Making Laurel in a knit
I’ve been meaning to share this dress forever, as evidenced by my long hair and bare legs in these photos.
If you’re in the northern hemisphere, bear with me and maybe try to pretend I’m wearing tights and boots. For those in the southern hemisphere… hey, perfect timing!
I made this version of Laurel because (1) knit striped shift dresses are just about the easiest thing in the world to wear, (2) no closures, and (3) I wanted to see how Laurel would do in a knit fabric.
It’s not a fancy dress, but it’s a good workhorse for those lazy days. And I have plenty of those. The other cool thing is that since Laurel doesn’t have front darts, it works well in stripes and other prints.
Here’s what I learned:
- Use a stable knit. This is a fairly stable, thick baby rib knit so it held up decently and has pretty good recovery. I think these kinds of knits are the best choice for converting patterns designed for wovens, especially a dress with structure. A doubleknit would be ideal, because they can basically be sewn like wovens.
- Cut it smaller. I cut this a size smaller than my usual size to make up for the stretch, and it was still very big. I’d recommend sizing down at least two sizes. I ended up taking it in another size or so at the side seams, which brings me to the next point.
- Sew the sleeves flat. I found this helpful, because I could sew the side seams last and thus take it in quite a bit there as needed.
- Get a twin needle. I use a twin needle to hem knits. I serge the raw edge, turn, then use the twin needle to stitch the hem. If you don’t have a coverstitch machine (I don’t), it’s a nice way to finish a knit hem with a plain ol’ straight stitch machine.
I used a folded self band to do a clean finish at the neckline, like the ribbing on a t-shirt. It’s really pretty easy. This entire dress took me only a couple hours, start to finish.
I’m thinking for my next one, perhaps a heather grey double knit with patch pockets.
Anyone else have tips for sewing patterns designed for wovens with knit fabrics?
Some of you asked about how I removed the bust dart. here’s a photo of what I did. Pretty simple, I just folded the dart out of the way, all across the bust:
Pattern: Laurel by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Cotton baby rib in camel and white stripes