This project is more than a year in the making. Last fall, after I closed my business of five years, I needed some time to switch gears. I hadn’t sewed for myself in way too long, and I was giddy at the thought of getting back into the studio on my own terms, without pressure or deadlines. Like many of you, sewing is, among many other things, comforting to me. I’m happiest in my studio working on a project. I feel productive, and it’s immensely satisfying putting my creative skills to use.
Knit garments were never really my thing. When I thought about knits, I did not think flattering or stylish. Sloppy, shapeless, and . . . shapewear. Because when was the last time you wore a knit dress without having to consider all the lumps and bumps? Yeah, same here. All that aside, I was anxious to start some projects that were different from what I’d been designing for the past few years. I was also down to almost nothing in my closet. That is no exaggeration. In addition to selling or donating nearly everything I owned, I hadn’t bought many clothes during the business years, nor did I keep any samples or garments for myself. I was down to one pair of jeans, some ratty tees, and workout clothes.
The last time I made a knit garment was in college. I was taking an advanced patternmaking class, and we spent a good amount of time studying knits and how to create those patterns. The mid-term was drafting a knit pattern and making the garment made from that pattern. I made a wrap dress with three-quarter sleeves in this icky, scratchy mint green polyester fabric with some sort of floral metallic design. Fabric choice aside (hey, I was a broke college student), the dress came out beautifully. I didn’t hate learning about knits, nor did I dislike the final product. I just fell deeply in love with fabrics like sateen and denim and linen and silk gazar and wool.
So, back to last year. I’m not sure where the inspiration for this project came from, but it was probably the discovery of the pattern. I spent a lot of time looking at patterns because I was finally free to use them for myself. (We drafted everything ourselves for the biz.) I loved everything about the design: the pleats under the bust, the fantastic sleeves, the wrap belt, the length. Perfection. Then, as luck would have it, I found a gorgeous grey knit. Now, full disclosure here, it’s beefier than what the pattern suggests and you can see that in the photos, but I love it. It’s a performance knit that would probably make a great zippered hoodie or pants, so it basically feels like wearing a sweatshirt. The best. The challenge with knits is finding something appropriate for your project, but also substantial enough so that you feel comfortable in it. If three layers of shapewear is required just for a dress to look good, you can count me out of that little scenario, thanks.
I got over halfway through the project and for whatever reason decided to put it away. It lived in my hidden storage tote of The Forgotten for over a year. The Forgotten, all the projects we give up on, abandon, or just simply forget about. Something told me to dig around that tote last week, and I rescued this little dress. Then I finished it in a day and fell in love. No shapewear required!
Vogue 8825. Cuffs, hand sewing, and hem left to do:
Look at those fabulous sleeves!
Pleats under the bust:
Sash belt sewn into the side seams:
Sleeves and cuff:
I got a quick video of the blind hem. I should mention my machines more often, because they’re a big part of all those clean seams, straight stitching, and good buttonholes. I can’t remember the last time I did a blind hem, by the way. So easy! And neat! (I use Husqvarna Viking, if anyone is curious.)
Notes about this pattern:
#1. I am totally obsessed, and I have plans to make this in at least 3 other colors.
#2. I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern, but it is a tad snug on me around the shoulder area. My guess is that in a more lightweight knit, this wouldn’t be so noticeable.
I bought the fabric on a whim last year, and I think it was probably $9 or $10/yard, and I got three yards. With thread, total cost of materials is under $50.
This project was a nice change of pace in the sense that it got me out of my comfort zone, and it reminded me that knits can be just as lovely as wovens. Plus, they’re so quick and easy to sew!
Looking forward to a weekend full of sewing. Lots of fun tutorials and sparkly things coming later this month!
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