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—lisa g.

Friday, December 9, 2011

my first knit dress pt. 2

so as i mentioned earlier (which now seems like forever ago...) this is my first attempt at a knit dress. i didn't do much picture taking for a few reasons—

first: i was in a hurry.

second: i was in a hurry.

third: i was in a hurry!

that and i was kinda fumbling my way through it, learning as i went. i basically just approached this like any other dress i've made and constructed it in much the same way. i did a self-lined tank bodice, pleated and attached the lined skirt pieces, hand stitched the bodice lining to the zipper and waist to hide all my seams and did a machined blind-hem.

i know my interior work isn't perfect and i guess that's where i fumbled a bit. on a regular woven all this would have been just fine. on stretch knit... i'm thinking there must be a better way. the lining to my skirt (which i should have left off, really) wasn't as stretchy as i had anticipated, but i just have it in my head that i must line everything i make and so i just couldn't leave it out. then, i wasn't sure of the best way to sew down the bodice lining. hand stitching along the zip? fine.

hand stitching the bodice lining at the bodice/skirt seam? hmmm... it seemed to work out fine. i don't know how to securely hand stitch a seam that is intended to have stretch. initially my plan was to underline the bodice and use facings around the neckline and armholes to preserve a structured edge. doing so would have given me a nice neat finish at the top of the dress around the zip. but with the standard "sew around the neckline, armholes then turn right side out" method i was left with no choice. then again, i really like the self-lined bodice. so, maybe i did it right after all? do you even know what i'm talking about? am i just a wack-a-doodle that worries about such details?

these are the things that keep me up at night.

you don't want to be inside my head.

look! my zip lines up perfectly!



what i would do different:

1. not line the skirt!! duh. the extra weight of the lining ends up stretching and pulling the bodice down, even though it's two-way stretch material. my original thought was that a slippery lining would make it nicer for wearing with tights. i'm not a fan of the "skirt riding up and sticking to your tights" look, but it probably wouldn't have been an issue.

2. the armholes are a smidge tight. i often have the problem of the armholes being too big and perhaps i erred too far the other direction. not enough to be a problem or make it uncomfortable, just an adjustment i'll make for future dresses.

3. figure out how to handle lining a structured knit dress. i know, the beauty of a knit dress is that it doesn't need structure. yet i really like the structured look without feeling constrained or worrying terribly about bodice fitting issues in a woven. my afore mentioned non-bustiness creates many fitting issues for me, something using knit material can fix.

but above all, i am in loooove with this dress! it looks exactly as i had hoped, it's comfy, i can dress it up or down and it's super comfy! did i mention the comfort factor?

not sold on the silver colored tights... how about red tights with grey shoes?

or red tights with red shoes? too much?

oh yeah, and it didn't cost me $150.

and mine has a cute flower.

so, i win. that's how it works, right?


  1. Saw this dress on burdastyle and now I see it on your blog (which I follow using google reader). I didn't realize you lined it and added a zipper! That is some feat with a knit/jersey fabric. Way to go! It does look much more structured and fancy than a "normal" knit. Did you use a pattern for this one? I too am "non-busty" (B) and actually that does not create fitting issues for me because patterns are made for a B cup. The problem with patterns is that they are huge compared to the size they are intended to fit! As for lining, maybe you could have used a lighter weight fabric, or lined it using an A-line pattern rather than a pleated lining which takes up more fabric. I'm sure the lining improves the dress - like you said, the sticking to the tights factor.

  2. BTW - it looks great with the red tights and the greenish belt.

    As for securing the bodice lining to the waistline - you could leave it unfolded (finished raw/overlocked/zigzagged edge showing), and secure it in intervals with a sort of tiny invisible "X"... I hope you know what I mean. Of course it won't look as pretty from the inside, but it solves the elasticity issue. Actually, you can fold it and secure the fold to the bodice lining, and do the same interval "X" technique

  3. thank you for your lovely comments! i always appreciate the feedback!

    i did not use a pattern for the top, i just made my own by tracing a t-shirt with similar stretch. the skirt i snagged from KwikSew 3521 (just what i had in my pattern stash) and made pleats instead of gathers. i think i mislabeled it on burda, the material is interlock knit (not jersey!). it's kinda like a thin sweatshirt material just not brushed on the inside. lighter weight material for the lining would have been good idea. i had ordered the fabrics online (always a gamble!) and my lining was supposed to be far stretchier than it turned out to be and was heavier than i expected.

    as far as construction, i think turning and stitching the bodice lining hem then maybe using a catch stitch like you suggested would have worked out. that or just sewing the skirt lining to the bodice lining then just tacking the waist seams together to keep it all in place. the A-line lining under a pleated skirt is a good idea but i always forget to do it that way!

    ah well... live and learn! i'll definitely be making a similar dress again!

    (btw: i find pattern sizing atrocious also! for me, "non-busty" is A cup plus i have a very narrow ribcage! it makes my head spin trying to get a good fit! i have found that simplicity's project runway line is more accurate than most.)

  4. Really, really cute!!!!
    You did an awesome job, and the fit is superb!!


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