So I have been following the Monthly Stitch for a while and although there have been lots of themes I thought about joining in with, I didn’t manage it until they announced Frocktober. How complicated could it be to make a dress in a whole month? One of the featured patterns for the month was the Named Dakota dress and the deal was sweetened with a discount! When I started planning I had plenty of time but life got in the way and here I am posting with barely hours to spare.
I first noticed the pattern last year when Named Patterns launched but I didn’t love the way it was styled with a blouse underneath the bodice. I haven’t worn anything like that since wearing a pinafore dress at primary school and I felt as if a blouse would get bunched up and make the bodice too bulky. It was only when Rachel made her version out of ponte with the neckline closed that I saw the potential in this pattern.
Ponte is my new favourite thing this autumn so I was excited to try another project using it. I found some beautiful black ponte from Clothspot which is really lovely and soft to the touch and has lots of drape.
I downloaded the pattern in sizes 38-40 and traced a 38 top and waist, grading out to a 40 at the hip. This design is intended to be quite loose at the waist so that you can pull it on even using woven fabrics, so I went by the finished measurements to get a more fitted bodice as the ponte has some stretch – this meant the sizes I used were a size down from those suggested by the body measurements. The pattern is nested so you have to trace it and it is slightly annoying that each size is offset so you can’t easily grade between them – you need to work out the difference between each size and then add it. I did make a muslin for the bodice which turned out fine but then decided to take a risk on the skirt and sleeves fitting (living on the edge!)
The pattern instructions are very brief and I relied heavily on Rachel and Marie’s sewalong which is very detailed and has lots of pictures of tricky bits such as getting the collar right. My collar facing wouldn’t lie flat and wanted to pop out so I stitched it down through the seam along the back of the neck to hold it in place. It could probably still do with being catch stitched in place along the front neckline.
I am particularly proud of the way all the skirt seams matched up with the darts and bodice seams – I usually find that I end up with one or two completely not matching! I machine-basted each one in place before finally stitching the bodice and skirt together to make sure that they all stayed in place.
I skipped the sleeve plackets and also the pockets (I don’t need anything drawing attention to my hips thank-you!) but otherwise I didn’t make any changes. Interestingly although the instructions suggest that the sleeve needs to be eased into the arm, I found I didn’t need to do any easing at all and the sleevehead fit perfectly. I have no idea if this means I cut something out incorrectly or there wasn’t a lot of ease anyway but it definitely made it easier for me which is always a bonus.
I haven’t made a solid black dress before and I think I probably need a pop of colour with it – I don’t do belts so maybe coloured tights or a cardigan? Overall I am really pleased with how this turned out, it is smart and work-appropriate but comfortable. Thanks to the Monthly Stitch for finally giving me the push I needed to make this dress! Let’s see if I manage to complete another challenge or not!
Anyone else sewing for Frocktober?
Coming soon – it’s almost Halloween and I have a costume to make – nothing complicated though…