T’was the week before a transpacific flight to Hawai’i, and I settled on the fact that I had nothing to wear to a lu’au. I had been mulling on what would be considered appropriate for a lu’au for some weeks at this point, voting against a summery Hawai’ian shirt, in favor of something breezy.
We talked about ideas at the Des Moines Sewing Collective meet up. A wrap skirt with a fun crop top? A breezy sundress? I settled on that I wanted to make something that I could rewear through the summer, and narrowed it down to two options.
I had a few fabric choices already in my stash to use. A cotton lawn from the Iowa Quilt Block, or blue floral rayon challis from Fabric.com. The blue rayon challis was purchased to make the short sleeve, tied version of M7974. It didn’t feel quite right to wear sleeves at a lu’au, however. A sleeveless, strappy cotton lawn? That seemed perfectly breezy for a humid evening on Kaua’i.
I ultimately decided to go with the Kerttu knot dress. The pattern was hot off the presses, having just been released. It felt like a lu’au was the perfect background for the breezy knotted front. My reservation, however, was that I did not have time for a muslin and would have to trust on the pattern envelope to ensure it would fit well.
The construction was fairly straight forward. There is a full bodice lining, which fully encloses the seams nicely. The pattern has you apply lightweight fusible interfacing along the seamlines of the ties for reinforcement. However, I wish I had better reinforced my fabric where the center of the bust opening meets the elastic waistband. My lightweight cotton lawn has ripped from the seam after one wash and now requires some repairs to prevent further damage.
As the pattern is written, the top of the bodice strap ends with a square top. I initially followed these instructions and sewed it as intended, but thought it looked too abrupt and detracted from the curves of the bodice. Narrowing the top of the bodice straps where they meet the spaghetti strap was ultimately the right choice.
There is also have a pesky fit issue that I would have addressed if I had more time on my hands. I have some gaping under my armpits, which could be rectified with a bust dart. However, since the bodice is fully lined, I was unable to easily make any fit adjustments. Looking at other makes on the #kerttuknotdress Instagram tag, it appears that a few other makers have had this issue. If you are taking on this pattern, tie the bodice and fit it before sewing in the lining to check!
Ultimately, I am very happy with this dress! I find myself reaching for it as a lightweight, no-thoughts feel nice dress for farmers markets and patio drinks.