Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sewing: Yellow and Gray Dresses

When I started this whole "learn how to sew some wearable clothes" quest, I knew that learning to sew knit fabrics would be a priority.  Let's face it, 90% of the clothes my children wear are knit and 50-75% of my clothes are knit.  We wear knits.

However, I found knits to be super intimidating.  The fabric is super stretchy!  Wonky hems beware!  I also was under the impression that you needed a serger and a coverstitch machine to sew knits well.  While they are definitely assets,  a number of folks out are writing tutorials and patterns for those of us with only plain Jane sewing machines.  (Check out Rae's Kniterviews, Sewaholic's list of knit tips and links, and Tilly's guide to sewing knits on a regular machine).  I took some notes regarding stitch length and width, acquired some ball point and twin needles, and started with an easy fabric and an easy pattern.  

The pattern I chose was the PlayDay Dress from Heidi & Finn.  I really like the simple, clean look of the Heidi & Finn patterns.  The PlayDay dress seemed perfect: not a lot of pieces or embellishments and therefore a good beginning pattern for me to sew.  The dress also looked comfortable to wear.  (I am a firm believer that children's clothes should be comfortable first and foremost.)  I honestly wouldn't mind a version for myself.  The pattern itself was also written quite well with easy to follow instructions and pictures.  For fabric, I chose an Interlock knit since it acts more like a woven fabric and isn't super, duper stretchy.  I ordered it at Fabric.com, and it is lovely: nice, soft, and cozy. 

It became apparent when I was checking out fabric to purchase that I would have enough fabric for two dresses, in inverse colors.  So, I made two.  The first dress was the yellow one.  It came together smoothly enough except I sewed the side inseams with a 1/2" allowance vs. the 3/8" the pattern called for.  That mistake made for really snug arm holes.  I also had some issues with attaching the pockets.  It was finished right as the weather turned cold, so Enna has worn it only once or twice.  The grey dress came together more smoothly as it was my second try, and I finished it right before Easter.  I hope we get a lot of wear out of them this summer. 

The one thing I would change about the pattern next time is to change the neckline.  It is too wide for my liking and slips off the shoulders.  Unfortunately, I cut out the pieces for both the yellow and grey dresses before I realized my dislike.  On the yellow version, I stitched it up after it was completed (hence the puckering at the shoulders).  On the grey, I stitched the neckline up an inch on both sides after attaching the neck binding but before attaching the shoulder straps.  This method worked pretty well.

While, I still feel more comfortable sewing woven fabric (it is, after all, what I am most used to), the thought of sewing knits no longer fills me with dread.  That is a success story in and of itself.  I definitely have more plans for knits in the future.

Pattern: $6.95 for 12m-5T sizes
Fabric: Organic Cotton Knit Interlock two 1/2 yards--$10.98
Thread: ?? $4.00 for two spools (yellow and gray) of Gutermann polyester.
Buttons: ??

Total: $10.97 per dress (minus button cost)

A couple of sewing blogs that I follow include the cost of the item.  I find it extremely helpful and illuminating and will try to remember to include the information in my sewing posts.


RFamily said...

I am super interested in the price breakdown. I have told myself it is not cost efficient for me to sew, but I'm starting to think that may be wrong in some cases. The dress is darling, and I think you should consider an adult size!

Kari said...

Nice work! They are both really cute. :)


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