Now HERE’S an obvious gap in my summer wardrobe that’s finally been filled! A 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.
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.
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.
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 –
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!
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.
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~
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.
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! ♥