Man versus elastic: Moneta by Colette Patterns

Moneta Ladystitcher Front

A few months ago, Colette Patterns announced plans to jointly release new knit patterns alongside a book dedicated to sewing knit fabrics. They also offered an opportunity to sign up via email and receive a free preview chapter of the book shortly prior to the launch date, so I quickly signed up and waited to see what the book would hold.

That one chapter convinced me that the book, The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits, would be an invaluable resource when learning to sew a wider range of knit and jersey fabrics. I feel I’ve gotten off to a good start by sewing a whole bunch of Coco tops and dresses (pattern by Tilly and the Buttons), but have really wanted to get stuck into sewing a broader variety of knit fabrics. I don’t have an overlocker or serger though, so have been really reluctant to give them a try.

After Colette released the new knit patterns, I quickly made up the Mabel skirt in some leftover ponte, but had to wait a bit longer before tackling the Moneta dress as it was impossible to find plastic elastic in Irish sewing stores (between dropping in and looking online, I checked over a dozen shops but just couldn’t find the right elastic!). I had held off from ordering from overseas as the postage was higher than the price of the elastic (!) but I finally ordered it from Minerva and it was delivered really quickly.

Moneta Ladystitcher Back

This fabric is a red baby rib knit from MyFabrics.co.uk which I spotted on sale while waiting for the Colette package to be released, and took a bit of a gamble on it (it looks like it’s sold out by now). I also used some of that remnant light jersey polka dot fabric from my night Coco for the side seam pockets.

I’m not sure whether the red fabric is slightly too light for this project or if my stitch settings were off, but I had a really tough time sewing the plastic elastic in to the waist to shirr the skirt before joining it to the bodice. I felt like I needed at least one more hand to pull the elastic and fabric through behind the needle while keeping the elastic – but not the fabric – stretched in front of the needle. I tried different stitch combinations but the elastic was frequently pulled in to a tight tube shape as I tried to attach it.

Eventually I sent a plea for viable alternative methods out over Twitter, so I have some different techniques to try the next time around! I did persevere with this technique though and managed to get the elastic in as per the pattern instructions, but it looks like a sewing machine vomited on the inside of the waistline.

Apart from the shirring, the rest of the dress came together really quickly and without a hiccup so I will certainly be making more Monetas! I just have a lot of shirring practice to get in before now and then… 🙂

The one thing I really did fall in love with while making Moneta was my new twin needle. I had debuted one already on Mabel, but I felt that maybe the needles were slightly too close together (2.5mm) for a smooth finish so I bought a second one (4mm ‘twin stretch’). This rib knit is prone to fraying but by turning up raw edges by 1cm and stitching at 3/8″ (sorry for mixing the measurements but that’s how I really worked instead of converting everything to the same unit!), the zigzag formed behind the twin stitching perfectly caught and sealed the edges.

The 4mm double needle definitely gives a nice smooth finish to hems and necklines – this neckline turned out much smoother than using a zigzag on my Cocos pre-double needle.

Moneta Dress

Whatever way I’m holding the skirt on the right here, it looks like the side seams are puckered but they’re actually alright in real life! 🙂

Skills learned: ‘working’ with plastic elastic ;), using twin needle to finish raw edges

Recommend pattern?: Shirring issues aside, this was a really quick project and I’ll definitely be scouting out some nice knits to make more. I’ll explore alternative methods for attaching the skirt, or might be able to source some wider plastic elastic online in the hopes that it will be less likely to ‘tube’ than the width called for in the pattern. I have a heap of this red knit left over so I might try some of the collared varieties of Moneta, but make it into a top instead.

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27 thoughts on “Man versus elastic: Moneta by Colette Patterns

  1. It’s really lovely. Good job!

    I’m still struggling with knit hems. I tried a twin needle and got terrible tunnelling in the fabric; I tried a lightning stitch with a regular needle and it isn’t straight. Next up I’m going to try a hem stabilizer for knits. I’m super impressed with how well the twin needle worked for you, though.

    • Ugh, that’s really annoying! That happened me a bit when using my first twin needle on the Mabel skirt – the fabric between the stitches is raised. The second twin needle (the wider-set one) works way better. Good luck with the hem stabilizer, hope it helps!

      • It is annoying. Maybe I’ll see if I can find a wider twin needle. I’m very much afraid that this can ultimately lead to only one place, and that’s a coverstitch machine, which makes my bank account cry.

    • Tunneling usually means that the tension is too high. Try lowering it way, way down, and hem stabilizers are great, too! Also, sometimes the tunneling will go away or at least reduce a lot if you press it well. 🙂

      • I did press–didn’t help. Reducing the main tension didn’t help either, and I’m trying to figure out how to reduce the bobbin tension, but frankly I think it might be easier just to use the stabilizer. Or at least give it a shot.

        It’s just part of the learning curve, Eventually I’ll get it sorted. 🙂

  2. Very nice! I like your whole outfit. I also bought the Colette book and agree it seems like an invaluable resource for sewing knits- now I just need to get started 🙂 thanks for the tip on the 4mm twin needle

  3. This looks GORGEOUS on you! The shape really, really suits you! I always feel like I need one extra hand when I’m applying elastic like that, too. You sure can’t tell you struggled with it, though! It looks great!

    • Thanks Sonja! Ha, yeah there was a lot of sewing gymnastics going on… Tbh though it drove me crazy at the time, it wasn’t so bad that I wouldn’t try this out again – soon! 🙂

  4. Your Moneta is so, so gorgeous! I bought the pattern immediately, but I’m still nervous about sewing knits, so it has just been languishing in my pattern stash.

    • Don’t let my elastic adventure deter you – I really should have practised before getting into that part for the first time! I’m still finding it hard to know which weight or stretch level feels right (prob requires a bit of trial and error to learn!) but I think this pattern is a good as starting point for exploring knits. Good luck with your Moneta! 🙂 Colette are doing a sewalong for it in the next month or so, if you feel like waiting for the extra support?

  5. Lovely! You make such nice things with knits 🙂 Isn’t clear elastic so hard to find? None of the local fabric shops here (Chicago, USA) carry it.

    PS- I LOVE your shoes!

    • I can’t believe how elusive the stuff is! Maybe I should have stocked up when I was ordering online…
      Thanks, they’re my favourite pair despite being pretty uncomfortable!

  6. Super, stupendous and sassy, I love this on you. It looks brilliantly made – shirring elastic aside!
    You’ve convinced me that I need the new Colette book in my life and then get some knit fabric and go for it ; )

  7. Hi – I found your blog with all your beautiful creations whilst searching for people’s monetas – I live in Malta and bought my clear elastic from sewessential.co.uk – their shipping’s quite decent. But – I have done a lot of online surfing and have found that a lot of people don’t like using it and use ordinary elastic in much the same way – successfully – everywhere except for shoulder seams. I don’t even use it in shoulder seams as i prefer narrow twill tape for knits – like Tilly. And I find the stretching the skirt to fit the elastic wierd, to the extent I won’t even try it – as I have read in more than one place that clear elastic should be applied unstretched or only slightly stretched. I have the Lady Skater dress patter wnere instructions are to apply the clear elastic to front and back bodice without stretching and before sewing side seams. When I make my first Moneta, I am going to gather the skirt separtely and sew it on to the bodice prepared like the Lady Skater.
    I think I have some of the same rib from myfabrics – I was a bit worried about trying it for the Moneta sicne they specify ITY or double knit and it is much givier, but yours worked so well I am going to give it a try!

    • Thanks for all those tips for working with knits! 🙂 It was really tricky to stretch the elastic out to the correct waist measurements while taking care to not stretch the fabric so that it would be gathered under the elastic when it was sewn on.
      I use twill tape or ribbon for the shoulders too, the elastic just doesn’t feel like it would really help hold the shape there. This red rib is probably a bit on the light side in terms of this pattern alright but apart from my shirring issues, it feels like a lovely weight for a knit dress. I’m ordering some more jersey samples from MyFabrics at the moment – it’s so hard to gauge the stretch and weight from the descriptions! Good luck with your Moneta! 🙂

      • I think I will go ahead and try the rib I bought – yours is so pretty! Yeah – knit is hard to get on line. Do you know Tissu? I got some nice ponti from them, and some pretty good ITY.
        Sorry about all the spelling mistakes in my previous post:( This light print and bright light don’t combine well for my eyes.

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