Nettie Dress

Paul has been encouraging me to make more clothes which celebrate my curves something I’m always slightly nervous about doing. I thought the Nettie Dress by Closet Case Patterns would be an ideal style to try.

Nettie is a quick and easy to make knit garment. Nettie is a close fitting pattern with high cut arms. It can be made into a knit dress or a bodysuit. It is customizable with a choice of 3 sleeve lengths, 2 neckline and 3 back variations. The leg and neck openings are finished with knit bands, with an optional snap crotch or supportive shelf bra.

Nettie knit dress pattern // Closet Case Patterns Nettie Bodysuit pattern // Closet Case Patterns

When I was in my teens my mum and I read Trinny and Susannah books. Trinny and Susanna are British stylists who help women celebrate their bodies. In the section of the book on hourglass figures, they mention wearing dresses which cling to your body like a loved starved barnacle. The concept of wearing clothing this tight has never appealed to me. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my body, far from it. My stomach is an area which I prefer fabric to drape over rather than cling to.



Making the Nettie was an experiment for me and to be honest I’m trying to decide if it’s a garment that I’ll make again. During my style analysis, I was told my style personality prefered wearing structured garments. This made a lot of sense to me sometimes feel a bit silly in floaty fabrics. Knit dresses for me sit in the floaty fabrics arena. I have a couple of Rachel Wrap Dresses which I think I look good in and they are great for travelling which I do a fair bit of for work. However clingy fabrics do make me feel self-conscious about my body but maybe this is just me trying to figure out my best barnacle impression.



My Nettie dress is a size 14 graded to a 16 at the hips.  I chose the long sleeve option and made the sleeves 7/8.  Is that odd? The front neckline is low and the back neckline is mid-length, for the record my back does get cold. The fabric is a polyester Ponte knit.

I added a triangular panel to my dress as the dress was far too clingy. It measures 2 inches at the hem and extends to 20inches up the dress. I would add at least this amount to the pattern pieces before making it again. I tend to wear a slip with the dress (just not in these photos) a slip encourages the dress to glide over my stomach just a little bit more.



So, dear reader. I would love your opinion on this make. Should I embrace my inner barnacle or should I resign this pattern to the one that didn’t work for me?

Thanks for reading and happy sewing.

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Zéphine says:


    I like it (but I’m all in for bodycon jersey dresses anyway, whatever the body!), and I don’t see why you fell unsure about it, because it suits you and (the idea I have of) your style on a comfy weekend day.
    My only reserve are for the triangle add-on, which makes the side seam fall weirdly (like “too loose”) on your hips. I can’t really explain it better, but it’s visible on the second and third pics. I get that it’s a plan-B solution, so I think it really worth to give it another try with the fitting correction directly on the pattern. I would also tapper the sleeves to make them snug your arm tighter, because the large-ish sleeves on a tight dress look odd to my eyes (but again, its a personal opinion 😉 !).
    Also, Nettie as a bodysuit is perfect to wear as separable for hourglass figure, as illustrated by Le Papillon here ( and there (
    Maybe it’s the solution to wear it with more structured, less “loved starved barnacle” (i cracked up laughing at this one!) garments on the bottom.


    1. Thank you for the thoughtful and considered feedback! From everyone’s kind feedback, I’m thinking about giving this pattern another go and as you suggest with the adjustments on the physical pattern. I wasn’t sure about the sleeve length so I think I’ll stick to 3/4 length and tight as you suggest. Thanks x


  2. Eri n says:

    I think the dress is cute on you, but if you’re just not comfortable wearing it, you shouldn’t make another one. I think the best part of sewing is to make clothes we feel happy wearing. No one gets to decide your style.


    1. I completely agree. I learn so much through trial and error that I thought it was worth making this dress. #noregrets.


  3. Naomi says:

    I think it looks great Emma. I think you should search the hashtag of this pattern on IG and see some different bodies in it and see what you think when the tummy isn’t yours. You might still be ‘yeah nah’ on it, or it might enable you to see it differently on yourself. I find when I’ve only seen people with flat tums wearing something i feel like the fit is wrong if my – albeit slightly – rounded one is visible. But i think, for me anyway, part of that is just negative conditioning from the media which we are faced with a daily onslaught of as women.


    1. Thanks Naomi, you’re right everyone has a tummy in this dress. I’m learning to embrace my curves more. I miss my svelte 20-year-old body sometimes!


      1. Naomi says:

        Me too mate, me too!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jinine says:

    Hi Emma, I think you look great in this dress. The pattern hides any number of imagined figure flaws, real or imagined. Like you said, once you wear a slip, the dress will glide over your body. Honest, if you didn’t point out your tummy, I would never have even noticed, and really, I still don’t.

    But the most important thing is that you feel comfortable, and if you don’t…only you can decide what to do. I say, if you like it, wear it, tummy or no tummy.


  5. Linda says:

    To me this dress look good on you. But it’s more important that you feel comfortable and confident wearing it. Maybe you’d like the m6886 pattern more? It’s a similar silhouette but less close fitting. I made it in a cotton jersey and like it a lot.


    1. Thanks Linda I’ll look that pattern up.


  6. Anita says:

    Hi Emma,
    The style suits you, I think you should embrace your shapely figure and be proud to show it off . Your being very hard on yourself !
    If you make again you could consider as first comments and slim sleeve a little ! You can safely add up to 5cm ; less if required ) at back and front side seams at hem and graduate back to hip in front and back to give a bit of an A line shape if you wanted . If you didn’t like extra width you could just take back in . I’m not sure if that’s what you meant by triangle shape ?


    1. Hi Anita thank you! I think i’ll make another version using some navy ponte. Like you suggest I’ll add extra width to the side seams to make the next version more A-line. I added a triangle of fabric to see If I could improve the fit of this dress. As it was a test garment I don’t mind that it isn’t perfect.


  7. Fredda says:

    I think this dress looks lovely on you, and very flattering! As a girl with an hourglass figure I would be far too scared to try this sillhoutte, but now this is giving me second thoughts! I also love that Paul is actively encouraging you to show off your curves!! 👍🏻


  8. claire says:

    I know exactly what Trinny and Suze book you are talking about and exactly what page with the starved barnacle business. I hated everything they recommended for hourglasses in that book, especially as all the dresses were so formal and the model looked so uncomfortable. I really loved some of the pieces they had for the other chapters. I recently looked at those books when I was visiting my childhood home and was just like, these are HORRIBLE!!! They are so body-shaming. I read them from a young age – half for fun (they are entertaining) half for serious – and honestly I think that kind of stuff added to challenging relationships with clothes and bodies. Ugh! Okay, rant over. I think your dress looks nice but you don’t look like you love it, so don’t force yourself to be a barnacle if you’d rather be… a seaweed or lagoon… or (other ocean themed metaphor??). My partner is also into me making more fitted clothes and its a trial and error process to find what feels good.


    1. Hi Claire ! yes those women left women -myself included – feeling slightly traumatized. I haven’t looked at one of their books in years! However the phrase love starved barnacle has always stayed with me. You’re right I don’t love the dress it makes me feel uncomfortable and I don’t wear it. It’s definitely a trial and error method trying new styles. Especially ones that other people want you to try. I hope your search for new patterns is going well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. claire says:

        I’m looking at the Stasia dress from Sew Liberated. It has the same lovely scooped neckline as the Nettie, but not so body-con. Good luck to you too! 🙂


      2. Oh that pattern looks lovely! 😊


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