Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lady Skater

I've been trying to up my knits game recently, and after success with the Renfrew and Strathcona Tees, I decided to take the full on plunge into a dress. I waffled for a while between the Colette Moneta and the Kitschy Koo Lady Skater, and eventually went with the Lady Skater, because, reality check, I suck at gathers. And I have to say, I think I made the right call.

Although it was an uphill battle the whole way because of my fabric choice. I always have to make things difficult for myself don't I? I bought this rayon knit impulsively from when they had a free shipping deal and I was feeling too lazy to drive to the burbs. When it arrived in the mail, I was disappointed to discover that it was thinner, stretchier and more sheer than I was expecting. Womp womp. Still I liked the print and I hate letting things go to waste so I decided to just go for it.

I made a bodice muslin out of the leftover fabric from Brian's Scracotha Tee, and it fit remarkably well. I usually need to add an inch to the waist because I'm tall, but this pattern seems to be pretty long-waisted and I ended up taking it out. I was also very pleased that the sway back adjustment from the Kitschy Koo blog worked like a charm.

My muslin was a straight size 3 in a stable knit, and it was a little clingy at the waist so I decided to grade out to a size 4. Big mistake. My thin, stretchy knit just grew and grew and grew as I sewed this up and I had to take it in twice. I have no idea what size I ended up with, but I think in general this dress (at least on my body) needs a pretty fitted waist. I also had to take in the underarm by a good inch and half and narrow the sleeves. Looking at these pictures, it looks like maybe I could have taken it in a little more.

The hems on the skirt and sleeves were a nightmare. I used about a mile of WonderTape, and still had some tunneling with my twin needle. I think a really stretchy knit like this needs a full on fusible web tape. I managed to smooth it into submission with a combination of steaming and pressing, but I'm a little nervous to see how it looks when it comes out of the wash.

As frustrating as the process was, I am pretty happy with the pattern and the finished product. I think the neckline is very flattering:

 And I LOVE the swish of the skirt. It's perfect for playing in the leaves on a fall day.

 Here are the details:

  • Pattern: Kitschy Koo Lady Skater PDF - This was a reasonable number of pages and easy to put together, but I was slightly annoyed that the sizes were distinguished by color because I don't have a color printer.
  • Fabric: 2 1/2 yards of rayon blend knit
  • Sizing: 3 in the shoulders, and probably a 3 in the waist and skirt as well.
  • Alterations
    • 1/2" broad shoulder adjustment
    • 1/2" swayback adjustment
    • Added 1" to length of sleeves instead of using cuffs.
    • Added 1 1/4" to length of skirt but later cut off 1", so really no change
  • What I'd change for next time
    • Cut a straight size 3.
    • Don't add any length to the bodice, and maybe make it a smidge shorter. It's hard to tell where I landed with how the fabric stretched out as I sewed.
    • Don't add any length to the skirt.

I'm already planning another version in a ponti knit, this time a Lady Skater-Renfrew mash up with a cowl neck, like this one and this one.