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Pleated lavender knit dress

2 September 2009, 12:11

OK it seems I’ve got a brief respite from my fever right now (although not the headache) so I’m going to take advantage of it to finally show you the lavender knit dress I made my mom while she was staying with us this summer.

She bought the lavender interlock when she was still in America, and then had a leisurely stroll through my huge archive of pattern magazines for a style she liked and I thought would flatter her nicely. So together we decided on KnipMode Aug 2009 #20, which has a surplice top with shawl collar and pleated skirt in both back and front. We were originally going to shorten the sleeves to elbow length, but after trying on the dress, she decided she liked them long and could easily push them up if she needed to.

Once or twice a year, KnipMode produce a few patterns that come in Petite, Average, and Tall patterns, with a few of the pattern pieces changing shape, though as Arielle pointed out, Knip don’t publish their Petite or Tall body measurement charts anywhere! Any Dutch speakers care to volunteer to sort out this mystery for us? They don’t seem to understand it when we email… In any case, I just made the average height for my mom here, as she’s about 5 foot 6 with fairly normal length proportions.

With belt:

Without belt:

So, do you prefer this dress with the belt or without? I’m just so happy with how this dress turned out, I think it’s just so flattering on her, and it’s a really versatile style that will work equally well for school as it will at a nice restaurant.

Pleating detail:

Collar detail:

Like my favourite BWOF sweatshirt, this front piece has a fold-over facing and a neck edge that extends up past the shoulder seams so that the two halves meet at the centre back seam (take a look at pattern pieces #1, 2 or 3 in the layout diagram above). An integrated collar and facing means the facing gets treated as one at the back neck and keeps it from flipping out at all in the front (even when it’s not all tacked down for leaning-over-students’-desks modesty like mom requested). And on top of that, it makes a really cool corner seam at the neck!

As you may have noticed, mom has worked hard to lose a lot of weight from the last time I made her a dress at Christmas, so she’s out of the Plus range and into the bulk of the pattern magazine sizes now! We mixed and matched sizes here – 42 on top, 46 below and it was really easy with the knit and waistband. We used the “normal” height dress here (1.72m) and the length was perfect on her, though for myself I’d have shortened it a bit even though I’m a tad taller than her, just because I like above the knee dresses).

One mystery though, is that I ended up with two extra waistband pieces. Knip have you cut three pairs and I thought they must make up the central portion of the belt but the widths didn’t match and the belt with just the two pieces was plenty long enough so I didn’t sweat it.

Coming up: I worked frantically in a race against time, Project Runway-style, to finish mom’s red dress before she flew back to America!

Did I bow out for medical reasons, a’la poor Jack from Season 3? Would the little red machine withstand the rickety bedside table in my new room? Or would I finish the whole damned thing by hand, minutes before she walked in the room? Oh, the exciting conclusion is yours to ponder…

Hospital update: I really don’t want to divert attention or comments away from mom’s dress, but I am back in hospital and have been for over a week now, and will be for at least a week more. They’ve got some suspicions on what’s causing the infection, but nothing conclusive despite a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) and a CT scan. But I’m in the twin ward to where I had my transplant, so it’s very comfortable here and I can see my old room through the window, ha!

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  1. Great job on the lavender dress! I like the pleats—they are very flattering. And your mom looks wonderful, especially in that color. I’ll have to take a closer look at this pattern.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed regarding your hospital visit. I had surgery last week and I spent a good part of the recovery in the hospital websurfing (blogs and newspapers) via blackberry. I still can’t/shouldn’t bend over, so cutting out fabric is out of the picture. Hang in there! we shall both return to our usual crafting. Rose

    Rose in SV    Sep 2, 01:35 PM    #
  2. I’m voting without the belt I think, but she looks beautiful either way. Sorry to hear you are back in hospital, hope they find answers soon.x

    allisonC    Sep 2, 01:49 PM    #
  3. I hope you are well. My thoughts are with you. I have gone through unknown health issues with my husband, it is scary and an energy zapper!
    I love the lavendar dress. The color has caught my eye this season. I like the belt!

    cindy    Sep 2, 01:55 PM    #
  4. Your mum looks wonderful in that colour . I think you have made a great job on that dress it is just so flattering. I am so sorry you are back in hospital again . Wishing you a speedy recovery Melissa xxx

    Lisa    Sep 2, 04:07 PM    #
  5. All my best wishes for you!!Your mother looks very chic- the picture of an elegant English lady.

    — Hanna    Sep 2, 04:15 PM    #
  6. The dress looks lovely on your mum with the long sleeves and what a great collar! Keep up your wonderful spirit through these times. Wishing you the best.

    Jali    Sep 2, 04:53 PM    #
  7. Your mom looks amazing in that dress. I do like it belted, as it shows off her waistline.

    Wishing you recover quickly. Best of health.

    gwen    Sep 2, 05:05 PM    #
  8. Oh, your Mom looks great! I like it best with the belt.

    Hope you are home soon!

    — Lisa    Sep 2, 07:02 PM    #
  9. I think the dress looks great either way. Hope you get to go home soon!

    Lisette    Sep 2, 07:05 PM    #
  10. As I wrote before, I really like that dress and your mom looks great in it! Being a Dutch speaker, I thought I’d take a look at my old Knips to see if I can solve the sizing-for-different-heights-issue. You are absolutely right, unlike Burda, Knipmode doesn’t include sizing tables for Tall and Petite sizes. All the information they provide is the overall body length for which the sizes are intended. In my ‘three heights’ issue (which is from october 2007, so they were still using their old sizing table) Petite patterns are for women who are 1,60 m tall, normal patterns for 1,68 and Tall ones for 1,80. They also give the back length (achterlengte) of the finished garment. I hope I’ve helped solve the problem a little bit.

    I’m sorry to hear you had to go back to hospital. I hope you’ll recover quickly. Best wishes!

    lauriana    Sep 2, 08:04 PM    #
  11. Very pretty dress and your mum looks lovely in it.
    Hope the hospital stay is brief and wishing you a speedy and easy recovery. :-)

    Christina    Sep 2, 08:51 PM    #
  12. I agree absolutely with the comments: the dress and color is great on your mother. congratulate her on the weight loss.

    And really sorry to hear you’re in hospital again. Hope they find the answer quickly. Get well soon.

    Sigrid    Sep 2, 09:33 PM    #
  13. Thanks for all the flattering comments! Not only do I love the color and style, but it is extremely comfortable as well. Melissa does such a great job on the sewing machine. To whet your appetite, the red dress coming up next is equally as lovely.

    — Mom    Sep 2, 10:22 PM    #
  14. What a beautiful color! Great work! I will be in Dublin in 2 weeks. Do you know if any of the book shops there would have pattern magazines like La Mia Boutique or Patrones? I have a subscription to BWOF, am hoping to try something new in KnipMode, etc. Thanking you in advance, Pamela

    — Pamela    Sep 2, 10:35 PM    #
  15. Hi Melissa, Love the lavendar dress! My vote is that the LRD (little red dress) was finished on the LRM (little red machine) or perhaps the LRRM (little rickety red machine) ;-) Love your spirit too! Take care, I do hope you are feeling better and home soon.

    — Sandra Vassallo    Sep 2, 10:45 PM    #
  16. Glad you were feeling well enough to give us this update, hope the hospital stay doesn’t last too long. Love this dress – it’s the pleats that do it for me! Bet the red dress was finished by hand at the last moment!!!! Look forward to seeing it. Take care

    — Racheljm    Sep 3, 10:53 AM    #
  17. Nice dress, very fashionable colour (I like purple, so it’s great to see it in the shops!), and it really really suits your mother! It looks good belted or unbelted to me (the waist looks very well finished), so I can’t vote on that.

    Pamela, I live in Dublin, and have a growing addiction to sewing/knitting magazines. I have seen Burda WOF in Easons in O’Connell St, (and other large Easons shops around the country) also SewHip, SewToday, and at least one other sewing magazine (not to mention quiltingquiltingquilting), but not Patrones or La Mia, I think you would have to go to the mainland for that :) HTH.

    Hope you are doing well in hospital, do you know all the staff yet :)?

    — tg33    Sep 3, 12:36 PM    #
  18. I second Lauriana’s tip about ‘normal’ being close to 1,70m. The Dutch aren’t any shorter than the Germans.. It’s only as you go South (Patrones?) that women start shrinking dramatically (in theory, as I’m French and 1,70 myself, but I do tower over most other women here most pleasantly :-)).

    If you really squint at your mom’s closeup picture (and she does look really great on the whole) you can sort of see that the bust darts land a bit too high, while her own bust seems if anything a bit high on her body.

    Good luck with the fever! Headaches are the pits..

    — Marie-Christine    Sep 3, 01:02 PM    #
  19. My vote goes for belted – but she looks fabulous either way. Looking forward to seeing the red dress – I bet you couldnt send her home without it!

    Sorry to hear that you are back in hospital again. Hope they are looking after you well and you are soon back to normal.

    Very best wishes

    — Kim Hood    Sep 3, 04:51 PM    #
  20. Melissa, it’s a beautiful dress. I love the details. I hope your mum enjoyed the whole construction process. I always think it’s brilliant to see a sheet of fabric take on a new life as a garment.

    I hope the medical team have got to the bottom of your health problems and you are on the mend.

    — Zoe    Sep 4, 12:59 PM    #
  21. To tg33: Thanks so much for the info on Dublin. Excited to see the city; my first trip to Ireland. I’m looking forward to fabric shopping and a pint or two later! Thank you again! Pamela

    — Pamela    Sep 4, 04:39 PM    #
  22. You’re welcome Pamela, Melissa’s guide to shopping in Dublin is spot on, at least it helped me! Are you looking for anything in particular?

    — tg33    Sep 4, 09:48 PM    #
  23. Your Mom looks fabulous in that lavender dress. It is so flattering and the color is great on her. I think that while both dresses look good on her, this one is the best. I was looking at this dress as I just got the magazine, so I am glad to see yours.
    I hope that you are feeling better. Are you still in the hospital? My thoughts are with you. I was so glad to click over her and find that you’d posted again.

    Nancy K    Sep 6, 11:02 PM    #
  24. What a lucky mum you have to get such beautiful presents each summer! I’m wearing my back-to-school teaching outfit today too, it really is fun to wear something special the first day. You sew so well and so patiently, all of those details, plus you did the final work by hand with a headache! ‘Beterschap’ as we say in Dutch, and like Laurina said, I too have only seen height charts in my old KM special ‘height’ editions. Are you referring to back waist length-type measurements? Because I think the circumference sizes are given.

    — Katharine in Brussels    Sep 15, 11:22 PM    #

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