Sewing With Knits – a “Free” Little Dress Project – Part 1

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Okay, had a little gift drop into my lap about a week or two, ago. I was collecting fabrics for a little baby quilt I’d like to make for my eventual future grandchild (a mom can be hopeful, can she not??)  Actually, my oldest daughter and her husband are working on it, and I’m betting it’s going to be a boy, so, since they live on the east coast in Maryland, and spend a lot of time at the beach during the summer, I just fell in love with this little quilt.  I even bought some additional fabric with little crabs on it from the Dear Stella “Seaworthy” line.  Love this fabric designer, they are fun, whimsical, and lighthearted in their design approach. Cannot possibly have this quilt go to Maryland and made without the little crab fabric!

Pinwheel Beach Quilt

Pinwheel Beach Quilt by Nicole from Modern Handcraft

In ordering my backing fabric for this quilt, which called for 1 ½ yards of Cuddle Terry in Navy, I received, instead, a 1 ½ yards of some very lovely single knit cotton (I think) stable single knit jersey. Very, very nice fabric, but NOT Cuddle Terry.

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I called Fabric.com and told them what I had received, and what I had actually ordered. Fabric.com Customer Service was very nice, told me to keep the cotton knit jersey on them, and that they would send me the correct fabric and expedite the shipment (did I mention I love this company?) So, the correct fabric arrived, and now I was left with this yard and a half of nice single knit jersey. Hmmm. What to do, what to do. Well, I haven’t sewn on jersey knit in like a hundred years (feels like that, but probably more like the early 90’s.) So, decided that I would try to make a little sleeveless dress. A yard and a half of fabric, even 60” wide fabric, is not a whole bunch, so that sort of limited what I could make. But, I knew I’d wear a little sun dress here in sunny So Cal, so it was just a matter of finding a pattern that would look good on me, and not be over a yard and a half of fabric. The hunt was on…

Found a great pattern, something easy, with a couple of techniques that I was interested in attempting – a banded neck and arm, as well as a gathered skirt using clear elastic. Kwik Sew 3611.  View A (the longer dress),  Cool.

Kwik Sew 3611

Kwik Sew 3611

And, I decided instead of running to my trusty Husqvarna Viking serger, which is what I normally use for anything knit, I was going to test my lovely Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Royale, to see how well it handled knits. This was a good knit to test with, since it wasn’t naughty, as far as knits go. It was a single direction stretch, pretty stable (not too stretchy), and had good memory (when you stretch it, it comes back to its normal dimensions.) High quality fabric, stable as far as knits go, not too thin, not too thick. So, sat myself down with a nice glass of Chianti, to review in my head, everything I ever knew about sewing on knits with a sewing machine. And, to do a little research, too, since I was sure there were some new supplies and methods since the last time I tackled something knit. I came up with some old trusted approaches, and, a couple of new techniques and supplies, to make this project a success.  I’ll talk about a couple of those cool new things, and a bunch of tried and true techniques in my next post.  So, stay tuned!

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