Tag Archives: stretch sewing book

Completed: Black Merino Wool Joni Dress

31 May

Well, I definitely made a wool dress and here are photos of me modeling it in 90 degree heat.

Merino Joni Dress

To be somewhat gentle on myself, I started (and finished) this dress when there was still a bit of a chill in the air. I didn’t think to take photos until the other day, and even by 8AM it was solidly hot and humid outside. Case in point: I curled my hair about 15 minutes prior. Can you tell? Nope!

This isn’t even my worst offense when it comes to seasonally-inappropriate garments… I still have a (truly fabulous) coat that hasn’t made it’s rounds yet. I even took photos, but I just looked at them and am pretty sure they need to be retaken. But probably not until next year because LOOOOL Y’ALL IT BE HOT OUTSIDE.

Merino Joni Dress

Anyway, I posted a dress so I’ll talk about the dress! This is the Joni Dress from the new Tilly & the Buttons book, Stretch! – it is also the same dress Tilly is wearing on the cover. While the twisty front looks complicated (I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t feel a LITTLE intimidated to start sewing it! We all get our weird cold feet sewing hang-ups from time to time!), it is deceptively simple! This is a book designed to introduce beginner sewists to working with knits, after all!

Anyway, what I liked about this dress – other than that twisty goodness – was the fitted shape with the swirly skirt. I have seen a lot of knit patterns with the twisted detail (JFC how many more times am I gonna say twist in this post I’m so sorry), but not many with the very fitted look in conjunction. I like, I like!

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

As I said, sewing this dress up was pretty easy. There’s a little bit of stay-stitching, a clever twist (sorry), and then your basic knit fabric sewing construction. The waist has a length of elastic sewn to it to keep the skirt from drooping over time, which is a feature I always appreciate in a knit dress. The neckline is finished with a self fabric facing, which gets topstitched down. I used a serger to sew most of the dress, except that facing part – the first time I tried that, it was too damn bulky! So I seam ripped it out and started over, using a regular sewing machine with a zigzag stitch to attach the pieces. This made for a much smoother and less bulky finish. Other than that, really straightforward for the most part. I added the little elastic runching to the sleeves (a hack option outlined in the book) and let the skirt hang for a couple of days before hemming, which I used my coverstitch to do. Oh, and I made a size 2 with no other fit adjustments (including length).

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

A little chat about the fabric now: wool, huh? Yeah baby THIS IS MERINO WOOL! Or, specifically, merino/bamboo jersey – and it is DREAMY. I found it on the Mood Fabrics website, which has delighted to me to no end. You may or may not know my love for merino – it’s been a hot minute since I had my hands on a piece to sew up. I love merino for it’s warmth and breathability, that it’s anti-microbial, and machine washable. It is my dream fabric and I’d probably use it for nearly every knit I make (at least in the winter), but unfortunately it can be a bit cost-prohibitive. The stuff I found at Mood Fabrics is still a little high at $30/yard, however, it’s here in the US so at least there are no international shipping fees to deal with (in the past, most of my merino came from New Zealand!). There’s not a huge color selection available on their website at the moment, but, y’all know I dress like a tragic goth in the winter so black is totally fine with me!

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

This merino is pretty lightweight, with a lovely drape and a nice soft hand. Mood’s website says that it is slightly translucent, but idk I’m wearing this with some pretty neon undergarments and you can’t see through shit – so take that as you will. It was very easy to work with – reasonably stable (as much as 4 way stretch jersey knits can be, anyway) and it did not curl when I cut it. I only had a chance to wear this dress twice before it got too hot, but I look forward to snuggling back up in it again when the weather allows! It is super comfortable and I think it looks pretty good!

Merino Joni Dress

Here’s a terribly overblown photo so you can see a little more detail.

Merino Joni Dress

That’s all for this dress! I’ve love to have a summer version – maybe made up in a patterned (or striped!) knit – but I’m trying to be realistic about how many clothes I truly *need* in my closet. So we’ll see if that actually happens or not. And, as a side note – yes, I got bangs again! Felt tired of looking at my face and decided to change up my look 🙂

** Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. As always, all opinions are my own!

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Completed: French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

1 May

Here we have a tale of fabric bought wrong, then made right. Gather round, my children.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I bought this french terry from Mood Fabrics on a whim back in September. I usually swatch fabrics before ordering online – even with my knowledge of fabric and fibers, you can still be surprised by texture, hand, and color – but sometimes I get a little wild and order shit blindly. It usually works out fine, but every now and then it can backfire. Guess what happened here.

So, the french terry – it’s a glazed french terry from Helmut Lang (since sold out, yo’re welcome), which I figured would be great because 1. Helmut Lang is always expensive; and 2. It’s fucking french terry, how could you go wrong?

This, this is how you go wrong. This is one of the weirdest fabrics I’ve ever received from Mood. It was stiff and kind of scratchy, remarkably similar to how your bath towel feels when you dry it on a clothesline. I’m not going to sugarcoat this – I was really disappointed that I wasted part of my allowance buying it, because I absolutely hated it. The color was nice, but color doesn’t mean anything if the fabric itself scratches you when you touch it.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I did try washing the fabric multiple times to see if perhaps there was a sizing on it (or if the glaze has something to do with it?) that would be removed and thus soften it – but no matter what I did (hot water, cold water, different detergents, high dryer heat, etc), it didn’t change the hand of the fabric. I stuck it on my shelf and tried to figure out if there was something I could do with it. I don’t back down from a challenge, but sometimes I have to roll a problem around in my head for a minute before I come up with a solution.

During this time, I was sent an advance copy of Tilly’s newest book, Stretch! (hello, hi, that’s an affiliate link). I love most of the patterns and projects in that book, and the one that really stuck out the most to me was the Stella Hoodie pattern. I am not a huge fan of the athleisure trend, so the joggers were a bit lost on me (it’s fine if you wear them, but those are PJs are far as I’m concerned, and I don’t wear PJs in public), but I looooooved the pictures of the hoodie lengthened into a dress! I thought my weird french terry might work with that pattern – and, at the very least, it would probably function great as a swimsuit coverup.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I made the size 2 of this, based on my measurements and the suggested size from the book. I don’t remember how much length I added, whatever the book suggested (probably 8″ or 10″ – and then I cut some of it off when it came time for hemming). I did simplify mine a bit from the book – rather than line the hood and the pocket, I just turned under the seam allowances and stitched them down. The whole thing was sewn on my serger, other than the button holes (which my machine had no problem sewing, although I did back them with a little piece of fusible interfacing first), and the hems were done on my coverstitch machine. This fabric was very, very, very easy to work with – stable, not at all shifty of curly, and only shed a little bit when cut. It pressed nicely, which was great for getting those sharp hems.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I originally envisioned a black drawstring for the hood, but red was all I had on hand. I actually like it! It’s a nice little sporty pop of color. God, I sound annoying.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

If you’re curious about my leggings – they are the Virginia leggings, made ages ago (in 2015, I think). My fabric is a wool knit from Paron in NYC. And those white lines are mock flatlocking done with my serger (where you sew the two layers together and pull them apart, or whatever it says to do in the instruction book I honestly I don’t remember haha) – which I 100% did because I didn’t have enough yardage to cut full length legs, so they had to be pieced. I added additional piecing so it would look intentional. It actually, in retrospect, looks kind of stupid, but honestly I usually wear these as long underwear so whatever I don’t care.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

So that’s about it for this little dress! I actually quite like how it turned out – despite being apprehensive up until the very last minute of hemming. It’s cute and sporty and I feel cute in it. I think it will make for a good swimsuit coverup – but it also works as a cute little dress. As much as I didn’t like the fabric when receiving it, it works really well for this garment since it hold its structured shape. And since the garment is not close-fitting, the fabric isn’t scratchy or uncomfortable to wear. A very pleasant surprise!

In other news, if you’re still holding out for a good french terry, may I recommend this french terry from Mood Fabrics. I got a few yards of this and it is GREAT – super soft, super stretchy, super drapey, super bamboo (yas bamboo). Plus it comes in tons of colors!

**Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. I also received the Stretch! book from Tilly & the Buttons as a gift, but was under no obligation to post a project from it (I just really like the book!). All opinions, as always, are my own!