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Friday, March 29, 2013

The Skater Dress Tour: Tips For Sewing Knits

I love sewing with knits on my serger.
It's fast and easy and I get something made QUICK!
When Amanda from Kitshy Coo asked if I would like to try out her new SKATER DRESS PATTERN for her pattern tour around the blogosphere I said yes, because I thought it was really cute! And simple to make.

It's a simple knit T shirt top with a half quarter circle skirt. It has options for sleeveless and a long sleeved version as well.
I made the top from stretch cotton lycra knit and the red skirt from stretch woven fabric.
Gigi thinks it's very comfy! Plus she thinks she looks like a super hero in it. I think she looks more like a fast food restaurant worker! But a cute one.
I love those little Liberty like print sandals. We bought them at K Mart. Who would think? I wish they had them in my size.
One reason I like trying out other designers' patterns instead of just drafting my own all the time is I learn a lot of things from the designs of others.
It's always a learning experience to see how other people do things. Amanda from Kitschy Koo  had some sewing techniques I had never tried, but which I believe are used in ready to wear clothing. Her techniques made sewing this dress much simpler than my usual routine.

I started off by measuring the pattern, since I had a feeling it would be too big for Gigi. I can tell just by looking. Sure enough, the pattern in size 3T/4T had around a 23 inch waist about 4 inches big. So I altered the pattern before cutting out my fabric, saving a lot of altering trouble.
When sewing with knit patterns I don't add ANY ease so I just make sure the pattern is the same as mine or my girls measurements before I cut out my fabric. 
Sometimes it needs to be taken in even more, especially if the fabric is very stretchy.
When you make a pattern smaller than your measurements to allow for stretchy fabrics to stay up, it's called NEGATIVE EASE.

Amanda recommends hemming the sleeves before sewing them together, something I've never done. I think this technique is use when T shirts are made on an assembly line. In factories they try to sew most things flat, so they don't have to pin things. This really was a lot quicker than my usual method of hemming after the sleeve is done.
Another new technique I used was sewing on the sleeve this way ABOVE.  I like this method for knits and plan to use it more when I make t shirts. You lie the sleeve out flat and sew it to the armholes before their sides are closed. Then you sew up the side all the way to the end of the sleeve. However, this method will only work if there is no sleeve cap gathers.
I have only sewn set in sleeves before so this was new for me too.

So, that was a fun little project!

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  1. Definitely superhero...not fast food worker ;-) Cute!

  2. Gigi is adorable, as is her new dress.. Great job Mom.. I am going to check out this pattern.. Will probably get for my granddaughter [she definitely wants to be a super hero.. That is the best!!! ha]
    Thanks for the knit hints..

  3. love Gigi's dress! I've just downloaded the pattern and see that Amanda has the neckband instruction as a partial sew-in - would you recommend to stay with her exact instructions or do you think it would be easier/neater to insert the neckband after the should seams have been finished off?

  4. lol... soooo cute! I am so tempted to get a serger. I love the idea of whipping up knits!

  5. LOVE!!! I love your fabric pairings and applique!


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