I feel like I say this a lot, but it was time to face my fears again. I was very aware that I was running out of time with my three month Sew Over It Stitch School subscription, and I had bought some gorgeous Ponte Roma fabric from Textile Express to complete the SOI Emma Dress using their handy online tutorial. The last knit experience was the Pineapple Jersey, and so this time, armed with my various needle types and sizes, I was determined to have a better experience with sewing this one.
Ponte roma might now be my new favourite fabric, not because this make went without any hitches (trust me, I’ve still not fully mastered pesky knits yet!) but because it’s so soft and silky and has a gorgeous drape for a heavier fabric. Cutting it was a breeze with no curling edges like the cotton Jersey, and it had a lovely amount of stretch.
I started with a Jersey needle at size 12/80, and was sewing with a zig zag again. The tutorial for the dress slightly conflicted with the written instructions as it told me on the tutorial video to use a longer stitch length. A lesson for my next one is to stitch with the shorter stitch length and width as I saw on a video by Melly Sews. I may have had a slightly better experience with a shorter stitch.
I did some trial stitches, and it seemed to be fairly smooth with the Jersey needle. I STILL did get some skipped stitches, and I tried switching between a same sized Ballpoint needle and the Jersey, but in the end I think I settled for the Jersey (I lost track in the end!) In hindsight, I wish I had tried to go up a size to a 14/90 in a Jersey or a Ballpoint, as I wonder if the Ponte was still just a little too heavy for a 12. I have some fabric left over, so I think I still might give that a go for my own sanity and peace of mind.
The pattern overall is my new favourite! Featuring princess seams, and pleats, plus a new skill to learn in the form of an invisible zip, it is a gorgeous fitting dress! I went with no graded sizing on this one and sized up from my usual dress size in the top, but I think I could have perhaps graded it in at the waist slightly due to the style of it. The next one I do I’ll give this a try.
Apart from the odd skipped stitch, which I managed to recover while taking my time and having a little patience (and changing needles/tactics a few times), I have a few more things to learn from this one:
- I don’t have an overlocker so I did second row of straight stitches on the seams close to the zig zags and then cut close to the second row. Because the fabric doesn’t curl on the edges, I think this worked quite well. I am now putting an overlocker on my Christmas list (attention Mark!)
- Concealed zips are actually not too daunting but again the video tutorial and pattern instructions let me down. When I later googled, I found a separate SOI tutorial video that was clearer in telling me I needed to put the teeth of the zip 1.5cm from the edge within the seam allowance. Because it wasn’t clear enough for me on the video or in the written guide, I ended up putting it too close to the edge which resulted in a not-so-concealed zip, but again, it’s something I’ve learned from and will do better on my next project.
- Patience is a virtue. Skipped stitches did happen, but trial and error with the needles made me take things steadier and not rush. If it was skipping, I gently back stitched to make sure I didn’t end up with any gaps in my stitching overall.
- The top of the zip proved tricky for me in terms of what to do with it to finish it. Again, I felt the instructions lacked slightly in how to finish the zip, probably not helped by the fact I had stitched it too close to the edge. Next time, I will think more about how I position it so that I can conceal the top with some nice hand stitching.
Overall, I think this dress is one I need to make again and soon. It will make a great Autumn outfit with some tights and boots. When I wore it, I opted for leggings (it was a bit of a cooler August day), but it is so comfy! I’ve spotted some nice olive green Ponte on a different website, so once I’ve worked my way through my final coupe of SOI projects, I’m moving back onto this one ready for my Autumn Winter wardrobe.