Pattern Review-ish: A More Traditional Nettie Dress

So, I technically did a review of the Nettie Dress when I posted my Sewing Bee Round 2 dress, but since I made so many modifications I thought it might be more helpful to others if I posted a quasi-modified review of just the Nettie as a stand alone pattern.  This dress was my “wearable muslin” of the pattern, so it was mostly constructed during Round 2 of the Bee, and finished just before the start of Round 3.  It took until after Round 4 to get photographed, and until after the Bee to get posted.  Yeah, I’m still trying to get caught up on life a little bit.  Anyway, here is my straight out of the pattern, minimally modified Nettie:


A lot of this review is the same as from my Bee entry, but it has been modified a bit to reflect this version of the dress and not the red gown I entered into the Sewing Bee.

Here is my full Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: The Closet Case Nettie dress is a close fitting body-con knit dress with fitted sleeves.  I chose the high front and low back necklines.  There are sleeve length options, neckline options, and a bodysuit option included in the pattern.

Pattern Sizing: 0-20.  I traced a size 10 at the shoulders, grading out to a 12 at the waist and a 16 at the hip.  I’ve had recent weight loss, so I was optimistic and used a size 14 sleeve, which barely fit.  In my second version, which I made for the Second Round of the Sewing Bee, I graded out to something like a 16.  I also made a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) because Nettie is sized for a B-cup, and I’m a D by sewing standards.  More details on this in the “Adjustments” section below.   

Were the instructions easy to follow? Closet Case is a new-to-me pattern company (I bought the Nettie and the Ginger Jeans a while ago but hadn’t sewn them before), so I needed to find important details like seam allowance, etc. I tried to follow the instructions, but I found them almost too wordy and hand-holdy.  I instead referred to the Closet Case Nettie Sew Along blog series – same instructions, but real photographs and a bit easier to skip the overly explanatory bits.  I think I’m just too used to Burda at this point – if I’m not confused at least once during construction, it’s too much information.  I think the instructions would be *GREAT* for new sewers though, as they explain not only *what* to do but *why* you are doing it.  The instructions themselves are logical and achieve good results; they are pretty much all the standard procedures for sewing knits.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope once you were done with it?  Yup!  It definitely looked like the other Nettie with the same options.

What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern?  Likes: I like the neckline options of the Nettie, I like that it didn’t have any darts because that is great for interesting patterns or texture of fabrics, and I liked the high fit of the sleeve armpit (this is a weird skater quirk thing, just go with it).  Dislikes: On the sew along blog, she does admit that the bust shelf does create a tiny tug at the side-seams, which is slightly noticeable.  It also causes drag lines at the arms because the weight of the bust is being supported by the fabric there.  If I wear a bra, the drag lines go away for the most part, but I have to use a modified backless bra to avoid ruining the line of the dress in the back.

Fabric used: A textured stretch knit from the Yardage Town remnant table in San Diego. I’ve had this in the stash for a while, and I’ve know I wanted to make a body-con dress with it.  I pulled it out to use as trim in my Round 1 pencil skirt, then decided to just go for it with the Nettie muslin for the Second Round.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Since the Nettie is sized for a B-cup, I made an FBA.  This is my wearable muslin of the dress that I made for the second round of the Bee, and I used a rotate and slide method to create the FBA.  This did not work for me, as it distorts the amount of fabric around the armhole, but that is NOT where I need more space.  It actually makes the built-in bra sort of pointless.  Luckily, I made myself a backless bra for the Fourth Round of the Bee, which I can wear with this dress.  Anyway, before cutting out my real dress for the Bee, I went back to the original armhole draft, and instead just made and extra lump on the side seam of the pattern at full bust level.  To figure out how much to adjust it, I had to do some calculations because this pattern is drafted with negative ease.  So, I made a ratio of the pattern’s full bust measurement to my full bust measurement, setting it equal to the garment measurement over x.  Solving for x and finding the difference gave me the amount I needed to add, which I divided by 2 to get the amount to add to 1 seam.  I did not distribute this between front and back seams because, as noted elsewhere, the breasts are only in the front.  You might think my “add lumps to the sides” method odd, but my Kwik Sew leotard patterns do the same thing, though just not as pronounced as I did here.  Since it’s a negative-ease knit pattern, it’s all going to stretch into place anyway.  Because adding this lump lengthening the side seam by 1/4” I had to cut the back along the top “lengthen” line and add 1/4” to the back piece as well, so that the side seams would match up.

Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?  I’m actually super excited that I got a more wearable Nettie from making my practice run of the dress for the Bee.  I will definitely be using this pattern again, maybe also for the bodysuit now that I’ve got a good fit at the bust.  The Nettie is quite close fitting, so I would recommend it if you are comfortable wearing a dress that will completely hug to your figure.  As a pattern, the drafting seems good, and the instructions are quite verbose, plus there is a very helpful online sew along tutorial as well.

Conclusion: Really happy with the Nettie dress!  Love the high front, low back look, and the sleek silhouette.  I think it is a nice pattern, and, as I did with the sewing Bee, I think it was great for modifications.  As is, it is a nice body con pattern with lots of options and pretty good instructions.  Definitely recommend.

8 thoughts on “Pattern Review-ish: A More Traditional Nettie Dress

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