corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

The Ponte Club

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Donna’s Vogue pattern 1440 was still sitting about the sewing room after her uninvited visit so I thought I’d might as well just use it to save me rifling through my very untidy, uncategorised and unKondoed collection. I rely on memory as a filing system, although it has let me down previously as I’ve actually purchased a Vogue pattern that I already owned!

I’ve never sewn with Ponte before but found some on offer somewhere on the Interweb a month or so ago and bought a goodly amount of their stock: a pale grey, magenta, dusky pink and obligatory black. It’s probably too late for this query – but does ponte have a right and wrong side? It is a great fabric to sew with – no fraying, stable and behaves well, it stretches and recovers, no wrinkling but presses well. Details about what ponte is here.

I’ve had my eye on a few StyleArcs for absolutely ages…… although delivery from Australia can take weeks and weeks and weeks. I ordered a skirt and along with this pattern came the free monthly one of a coat- in the meantime I patchworked and quilted instead. I’d obviously ordered just before the container was full and I only had to wait 3 weeks for the patterns to arrive. BTW – StyleArc have an Etsy shop for instant PDFs and I’ve been availing of this facility a lot recently. …..

A marriage between StyleArc and Vogue and Ponte, even if some of the patterns are for wovens!

Skirt is Zoe

Coat is Mason (knit fabric)

Jacket is Vogue Donna Karan 1440

Top (plain grey) Donna Karan Vogue 1282 (knit fabric)

Top (patterned grey) McCalls M6078 (knit fabric)

Shoes are Vivienne Westwood

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The Mason coat has raw edges but is trimmed with the selvedge from the pale grey on cuffs, pockets and round the neckline and lapels. Real easy to put together just watch your fabric choice as the wrong side shows at the fold back lapels. I serged all internal seams for a more finished look and the collar has a flat felled seam at centre back. The selvedge trim was sewn with a fancy wiggly stitch and ties the weird no-colour coat to the pale grey skirt for a ‘set’.

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The Donna Karan jacket is fab and I have another planned in a linen woven which I anticipate will be more difficult to sew as in this case I just pulled and stretched the ponte to make the notches match especially round the curves. I didn’t bind every seam, just serged again, and I raised the shoulder seams by 1″ and left the shoulder pads out.

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The jacket is waterfall and loose at the front but shaped and fitted through the back. This one is trimmed with a strip of magenta ponte – sewn on with a fancy stitch – and goes all the way around the whole jacket and cuffs which are folded back (extremely long sleeves).

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The magenta trim then ties the pale grey jacket to the magenta Zoe skirt for another ‘set’.DSCN5260

The Zoe skirt is an unusual pencil: two huge open darts at the back from hem to bum, and a front that is narrower at the hem than waist to pull the sides seams forward. The back also dips down a little to create a curved hem. There is an invisible zip at the side and no waistband, just facing.

My first one was a muslin in the black ponte (not shown). It ran a little big. StyleArc’s patterns have 1cm (1/2″) SA so the magenta version was sewn with the usual 1.5cm (5/8″) SA and the zip was ignored. I can just pull the skirt on thanks to the stretch and recoverability of the ponte. And the fit was better.

By the time I got to the pale grey Zoe, the seam allowances had increased to 2cm (closer to 1″). The fit is much better although the ponte shows every knicker line, lump and bump, so robust undergarments are in order (or none at all!) And I can still just pull it on, so no zip required.

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Seams were serged and the hem just machined. None of the skirts is lined but I would like to do this soon. The ponte clings to tights and a lining might help smooth out some of the body flaws.

The McCalls drape top still remains one my favourite one-hour sewing projects: front and back, two side seams and just narrow hems on armholes and hem and it can be cut from the narrowest of fabrics.
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I have mixed emotions about the Donna Karan draped top. All the Pattern Reviews raved about it and when it is sitting perfectly, it is fab. But, every time I move the drape un-drapes. The pattern calls for a weight to be inserted in the inside to hold the drape in place – well, the weight went in, the weight came out; the drape was stitched in place and then ripped out. I might even be using a good ol’ safety pin in these pics!

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The Pattern Reviewers stated that the armholes were large and low, so I sewed mine tighter from the outset. This alteration for modesty’s sake had an effect on the drape. The armholes were then ripped out and cut larger. OK, bad selfie below – but you can see the drape on one side with the larger armhole falling all the way from the breast and the ‘fitting’ on the other side with the smaller armhole.

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Not my proudest moment in sewing……

DSCN5228 I ended up cutting all that mess off and adding a band. So much effort and time, adjustment and agony over a top that will now only ever be worn (if at all) under a jacket or cardigan. It does have a lovely drape and if I don’t move it hangs beautifully.

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Three skirts, two jackets, two tops and a multitude of outfits!

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A really big thank you for all your suggestions about what to make with the patterned silk. I think we’ve covered every garment possible and even DH suggested trousers! I’m still considering but might have settled on a pattern, if I don’t change my mind again that is! We’ve got a Bank Holiday weekend here, lots of sewing and wardrobe sorting planned. Hope you have too.

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10 thoughts on “The Ponte Club

  1. Lovely- and fast work too. Are you a Style Arc convert yet? I particularly like the DK pink trimmed jacket with the pink skirt. Very swish. I must take a closer look at that Zoe pattern…

  2. My understanding of Ponte Roma is that the name refers to the structure of the knit and not what it is made from. The knit is a series of little loops, like Roman bridges (hence the name) but you can get different qualities of Ponte and some are better than others. I like a nice beefy one for trousers and jackets but I’ve seen nice silky ones. So you’d want to see what the drape was like before purchasing I think. If you look very closely you’ll see that one side of the fabric is ribbed horizontally and the other side smooth. My personal preference is for the smooth side to be the right side. If you haven’t nodded off by now I’ll just say that I love your new outfits as well as your enthusiasm!

  3. The Zoe skirt suits you perfectly. I so look forward to my Stylearc delivery, a purchase prompted by your earlier post, but I realize now that checking the post already was rather optimistic!

    Sometimes with knits it helps to use a magnifying glass to see if there’s an obvious difference to the surface look of the fabric but I admit I don’t know Ponte. I like that it’s named after Roman bridges – you learn something every day.

  4. Great outfits Ruth – I don’t think I’ve ever waited three weeks for Stylearc patterns to arrive….drapes are a pest….I tried the Mollie (or Molly can’t remember how they spell it) top and the drape was far too low for me…didn’t toile it so can’t complain….(pattern went to bin)….I had made it in quite expensive heavy jersey but I managed to add tucks to make the neckline more right for me….and with my left over fabric I made a scarf to hide the mistake.
    I did get the Mason pattern too (along with Linda pants which I want to make in ponte – your coat is hanging much better than the photo on the Stylearc gallery. Glad to see that – the collar will be too big for me but I thought I could alter it. Thanks for the tip re the turning back of the collar.
    Enjoy your sewing – only wish I had time but calligraphy to the fore for Monday.

  5. Ponte is my favourite fabric to wear and to work with. I love the beige and pale blue outfit. In fact, pop it in the post!

  6. You’ve made some very successful ponte garments, and have some great outfits.
    I love ponte too, but quality varies, depend on fibre compositon ( just like other fabrics!). My best makes have been lined, with another knit fabric. Then I can forget about spanx and be comfy in normal underwear and my ponte clothes that feel like pyjamas.

  7. You have been very busy Ruth, and created a mini wardrobe with all those mix and match pieces. I love sewing with ponte too, but I have discovered that there are good pontes and bad pontes that just want to pill and look shabby the minute you wear them. It’s so hard to know what you are going to get when you buy online. I love the way you have finished of the raw edges on the jackets…very effective.

  8. I’m with Sew Jean, not all pontes are created equal. You know from my blog posts that shrinkage is a huge factor too so pre-shrinking is mandatory! Love your finished outfits especially with the edge treatments! The reds really liven up your skin!

  9. Wow! You have been busy – and this was before the bank holiday. My absolute favourite is the eau de nil and beige. It is such a classy combination and looks very harmonious as well as comfortable. I like the skirt pattern very much on your slim hips and the waterfall and drape tops are really flattering. Great work. Having been away for ten days I have not been sewing or commenting, so back to work…

    I have never tried ponte, but it seems to be all the rage. Thank you for the tips Ruth.

  10. Pingback: Vote For Me | corecouture

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