Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Textured Ponte Inari Tee Dress

This little number has jumped the blogging queue as I wore it a few times during Me-Made-May and got a lot of questions on Instagram about pattern and fabric details and what alterations I made. I thought it was worth answering them in a proper blog post. Plus any garment which gets worn three times in the two weeks after you finish it (despite the fact that I was trying to mix things up for May!) deserves sharing and documenting promptly!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Inari Tee Dress in Pink Textured Ponte Knit from Sew Over It

The Inari Tee Dress from Named Clothing has been a big hit within the online sewing community and it has been on my wish-list for a long time despite me having some reservations about how the style would suit me. I dipped my toe in the water last year with a woven version of the cropped tee which I never actually blogged as despite still wearing it on the odd occasion I didn't count it as a huge success and haven't yet figured out the best way to style it. The fit isn't fantastic on me and it looks very square, sticking out below the chest in an odd way. Perhaps I chose a fabric with too much body? I was disappointed as Named patterns generally seem to fit me well and some of my favourite handmade garments are their designs (see here and here!).

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Inari Tee Dress in Pink Textured Ponte Knit from Sew Over It

Anyway, that experience slightly put me off and apart from the odd reminder when a beautiful version popped up in my blog feed I had almost forgotten about my plans to try the dress. Boy am I glad I remembered though! This project actually started with the fabric as unusually for me I made a fabric purchase without a specific project in mind. I'd popped in to Sew Over It to buy another piece of fabric I had spotted on their website and fell in love with the texture and subtle pattern of this unusual ponte knit (unfortunately no longer available). Quite a light weight for a ponte knit, it has a nice drape and movement too it along with the stability and structure you would expect. The diamond pattern is woven through the fabric and as well as variation in the colour there is a slight variation in the thickness and texture of the weave which is really lovely. It is a polyester so gets a little sticky when it is really hot but not unreasonably so and apart from that has been comfortable to wear and delightful to work with.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Inari Tee Dress in Pink Textured Ponte Knit from Sew Over It

I've never been much of a pink wearer so this spontaneous fabric choice rather surprised me but I'm actually loving it. I've found myself quite drawn to dusky and blush shades recently and have just ordered some soft pink merino for a cardigan too; I think it must be that subconscious absorption of the current trends! It took me a while to decide what to make with it as I was worried the colour was a bit too close to my skin tone to use for a dress and might wash me out. After mulling it over I took the plunge anyway and raided my pattern stash for knit dress patterns. I emerged with the Inari and after a quick google of other makes decided it was the ideal candidate.

The fabric is a great match for this design. It has a decent amount of stretch combined with a lovely drape but still maintains a bit of structure which is useful to hold the split hem feature of this design. The hem vents and hem itself do have the potential to get stretched out and wavy in a knit. Luckily the stability of this particularly knit gave me no problems but if you're having trouble with yours I recommend stabilising the area first by using a fusible stay tape or 'Steam-a-Seam' along the stitching line.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Inari Tee Dress in Pink Textured Ponte Knit from Sew Over It

As for the pattern now I've figured out how to alter it to suit my body shape and proportions I'm completely in love! It is incredibly comfortable but feels really chic and looks as good at the end of the day as the start. The design is elevated above being a basic t-shirt dress by some simple, carefully chosen design elements. The hem vents are a really contemporary simple touch and that neckline sits beautifully. The shape and size is spot on for my personal preferences. The side seams of the dress gently curve towards the front which is really clever. As well as giving shape to the dress they bring those side seam slits around towards the front making them more pronounced.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Inari Tee Dress in Pink Textured Ponte Knit from Sew Over It

I think what has put me off of making this before is that I wasn't sure how the oversized, slightly cocoon shape would suit me and unfortunately I definitely didn't love this when I first tried it on after sewing the side seams. I increased the seam allowance (right the way up under the arm) to 1" instead of the requested 1cm but it didn't make much of a difference to how I felt in it. I don't know why this design looks so great on everyone but on my body shape it just feels like a tent! Was it my fabric choice? Or just that I'm not used to seeing myself in this shape? Luckily I had a flash of inspiration and the current trend for tie belts saved the day! I wanted to go with quite a chunky dramatic belt but the leftover fabric determined a fairly slim and long one instead which I now love. It has totally transformed how I feel about the dress and I think the combo of longer length plus belt really works.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Inari Tee Dress in Pink Textured Ponte Knit from Sew Over It

I added 5 inches to the length as when I did a Google/Instagram search of the pattern I tended to prefer those that were a little longer. I guessed at 5" by holding the pattern piece up against me and going a bit longer than I thought I needed figuring I could always take a bit off when hemming. In the end it turned out perfect. I'm 5ft 3" in case you're thinking of doing the same. I extended the side slits by 2" as I felt that would better suit the proportions of the longer length and I really like this. I love how the dress moves as I walk as a result. I'm really glad I went with the midi length as I think above the knee with those slits would feel a lot less practical. You also need a little extra length to accommodate what is taken up when you tie a belt around it. Make sure to tie the belt around the dress when putting it on to decide hem length as it affects how it hangs quite dramatically.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Inari Tee Dress in Pink Textured Ponte Knit from Sew Over It

I definitely prefer this design in a knit and am now kicking myself that I didn't get around to making it sooner. There's something about the drafting of the sleeve/armhole that feels a bit restrictive in a woven. Everything sits a bit better in a knit and allows for comfortable movement. I cut the size 38 as always. Usually with Named patterns this is pretty much spot on with no alterations. This didn't work for me in the woven but is great in the knit, particularly now I've taken it in under the arm an extra bit. For reference my measurements are roughly 34" bust, 27" waist and 38" hip. I had 1.5m of the fabric and had just enough to squeeze out my tie belt once I'd cut the dress with the extra length.

I veered off the instructions and resorted to my normal order of construction for tees. I attached the neckband as the second step after assembling the shoulder seams and after this inserted the sleeves flat, sewing the side seams and under arm as one before attaching the cuff bands in the round as the final step. This pattern is designed for both woven fabrics and knits and I think the instructions slightly favour construction for wovens. I used a short and narrow zig zag stitch on my regular machine for accurate construction with a size 90 stretch needle. I finished all my seams on the overlocker and used twin needle topstitching to secure the neckband in place. You don't need to worry too much about the stretch of your stitches with this design as it doesn't have any negative ease.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Inari Tee Dress in Pink Textured Ponte Knit from Sew Over It

This was such a great project for me right now as I've got hardly any time to sew but am feeling really inspired to do so and have quite an overwhelming sewing queue and pile of fabric in front of me! This is really speedy to sew, about 3 hours including cutting, so felt great to have actually finished and achieved something. The only problem is I've now just increased my sewing queue because I want to make more of the same dress! Every fabric shop I go in now I've got my eyes peeled for interesting knits of a good mid weight!

5 comments:

  1. I love your longer Inari dress. I made the tshirt version last year and my daughter has taken it - looks so good on her ;D)

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  2. I love that, it is just my kind of dress and knits are so comfy to wear. The fabric is a really good choice.

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  3. I absolutely love this version :)

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  4. I love the tie you added! The dress looks really elegant with the added tie but still super comfortable

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  5. Your Textured Inari Dress looks work-appropriate and comfortable, which is perfect for the upcoming summer months! I'm always trying to dress as professionally as possible, and when it comes to the summer at work, I need outfits that keep me cool while looking sharp. I just might have to add a couple of dresses like this to my collection of performance dress shirts, for those super hot days! I can't wait to make some of these for myself, with professional colors and patterns!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!