Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

My Christmas dress!

This dress wasn’t intended to be a Christmas dress. Not even a little bit. But there’s something about it that just shouts wintery cheer to me!

This make is a hack/ redesign of the Colette patterns Moneta dress. I’ve made the Moneta a couple of times already and it’s definitely been added to my TNT list of patterns!

I did however what to make a few tweaks to the fit of the bodice this time around particularly to get rid of the wrinkles around the front of the armscye. After a long time playing around with the dress and using this guide on fitting knits, I figured out that there was some excess fabric in the armhole i.e. where a bust dart should have been. I took out half an inch here which was enough to solve the problem.

I also decided to alter the neckline and sleeve length!

The neckline was raised and narrowed so that it sat high and curved around the base of the neck. (I had initially planned to add a flat collar and stand but I axed that idea after doing a test fit – it was looking a bit too kitsch!).

I lengthened the sleeves by quite a bit so that they became what I consider a 3/4 length sleeve. The original sleeves finish above the elbow and definitely fall short of the mark in my opinion!

I used a gorgeous jersey from Walthamstow market for this dress. It feels like an ITY with added Lycra but I can’t say for sure! It’s really stretchy with a lovely drape. It’s also surprisingly weighty.

Because of this, I was really concerned about how the seams would hold up and thought about reinforcing them in some areas.

In the end I opted to add some stay tape to the shoulder seams. I also added an additional elastic band to the waist seam which really made an improvement in how the dress hung. Although if I’d been following the instructions properly and used the clear elastic method of gathering this would probably have been sufficient and I might not have needed the extra elastic!

The other thing I needed to take into consideration was the print. With a graphic repeat print like this, I always think pattern placement is very important. I held up different areas of the fabric up to me to decide where exactly my pattern pieces should go. I cut both the bodice pieces on a single layer just to make sure the pattern/ fabric didn’t move out of place.

I always opt out of the folded neck hem of the original Moneta. I’ve never liked that method of finishing the neck! I went with a contrasting white neck band and cuffs to finish it off which gives it a slightly more sporty look.

I kept the length short-ish. I’m planning to wearing it with tights and boots in the winter and sneakers in the spring!

I’m so in love with this dress. It’s definitely been one of my faves this year!!

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  1. Your Moneta is SO cute! It suits you perfectly and congratulations (and thank you for that fitting link!) on getting such a perfect fit. I love the higher neck with the binding and it’s staying so nicely right at your waist – the fabric print is gorgeous (and well placed) – it’s just perfect in every respect. Happy Holidays to you Emily and all the best in 2018 to you and your loved ones. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog very much and look forward to many more in the new year 🙂

    1. Thank you! The fitting guide was really helpful in perfecting this one. Hope you have a lovely Xmas and New Years too! 😊

  2. Great hack. A really lovely dress. I’ve been meaning to visit Walthamstow, If you get the time can you tell me where the best places to go are please. In the meantime thanks for the blogs, I very much enjoy them.

    1. Thanks! Definitely go to Walthamstow if you get the chance. All the good shops are on the market street. Try to go on a Saturday when all the market stalls are open. The stall outside the Sainsbury’s is always good. There’s a good haberdashery stall as well. I also like the textile centre, Saeed’s and the £2/ metre store next to Saeed’s.
      There are loads of stores there so it’s worth taking your time to explore them all!

  3. I BOUGHT THAT FABRIC TOO! I live in Massachusetts but when I was in London this summer I bought a meter of it from TMOS and it’s a Nettie bodysuit now!! Seeing your beautiful dress makes me wish I bought more!!

    1. I got mine from him too! It’s lovely stuff! It’s hard buying fabric in large quantities when you’re abroad though. I always worry about dragging it back home!

  4. Fabulous make – the fabric pattern placement is outstanding and proves how important this aspect of sewing is to a finished garment. I sometimes feel this area of sewing is not discussed enough. Thanks for the time you spend posting. Happy New Year!

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