Thursday, November 21, 2013

Success Dress

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This dress is a breakthrough.  About me:  I only want to wear stretchy fabrics, and a woven shirt with a collar and buttons down the front after about an hour starts to feel like a corset.  I just want to lift my arms without showing off my bellybutton!  Actually, I’d probably wear footie pajamas all the time if I could.  Remember when Sharon Stone wore that Gap turtleneck to the Academy Awards?   I’m like that.  I’ll wear yoga pants anywhere I can get away with it. 

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Also, as you know, I like to make stuff, and so would like to make some clothes for my admittedly hard-to-fit self, which should be easy because I know how to sew.  However, knit fabric is weird.  You can’t just throw it under your presser foot like anything else and stitch a seam.  You can try (and I did) but it will get ruffly, which might be what you want, but more likely will not.  So, most of the time, knit fabrics are sewn on a serger.  But I don’t have a serger!  I whined.  Alabama Chanin did come riding to the rescue, and by hand I made a couple skirts that were like sweats and wore them around like they weren’t sweats, and it was good for awhile, but you know how it is.  Eventually, you want more.  I didn’t want to have to do it all by hand, and I really didn’t want to buy a serger just so I could make my own t-shirts, but I was pretty sure there was a way to make my regular machine do a passable job of sewing knit fabrics.  Then I found this pattern, and it turned out I was right.  If you want to sew with knits on your regular machine, click here and fearlessly go forth.  Friends, it is possible.  The world has opened wide for me. 

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This particular dress that I have sewn is theoretically the muslin version, but it fits me perfectly with no modifications necessary, if you can believe that, so I guess it’s ready to wear, although the bodice fabric is made from a piece of tissue-weight knit I had leftover from a (ruffly) nightgown.  It might need lots of Spanx.  I probably won’t.  See above. 

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Quite a few times along the way, I put down my pins and said, “This isn’t going to work.”  I walked away, cleaned the bathroom, made a pot of soup.  Came back, tried again.  Again.  Again.  Finally, one mini breakthrough at a time, it did work.  It worked.  It feels as if I have managed to make toast with the hairdryer.  I totally fooled Miss K into making a knit dress!  Ha!  Success. 

17 comments:

  1. What a lovely dress. I am with you on not liking non-stretch tops. I like to think its because I am a BUSY person who needs freedom of movement to GET THNGS DONE but its actually more likely to be because I don't tolerate discomfort for the sake of fashion - lol!!

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  2. It's great, clever you. I love stretchy fabrics, so it's good to know they can be sewn with!

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  3. I am absolutely with you on the comfort of clothes. Occasionally I convince myself that I want a woven cotton button down shirt with long sleeves. Then I wear it and remind myself why I never buy woven cotton button down shirts with long sleeves! I feel like I am in a straight jacket! Knits rule!

    I have never tried sewing anything with knits, except for the kids when it didn't really matter. I may well give it a go!

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  4. I think it works beautifully. I love it. And I find as I get older I want clothes that move and do not restrict me. I am sometimes on the floor for my job four or five hours at a time, I wear shorts, yoga pants whatever I can to make myself comfortable.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  5. Bit by bit is how I have eventually managed to be able to sew. I used to think I have all day, lets make a dress! but then the machine went wrong and then I started rushing, then I would need to pick children up from school, then I would start swearing and then I would stuff it in a bag and feel crap.... so now I do what you have explained and sewing feels nice again! I call it hour by hour. It is a great dress - looks comfy.Jo x

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  6. It's gorgeous and it's exactly the kind of dress I love to wear. I am sure it looks beautiful on you.

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  7. good for you! i have knit fabric fear myself...i LOVE the skirt fabric!!! it looks perfect!

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  8. Great job on the dress! It doesn't happen very often when I make something that it fits perfect the first time around like you did here. Really cute pattern and I like the fabric combo. I bet it's quite comfy/stretchy.
    What did we ever do years ago, before yoga pants? Oh yeah I was a size 4, and my clothes didn't feel like a sausage casing. It's all about comfort now.

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  9. Keep sewing:) I mostly sew and wear knits, and I don't have a serger either. I just use my old Singer set on a slight zigzag and a short stitch. Also, knit stay tape is wonderful to keep hems and such from getting wavy.

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  10. Somehow Greek seems more understandable than sewing instructions....
    Perhaps with age has come some patience and I ought ry again ~ but for now my stretchy Hanes skirts in 3 or 4 colors and a handful of sweaters will have to suffice!
    My amazing new stretch nightgowns suit me well also!!!!
    LOVE the fabrics You chose! Brave and determined You do however shine a light on trying again for me..... will let you know how I fare.......
    Happy Thanksgiving in advance!!!!

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  11. Congratulations! I'm no sewer but your post made me laugh and I can only applaud this success! The dress is really cute.

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  12. Your beautiful new dress is a triumph in so many ways. Isn't it grand to stick with a challenge (of course taking some walk away breaks is part of mastering a new technique) and to reach that successful finish.

    I have not done much sewing with knits, but now am encouraged to give it a try...when I find just that little bit of extra time for another experiment.

    Best wishes. xo

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  13. A beautiful dress indeed, I hope that you love wearing it and have fun making some more. xx

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  14. Wow! That's gorgeous! Very clever indeed! :-)
    Carly
    x

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  15. Take a long sleeved t-shirt. Perfect tees from Ralph Lauren are wonderful. Gather a skirt to fit your waist. Sew skirt to bottom of tee. Hem skirt. Done.

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  16. So cute,so retro, yet current. This reminds me of stuff my mom used to sew, a dress with a knit ribbed top and skirt made of "hopsacking". I just love your patterns. Patty Wheeler (got here via Facebook>DIYEverywhere>Cozy Made Things

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