Posts Tagged 'Knits'

The Classic Wrap Dress – Vogue 8379

This pattern is a classic and it really does deserve the glowing reviews on Pattern Review. It’s taken me 10 years to get round to making this dress – this was the first vogue pattern I ever bought – but I’m glad I decided to make it up because it really is a great wrap dress. I’ve wanted a wrap dress for as long as I can remember as they seem both flattering and practical so I’m glad I’ve finally got one!

Fabric: A synthetic mix knit – most probably viscose/polyester but with no lycra. Not super stretchy but with a nice drape without being clingy. I squeezed this dress out of 2m (2 1/4 yards) – see below for the alterations I made.

Pattern and construction notes:

I made up a 10 in the shoulders and bust and then out to a 14 waist and hip.

I shortened the bodice between shoulder and bustline by 3/8″ but I didn’t make my usual alteration to shorten between bustline and waist (I usually shorten the bodice by another 1″ or so) as nearly all the reviews emphasise how short waisted this pattern is. It fits perfectly so it’s definitely something to bear in mind when you’re making your flat pattern alterations.

I made my usual broad back alterations – I cut a size 12 back armhole and adjusted the sleeve cap accordingly. Take a look at this Threads article – it’s taken from Sandra Betzina’s Fast Fit alterations book which is great book and has taught me a lot about pattern alterations including the importance of flat pattern measurements. I also have Fit for Real People by Palmer and Alto which is also good – these two books have slightly different approaches but they are both extremely helpful and complement each other. I’d say I probably prefer Sandra Betzina’s approach as I really am not a fan of tissue fitting, but it’s great to have another perspective on the same fitting issue.

The other changes I made were to make it long-sleeved as I find it more practical for colder days and I also took 15″ of fullness out of the skirt due to fabric constaints. I shortened the hem but 1 1/2″ and I sewed the hem using my double needle – I had no desire to hem this dress by hand!

A little tip that I’ve picked up from the HotPatterns I’ve made up is to get all the little jobs out of the way before you start major constuction. For example, I applied all the interfacing, joined the facing pieces, made the belt and collar all before I started constructing the dress. I find it extremely frustrating to have to do these little jobs in the middle of construction when you’re on a roll and enjoying that feeling of it all coming together and taking shape. It means you have to study the constuction before you begin but I think that’s a good habit to get into anyway. I used to be so impatient when I sewed as I just wanted to be able to wear what I was making. But slowly I realised that if I don’t do things properly, or don’t correct my mistakes (if possible!) as I go along, I won’t be happy with the result and I won’t wear it.

The only thing I’m unhappy with on this dress is the neckline – it stretched out and the facing rolls to the outside. I topstitched the neckline to try to keep the facings in place which has helped but it still gapes. I must confess that I forgot to shorten the facing when I altered the bodice and sleeve pieces so I dare say that played it’s part too in the neckline not lying as it should! Anyway, next time I’m going to try stabilizing the neckline with clear elastic or go for a bound neckline (as used here by Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics) on a collarless version.

I’ve haven’t taken any photos of the dress on my because I’m 5 months pregnant (Yay!) and the wrap silouette is lost really! So, when I’ve got my waist back and the weather has turned autumnal here I’ll update the post with some photos on me!

Overall, it’s a great pattern and I’m sure I’ll make many more!


The sweetest little sweatshirt dress!

BurdaStyle Magazine 12/2011 model 141

As soon as I saw this little dress in the December issue of BurdaSyle Magazine, I knew I wanted to make it up immediately and here we are… I’ve made three! I still love it and I hope it’ll be a wearable dress for my nieces. I got the sweatshirting and the co-ordinating rib knit from Dots N Stripes in the UK and it is great quality stuff – so soft!

Close-up of pocket

Here’s the first one I made out off an unwanted sweatshirt:

The original sweatshirt (I'd already cut off the ribbing)

I’d had the sweatshirt for a good few years and liked it in theory but it was just too big and didn’t really look good on me. So, when I saw this pattern I thought it would be a perfect refashion – I’ve discovered a passion for refashioning and recycling fabric and trims I never new I had!

Overall, it’s a great little pattern and I really enjoyed sewing up these little dresses. It’s very quick and easy to sew, especially if you’ve sewn knits with hem bands before. I’d definitely recommend it if you’ve got the December 2011 issue of BurdaStyle.

Butterick 5562

I’ve finally got round to taking photos of this top! I made it way back in October and since then I’ve worn it a lot. It’s View D of Butterick 5562 and it’s a great top despite the awful pattern envelope sketch! It’s quite a distinctive top but it’s very wearable and comfortable too. It’s also very easy to make but gets disbelieving stares when I say I made it myself. I guess it must look more complicated to make than it really is!

Fabric: I used a lovely rib knit jersey in a soft heather colour from Ditto Fabrics in the UK. One thing I would say about fabric choice is that the design makes it impossible to wear anything over the top so think about this when you’re choosing your fabric. If you want a winter top (and this is a particualrly good one for winter because it keeps your arms nice and warm!) then you’ll need a more substantial knit or a sweater knit.

Pattern changes:

I made up a SMALL in the shoulders and then out to a MEDIUM for the waist and hips. There is a lot of ease in this pattern (plus the fact that my jersey is very stretchy) so I took in the side seams a good 1/2″ on each side at the waist and maybe a bit less at the high hip and hip. There’s also no real shaping of the side seams so I used my Jalie 2921 Scarf-Collar Tops pattern to reshape them because it was pretty unflattering when sewn as per pattern.

The other thing I changed was how the elastic was sewn into the collar. Amanda from Amanda’s Adventures in Sewing made up a lovely stripey version of this top (her version made me buy the pattern) and she used french seams in the collar and then used that as a channel for the elastic. I did just the same and it worked out well.

I took a good 1 1/2″ off the hem – I originally kept the hem length of the pattern but it really didn’t look very good and I think the proportions are better with this length.

I found that the shoulder curve on the shawl collar was very square so I smoothed it out quite a bit. I’m not sure whether this is the pattern or whether it’s an indication that I’ve got sloping shoulders! I’ll keep my eyes open for that in future.

Overall, it’s a great top and I’m sure I’ll get lots of wear out of it.

Sewaholic Renfrew!

This is my version of Sewaholic’s newest pattern, the Renfrew Tops! I was chosen to be a pattern tester and I made up view A, which is the extremely flattering scoop neck with long sleeves. I was really tempted by the cowl neck version but I was determined to make a ‘winter basic’ as nearly every time I get dressed I vow to make some plain long sleeved tops. It was such fun testing the pattern and I enjoyed taking part! Tasia runs her pattern line and blog with such grace and professionalism and the whole pattern testing process ran extremely smoothly.

I used a rayon/lycra jersey, which worked fine but it is a little drapey and clingy around the tummy area so I think I’ll make up my next version in a sturdier jersey or maybe in an interlock. Even though I’m not a huge cowl-neck fan (on me) I can’t resist this cowl neck top and I hope I’ll manage to make it up soon!

It’s a great pattern and I love the mix of necklines – a scoop neck, a v-neck and a cowl neck.  It’s also extremely well drafted and Tasia has put a lot of thought into making it as easy as possible to sew knits and avoid some of the classic problems associated with knits. To tell you the truth, I think as long as you take care to cut on-grain and chose a knit that has some lycra and good recovery, you won’t have any problems with wavy hems on knits. Having said that though, I know that a lot of people haven’t ever sewn with knits because they think it’ll be difficult so I think this is a great pattern to test the water and see that it’s really quite easy. I have one piece of advice for sewing knits: I hand baste a line of thread down one of the ribs on the right side (in the middle of the fabric or wherever you’re going to place the fold) and used that as my fold guideline. This really helps you cut the pattern on-grain and avoid a lot of headaches. By the way, I should add that I haven’t got an overlocker/serger and sew knits with no problem on my machine. Just make sure you use Stretch needles (or ballpoint needles for knits without lycra) and use a narrow zig-zag stitch.

Overall it’s a fantastic pattern and I’m sure I’ll be making up lots of them. Well done Tasia over at Sewaholic!


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