I purchased a couple of lovely dress/blouse weight Ponte’s which would be perfect this time of year. They are like two T-shirts worn as one. Soft. Drapy. Cushy. I’m not sure what differences they will make in fit because, as you all know, every fabric even just a different color will fit just a little differently. I need a test garment. I don’t want to waste these on a test. So I hunt though my stash and find an elderly double-knit of rayon and something else, I think nylon. Old is not the issue. “Double knit” and “polyester’ became forbidden years ago. You’ll never read or hear of Ponte’s being double knits but it’s the same fabric construction with a different blend of fibers. Being of approximately the same weight and definitely same structure, I thought this elderly fabric would make a fine test.
I tested stretch. 30%. Rather less than the lovely sweater knits I’ve been making but close to the rayon jerseys and ITY’s I’ve successfully made with my knit block.
Rayon, Sweater Knits and ITY all top made with my basic knit block:
I cut and stitched together “that ponte” , which was expensive and luxurious in its hey day, now turned into an ugly-fitting top.
After several attempted fittings, I posed the question at SG, Do Blouse Weight Ponte’s require special handling?. I received several thoughtful answers. It seems that many prefer to treat Ponte as a stretch woven. Even this lighter weight (it’s not pant’s weight) Ponte has additional body and usually much less stretch than most knit fabrics. Successful projects seem to have incorporated darts (stitched or hidden) and more ease as if Ponte were a stretch-woven instead of knit.
OK. If that’s the simple answer. I’d rather sew a dart or two than wear the garment above. So I pull out my woven sloper and cut a new front and back. But that didn’t really seem to help much. After 3 changes, it looked like:
That is my woven block which has given me many near perfect garments like these:
OK, I rotated darts and fiddle with necklines on the basic block to create the garments above. I want to show that the front and backs were quite nice, nearly perfect, even with my basic woven block. While on the Ponte, the darts are too low, fabric puddling if various places and every change makes it worse. I even tried the suggested a sway back (which never works for me);
I’m really not impressed by the sway back alteration this time either. Having removed 2″ at the CB waist, I still have drag lines everywhere.
A round upper back alteration was suggested as well. I added a pseudo-seam to the center back. Pseudo-seam? I folded the back in half and stitched from top to bottom varying the distance from the fold with how much I pinched out and through needed to be removed.
I think this helped more than the sway back but I’m a long ways from a proud wearing.
I hung this in the closet to allow time for thought. I’m pretty sure I know my fitting issues but, I don’t seem to be applying the solutions very well to this Ponte.
I took time to explore the Pivot and Slide fitting method and to do some fun sewing, the Blue Vest. Then I decided it’s time to finish this thing or call it a wadder. I pulled out another very successful pattern for me, Loes Hinse Rochelle (LH1011). LH1011 was relatively easy to fit and has been reliable ever since. It was my salvation last December when my Anniversary Dress went awry. I ripped all the seams. Carefully pressed and lightly starched my pieces before laying the LH1011 pieces on top and recutting. I basted them together and tried them on:
This back looks much better:
until I look at the arms and wonder why the sleeves have drag lines. The sides and front however are horrifying. How could they possibly be that bad.
It’s a wadder. I’m not suddenly in denial. I know I have fitting issues. But I’ve tried 3 different known-to-be-good patterns and dozens of fitting tweaks. This fabric never looks good. It happens that some fabrics are just rags. I believe this is one.