Having booked this last week off work, and not having much to do beyond pottering around the house and watching bad tv (Millionaire Matchmaker anyone?!), I thought I would fill my time with something productive. Knit fabrics seem to be the current trend around sewing, with Tilly releasing her Coco pattern, the Lady Skater doing the rounds and Colette Patterns going nuts for knits with two patterns and a whole book about the stuff coming out this spring. I’d heard knits can be a bit tricky, so I thought it’d be a good idea to try them out in the safe confines of a class – luckily the Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead was running a Colette Moneta class, led by Zoe of So Zo, What Do You Know. The Moneta is a cute, skater style dress and we were going to be doing version 2 or 3 (the one with sleeves as opposed to a fancy neckline). I lengthened my bodice by an inch so that the waistline would sit a bit better and went off on my merry way.
Now, the Village Haberdashery have some gorgeous fabrics (actually, they’re ALL gorgeous) but they’re a bit expensive, so I took a trip down to Goldhawk Road to see if I could get anything a bit more bargainous. I picked out a black cotton jersey with white polka dots, and at £4.50 a metre I thought I was quids in. Not so much. I should have known something was amiss when Zoe felt my fabric and asked if I liked a challenge… She said because it was so fine, the fabric would be a bit more difficult to sew with, and boy, was she right!
We stabilised the back shoulder seams with clear elastic (which was a faff in itself), but the fabric got caught in the feed dogs from the off and made a nice hole in it to boot. Turns out I needed to ease it through from the back as well as the front of the needle. I also needed a finer needle as it kept messing up the fabric. However, a finer needle means a finer eye, which snagged the thread so many times I lost count (but not my patience – well done me). All this meant that the first couple of steps were a bit stressful, and I have to say that my stabilised neckline is not my finest piece of sewing (it was also my first time using a twin needle).
It did get easier though – as we went through the steps I started to get the hang of it, and though there were a few slip ups, it started to become a bit easier. Sewing more of the clear elastic to gather the skirt was also a bit of a faff, especially as the needle wanted to chew it up. I have to say that Zoe was a star throughout – she was constantly cheerful, encouraging and best of all, patient.
After attaching the gathered skirt to the bodice, the only thing left to do was hem the sleeves and the skirt. More twin needle action. I took it really slowly to try and preserve the thread, but the stitching just wasn’t catching the raw edge, so I had to move my stitching in by about half a centimetre. This means my hem will look a bit wonky on close inspection, but since I used black thread, you wouldn’t be able to see it unless you were looking for it.
I am really quite pleased with the dress – it’s perfectly wearable for the summer and even quite cute, but my fabric choice played such a large part in my sewing experience that I think I’ll always look at this dress with a certain amount of pain. Next time (and there will be a next time), I’ll use a thicker, better quality fabric, that’s less slippy and easier to handle. It’s worth it for an easier life and in the meantime, we just won’t look at this one too closely.