Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Miss Mona Plumbs the Depths: Colette Moneta

Plum Bamboo Jersey - Colette Moneta - Idle Fancy-36

Let's begin today's post with an apology, kittens. This is, hands down, the most ridiculous pun-laden title I've ever used on Idle Fancy. The temptation was just too grape great. There should probably be a secondary pardon for showing you yet another knit dress, but you'll find no further prostrations here. My knit love continues, unabated and unabashed. 

This dress is, quite obviously, a Colette Moneta. It's been in my wardrobe for over a week now, but I was reticent to chat about it. There have been a thousand Moneta reviews, around the sewing world. After going back through the annals of this blog, however, it turns out I haven't talked about this pattern since its release. That initial post wasn't even a true Moneta--I pleated the skirt, instead of gathering, because my old machine was giving me fits. Considering my usual repetition of patterns, one Moneta every year seems like an acceptable rate of posting. After all, last year, I dedicated an entire season to McCall's 6696!

Plum Bamboo Jersey - Colette Moneta - Idle Fancy-43

So, the Moneta.* 

It's a simple knit bodice with a gathered skirt, sleeve options, and collar options. You know this, because you've seen a hundred blasted versions already. The thing is, the Moneta is popular for a reason. While I'm an equal opportunity pattern lover, the sizing of Big 4 knit patterns leaves something to be desired. Invariably, the best size ends up being two--or even three!--sizes below what I usually sew up. That's easy enough to work around, but involves guesswork. Colette sized this dress, and their other knit offerings, in a modern, sensible manner. There is the right amount of negative ease in the bodice for stretch jersey fabrics and the skirt is roomy enough to skim over one's curves. 

Honestly, I have yet to see a horribly ill-fitting Moneta. With an expansive size range, which tops out at a 54-inch bust, the Moneta fits many, many body types. Negative ease is forgiving and knits are easier to fit, which benefits the seamstress. This is a simple design, but it's also a necessary one. While I long for more advanced sewing patterns, there's a place for this beginner-friendly design. A plain, functional knit dress is an essential wardrobe piece. We need dresses that feel like pajamas! Wearing such garments is one of the most delightful up-yours actions women can give to society. 

Okay, maybe that's overstating it a bit. When I wear a knit dress, though, that's how I feel. Sure, you think I look pulled together and molded into your classic standard of femininity, but this dress is essentially whole-body yoga pants. I could kick serious ninja butt, with nary a twinge of discomfort. Come at me, froyo cashier. 

*Fun fact: Today, I learned this is pronounced Mo-nita. For years, possibly thanks to a lifetime of speaking Spanish, I've been saying it Mo-netta. While listening to the first Seamwork podcast, featuring my dear pal Jenny, my mind was blown by Sarai's pronunciation of the pattern. It was an embarrassing flashback to my teenage days, when I cracked my mother up by pronouncing Ms. Granger's first name as Her-Me-Own. 

Plum Bamboo Jersey - Colette Moneta - Idle Fancy- side and back

That's all to say that sewing this up was an enjoyable, easy process. For this Moneta, I used a plum-colored bamboo rayon jersey from This dreamy, soft knit was recommended by the ever-fabulous Liza Jane, who used it recently for a series of knit t-shirts. After reading Liza Jane's post, I ordered three lengths of bamboo jersey and impatiently waited for them to arrive. These fabrics are gorgeous and were so worth the purchase. They have amazing stretch, impressive recovery, and feel blessedly cool against the skin. Witness: I'm wearing three-quarter sleeves without a fuss, when it's still 95 degrees outside. That's road-tested comfort.

Compared with cotton jerseys, rayons hug curves more. For this reason, I chose my standard XL for the Moneta's bodice, with a small FBA, but cut a 2XL for its skirt. My measurements fall in line with the smaller skirt, but I wanted some extra swish, just in case. In these photos, I'm wearing the dress without a slip underneath, so you can see the fabric in its truest form, but I do prefer an extra layer underneath. 

As you probably know, the Moneta's construction is deadly simple. The sleeves are set-in flat, rather than in the round, which makes the bodice a gloriously quick task. To create the gathers on the skirt, it's shirred with clear elastic, giving even falls of fabric all the way around. There is one thing I changed, however. Instead of using the turn-and-stitch method of finishing the neckline, I grabbed the neckband from my BGD Bonnie dress, shortened it a tad, and used that to finish my Moneta off. I don't trust an unfaced or unbound knit curve! They get so wonky, over time. Next time, I'll shorten the band even more, for better tension along the front bodice. 

This entire dress was sewn with a mix of my serger and my sewing machine, as per usual. Sew to construct, serge to finish. In addition to the waistline, the shoulders are also stabilized with clear elastic and my hem was turned with lightweight fusible interfacing. 

Plum Bamboo Jersey - Colette Moneta - Idle Fancy-60

Et, voila! A comfortable dress that fits beautifully into my everyday wardrobe. Between the Moneta's great fit and this fabric's sumptuous feel, this dress is a joy to wear. Plum is one of my favorite colors anyway, as it brings out the golden undertones of my skin, and this one has washed up really well. Fingers crossed that it remains a deep, vibrant color!

Currently, I'm in the middle of sewing up two different fall blazers (Simplicity 1066 and Waffle Patterns Luffa), which should pair splendidly with this Moneta and my recent Myrtles. That's my plan for autumnal dressing: cute knit dresses, tights, blazers, and fabulous boots. 

For now, I'm going to dive back in to Jenny Lawson's newest book, Furiously Happy! That odd hooting noise you hear will be my hysterical, uncontrolled laughter. In case you'd like a snort of your own, I'm leaving you with a ridiculous photo outtake. What am I doing in this picture? Posing for a Rejected Princesses of Disney calendar? Willing animated birds to appear from the ether? Summoning the change in seasons, with manic, silly twirling? It's anyone's guess. 

Plum Bamboo Jersey - Colette Moneta - Idle Fancy-69


Official Note: Some people have recently asked when my two Burdastyle classes would be running again. Good news! Another round of Pattern Grading for Plus Sizes kicks off today and Burda just sent me a coupon code for 20% off, until September 30th. If you use the code Mary20 at checkout, the discount will be applied. Additionally, the more rarely held Pattern Grading for All Sizes class will be hosted again, starting on October 20th. That class covers three methods of resizing patterns to fit your shape, both making them larger and smaller, as well as post-grading fit guidance. Registration is now open, if you've been waiting for that one! 

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