MBM - Maria Denmark Pernille Pencil Dress


I had a very unusual experience when I prepared to make Maria Denmark's Pernille Pencil Dress, a few weeks ago. As usual I consulted the web to see what other sewist's experience had been of making this pattern. And for the first time since I started sewing, I'd come across a pattern that no one had sewn and blogged. Nothing even on Pattern Review. It was mildly disconcerting.
Since then , this post has appeared. Before that not much at all, apart from the Maria Denmark site.
The Pernille Dress appealed to me straight away. It is designed for ponti knit. It lacks a waist seam (I've always been short-waisted, but as I get older my bustline and waistline are getting closer and closer. Waist seams just feel uncomfortable). It is a raglan sleeve dress, with a boat neck, back contour darts for shape and a pegged hem.
Maria Denmark offers this pattern in B and C cup versions - you get either/or in the download. I ordered a C cup version. When it came to choosing sizes to cut, I had to override my normal method of choosing the bust size by my high bust measurement, and then applying an FBA. It seemed wrong to be choosing the full bust measurement, but I decided to trust the pattern. As it was, I think I could have made a slight FBA anyway, as there is some drag lines over the bust, although it feels fine.
Instead of basting this pattern together to check the fit, I subjected myself to the pin fit. This was my mother's preferred method of fitting patterns when I grew up. She'd make flat pattern adjustments, cut the fabric, then she would pin up pieces, with the pins on the inside and make me try it on. Talk about an instruments of torture. Being scratched by  dozens of pins at once - yikes! I don't think I've ever come across anyone in sewblogland who talks about the pin fit.(Palmer and Pletsch do a wimp's pin fit - the pins are on the outside.) I wonder if it was a very unusual experience? I brought this up with mum the other day, and asked her if she's ever made a muslin. She said only once in the last 50 years - for my wedding dress, before she cut the duchesse silk satin my dress was made of. Anyway, trying this dress on when it was held together with pins brought back a lot of memories I'd rather forget!
I'd cut myself some extra width on the seam allowance for insurance, and decided to allow an extra 1/4" in all the seams after the pin fit. (I'd also added length to the dress and sleeves)


 The pattern offers three options to deal with the neckline: fold over elastic, facings and ribbing. I opted for the facing, but I have to say that while Maria Denmark's instructions are in general pretty good, in relation to applying the facing they are sparse. They don't mention anything that helps you get that facing flat: clipping, grading, understitching and pressing. I did all of this, because that's how I've come to learn how facings are done. If you are a beginner, though, you might struggle with the facing, and not know why. No interfacing is specified for the neckline facing either. I applied a light interfacing to this ponte knit, because to fail to do so just didn't seem right to me.
After all that, though, I still got a bit of rippling around the neckline - not terrible but not great either. So what would I know?:)

 The other thing that bugs me is the raglan sleeve, specifically the bunching around the armpit. This seems to be a bit of an issue with the kimono sleeve - I wonder if the raglan sleeve is the same. I haven't come up with any clues in any of my books on fit about this phenomenon. Anyone have any comments on their experience on fitting the raglan sleeve? I'd be interested to hear.
I sewed this dress up in two short sessions on Friday and Saturday, and wore it Saturday night to a family function in which I sat in a car for two hours, and then ate dinner. I was perfectly comfortable all night. If I was still a corporate desk jockey, I'd make this pattern up in a few colours so I could be pj comfy all day.
I don't wear dresses a lot, so I probably won't make this dress again for a while, but when I do I will probably take a bit of length out of the sleeve.
I'm a fan of Maria Denmark's wearable styles - another winner here. Go and make one.

Comments

  1. Elegant simplicity at its best. Your dress suits you beautifully.

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  2. This looks great - definitely a winner in your wardrobe ... J

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  3. Lovely dress! I've never seen this pattern before..must check it out! I think moving the raglan seam down a couple of centimetres may help with the slight bunching you mentioned.

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    1. Thanks for that tip Valerie - I might try a bit of length between shoulder and armpit in both the dress pieces and sleeve to see if that releases that area on the next attempt.

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  4. I have this cut out waiting to be sewn! Mine is in a textured brown knit. Yours looks fabulous and you are motivating me to sew mine up sooner rather than later. Now suspecting that I will definitely need to shorten the sleeves on mine!

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    1. Thanks Lara. I have really long arms, so I added 5cm to the sleeve length, but it was probably a tad long. 3cm would have been fine.

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  5. Looks great. As a desk jockey myself, I could do with one ( or three) of these.
    My mum used to torture me with pins too. Thanks for reminding me!

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    1. This is a great dress for those in a desk job - the knit is just so comfortable. And it's nice to know I wasn't alone in enduring pin fit torture sessions.

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  6. Oh my goodness, that pin fitting describes my childhood. Whenever my Mum asked me if I would try something on, my first question would be "does it have pins in it?"!

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    1. Yes, me too! The worst of it would be when she would get impatient with me as I gingerly put the garment on - she would yank the garment on causing maximum discomfort. She was a tough woman in those days, my Mum!

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  7. Love it, great silhouette on you (and one I could never carry off, even in my slimmer days). I confess to having had an obviously wimpish upbringing: pins generally on the outside!

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    1. Thanks Felicity. And wow, pins on the outside - you came from an obviously enlightened household!

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  8. Thanks for introducing me to this pattern Paola. Your version looks very stylish, but also very comfortable. It has a lovely flattering shape, and your necklace is perfect with it.

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    1. Thank you. Glad you like the necklace too - it's my favourite.

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  9. It is a very versatile style and looks great. I must admit that I pin fit!

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  10. Lovely dress and sounds so comfortable.

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  11. I had the same problem with the sleeve bunching around armpits. Used this suggestion http://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/2013/08/30/the-easy-tee-raglan-sleeve-tutorial.html.. Took me a couple of tries to get the curve right (I needed a deeper curve) and now the sleeves are perfect. Hope it helps.

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