Hello all! Last weekend as I write this was craft camp, which was a joy as usual. There were so many lovely people, good laughs, wonderful story sharing, and delicious food – which everyone so thoughtfully made sure was gluten free for me, which I appreciate more than I can say. Thank you so much to everyone. The only downside was that we all missed Janet, who couldn’t make it. It really wasn’t the same without you, Janet! I’m trying in general to be better about recording what I’ve made. Last craft camp I went to look up a pattern I’d made to check for adjustments, only to find that I’d blogged that I sewed it, and would blog the adjustments later. And then didn’t. Useless! It’s also more useful if I blog soon after making because I can still remember every little thing. I’ve split things up a bit to make them easier for me to find when I come back to look for them, instead of in one massive craft camp post (although this still got long because that’s how I roll). So! The knits!
The first day I sewed the solstice dress, and it was clear by the end of the day it was not perfect. So I decided to sew some knits to get some quick projects out of the way. So obviously I decided to do this by cutting out the flimsiest, drapiest knit. The fabric is a beautiful merino knit from the Fabric store. It’s so warm and lovely to handle and the colour is just gorgeous. It’s also made out of broken promises and fairy farts. Suse’s Elna which she lets me use at camp wasn’t having a bar of it. Julie very kindly let me use her modern Bernina while she sewed on buttons. Even then it was a real struggle, especially when it came to anything where I needed to stretch while sewing. As a result the band is… eh. And one sleeve is more puffed than the other. AND I hemmed the sleeves just slightly too short and I don’t think the fabric will stand unpicking.
Anyway, it’s a Bluegingerdoll Bonnie, view B but with the long sleeves. I wanted some cropped jumpers to wear over dresses at work, because the ones I have are all an inch too long if I wear anything at my true waist, and they ride up and annoy me. I initially bought the Seamwork Astoria pattern and taped it together, but I couldn’t find many examples on the internet yet so I wasn’t sure how it would look. Then Cookin’ and Craftin’s post about her Astoria also reminded me about Bonnie. I was worried that my thin fabric wouldn’t look good as an Astoria, but there are lots of thin, lovely Bonnies. I already had the pattern and I know the Violet dress works well for my body, so I went with that.
The pattern is lovely and simple and well put together. I didn’t particularly look at the instructions other than to glance at the construction order, via the diagrams, but they seemed as well organised and helpful as the ones in the Violet pattern. Which is to say, very. Fitting wise, this is a total mishmash. I cut a size 14 for the shoulders, and graded the armscye out to a size 20 for the front, 18 for the back. The front I graded down to 18 at the waist – so it’s a size 20 bust and a size 18 waist. The neck is a size 16, and the sleeve have a size 14 sleeve cap, size 20 everything else. It seems to have worked out very well for me! Although perhaps I could go a 16 at the shoulders, but then it does sit perfectly when my arms are at rest, as is. I feel very pleased that I am starting to get to know what fitting changes I need to make, right out of the packet. It sounds like a lot of changes, and I did write it down so I could refer to it while tracing, but it really is the easiest way ever to adjust things. I also cut the waistband at the sides, rather than a long band meeting in the back as the instructions say. I did this by accident the first time, by not paying attention to the instructions, but I repeated it the next time because I like having the side seams meet up, rather than side seams and then a back seam. Although maybe the instructions have you put it at a side seam. Did I mention that I didn’t read them? I SHOULD have graded the back seam up for my swayback, since it’s sitting right at the crucial point. I didn’t, though, and ‘compensated’ by getting huffy when it wasn’t working and sewing another wonky seam higher up, so it pulls even MORE.
I am planning to go back and use my walking foot to do a new band, and perhaps sleeve bands also. Because it is very nice and I would like to wear it but as it is I would not wear it out of the house. Objectively I don’t think it looks totally awful, but I still wouldn’t buy it in a store or anything. It’s too wonky and I wouldn’t feel put together. Although actually looking at these photos I wonder if it maybe IS totally awful. I’m not sure the light knit is working as a jumper/overshirt. I have more in other colours and I think it would work well as a long sleeved shirt to go under things, so I might try that later. The next one was in a black, fleecey-backed merino knit, also from the fabric store.
Which I like very very much. I avoided puffy sleeves by eyeballing it and cutting a little wedge out of the top of the sleeve cap. It worked out pretty well. I also cut the waistband in between the ‘self knit’ and ‘ribbing’ size. I think I probably have a wider waist than the pattern is designed for, it still sits snug but now it’s not tight or puckering where it meets the top. I can’t recall if I adjusted the back for my swayback but it does look like it. In between the two I made a moneta-mash. I finally caved and bought this even though I have similar patterns, like the lady skater. Or any other knit bodice that you could easily put a simple gathered skirt on. However, I wasn’t super happy with how the LS sits on my shoulders. The shoulders are too wide and want to fall off, and the neck sits too loose. I could do more fitting but I just bought Moneta to try first because every. Single. One I’ve ever seen has looked just amazing, and on a massively wide array of bodies. And I’m so glad I did because the bodice might be my platonic knit bodice. I only made minor adjustments on this one. Based on my measurements of high bust 41″, full bust 46″, waist 41″, I cut a size XL at the bust and L everything else, so, the bottom edge of the front armscye is XL, and front side seam starts as XL and ends at L. The back is cut as a straight L. And obviously I didn’t line it, because I had a fleecy backed knit and I wanted that against my skin.
It’s super nice to wear. So so snuggly. The sleeve and skirt hems are turned and zig-zagged because I didn’t have a twin needle, and I think zig zagging looks fine on a stable knit. On a floatier knit it gets wonky but it’s fine on this. I finished the neck with a ‘self-drafted’ band. That is, I cut it at about what I thought was the right length, and tested that it was tight enough before sewing it on and top stitching it. The sleeves are obviously the longer ‘3/4’ sleeves. These are NOT 3/4, yo. That’s not what that word means. I think next time I’d shorten them by 1/2″.
I also subbed out the skirt for a lady skater skirt. I’ve seen other people do this with great success (sorry I can’t find any examples right this minute! If you know of some please let me know in the comments) and I just felt that the gathered skirt was a bit casual/young for me. Maybe for a floaty summer dress. They don’t line up perfectly, the bodice is smaller than the skirt. I eyeballed it and cut the skirt longer at the top, but then of course it was too tight on my waist and the seam popped. Duh. I unpicked it and compromised, so it’s maybe an inch longer than the original skater pattern. Then I decided that the waist was too high, which made it too short and gave me a weird shape, so I unpicked it again and added a waistband, It’s actually the Bonnie waistband, cut in half horizontally. I probably could have left it, the knit has stretched out a bit and added some length, but I think it still would have been high enough to bother me. Next time I’ll just make the bodice two inches longer. And there will definitely BE a next time. I am in love with the look of this bodice. Between Bonnie and Moneta I think I have some go-to knit bodices. I need some long sleeved tops, I’ve noticed I’m not wearing my skirts because all my tops are summer weight. I’d really like to make a few of the full length Bonnies, and I think it would make a great basic tshirt pattern, too. Here are some bonus photos of me talking to S while he takes the garbage out/comments on my poses.