Do you ever see a pattern and know exactly what you want to do with it? That was definitely me yesterday. We finally got in the new Bonnie Blue Charlotte pattern. It says on the front cover that it is great for knits and immediately I knew exactly which fabrics I wanted to use and for whatever reason, decided I needed to make it right then. All other work got pushed to the side and I made a knit dress yesterday. I love when that happens!
These are the fabrics I chose .. Patty Young Knits from Riley Blake.
Because I was anxious to get going with the dress, I did not take time to wash the fabrics first. If you are not used to sewing with knits, this is a step I would not normally skip. We all know knits shrink and if you are making something that is going to be worn, you want to go ahead and preshrink the fabric before you cut it out and sew. Trust me .. you don’t want to skip this step or else you risk ending up with a wonky dress the first time you launder it.
I chose to make View 2 with the contrast band but with short sleeves instead of long. The dress turned out really cute and was super easy to make .. although I did deviate from the instructions which I’ll discuss.
So I mentioned that I deviated from the pattern a bit and I’ll make even more changes when I make this dress again (and yes, I will make it many more times). The way she does the contrast border is to have you cut a border and a border lining … 4 pieces in total. You sew the border together and attach it to the dress. You then sew the border lining together and fold down one edge by 3/8″. Next you attach the border lining to the border and finally, hand stitch the border lining to the dress. First of all .. way too many steps to add a border. Secondly .. I don’t like handwork especially when there are other ways to do it that don’t involve time spent with a needle and thread. Here’s a picture showing the inside of the finished border.
You’ll notice that I did NOT hand sew anything although I did follow the instructions regarding the border and border lining. Rather than take the time to hand stitch the border lining, I took it to the serger and just attached the border lining to the border with an overcast stitch … WAY faster and it looks finished too. The next time I make this dress I will double the border width minus 3/4″ for the seam allowance. I would then sew up my side seams, press the seams open, fold the border in half, and attach it to the bottom of the dress .. and done! Way less steps and so much faster. I’m sure she probably has a very good reason for all the extra steps but I don’t have time for that.
Tips for Sewing With Knits
Loved making this dress and I really like working with knits. Knits really aren’t as scary as you might think as long as you have the right tools .. walking foot, ball point needle, starch and a hot dry iron.
The walking foot helps to pull the fabric through the machine evenly and without stretching the knit. Without a walking foot, the fabric can end up with a wavy, lettuce edge look. Cute if you are using it as a decorative trim .. not so cute on a side seam. Ball point needles have a rounded tip which goes around the fibers in the fabric instead of slicing through them. A sharp needle would make small holes in the fabric that would get bigger as the fabric stretches. One of the biggest frustrations when working with knits is that the edges like to roll on themselves when you are trying to pin them and sew; this is where the starch and hot, dry iron come in. Lightly spray the fabric edge with the starch and place the iron on the edge … pressing and not ironing. Do this as many times as it takes to get that edge into submission. Trust me .. it works and makes all the difference!
Hope you like it and maybe picked up a few tips on sewing with knits. They really aren’t all that scary if you are using the right tools. We’ll be having some classes on the schedule soon .. maybe even one for this dress.
Let me know if you have any questions on the pattern, the fabrics, sewing with knits, whatever.