I’ve got the sewing bug again. After the velvet ordeal, I needed a break from my sewing table, but I am feeling inspired again and ready for some new projects.
I’m not one for counting down till christmas, but as the nights are drawing in and it’s starting to feel pretty wintery up here in Shetland, I felt the need to make a cosy winter dress.
The inspiration for this make came from a post I spotted on twitter a while back, Elena from (randomlyhappyblog.com) had tweeted about her lovely knit fabric “Ultimate Shift Dress” by Sew Over It and it looked so fabulous, I thought I’d make my own.
The fabric I used was a gorgeous red ponte de roma, funnily enough, from Sew Over It (must have been meant to be).
You may remember I made this dress before for my trip to India in a light cotton lawn. It was a relatively easy make and I was really pleased with the fit. Although this pattern is designed for woven fabrics, it is quite a simple shape, so I think it lends itself well to either fabric type.
It may just be me, but I really struggle with knit fabric on my machine. I have spent endless ages trying to figure out why my machine misses stitches when sewing knit fabric. I have tried: changing tension settings, different needles (ball point, stretch), sewing at different speeds, but nothing completely solves the problem.
My latest discovery to aid sewing knits on a standard sewing machine is to place a layer of tracing paper or greaseproof paper under the fabric to stabilise it during sewing. When stitching is complete, rip it off. This has partially fixed my problem, but I still see some skipped stitches and ripping the paper off can pull the stitches, leaving them looking loose and unsightly, especially annoying when topstitching.
I ended up using a combination of my old sewing machine, my overlocker and hand sewing to finish this garment.
Below is a brief overview of the process:
- sewed the darts with a straight stitch on the machine (I think you are supposed to use a zig zag stitch, but they look fine)
- stabilised the shoulder seams with a thin ribbon and sewed with a zig zag stitch on the machine
- overlocked the side seams and sleeves together
- set in sleeves creating a couple of very small tucks on either side of the shoulder notch, to account for the excess fabric in sleeve head (gathering as with woven fabric didn’t really work)
- turned neckline under 1cm and topstitched with a zigzag stitch
- hemmed the dress and sleeves by hand using a hemming stitch
- Added a hook and eye closure to the back neckline
I love the finished product, super cosy and flattering. I think I have a bit of an obsession with sewing dresses in knit fabric now…
Also, if anyone has any tips on sewing with knit fabric on a regular sewing machine I would love to hear them.