The Marais Knit Dress + Top, on first glance, is not the typical pattern I would choose. I’m not a huge fan of the v-neck shape on myself, but I’m trying to branch out as a seamstress, so I thought I would be brave and give this pattern a try.
I loved the look of all the seam lines and how they came together. I knew I would learn something new from how it is constructed. The Marais did not disappoint.
I have narrow shoulders and a smaller bust, which can sometimes make fitting sleeveless garments a little tricky. I often end up with a gap under my armpits where the bust just doesn’t fit right. Or the shoulder straps end up too long, causing the neckline to be much lower than I’d prefer.
I had some junky knit in my stash I decided to use as a “muslin” version for the shirt. The neckline facings are held under at the shoulders by the armhole facings and, because of the fabric, I had a little trouble getting all the layers to lay down cleanly in this knit. For my mock-up version (not pictured) I machine-stitched the facings down with the edge stitch as suggested in the pattern.
I am 5’6” and I sewed up a size medium with the A/B cup size. The shirt ended up being a little shorter than I prefer, but I do like the look of the shirt and it fit very well through my shoulders and bust. I had a little bit of gaping under the arms, but the strap length was spot on. I think the gaping I ended up with had more to do with the knit I used than with the pattern, because I did not have any gaping in my final version.
For my final version, I used a higher-end knit yardage that I had been hanging onto for a while. I had just enough to make the dress version.
Going from sewing the thinner and junkier knit to this higher-end knit made a massive difference in the construction. All the seams came together so smoothly and the drape of the dress as a whole was so different.
I never make muslin versions of garments (shameful I know). I usually just suffer and spend lots of time with my seam ripper, but this time around I was so glad that I had taken the time to make a mock-up version. Knowing ahead of time what I was doing, I was able to line up the seams more cleanly and the facings went in much more neatly. For the dress version I decided to hand-stitch the armhole facings down. I wanted a cleaner look for the top without that extra edge stitch showing around the shoulders.
In all honestly, I’m not sure this dress is the most flattering on my body shape, and the pattern on the knit sort of screams “nightgown” more than day dress. That said, the dress fits beautifully from the shoulders to the bust and down through the hips and it is incredibly comfortable. It is always such a gift to stitch up a pattern and have it fit just right!