I Made A Tent (or Why You Should Always Make A Toile)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast month I had a few days in my little house in Suffolk. The house is on the coast and at times it feels like there is really not much between it and Siberia. On the Monday we had a blizzard, not a huge amount of snow (5cm or so) but biting, strong winds and a temperature well below zero. I lit the fire, turned up the central heating and decided to make a dress.

The pattern I used was Vogue 8873; a new pattern for this season. On the surface V8873 looks like a million other patterns but it’s actually a bit different. For a start it has a lining! I know shock horror a dress with a lining, I always find it irritating when dress patterns don’t have instructions for making a lining; linings make dresses more comfortable and make them hang so much better. Secondly, the front is slightly unusual in that it has a fitted bodice with two pairs of darts and a square neck and then has an over bodice which has the cowl. This adds a level of practicality and modesty that cowl neck dresses sometimes lack. The main bodice itself is quite attractive and would probably look good without the over bodice. I did however wonder whether it was necessary to put in four darts that would never be seen, a couple of darts to give the necessary fitment would possibly have been sufficient.

The fabric I used is a Roma jersey from Fabric Godmother, it’s the same as I used for my grey Burda dress. Now I must admit to a confession here, I’m never really sure what a ponte is and what the difference is between pontes and some of the thicker, double jerseys you can buy. I’ve also not seen the word ponte used in fabric shops in the UK, is this because it’s not a term used here or is it just that I have been visiting the wrong fabric shops? The pattern back called for a woven or a ponte and as this jersey is so thick and doesn’t have a huge amount of stretch I assumed it would be suitable.

Stupidly, I didn’t make up a toile. I’ve made a couple of Vogue patterns before and they’ve fit me reasonably well with only minor tweakings which could be made on the final dress, so I thought it would be the same with this one. Unfortunately this proved to be a mistake. The “close” fitting bodice has 10cm of ease built into it! This seems excessive even if the dress were made out of a woven fabric, as I am using a jersey (albeit a very thick jersey) the dress swamps me.

Fixing it will mean unpicking everything! I think I can get the bodice to fit by converting the darts on the front to princess seams, taking out more on the back darts and reducing the width of the over bodice at each side. I will also need to adjust the skirt but I can do that through the back darts and side seams. The sleeves are also too wide and will need taking in a bit.

All this makes me feel very despondent, it will be a nice dress but at the moment I don’t have the will power to start the unpicking.


16 thoughts on “I Made A Tent (or Why You Should Always Make A Toile)

  1. Argh! I think the style’s great but how frustrating about the sizing.

    I don’t know what a ponte is either. I googled it and the description sounds just like double knit to me.

  2. Oh, what a shame. Wish you a speedy recovery!

    As for ponte: no, me neither. And neither do I know what batiste is. You can learn a lot from the internet but there’s no substitute for feeling the fabric between your fingers!

  3. I really like this dress, and I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you! It may not fit a closely as it should, but perhaps the long length is making you dislike it, too? As for fabric terminology, I think you’re correct: ponte is similar in weight and weave to a double-knit and batiste is similar to a Liberty tana lawn fabric. Good luck with your dress! It will be worth the unpicking in the end. The colour is beautiful!

    • Thank you. Actually the length is another thing to watch out on this pattern. It comes with two lengths, the short is very short and the long a bit too long – I haven’t taken up the hem on the dress in the picture, had I done so it would only be 3cm shorter. I cut for the longer length as I wanted somewhere inbetween and I thought it would be easier to just take the hem up than fiddle around with the pattern and get the length wrong.

  4. Oh my 10cm ease! Crazy…. though I do like the style so I do hope you unpick it…. I bought some wool blend ponte and its a lovely stable think double knit with not much stretch. I have yet to use it ….

  5. Pingback: Ponte knits | Jane's Sew & Tell

  6. Looking at you wearing it, it doesn’t actually look that much too big but I guess it’s personal preference how tight you want it. I totally agree on the lengths. The short is a bit too short and the long is a silly length. It’s just not normal to have a dress like this at that length as it looks a little school ma’am and makes one’s legs look too big. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just make it knee length like every other dress of this kind. Your review has helped me heaps! Feel free to drop by my WordPress and I’ll post a photo once I’m done. Thanks 🙂 Clo

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