Bronte Knit Dress

Surprise! I made another dress! And it’s a knit! Oh, the thrills and chills, I tell ya. 

Jennifer Lauren Bronte Dress

This one is near and dear to my heart (ugh, I swear that wasn’t a pun) because it’s based on the Bronte pattern by Jennifer Lauren. I’ve gotten to know Jennifer a bit through Me-Made May and our blogs, so it’s fun to sew one of her patterns! 

Jennifer Lauren Bronte Dress

This is a rare project for me that involved multiple muslins to get the fit I wanted. I did TWO muslins, people! Most notably, I narrowed the front shoulders, extended the back tabs longer, and scooped the front neckline at least 3” lower. In retrospect, I could have gone even lower! The skirt is from the Comino cap dress, and the waistband is… just a rectangle. 

Jennifer Lauren Bronte Dress

The fabric is part of my Wanderlust haul… and I have to say, I loved it less the more I worked with it! After prewashing, it started clinging to itself like mad, which affects the drape. It’s a tissue knit, so I had to line the bodice… which of course, led to the eternal conundrum of which seams to sew first… 

Truth be told, I’m quite enjoying lining more of my knit bodices. The more I do it, the more intuitively I can figure out how to sew it together so that I can do alterations as I go. I usually do a combo of clean finishes (thank you, burrito method!) and folded bands where I want it to have more stretch recovery over time.

Case in point: 

Jennifer Lauren Bronte Dress

For the neckline, I clean finished and topstitched the front bodice, but I went for the folded band across the back bodice because a)I think it’s cute and b) I didn’t want that part to stretch over time! You can tell I did a slightly shoddy job of topstitching down the overlap – but who cares?

The sleeves were another conundrum… I’d already finished everything else, so when Instagram convinced me sleeves would be cute, I had to set them in the round. *GASP!* I haven’t bothered to do that in over a year. (Recently I realised I’ve probably also avoided zippers for a year or more too. Not that I struggle with them, just that I find them avoidable!) Back to the sleeves though – I slashed and spread about 3” total to try to make flutter sleeves, but they ended up just kinda loose. I sewed them in wrong-side out twice.. recut twice… and generally hated the process.

Jennifer Lauren Bronte Dress

The dress though, I like! It turned out very wearable, and as close to retro as I’ve made in a long while. Along the way I got really inspired by these custom knit dresses from Ureshii, which are a fun way to imagine different necklines and skirt shapes put together! A lot of the designs seems to have a similar sort of back bodice/shoulder neckline as Bronte, but often with cut-on sleeves like this or this. I’m curious to give that sort of design a go! (Bonus: Ureshii is run by two Canadian sewists, so I’m hometown proud… and the word “ureshii” means “happy” in Japanese!) 

Phew! That’s more than I’ve yammered on about fit or alterations in a  long time. Guess it comes from finally trying out some new patterns this summer! 

Meanwhile, despite all of my stashbuilding, my fabric supply is starting to feel a little thin. I tend to go through it pretty fast because nothing I sew takes more than a day or two. I’m in the market for multicoloured rayon knits – florals, abstracts, that sort of thing. They are surprisingly hard to find in colours I like…Can you suggest any online stores I should check out? 

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