The Mol-nari-ola – Indie Pattern Month 2017, Hack It

Apologies for the dreadful title. Perhaps I should have gone with the Paollari? Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this garment is a combination of three sewing patterns: the Sew Over It Molly Dress (available as a free download), the Named Inari Dress and the Named Paola Turtleneck Tee. It forms my entry for the second week of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month: Hack It, in which participants are required to alter or blend together patterns to create a new style.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a black and white striped dress in a cocoon shape with a turtleneck. She is smiling.

I’m not usually up with the latest fashions, but while browsing the Country Road website for beautiful things that I could never afford, I noticed a recurring style. High neck, cocoon shapes repeated themselves in knitwear, dresses and tops. This is my interpretation of that style, fusing together the three aforementioned patterns.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a black and white striped dress in a cocoon shape with a turtleneck. She is smiling.

I started with the Molly Dress as a base. My first job was widening the sleeves through hem and underarm as they were extremely narrow – even more so than the Tessuti Mandy, if you’d believe. Then, I aligned the Inari front hem 9cm below the Molly hem, and traced upwards, joining the underarm to the lower portion with a French curve. The same was repeated for the back.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a black and white striped dress in a cocoon shape with a turtleneck. She is smiling.

The neckline is based off the Paola pattern – I traced it out, then widened the neck slightly for more breathing room in this thick ponte. The neckband was cut the width of the neckline and slightly taller than the Paola to accomodate for the widened neck.

A close up on a womans legs and her black and white striped dress.

Being a bit of a hack job (har har, see what I did there), some further tweaking was required once basted together. The neckline, which was only slightly larger than the Paola on paper, widened significantly once on the body with the weight of the sleeves pulling it down. I tried to stabilise it as best I could and cut a new neckband, 80% of the neck width to draw it in. The side seams also needed some straightening to get that cocoon curve as smooth as possible.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a black and white striped dress in a cocoon shape with a turtleneck. Her back is to the camera.

The fabric is once again an extremely lucky Spotlight find. Spotlight’s standard ponte (or equivalent thereof) is an 100% polyester abomination, which handles poorly and pills even while sewing it. This “scoop buy” ponte, which I discovered on my last visit, is not only a beautiful viscose/nylon/elastane blend, but at $9.99/m is less than half the price of the inferior quality fabric.

Attempting projects such as this always leaves me with a great appreciation for skilled pattern drafters. Creating a pattern that is both technically and sartorially excellent is extremely difficult, and requires a great deal of attention to detail. I’m certainly no pattern drafter, hence my heavy reliance on professional patterns in this project – but I am happy with how this dress turned out, and it fills a gap in my wardrobe for winter dresses.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a black and white striped dress in a cocoon shape with a turtleneck. She is smiling.
Look, dad! I’m fruit!

The deets:
Pattern: Sew Over It Molly Dress, Named Inari Dress, Named Paola Turtleneck Tee
Pattern details: New style created by fusing three knit patterns together. All available as PDF download.
Fabric: 2.5m x 145cm wide scoop buy double knit, black/white, viscose/nylon/elastane, from Spotlight
Other materials: Clear elastic, from Aliexpress (to stabilise shoulders). Tessuti lightweight interfacing strips (to stablise neck).
Mods: Size 12 Molly Dress
– Added 1cm width to each side of sleeve at cap, and at underarms
– Added 3cm width to each side of sleeve at hem
– 1cm forward head adjustment: performed evenly from neck to shoulder notch, then to nothing at sleeve join
– Front hem lengthened 9cm
– Inari dress pattern used as template for hem, joining to Molly pattern at underarm
– Cut-on vent facings drafted as per this tutorial
– Neckline narrowed and cowl/polo neck drafted: this piece was 48cm wide x 21.5cm tall (6mm SAs)

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

10 thoughts on “The Mol-nari-ola – Indie Pattern Month 2017, Hack It”

    1. 😡 I get so frustrated by the poor quality of Spotlight’s fabric. They really could do better. Some people like polyester pontes and that’s cool but I just find that if it’s a viscose/nylon/elastase blend it lasts longer without pilling. Cotton/spandexes are tricky in that their quality is so variable and you can’t necesssarily tell quality by fabric content. You really need to feel and wash them to see how they will wear.

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  1. PREACH: polyester pontes are just inferior to rayon(viscose)/nylon/lycra blends. What a fantastic find this striped ponte was! (And that price difference just boggles the mind–was it Opposite Day at Spotlight???) I love your frankenpattern dress, it looks fab for winter!

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    1. Thanks! Spotlight is really confusing to shop it, sort of like an Aussie Joanns but perhaps a bit better quality. Their ponte is usually $20-25/m which is ridiculous for what it is. Even their “woollens” are usually a poly blend, like 80/20 poly/wool, or even poly/cotton/nylon with no wool at all being labelled as wool, which confuses the crap out of me. But they’re all I’ve got!

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    1. I mostly rely on patterns too. The whole thing is so impressive – creating an idea from nothing, then executing that idea to technical accuracy (assuming it is! haha)

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