all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Boat Race Moneta


My first Colette Moneta, started and finished today – Boat Race day. So may this blog post and dress recall the first time that the girls raced the same course on the same day as the men. The hour spent hand stitching the hem was completed just before the girls set off. I was walking along the Thames three weeks ago and all of the teams were out practicing.

You might have noticed that one or two of my posts mention sporting events – but I think this is the first rowing mention!

And so to the sewing……. I’ve only used one Colette pattern before and that was the free Sorbetto. And it didn’t fit brilliantly well, such that I am unlikely to use it again. I’ve seen the Moneta in so many blogs, always looking lovely, so I decided that I would make one, even though the design comes with several risks:

  • It has a waist line seam, and that is usually a bit risky as it highlights the ‘out of shape’ part of my figure
  • Its made from stretchy jersey with negative ease, meaning that it might show up the out of shape parts of my figure
  • My previous experience of a Colette pattern wasn’t good

So lots of good reasons not to proceed. But on the plus side:

  • I’ve seen the Moneta look good on similarly shaped people!
  • I’ve worn the recently made Prima dress quite a lot, and this will be a similar weight
  • I would ensure that the waist seam was high enough to let the gathered skirt cover most of the ‘sins’
  • It looks easy to make and I ought to be able to run it up quite quickly on the overlocker
  • I have a contract at last, so I will be able to wear it to work with a nice jacket

So the challenge was the fit. The sewing was expected to be straightforward.

I bought the pattern ahead of the fabric and spent an evening measuring and grading the pattern pieces. Then I fitted them to my dress form and tried to imagine the impact of negative ease….. and ensuring that the waist line would indeed be high enough to cover any wobbles!

Then yesterday the need for a Moneta in my wardrobe suddenly grew, and I rushed off to Guthrie Ghani to grab some fabric. I love the colour. It really suits me. It’s a real pity that ‘colour’ has been a bit out of vogue in recent years.

I did use both the overlocker and the sewing machine. The bodice was put together on the overlocker in no time, and the fit was tested. The front is fine. It’s a bit tight across the back, and I will cut it a little bit bigger next time, but not much bigger as I wouldn’t want it to be baggy. There’s a fine line somewhere!

I eventually got my head around the instructions for shiring with clear elastic, and actually quite enjoyed doing it. I used a wide machine zigzag to attach the elastic, dividing it into 8 short stretched runs, and I think its come out fairly even. I also started to stitch half way round so that it was well anchored without having to worry about the ends of the elastic. That meant I was confident about handling the stretching when it came to securing the ends half was round. Hope that makes sense. I then stitched the bodice to the skirt using a stretch stitch on the machine, and then finished the seam by overlockering along the top edge of the elastic. I might have got away with doing that first time round, but didn’t want to risk it.

Overlocking around the pockets was a bit scary, but I tacked down the fabric at the point where I would need to turn the seam, in order to ensure that all of the layers behaved themselves.

Moneta pockets They did behave themselves!

The sleeves and neckline are both twin needled – not brilliantly I have to say, but you need to look very closely to see why I am saying that. The dress is on the dress form right behind me and I have just taken a look. It’s fine!

But having had ‘not brilliant’ results with the twin needle. I decided to stitch the hem by hand. I think it will hang better that way anyway. So an hour later…. I was watching the boat race – dress finished.

I have added a signature butterfly near the front hem.


I considered adding one to the bodice front, and maybe in the centre of the bodice back, but those parts need to stretch, and a hand stitched embellishment would either limit the stretch, or even worse, tear the fabric. The bottom of the skirt is a safe place in that respect.


I downloaded the ‘free’ Moneta collars extra, and printed all 22 pages. I don’t like the collar that comes with the pattern, but I do like most of the ‘extra’ ideas. So I spent quite a while trying to up-size the collar pieces in the extras document, and with the prospect of wasting reams of paper, I eventually decided to just re-draft the original pattern. Which I did. But I had been puzzling throughout about how to attach the collar…… it was only this morning that I realised that the pattern only suggests a collar with the sleeveless and lined version, and I definitely wanted sleeves and no lining. So no collar on this one. But I will be looking out for blogs where people have added a collar to a sleeved version. It strikes me that there are two options:

  1. Attach the collar to the wrong side of the neckline and then fold over and understich to the bodice.
  2. Create a facing and sandwich the collar between the bodice and the facing – but that would create quite a thickness of fabric and might be too bulky for suitably drapey fabric.

Any comments on the collar situation (or anything else for that matter) would be very welcome.



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This entry was posted on April 11, 2015 by in Colette, Dresses, Fashion, Moneta and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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