It seems like every time I pre-treat a knit, the fabric grain (or the equivalent in a knit) becomes distorted or “off”. They are perfectly fine when they arrive, but after I follow the instructions (always on gentle, no spin), the selvedges are no guide.
Take this knit velvet, with cutout diamonds:
As you can see from the two photos (black, sorry, hard to photograph), the cutout and grain are at an angle to the selvedges. I laid the fabric on the floor as best I could with the “straight” grain parallel to the lines in the hardwood floor (but not perfectly).
I really like this fabric. What do I do with it?
And, I’m no longer pre-washing knits. I’m obviously doing something wrong. (This happens no matter the vendor.)
No, I’m not that fast when it comes to sewing. Generally, the only time I can work on the machine is after the little one goes to bed. Amazingly, I can do handwork during daytime (non-work) hours. So I was able to work on the Marfy top and this dress concurrently.
But this dress didn’t work out so well, and I think it will go to the charity pile. I love the fabric, and in principle, I thought the dress would work for me. But it looks frumpy on – and adds pounds. In fact, I looked 6 months pregnant rather than just no longer having a flat tummy. (I have seen this dress on others and it was very flattering – I’m a bit of a pear, so perhaps it doesn’t work well with that figure).
The pattern: A 2017 release from McCall’s (7591). From the envelope: Misses dresses and sash. Fitted pullover dresses have lined bodice, front and back bodice variations, elastic waistlines and length variations. I made view c, adding the sash from view a. I bought the XS-S-M; a medium corresponds with a size 12/14, which is what I made.
The fabric: A very lovely silk jersey I bought from Emma One Sock in 2015. It reminded me of Pucci, and I was considering it for one of my Pucci patterns, but didn’t buy enough fabric. I love the fabric, though the print and colors are out of my comfort zone. Jersey is only one of the options listed, but you definitely want something drapey here.
Construction notes/changes I made: I cut a size medium (12/14) and added 1.5 inches at the torso lengthen/shorten line – my normal alteration – but I could have gone with 2 inches here. The recommended lining is tricot, which I didn’t have on hand, so I used self lining. I added bra carriers to keep the bra from showing. Otherwise, I went by the instructions. They were okay, but I’m thinking I could have done better had I not.
What worked/didn’t work: For me, the overall look didn’t work. What drew me to it was the neckline opening – and that was easy to do well. Anyway, what didn’t work- the slit is shorter than it appears on the envelope drawings, and won’t hang properly. The armholes are topstitched, but that (and the hem treatment) seemed to cheapen the dress. I can never get elastic distributed evenly – here there is better gathering in the back than the front. And those shoulders. I did them three times, finally by hand. This is something I cannot seem to master. The approach is to sew the neck and arm seams, fold back the lining on the shoulder seam line, stitch the shoulder seam and then slipstitch lining opening closed. It always looks homemade to me. I definitely got better results when I inserted the lining by hand with the previous two summer dresses. The sash could be wider.
You win some you lose some. I’ll set this aside for a couple of weeks and then try it on again and decide what to do with it.
BRRRR… it’s cold outside! So I hear. In reality, I’m sitting in shorts and a tee with the window open listening to the crickets. Phenomenal Florida weather. But I’m going to the land of ice and snow – and when I looked through my winter clothes, I realized I was in need.
I purchased Butterick 6388 for the collar, and fully intended to make a dress (view D). I’ve been on the fence about it-I will make it, but I’m not sure about wool. I made view C for my trip to Colorado. This is an easy project.
The fabric: a Mark Jacobs wool doubleknit I purchased from Marcy Tilton in 2011. Actually, it’s a remnant – I originally paired it with a red knit to make Vogue 1313 (DKNY). I still have the dress, but I almost always feel like a Trekkie in it. The quality of the fabric is amazing, and I love the heathered black. I managed to eke out the top (view C) on about a yard and a quarter. I did have to piece the collar – not enough space for a fold – adding a center back seam to the back of the collar. The recommended fabric for this is sweatshirt fleece or french terry.
What I changed: Not too much, actually. I did top stitch every seam except the side seams to help keep the seams flat – wool double knit can be thick.
Construction and instructions: The instructions are perfectly fine. Again, this is pretty easy. I did add the top stitching.
I have found that Butterick patterns (more so than McCall or Vogue) tend to have a lot of ease – particularly on anything sized XS-S-M. By the measurements, I should have made the medium (size 12/14). But I tend to the smaller size of 12 in the shoulders. I cut the small, but stitched 3/8″ seams at the sides/arm; everywhere else is the traditional 5/8″. I used my straight-stitch machine, serging after the fact (since I was fitting as I went). I think my decision was the right one, as the fit is spot on for me.
The top hits right at the hip. When I tissue fit, I knew I should add two inches to the length since I’m long-waisted. There is very little shape to this dress, so where the waist hit didn’t matter so much for the top. I will add it for the dress.
Front and back views, overexposed to show the black, and the dropped sleeves.
What I learned: I’d forgotten how warm this fabric is! I won’t get much wear from this here – but it’s cute/casual/sporty. I like it, even thought it’s not much more than a sweatshirt with a fun collar. I need to be very selective about my wool double knit purchases since I really don’t need any in my wardrobe. It also means that I don’t have a fabric for the dress. I originally planned to do this in a grey wool double knit purchased at the same time…
Up next: I’ve been really busy – who isn’t. BUT I FINISHED THE RUCCI SUIT! Yes, I finished it a week or so ago. I didn’t like the pictures on the dress form, so I’m waiting for a chance for someone to take pictures with me wearing it. I also made an orange silk jacquard midi pencil skirt, but haven’t had time to blog about it yet. What to sew? I’m thinking the Paco Peralta with the short sleeved jacket, or a vintage Guy Laroche suit, or a lace dress… but no sewing while at my in-laws.
Because I didn’t buy enough fabric and I ran out of time. The party was two weeks ago. I finished it yesterday.
The inspiration and pattern choice: I had a vision of what I wanted from this dress, and I almost got there. I’d seen the Sloane maxi dress from Lily Pulitzer and thought I could make something similar. I liked the midriff, the v neck and back and overall shape. I thought that Simplicity 1102 could be altered to be close, though the skirt would definitely be fuller.
This dress doesn’t look that great to me on the envelope cover. But when I looked at the line drawings, I saw possibilities. The bodice is fitted, eliminating gapping, the midriff was about what I wanted, only the skirt was too full. The sleeves are awful, but I thought I would work with view C and lengthen to maxi. Of course, I bought the fabric requirement for view C without thinking. That’s okay – I like it, even though I didn’t do as well a job as I would like.
The fabric! This is from Gorgeous Fabrics, called Boldly Go, in a silk-rayon matte jersey. It has a nice hand, drapes well and is easy to sew. I was nervous about the bold print on my body, so perhaps that’s why I’m okay with the shorter length.
Changes and Construction Notes: I made a muslin of the bodice. Since I’m smaller through the shoulders, with a smaller bust, I was worried about fit and gaposis. What surprised me was how modest the V was! I ended up lowering the V by about three inches and widening it by folding back the pattern from the bottom of the V up to the shoulder line (and narrowed the shoulder on the inside by about 1/4 inch). The pictures show some gapping on one side – this is a function of how I’m holding the selfie stick. This was a very clear case of less is more when it came to the dress – less coverage was definitely more flattering. I also wanted to see if I could eliminate the zipper – but could not.
I wanted to remove some of the weight of the skirt. I feared that much gathering would bring unwanted questions about children. I liked the skirt from McCall’s 7121, but didn’t want to go quite that narrow (I laid the matching pattern pieces on top of this one to get a sense of what I wanted). I carefully folded out 4 inches, along the grain. I did this by folding out one inch midway between the CF and side seam and CB and side seam. So far so good.
I had also seen a dress in a window in Santa Fe that had concentrated the gathers at CF. So I did that as well. This was a mistake. I didn’t make adjustments for the grain, and now the skirt side seams hang forward, toward the front. I should have tested this with a muslin.
As for the instructions – they are fine, but if I make this again, I would not follow them, as I think they lead to less than professional results. The lined bodice (lined with a sold out Gorgeous Fabric knit lining and the tricot interfacing from Fabric Sewing Supply) is finished almost completely before attaching the skirt and zipper. By completely, I mean the lining is stitched down to the fashion fabric at the midriff. This means that the zipper is inserted so that you can’t stitch the lining to the zipper tape and hide it.
Other changes: I did the ruching and the underlining by hand using a small running stitch. I also did a narrow machine rolled hem instead of a 1 1/2 inch hem.
Final notes: I love the fabric and it’s so comfortable to wear. Doing the muslin for the bodice meant the perfect fit there. I have so many other things I want to make, but I might revisit this one down the road. I wore it to the salon today and received many compliments!
I needed something super-easy to get things going again. I did make a linen skirt, but didn’t check measurements (new pattern company for me) and couldn’t zip it over my bumm (silly me). I have also done muslins for a pair of shorts and a kaftan which are up next. Enter M6612 – easy close-fitting pullover dresses with a variety of lengths, sleeves and necklines. I’ve made view D before, and when I wore it the other day, I got so many compliments, I decided to make view C to warm up for the shorts/kaftan. Here’s view D, which I made in a cotton lycra print from Gorgeous Fabrics. I really love the green print on this version, and got really lucky with the placement in this case:
This time, I used the remaining floral ITY knit that I used to make my niece’s Christmas gift. Easy to sew, no rolling, but a synthetic (not fond of synthetics). The only fitting alteration I made was the same one I made to view D, which was to add 1.5 inches at the waist in length to accommodate my long torso (cut a 12 since I knew how close-fitting this was, though I’ve been cutting 10s in the bodice lately).
I pretty much followed the directions – though you don’t need them – this is a super easy one night hit. I did set the sleeves in flat instead of the way the directions requested. I had plan to do the neckline, hem and sleeve hems with a double needle, but I got so much tunneling, I abandoned that idea. Instead I turned a narrow hem and top-stitched it.
I encountered two sewing issues. First, I had skipped stitches with my regular machine on the hems (you can see it in the neckline photo).
Second, I had a terrible time with control on the serger (Babylock 1034D). By control, I mean, maintaining a perfect 5/8″ seamline. I was mostly wider, leading to a more snug fit than I would like. The way the machine is designed, the easiest control over the seam line when serging is at 3/8″ seam. Does anyone else encounter these issues – if so, how do you compensate?
The first skirt I made for her was from Butterick, and while she loved it, it was way too big for her. I decided to make the LHS for her, but one size down (this was a knit). The fit is much better, yet she still has plenty of room for growing.
The pretty floral was very stable to sew and took no time at all to make. This version is the four panel, full circle skirt, double layered. It has a bias cut yoke, and elasticized waist. I did make the belt, but not the loops (they looked terrible, so I did thread loops).
I made this so long ago now that I’m having some memory issues – I do know that I think it would be better with a lighter weight fabric. I also got the report that a wider strip of elastic would be better (calls for a 3/8th inch elastic).
I do remember this: for some reason when I sew knits on my regular sewing machine, the fabric “pulls away” from the marked seam line. I know I’m not describing it right. In the photo, the fabric was lined up to the yellow tape to make a half inch seam. When I started to stitch, the fabric pulled away to make a narrower seam. Any thoughts?
Anyway, it’s cute, it fits her, she likes it. I’ve got another variation on the LHS on the cutting table (the A-line button front). As soon as I figure out the new serger, I’ll get going on it.
When I started this project, I had no idea how popular this pattern was (McCalls 6796). I just thought it was cute when I saw it on another blog. But fitting this on my body turned out to be a real challenge.
I chose a beautiful sweater knit from Gorgeous Fabrics (sold out). In retrospect, this knit may not have been the right choice for me – it added bulk where I didn’t need it. But it’s beautiful!
I was really concerned about fit, as this is one of my goals for 2015. When I read the pattern, this is what I saw: “close-fitting, pullover top”. Page 119 of the Vogue Sewing Guide notes that close fitting tops should have 0-2.25 inches each. Here’s what the pattern for size 12 says, followed by the finished garment widths printed on the pattern:
bust 34″, 36″ finished (2 inches ease)
waist 26.5″, 35″ finished (7.5 inches ease)
hip 36″, 38.5″ finished ( 2.5 inches ease)
That’s a lot of ease through the waist. In fact, the Vogue Sewing Guide would say that is loose fitting.
Anyway, I stitched it together as is to start. I ended up having to take the shoulders up about 1/2 inch to fit me better there. And take the armcysce seam a little deeper (1/8 inch). But when I tried it on, it looked like a rectangle on me and didn’t flatter at all. So, I took it in, way in. Better, but the style still didn’t work for me. In fact, I think I over-fitted just under the bust area. I like it on the dress form, but not on me. I’ll be donating it.
As for construction I did three things differently from the instructions. First, I set the sleeves in flat. Second, I cut the collar out on the lengthwise grain instead of the cross grain. I wanted the contrasting effect with the ribbing. Third, I hand-hemmed the sleeves and top, since I tend to get wavy hems.
So, what did I learn from this project? That I’m still struggling to fit the upper body, I need to do a better job choosing fabrics that flatter my body, and styles, too. I may try the pattern again in the future with a different style knit – one that drapes.