Sewing the Moneta Dress

Ever since we started stocking the Colette pattern range I knew I wanted to make the Moneta dress. There is definitely a big gap in my wardrobe where casual every day dresses for cold weather should live - I have tonnes and tonnes of casual summer dresses and skirts, but when it comes to winter I seem to live in my jeans. In fact I'm wearing jeans right now! Last year I promised myself I would break this depressing habit and failed miserably. This year I'm on a mission with patterns like the Moneta and the Grainline Moss skirt tucked under my arm to help me along my way.

Moneta Dress 1

I decided to make the Moneta in our delicious Isabella wool jersey fabric by John Kaldor. It is super soft, but will keep you warm in the most miserable weather and comes in a beautiful range of colours. I chose the purple, but after the success of this version and how much I love wearing it I also want to make one in the teal and red. I washed the fabric in my machine at 30 degrees and it was fine, although we have recommended hand washing on the website due to the wool present in the fabric.

I decided to make version three with the 3/4 sleeves, cut a size small and omitted the pockets - for those of you who know me I'm not a lover of pockets, which I realise is quite controversial. It isn't anything personal towards pockets, I just don't get why I need them when I have a handbag so I'm always happy to ditch them in the favour of an even quicker sew. This meant there were just five pattern pieces to cut out, which is always an encouraging start when you're looking for a fast, satisfying sew!

I made the entire dress, bar the gathering stitches on the skirt and the hem, on my overlocker and wrote a post for the Sewing Directory on the tips and techniques I used to get the ultimate professional finish (you can view it on their site under dressmaking techniques).

Moneta Dress 2

The dress came together beautifully, I can honestly say it was an absolute pleasure to sew and I didn't have to unpick anything (good job since I was using the overlocker!)

I decided to add my own self drafted neck binding rather than use a twin needle finish as suggested in the pattern because I felt this would give a nicer finish. You can see the full details of how I created the neck binding in the Sewing Directory post, but to summarise I cut a strip of fabric 1.5" shorter than the neck opening and wide enough to accommodate seam allowances plus the 1/2" binding I wanted visible once attached to the dress. There are also five bonus collar variations you can download free from the Colette website including a peter pan collar and a pretty bow amongst others.

The pattern instructions suggest shirring clear elastic into the skirt to create the gathered effect, however, Angela suggested this would add unnecessary bulk and it would be just as easy to stitch two lines of gathering stitches 1/4" and 1/2" away from the waist seam then attach the skirt using my overlocker. Before adding the gathering stitches I 'quartered' the skirt by folding it in half and finding the centre front and back and using the side seams as my quarter points. I did the same with the bodice and matched the points up when attaching the skirt which helped me to distribute the gathers and the skirt evenly.

Moneta Dress 3

Using the gathering stitches method did mean I had to increase the seam allowance from the suggested 3/8" to 5/8", but I was more than happy to do this since the skirt was a lot longer than I would prefer anyway. In fact I shaved a further 4" off the hem before hemming it to achieve a length I was happy with! This probably makes me sound like a right floozy, but in my humble opinion the dress is still a very respectable length particularly considering I will wear it with thick black tights. I'm 5'6" so a little above average height, but I definitely think this length is much more flattering on me.

I used a Dritz Esy Hem to press the hem up, which is a super useful tool with markings for different hem allowances on it. It is made from metal so you simply fold your fabric over the edge lining the raw edge up with your chosen hem allowance then press on top of it. Soooo much easier than fiddling around with a tape measure!

Moneta Dress 4

I used Angela's coverstitch machine to finish the skirt and sleeve hems and it was amazing! If you've never used a coverstitch machine and you like sewing stretch fabrics you really should try and get your hands on one. It gives a twin needle effect with minimal effort and makes your jersey garments look like they just came off the rack of a top quality high street store - need I say more?!

The fit is really excellent and the dress is super comfy so I will definitely be rustling more up this winter. I would really like to make some with full length sleeves so perhaps that will be my next version and I will be sure to share the expert advice I seek from Angela on extending the arm length.

Have fun sewing!


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