documented on this blog.  Most of my early visits did not even make it to the shop’s upstairs to the rolls of fabric in the more traditional fabric buying part of the shop, so much was there to investigate in the rummage bins.

edith in white with box pleated skirt
And this delight was too good to put back.  Now I have been on the hunt for some fabric with wide stripes to make a horizontally striped box pleated skirt, but have struggled to source something apparently so simple in two colours.  And I do believe that serendipity often plays a role & the reason I hadn’t found any two-tone wide striped fabric is because if I had, I may have not been so darned sure of what I would make when I encountered this wondrous fabric.

the fabric
Let’s have a tour of the fabric shall we?  Well, it is vibrant, indeed, with a safe navy background but plenty of cerise & wide stripes of varying sizes containing two different flavours of pink vintage roses- one of these on a turquoise stripe.   And in between?  Two different (but similar) stripes of what I feel should be described as scrolly lattice/ tracery type pattern – in pink of course.  Maybe there is a more succinct word?  There is also however what I think is a discordant stripe within it – it’s a gold scrolly stripe on a cream background right through the centre which I think looks out of place with the rest of the pattern.    I hid this stripe in the skirt by taking a canny seam, but I could not avoid it appearing slightly on the blouse back, despite careful pattern placement.

Edith buttons
With self cover buttons

So we’re onto pattern placement next aren’t we?  For the top I used Maria Denmark’s Edith blouse pattern (this is a dress & a blouse in one with grown on sleeves, front & back darts & a cute turn back collar with curves (oh & back shoulder darts too which I like a lot!).  I cut each front out separately anticipating the turquoise stripe being the strongest feature flanking each side of the buttoning up.

edith back

I also gave careful thought about what to centre on the back & as above, could not avoid a small amount of the gold stripe peeking in at one side.  I suppose I could have created a centre back seam…. But that didn’t occur to me at the time!   But I didn’t want to have to include an extra seam hiding the gold stripe in a blouse – I thought it would be a bit too clunky.  The collar was fun to plan –  what part of the pattern could appear on the lapel?  Bearing in mind the turquoise front, I thought the navy striped roses would make a good contrast, but use a different part of the pattern for the back collar.  I cut each front facing individually to make sure they were in balance.

Edith collar
The skirt was my own invention for box pleats – a straight piece of fabric, with a waistband.  As mentioned above I hid the offending gold coloured stripe then had to play around with which stripes I wanted to fall at the hem/ waist before knowing how deep to cut the skirt.  I needed to know the depth (or length) before I embarked upon setting the box pleats up.  I opted to keep the turquoise stripe at the hem, furthest away from the predominantly turquoise blouse front.

edith and box pleats

With all the navy at the top of the skirt, I did feel that the turquoise stripe would make the best waistband, but wanted the pattern to fall a particular way, with the edge of the stripe on the top of the waistband – ie the centre fold.

edith in white
I followed the instructions to sew the Edith blouse as this was my first.  This is a quick make – no sleeves to insert-  help with the time saving, clearly!  Some interesting design & construction details:  no arm facings or bindings – Maria instructs you to turn the seam allowance (pinked) to the inside, clip & hem.  I overlocked mine once I had clipped them, I didn’t pink)  And the side seams are sewn after the armholes have been hemmed.

edith

I have since made another (in white, shown in the photos) which I did my own thing- I sewed the side seams first then used bias binding to finish the armhole edges.  It’s just my preference & is probably a bit more time-consuming.    Apart from that I love this blouse I have to say.  The styling is delightful!  It is not only harking back to that glorious vintage look with nipped in waist & cute collar, but the capped/ grown on sleeves are sweetly nostalgic also.  I love curved collars and often take the sharp edges off collars I sew, so was really pleased to see that the curves had already been drawn in for me!  So lovely.

oonapalooza 2

I am a huge fan of this type of blouse as I think they can be worn tucked in our out & be dressed up for work or casualified (good word?!) for home with shorts/ jeans even.  I really want to make the dress & have two fabric contenders.  I have already made two of these blouses in a week – there is a high chance that I love the dress so much I make two of those too! ( The dress looks a great summer make – no waistband, but darts to nip in the waist enough to give shape but comfort.  Great for hot sultry days – if we have any more of those coming…)

Edith and box pleats 1
I’ve already written so much about this so far I will save writing about the white blouse for when I have another Edith to show you – whether it is another blouse or a dress!  As I need to give just a bit of info about the skirt.  Not much to say really.  I have discussed how I needed to work out length (for pattern placement) before setting the pleats.  To set the pleats I started in the centre with a box pleat meeting at that point, then every pleat I then made was reflected each side of the centre.  I kept measuring the width of the skirt, knowing what my destination waist measurement needed to be, & finished the pleating in relation to this.  There is just one seam – the centre back.  Which of course means no side seam pockets- so if you wanted pockets, you’d have to incorporate side seams into your design & pleating arrangements.

oonapalooza back

Lengthwise- I felt it could be longer than my usual to balance out the top when it gets worn together – those vertical stripes create the illusion of a long torso which would look even longer with a shorter skirt!

oonapalooza 3

I was always going to make this up as a two piece, once I realised I had far too much fabric for a skirt.  Thank heavens for the sewcialists’ #oonapalooza month as it brought making this combo forward.  As soon as I saw this July  theme, I reckoned this would be something rather colourful, eye bending & joyous.  Oh yes!  Would Oona be happy that I dedicate this outfit to her?  Fingers & eyes crossed…

oonapalooza
But then what’s happening on Ada Spragg’s blog?  There has also been a two-piece- set-acular launched & in a strange way, this fits that too! Not quite the chic elegant babe look that it was perhaps initiated with, but hey, it’s a two piece never the less!  And the benefits of a two piece?  Why, you can wear it as separates.  I am really enjoying wearing the skirt with the white Edith blouse for sure.  And it is early days, too early days having only just finished it this week, to have stories to tell about other wearing fun!