I bought 2 metres of this Navy & White striped ponte roma from Minerva Crafts sometime ago. It had been washed and was waiting (patiently!) in the ‘Roundtuit’ pile. As Summer is fast coming to an end and I was going to change the thread colour on my overlocker I wanted to get this fabric made up so that it did not end up in the stash waiting for next year!
Originally I had planned to make a ‘Coco’ by Tilly and the Buttons but could not find my copy of the pattern, and as usual, having decided I wanted to make up the dress, could not wait to search through the various stashes of dressmaking patterns that are located around the house (and in store in the garage!). I have a subscription to Seamwork and noticed that there was a plain-style shift dress, the NEENAH. I could adapt the design to a scoop neckline, I printed off the pdf so I could get stitching (almost) immediately.
Here is what Seamwork say about the Neenah dress:-
From weather to clothing to lifestyle, fall is all about transitions. Finding a garment to transition you through fall and winter, day and night, can be tricky. Neenah will do all that and more. It is a classic turtle neck dress, appropriate for both the office and nightlife. And because Neenah is a knit dress, it is both classy and comfortable.
Use a solid-coloured, merino wool knit to create a sleek look, or try a fun print for a dress with more flare. If you shorten the hem of Neenah to tunic length, it pairs well with a variety of skirts. Neenah is a staple garment that will expand your winter wardrobe.
During the colder seasons of the year I often wear a turtleneck (I call them Polo neck), if the Neenah worked well in this iteration it would be ideal for making in its original style for Autumn and Winter.
I drafted the scoop neckline freehand and laid out the copies of the pattern pieces. According to the body and garment measurements I should cut a 3X and this is what I did. The only changes to the pattern were to cut 4 inches off the length of the dress so that it should hit just below my knees – at the narrowest point of my calves and shorten the sleeves to 3/4 length. However, at first fitting I found the dress was much too big and had to take in at the side seams by a total of 4 inches. There was not much I could do about the chest width and shoulders (I hate having to alter half-made garments) but the dress is still wearable and I have adjusted the pattern ready for next time.
I used my usual method for the neck band and a standard twin needle for stitching the hems on the sleeves and dress. In the illustration of the pattern the dress looks to be a lot closer fitting and to achieve this I will have to add some body darts for shaping at the back. The fullness of the dress may be due to the stretch and weight of the fabric or just the fact that the dress is over-sized for me (does not happen very often!).
The dress can look casual worn on its own or be ‘dressed up’ with a co-ordinating blazer from Joe Brown that I purchased last year.
Now it is time to change the thread on the overlocker and get on with darker-background patterned fabrics ready for Autumn and Winter.