Confession: This is my first crack at trying out ponte knit. Can you believe it?! During one of my fabric sprees in New York last month, Carolyn diverted my attention over to the ponte knit aisle and strongly encouraged me to bring a couple of yards home to play with. I was a little unsure at first (ponte just seems like it should be like that extra thick, extra hot polyester from the early days, yeah?), but I spied leopard print and decided to trust her judgement call.
Lesson learned: trust Carolyn’s judgement.
This stuff is NOTHING like the knitwear of yesteryear, even if it does mimic the body and heft of the former. It has a good bit of stretch, yet at the same time the fabric is quite stable. Honestly, it was an absolute joy to work with, especially when it came time for my twin needle topstitching. Usually I have to play around with the tension and stitch length to get a good smooth stitch without that weird bump down the middle, but with this stuff the stitches just sank right in. It also presses really well – which yeah, pressing a knit seems kind of weird, but I like to press my hems before I topstitch as I find it makes it easier to sew. And while it’s nice and cozy, I also think it’ll be totally suitable for warmer months.
This is my third (!!!) make of Butterick 5078 – and likely not my last, although it probably should be for right now. I love this pattern, although I’ve had to make a few modifications to get it exactly where I want it – shortening the skirt, eliminating the waist runching, and streamlining the sewing process. It appears to work well with a variety of fabrics, from slinky to ones with lots of body. Now that’s a versatile pattern, yeah?
As I mentioned before, I switched up the construction order for this to makes things easier. I basically just sewed everything flat on my serger, and then swooped up the side seams at the very end. This is what I love so much about knits – having those open side seams means it’s really easy to suck everything if you need to size it down a little. Which I ended up doing, since the super stretch of the fabric made the dress too big originally. I also narrowed the width of the midriff section, as the skirt is very heavy and the weight was pulling it down.
Also, I wasn’t thinking when I bought this stuff (well I was thinking, but more along the lines of “OOH LEOPARD OOH SEXY DRESS LET ME WRAP MYSELF IN THIS HERE BOLT OF FABRIC), and I only bought a yard and a half. It would’ve been enough if the bodice wasn’t cut on the bias. Whoops! I spent foreeeeever trying different cutting layouts to get this to fit on my piece of fabric. In the end, I shortened the sleeves to elbow-length, took an additional 2” off the skirt, and now the bodice back has a seam.
Consider me a ponte convert! I don’t even know if I can bear to get back to my regular knits, not after feeling the magic of this stuff. True love, y’all. True love.