Firecracker Blue Knit Dress

I use to be scared of knit fabrics. The stretchy, flexible fabric always distorted on me that the frustration kept me from using the most awesomest sewing tool in the world… my serger. My serger sat unused for the longest time. I got it at a Bernina store going out of biz sale and a matching sewing table to go with it.

When I first used the serger, the blade moving fast plus the quickness of sewing fabric frightened me. I used it a couple times over the first few years and when I mean a couple times, I do mean two. Two times. Little did I know that the whizzy, quickness helps on two fronts: creating projects quickly and finishing seems fast. Like buttah on a hot biscuit. Yum.

But about this blue knit dress… Last year I saw various pinterest pins about creating your own knit shift dress from your favorite fitted t-shirt. With my new serge (he, he) of creativity for sewing and some flat fold table knit fabric. I was on a mission. I was going to know how to knit fabric.

Creating the dress pattern from one of my shirts was easy. Folding my favorite form fitted t-shirt in half vertically and placing it on some paper, I traced around the edges. I removed the t-shirt and straightened the sides plus used a french curve for the neckline. I then extended the bottom edge out to the desired length of my dress.

I’ve read that knit fabric should be able to rest for some minutes before cutting to relax to its un-stretched state. After my knit fabric relaxed I then laid it flat on my sewing cutting table and lined up the pattern on the fold and cut. I attempted this twice to get a back and front piece.

I lined up the shoulder seams which was my first bout with using the serger on knit.   When I did, the serger took the fabric quickly.   I then lined up the sides and that went quickly.   No need to finish my edges as sewing and edging is all in one. A light bulb went off… the dress was coming together so quickly. Ahhh-some.

The arm holes and neckline were next on the serger which I then turned under and sewed with a small zigzag stitch after serge-ing the edges.

For the bottom, I took out my manual to find other stitches this fab-u-oso machine can do.   I used the rolled hem stitch which was a great finish as the stitch gave the fabric end a curled or ruffled look.

The blue firework knit dress turned out perfect.  I wore it to the music concert the next weekend. It was the perfect storm for me that I was hooked to my serger. I attempted a couple more knit dresses which taught me that not all knits are the same nor does the perfect storm comes with every project.

However, now I know sewing knits is not so bad nor using a serger.   I think I prefer using knits and my serger.  So quick to create clothing. Like buttah….

Firework Blue Knit Dress

Firework Blue Knit Dress – (Instagram)

My Latest Sewing Projects

My partner in sewing

I call her Procrastination

Looking at the date on my last sewing project post, it’s almost a year since I’ve written anything new. Not that I’ve haven’t doing any sewing projects, I’ve just been swept away into doing them and not posting.

This means catch up time!!

Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom - Dress E

Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom – Dress E

So I’ve been creating clothes on and off as the year went by.   I’ve tackled a few projects from the Japanese Sewing Book:  Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom.  One of them is the E dress below.   I used a vintage, interesting flowering knit-like print.   It turned out beautiful, but I should have created a muslin as the size was wide and the length was short.  Being 5’7″, I realized I needed to alter these patterns to be longer if the end result was going to be a dress.

Trying to create my own skirt

Trying to create my own skirt via Cal Patch

After a few of those and things not fitting right, I then broke open Cal Patch’s Design It Yourself clothes; the skirt. The skirt was what striked me as something I would wear and something I thought would be simple. So I reread and reread the directions as I swear I was reading a different language.

In the end, i created a wonder skirt, but it didn’t fit. You thought I’d learn my lesson about sewing a test garment first. Nope. Nothing is more frustrating than finding a beautiful piece of clothing that *almost* fits.

I took a hiatus after these and other attempts.   I did alter some pants to create some new shorts for the summer and some fuzzy fleece lounge pants.

Altered Shorts

Altered Shorts

I did try to create some leggings with my own pattern. I found a tut by Cal Patch on how to create the pattern.
I tested a few knits to get the right fit as well as learn how to use my serger.  (Oh, I love my serger!!)    The end result was the pink/grey striped below.

Legging Pattern

Legging Pattern

Pink Grey Striped Leggings

Pink Grey Striped Leggings

The leggings pattern turned out pretty close. I think I still have some issues in the crotch area to work out which is why I then took a create your own slopers class from Burda which also taught me how to alter the pattern to get a perfect fit for my body. It was a great class that helped me create slopers that I’ve lately been using to build my own patterns as well as tweak other patterns to my size.

Where am I going? I’m starting to get the hang of sewing new clothes and feeling confident of changing or modifying patterns and RTW clothes to my liking. More on this soon.

Simply crazy for my serger and a dress to do a jitterbug with excitement.

Oh how I enjoy my serger.   For many moons my serger sat next to my sewing machine with the protect plastic dust cover on it.   I was too nervous to use my serger.   My serger was like a hungry monster that whipped threw thread and fabric like the dickens and there’s no undo or seam ripper that can save the fabric after the serger had a turn.  So it sat there.

After doing some sewing projects on the machine,  I realized, like anyone’s been told before, I was getting the hang of things.  I was certainly not perfect in my sizing, reading patterns, or straight seams, but these mistakes taught me what not to do or what I should do to get results.  So I gathered all my gumption and bought some knits for some test runs.

I attempted some simple designs such as lounge pants and shorts for the hubby.  These practically straight line seems got me comfortable running the serger.   I then tackled a Sew U Sketch dress project.   Pictures, you ask?   Let’s just say it was a learning experience.  Wearable, but meh.  I did learn the importance of when to use the knife.

In these heroic attempts, I got comfortable with my serger.  I have a few more trials to get use to sewing curves and not cutting more fabric than necessary, but I have learned the glory that is a serger.    A serger is great, no, fantastic at finishing seams.   It’s so fast and clean that if I need to finish a seam, I move my seat over to the serger.

Sigh… Serger = smashing!

Now with the that awe inspiring rant, let me get to my jitterbug’n dress.

I’m sure most have read about Japanese sewing books.  Welp, I attempted, for the fourth time, a dress from Stylish Dress: Wear with Freedom.  I’ve already completed three other ones which were all trials to find the right size, but this one I was definitely proud to showcase.

Let me first state that I did a hybrid of the dress patterns.   I took the length of Dress C, but chose the sleeves of Dress D, but didn’t want to bother with all the buttons so I altered the pattern to not have buttons.


Dress C/D

The dress turned out fabulous, but needed some warmth.  In comes the cardigan.


Never leave the house without a cardigan

Next time I might go with the buttons or maybe work the sleeves to sit better.

How did I finish my seams on this lovely gem?   My serger.   Sigh….