Well who could resist those feathers? After the debacle that was my attempt at pants, I really needed a successful sew to get me back on track. Something I could whip up in a weekend, wear to work Monday & not mess up . Or mess up much anyway…
Hello Turner dress! Now I’ll be totally honest, I brought this pattern on a whim. I was re watching a movie about the life of the British artist J M Turner, after a lovely day fabric shopping and lunching with a girlfriend. This perfect feather print knit was too good to resist ,clearly some random synapse fired somewhere in my pea brain & I remembered one of my fav pattern companies Cashmerette had a pattern that would make the most of my purchase. Turns out I was actually thinking of the Upton, which is made with woven fabric but there you go…!
Ok, not fully convinced when the pattern arrived. I just wasn’t sure the “skater” style dress was right for me. After making a Tilly & the Buttons Bettine dress with its elastic gathering around the middle, I swore off anything that drew attention to my waist. Not only did I feel like Mrs Frumpy, the elastic kept riding up, causing me to adjust….I abhor wearing anything that requires “adjust”.
But a long weekend (a extra day to sew direct from the Queen, whoop!) , my husband taking the car to visit his parents and a lather of indecision from moi meant I ended up sewing by default . Suitable Blue thread in the over-locker? tick. No zips, button etc I need to purchase? tick. Surely even I cant bugger up a pattern with four pieces? tick. Um….
I managed to sew my sleeve on inside out (there may have been Chardonnay involved…), luckily for me I cut the sleeve a size 18, so trimming off the overlocking (if I ever meet the person who can actually unpick overlocking I’ll suggest they do do something easier like cure the common cold) still left me enough fabric to play with. Phew!
Silly mistakes aside, this was actually a pretty easy sew. The Turner sewalong on the Cashmerette site is a real help. I haven’t done a lot of knit sewing, so any advice is always welcome particularly if, like me, you like a visual reference.
The pattern booklet is nice & clear, combined with the sewalong its hard to go wrong . I particularly appreciated the advice on grading, I ended up making a 16 bust, graded to a 20 waist & hips, with size 18 sleeves. Try finding that in RTW!??
This is effectively a wearable muslin. I totally admire sewists who make multiple muslin’s of patterns to get the fit just so. I also have enough self awareness to realize I’m not that person. Two muslin’s in & I’d be biffing that garment as far as I could, no matter how much I loved the pattern.
So when I attached the bodice to the skirt, with elastic to stabilize the knit I knew I had to go a little off piste. The waist was a good 3 cm too low (I’m very short waisted ) and about 2 cm to big. Also the elastic I used, a thicker woven because I’ve never seen clear elastic here in NZ, made the waist line all bobbly , even after ironing.
So once again I hacked off the overlocked elastic (seeing a theme here?), took a concrete pill & chopped a good 2 cm off the bodice. I knew I had to finish up with the feather over my right boob about a cm above the waist seam. Yep, that scientific…
After doing that I realized I would like to pinch the fabric in under my bust a little for a nice shape. I thought maybe a couple of small darts to pull the excess fabric in? Dear reader I actually googled “are darts done on knit fabric”. Even though I thought my dress looked nicer with the fabric pulled in, I still had to check with the internet brains to check it was actually acceptable….?! Thankfully I gave myself a good talking too & went ahead & did it anyway! Yep, I’m a rebel & I really never will be any good ….I think I could go down a size to 18 in my grading next time which would eliminate this issue going fwd. Possibly also with a narrow shoulder adjustment. Thank goodness for tracing patterns…
Would I recommend this pattern? Heck yeah, it’s an easy sew, the dress is so comfortable, the sleeve variation is great (hello holiday to the USA late this year…), its a keeper. The V neck may be a little low for some, I personally am fine with a hint of cleavage!
Have you sewn a Turner? I shall be making more…