Tag Archives: knit dress

Completed: The Agnes Dress

20 Jan

I’m still trying to catch up on my last projects from 2015! Although I’m glad I waited to post this one because:
1. I got new shoes and I think they look pretty awesome with this dress
2. Such a good hair day for these photos. As a result, there are extra pictures in this post. No apologies for that!

T&TB Agnes Dress

Anyway, let’s talk about the dress itself because that’s why y’all are here! I tried something newish for this project in terms of silhouette and I gotta say – I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I don’t normally like the way gathered skirts look on me, and strong shoulders always make me feel like I’m wearing someone’s mom’s old clothes (not my mom, though, she’s a pretty sharp dresser hahah), but this dress does me good! I made it to wear during recently-ended holiday season – the thin jersey isn’t necessarily appropriate for cold weather, but we had a 70*F Christmas down here in Tennessee, so it suited me just fine at the end of 2015! Of course, now we’re in for the serious cold snap (you can’t tell in the pictures, but it was COLD outside when I took these! Like below freezing, eep), so I currently can’t wear it because it’s simply not warm enough!

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

To make this dress, I used the Agnes shirt pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I love special and unique details on an otherwise plain knit tshirt, and this pattern is pretty good for that! I love the runching at the neckline and sleeves, and the shape is really fitted and flattering for me. I have made this top before (there’s not a full post – but I’m wearing it with my 70s denim skirt), so I had a good idea of how it was going to fit. My own complaint with the first version is that the armholes were too high on me, and thus a little uncomfortable. I lowered the armholes by about 1/2″, using my adjusted Renfrew tshirt pattern as a comparison. Size is right between a 1 & 2, which suits me pretty well for this pattern line.

Now, the pattern only gives you an option to make a top – and this is a dress, obviously. I confess that I didn’t even consider Dress Possibility until Tilly posted this tutorial for making an Agnes dress. SCORE. How cute does she look in those photos, btw?! Oh god I just realized our outfits are pretty similar hahahaha!

Anyway, it’s an easy change to turn this into a dress. Cut the pattern piece at the waistline (or where you want the waist to hit – I used my Lady Skater bodice as a guide, personally), sew up the shirt, and then add a gathered skirt (literally, a rectangle that is the width of your fabric + whatever length you want). I stabilized the shoulders and waistline with 1/4″ elastic, just so everything would stay in place and not stretch out (I learned the waistline elastic trick from the instructions in my Lady Skater pattern and it’s THE BEST. Keeps the skirt from pulling the bodice down with it’s weight and making things all saggy). Everything was pieced on my serger, and all the topstitching is done with a plain straight stitch. Easyyyyy. So fast! I finished in like 2 hours and actually wore the dress out that night 😀

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

As I mentioned, I don’t really care for the way gathered skirts look on me – I think they add unnecessary bulk. But I do like the way this one mimics the gathers and fullness at the sleeves. I think the key is to use a fabric that is a lighter weight and has some drape. Then you get soft gathers, instead of big, weird bulk.

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

The fabric I used here is from Lillestoff. I’d never heard of this company before, but they are located in Germany and offer some really nice, high-quality organic cotton knits. They reached out to me several months ago and ended up sending me a few of their fabrics to try out. I can’t find this star print on the website anymore, but it’s pretty awesome. It’s a lighter weight without being sheer, and it has a good drape that looks fantastic with the gathers in this pattern. I was impressed with all the stuff I got – the colors are nice and saturated, and the fabrics are soooo soft. They wash well and have a good recovery when you wear them, so they tend to hold their shape. I also have a hoodie that I recently made with some of their French terry, gotta remember to get photos of that!

I originally earmarked this piece for another Lady Skater dress (linking because I’ve officially mentioned that pattern 3x in this post now hhahaha), but changed my mind to make something with a little more ~pizzazz~. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some LS, but sometimes a plain dress is a plain dress and sometimes you need those details! I guess that’s one downside to this particular dress – I can’t make a dozen of them without people noticing that I’m using the same pattern over and over again. Oh well I’ll probably do it anyway hahahahahah

T&TB Agnes Dress

If you can’t stop staring at that ONE long rogue hair, just know that I can’t either.

T&TB Agnes Dress

Detail shot – the neckline and sleeve runching is done with 1/4″ elastic, btw! You cut it to length, and zigzag it down while stretching it to the max. When it snaps back, you have lovely yet easy runching!

T&TB Agnes Dress

Ok, I think that’s enough talk about one dress. Here’s a picture of me being cold hahaha. Have you ever sewn with Lillestoff fabrics, and if so – what do you think about them? When I posted on Instagram, people were going NUTS. Apparently they have a pretty die-hard fan base 🙂

Note: The fabric for this dress was given to me by Lillestoff. And the pattern was given to me by Tilly! Free or not, all opinions are my own 🙂

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Completed: The Summer DVF Wrap Dress

17 Aug

What? Did you think I was going to make it an entire year without busting out this pattern? Ha ha! Forget about it!

Vogue 1610 // DVF(No idea why I’m standing pigeon-toed in this photo, eh.)

ANYWAY. If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’ll know that I loveeeee me some knit wrap dress action. Specifically, some Diane Von Fürstenberg knit wrap dress action. I just think she makes the prettiest dresses and I can’t get enough of them (and by “them,” I mean “knock-offs”) in my closet! I have a few that I made last year – The Wearable Muslin, The Silk Jersey and The Chic Black Wool. And now, here’s #4: The Bold Graphic Print. Just in time for the last few weeks of summer! Vogue 1610 // DVF

I have an original copy of Vogue 1610, which is a (vintage) Vogue American Designer pattern (this one featuring Diane Von Fürstenberg, obviously). I found it – in my size, no less – at an estate sale for around $1 a few years ago. It’s a beautiful pattern that really lends itself well to all the hacking and modifying I’ve put it through. It’s certainly a bummer that Vogue won’t re-release this pattern for the modern sewist – and before you start pointing fingers, this has nothing to do with Vogue and everything to do with DVF not renewing the license. I’m pretty sure the McCall Pattern Company wants to re-release some DVF love just as much as you want to buy it (I mean, can you imagine how much $$ they’d make? Who can say no to that?), but it’s not really up to them to decide. Seems like the designer just doesn’t want her name on sewing patterns anymore 😦 DIANE, WHYYYY.

Anyway, back to my dress!

Vogue 1610 // DVFVogue 1610 // DVF

Taking a cue from the black wool version, I kept the original bodice from the pattern and changed out the skirt for a simple wrap skirt (specifically, I used Tilly’s Miette skirt and just made it so the wrap is in the front). I added 1″ to the overlap, so I’d have a little bit of fabric to fold back and topstitch. I like the gathered skirt that the pattern is drafted for, but I wanted this version to be a little more sleek. I originally planned this dress to include small cap sleeves – I was going to take them off my Lady Skater dress pattern – but when I tried the dress on sans sleeves, I really liked the way it looked so I kept it as-is.

Vogue 1610 // DVFI also kept a slightly longer skirt length (I know, I know… nothing about “practically knee-length” qualifies as “long,” but considering I’ve basically been exposing ass cheeks all summer, this is long for me), again, something I liked when I tried it on during construction. Vogue 1610 // DVF

Vogue 1610 // DVFI also tried something different with the front band. Normally, I sew it on like how you finish the neckline of a tshirt – stretching the band so that it fits snugly against the bust when worn. However, I lurked in on some actual DVF wrap dresses while I was in Harrod’s last year in London, and noticed that they finish their necklines a little differently. No knit bands to be found anywhere – most of them use a binding or a facing. I was keen to try this myself, so that’s what I did. I cut the band as usual and interfaced it with a lightweight knit fusible (so it has a little bit of structure, but it’s still quite stretchy). I finished one edge, sewed the facing to the outside of the garment, flipped it to the inside and understitched, and then topstitched 1″ away from the edge on the outside. I was 100% certain that I’d fucked up the dress beyond repair at that point – the back had some puckers and everything just looked kind of strange – but it all sorted itself out once I put it on and my body stretched it into shape. The addition of the interfacing gives the neckline a little bit of height, almost – especially around the neck itself. The facing is much smoother and sleeker than any band. And I can pull the dress apart a little and show some 1970s ~natural cleavage~ if I feel so inclined. Yeehaw! Vogue 1610 // DVF

Vogue 1610 // DVFNot really much else to report on construction – much of the same old, same old. I used my serger to construct, my Bernina (+ walking foot // ballpoint needle) to topstitch. For the arm holes, I just serged them and turned the hem under and topstitched with a straight stitch. So easy! I think I finished this whole thing in less than 3 hours. Vogue 1610 // DVF

Isn’t the fabric so good? When I saw it on Mood Fabrics recently, it immediately screamed WRAP DRESS and it knew it had to be mine. Sometimes, I find buying knit fabric online to be a bit of a gamble – you can’t really tell weight/hand/stretch recovery (not to mention color) from a photo and description, and occasionally I end up with stuff that wasn’t at all what I was expecting. This fabric definitely exceeded my expectations – it’s so beautiful! Very dense with a good stretch (and an awesome recovery; I wore this all day last week and it didn’t bag out at all), and the color is super saturated. It’s a little on the heavy side – but not bulky. It feels very fluid and luxurious. I wish all knits were like this. This stuff is awesome! Also, the color is “poppy” which I kept seeing as “poppy,” so, like, there’s that.

Vogue 1610 // DVFHere’s a shot of the inside. Super clean finish, yay! Vogue 1610 // DVFI think the color and style of this dress will be good for transitioning into the fall months here – where we want to pretend like it’s tall boot and wool hat weather, but it’s actually still 90+ degrees. Which means I can wear this and look cool, but still be cool. Also, I am not ready for summer to end just yet – I have a few more projects left to finish!

Note: The fabric for this dress was purchased with my allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. All comments on this blog post are just, like, my opinion, man.

Completed: The Mission/Skater Mash-up

10 Jul

Now HERE’S an obvious gap in my summer wardrobe that’s finally been filled! A knit tank dress!

Knit tank dress

I think we can all agree that wearing knit dresses is the ultimate in comfort/secret pajamas. Especially when it’s nasty hot outside!! I looove my knit dresses in every season, but most of them have sleeves and I don’t like wearing sleeves when it’s more than 95 degrees outside. No way.

Knit tank dress

Since I wasn’t seeing a pattern that fit the look I was going for (and I’ll be honest – I didn’t search very hard. I have a LOT of patterns in my stash and I’d rather mash ’em up whenever possible), I used 2 patterns from my stash to create this awesome mash-up Frankenpattern. Most of this pattern – the skirt, the bodice sizing and proportions – were taken from the Lady Skater dress pattern, which is my favorite knit dress pattern ever and is basically the gift that keeps on giving. For the neckline and arm hole finagling, I copied that straight from the Mission Maxi dress pattern. The result you see here is a fitted racerback tank top with a flared skirt attached to it. Which is exactly the look I was going for. Whew.

Knit tank dress

I am all about some Frankenpattern magic, and it’s 1000x easier when you’re working with a knit fabric. Much easier to tweak with the fit, and much more forgiving if you decide to forgo a muslin (like I did. Yay! Consider this my wearable muslin, ha). Plus, if you already have a garment that fits the way you like – in my case, the bodice of this skater dress is ACE – then it’s super easy to change up the neckline/sleeve options/skirt and have a totally different garment that still fits the way you like. I love buying new patterns, but I REALLY love knocking out projects that don’t require too much fit futzing. The only fitting I had to do with this dress was take a little bit out of the underarm side seam – maybe 1/4″ on each side. Since there aren’t sleeves there, the sides need to be a little more fitted so they don’t pooch out.

Knit tank dress

I guess the one downside to this is that you don’t have a set of instructions that are tailored to your garment – but that’s never been a problem for me, as I just kind of pick and choose what techniques to use from which pattern (or I ignore the instructions completely and forge my own method). Again, this dress is a knit, so it’s pretty straight forward. I stabilized the waistline with 1/4″ woven elastic, which keeps it from sagging over the course of the day (truth: these photos were taken on day #2 of wearing this dress. Pretty good recovery there, I’d say!). The neckline and arm holes are finished with the same method outlined in the Mission Maxi instructions – it’s similar to applying bias facing, but you’re not pressing that last 1/4″ under. Instead, you just finish the edge and topstitch it down. Here’s a photo of the guts so you can see –

Knit tank dress

Clear as mud, yeah? 🙂 It resembles a coverstitch, sort of. More like a binding and less like the knit bands that are used on the Lady Skater (and it feels a bit sturdier, which made me feel ok about not stabilizing the shoulder seams). Oh, and I did all my topstitching with a straight stitch/single needle (on my regular sewing machine). A twin needle or zigzag would be fine for this, but I like the way the single needle looks. Since this isn’t an area that gets a lot of stretch, it’s ok to use a stable stitch here. I also did the same with the hem – just sewn with a straight stitch. Again, as long as it doesn’t need to stretch, it’s fine to use a non-stretch stitch!

Knit tank dress

The cotton knit fabric is from Mood Fabrics in NYC, which I bought at the store while I was there in March. I wasn’t sure what I was going to make with it (honestly, I was probably thinking Lady Skater at the time), but I was prettttty happy to use it for this dress! I didn’t bother to match the print – it’s a casual dress, and meh – and I think it looks fine.

Knit tank dress

Here’s the back, again! I like the shape of this racerback because it’s a bit more covered than your standard beater tank. Of course, my bra straps still show – again, meh, whatever. I didn’t bother hiding them for this post, mostly because I don’t hide them in real life and I’m just tryin’ to kEeP iT rEaL~

noragrets

Knit tank dress

Conclusion: this dress was easy to make, is comfortable to wear, and SECRET PAJAMAS. Expect to see more of these as I churn them out.

LLadybird_175_175

One last thing! I wanted to direct your attention to my newest sponsor – Wawak Sewing! Unfamiliar with Wawak Sewing? They’re a giant sewing supply company – offering everything you need for your sewing studio, from Gutermann thread (Mara 100 is the jam – 1000+ yards for $2.50, oh yes oh yes) to invisible zippers (24″ for 88¢? Don’t mind if I do) to professional boiler irons (ok, that’s probably waaay too much iron for the average home seamstress, but we use these at the studio – as well as when I worked at Muna Couture – and they are seriously incredible) to hymo canvas (for tailoring! I always get my hymo/horsehair interfacing from here because the price is unreal). A lot of the items can be bought in bulk, and the price is pennies on the dollar for what you’d pay at a brick & mortar store (I’m not just talking about cheaper than Joann’s – some of this stuff is cheaper than places in the Garment District, but you get the same quality). Plus, shipping is less than $5 (and free if you buy more than $100 worth of stuff)! I highly recommend you get a free catalog because it’s really fun to flip through – like the Toys’R’Us catalog, except for grown-ups 🙂 They occasionally have sales and discounts, so it’s worth it to be on their mailing list! International peeps – you can also join this sewing party, but you’ll need to call or email to place your order (and I’m going to assume your shipping might be a little more than $5, ha).

I’ve been a loyal customer/rabid fan of Wawak Sewing for years – I started with them back when they were still Atlanta Thread Company – and I’ve had nothing but great experiences with both the service and the products. So I’m pretty thrilled to have them on board as a sponsor, as well as to join their affiliate program (sooo any purchase you make after clicking these links is gonna net me a small commission, fyi!). And you should be thrilled, too, because right now through 9/30/15, you can get 10% off your order of $50 or more at Wawak Sewing if you use the code WLB915. Can’t beat that with a stick! Thanks, Wawak Sewing! ♥

 

Completed: the Colette Myrtle Knit Dress

17 Mar

I am so excited that today’s post doesn’t involve sleeves or pants.

Myrtle knit dress

It does, however, involve a navy striped knit fabric. Sorry! Don’t fall asleep on your keyboard! Landon already told me I’m not allowed to buy anymore navy striped knit fabric haha. I guess we all have a type, and I have just announced mine to the internet.

Myrtle knit dress

This is the Myrtle from Colette patterns, a knit dress with a cowl neckline and an elasticized waist. You guys, I’m going to be straight up front and honest with you – I apparently bought this pattern, and then somehow COMPLETELY forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago when I was digging through my pattern stash in search of another pattern. So I’m a little late on the bandwagon with this one, however, it’s probably ok timing on my end since I don’t think this sleeveless style would have gotten much wear over the winter!

Anyway, discovering the pattern and then realizing that I had the perfect knit patiently waiting to be sewn up, meant that this project skipped straight to the top of the queue and everything else had to wait. Ha ha!

Myrtle knit dress

My past few experiences with Colette patterns have resulted in some questionable fitting (I think I’m about sized out of their patterns – at least the knits. Wah!), so I made a muslin of the bodice before I got to sewing my fabric. This ended up being a really good idea, because the bodice was all kinds of wrong on me! I knew the bust would be big – the finished measurements for the size 0 are still about 4″ bigger than my bust, and while I know a little bit of positive ease is good with this style, that seemed like too much to me. In the end, everything about the top portion of the dress was just toooooo big and not at all proportional to my body. The arm holes were also really low – like, you could see at least half of my bra band when I stood to the side.

I ended up shortening the shoulders by more than 1″ (I start with a 1/2″ adjustment by slashing the pattern about halfway across the armsyce, to shorten the depth, but that ended up being not enough so I took the rest out of the actual shoulders after the dress was sewn up. Hence why I can’t give you an exact measurement for that adjustment) and taking in the bust by about 1/2″ on either side. I didn’t make any adjustments to the waist – it needs to be a little big so you can add the elastic – but the bust needed to be somewhat tighter or else the entire world was gon’ get a side peep show. As it stands now, I think the bust could still be sized down more, but I didn’t want to overfit the dress so I left it as is.

Myrtle knit dress

The dress has a clever assembly – the front is self-lined (so you don’t see any ugly wrong side in the folds of the cowl) and the front arm holes are finished with all raw edges inside the lining. The back neck and arm holes are finished with a simple turned under hem – in my case, with the twin needle. The elastic has a channel sewn, and then wide elastic is inserted and topstitched down. This was the hardest part of making the dress – I found it a bit fiddly, and as a result, my stitches at the waist aren’t exactly straight (but, I mean, who’s looking? Right? RIGHT?). I think it might be easier to just feed the elastic through the channel once both sides are sewn down. There are supposed to be pockets, but I left those off bc I hate pockets in knit dresses (and freedom, too, apparently). There is a whole sewalong dedicated to this pattern if you are interested in seeing the construction, btw. It’s hosted by Devon, aka my favorite Disney Princess.

Myrtle knit dress

Even with the fitting adjustments, the muslin, and the manhandled elastic – this dress came together very quickly! Its a very easy make (4 pieces, not including the pockets) and I just zipped it all through my serger and used the aforementioned twin needle for all the turned hems. It’s also insanely comfortable, and I think the looser/breezy fit is going to be my gold standard with the blazes of Hell start blasting through Tennessee this summer.

Myrtle knit dress

I really love this fabric, especially with how the stripes look on the cowl! The knit is a Ralph Lauren ~dazzling blue~ striped viscose jersey (their words, not mine) from Mood Fabrics’ website. It’s a nice, slinky 2 way stretch knit with a gorgeous drape that feels wonderful to wear. Definitely bought this without any idea in mind of what I’d do with it, but I think I found a good match 🙂

I seem to have no pictures of this dress without the belt (I could have sworn I took some on the dressform, but they are gone. Or else they never happened, which is likely the case here), but here’s an shot I posted on Instagram last week. I think the encased elastic is a pretty touch (you will never EVER hear me say that again, by the way), but on this dress + stripes + lose bodice with cowl neck…. just didn’t look right on me. Hence why it’s covered with a belt. I’m still not completely convinced that this dress is very flattering on me, but, I like the fabric and it’s super comfy, so it stays.

Myrtle knit dress

Front bodice with self-lining.

Myrtle knit dress

Enclosed elastic on the inside. The elastic casing is created with a zigzag stitch, per the pattern instructions.

Myrtle knit dress

Anyway, I think it’s pretty cute! I like it with the yellow belt, and it also looks good with my tall brown boots and a cardigan (which is how I wore it last week). The only thing to keep in mind with this pattern is that it is NOT bend-over friendly. No photo evidence to be found here, but just trust me… leaning over is the best way to give the nearest stranger an eyeful. I haven’t found a way to rectify that (some of my other cowls can be pinned to my bra cup, or even have a little piece of elastic or a weight to hold it down, but the design of this cowl doesn’t allow for that), but I thought I’d point it out. One thing I might add later down the line is some little bra strap holders at the shoulders.

SO happy we finally had a warm week here! It’s been pushing over 70 the past couple of days, with loads of sunshine, and it just feels *amazing* outside. The season of bare legs is upon us, at least for this week! Kind of a bummer that I’m going to leave all this to go to cold ol’ NY this weekend (I classify everything under 70*F as “frigid” just fyi), but I’m pretty excited for this class this weekend! Plus, fabric shopping. Can’t visit NY without coming home with a suitcase full of pretty new fabrics, amirite 😉