Gentle readers, I present to you my first ever knit garment! While I am quite pleased with the end result, I was very glad that I had made the woven version of the Myrtle Dress first. Even after reading The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits, working with a knit fabric was still quite challenging. However, I persevered and ended up with a garment that I enjoy wearing.
The fabric I used is Dotted Boulevard by Sara Lawson, a 95% Cotton and 5% Spandex knit made by Art Gallery Fabrics. I bought it sight unseen from Hawthorne Fabrics. It was thicker than I expected, but pleasant enough to work with. Since the edges of the fabric rolled, I had a hard time figuring out if the selvage edges were lined up when I was cutting out the pattern pieces. As a result, the pattern pieces might be a little bit crooked, but you can’t really tell when I’m wearing the dress.
The main change I made from the pattern as written was that I lined the back of the bodice as well as the front. I gleaned the idea from Crafting a Rainbow and Love-Teach-Sew and was thrilled that it meant I avoided hemming the armholes and neckhole. After that, I followed the sewalong as it happened. Even though I used a ballpoint needle, there were a couple instances when I messed up the stitching. I found seam ripping on knit fabric nigh impossible and so just sewed around those mistakes. Not ideal, but it worked. Speaking of seams, I started out using a lightning stitch, but found those seams to be a little bumpy and uneven. I switched to the zigzag stitch indicated in the pattern and liked that much better.
The elastic waist was easy enough and is quite comfortable. I prefer how the dress looks with a belt, though, which is why you see me wearing one in all of these pictures. The pockets were also easy, and I can’t imagine sewing this dress without them.
The biggest challenge I faced with this dress was sewing the hem. Even though my sewing machine came with a universal twin needle, I had never used it before. My local Joann’s didn’t have a ballpoint twin needle, and I was really worried about messing up the hem. I anxiously awaited the last set of instructions from the sewalong, hoping for some inspired insights about hemming, and was disappointed when the instructions were “sew the hem.” Luckily, there was a previous Coletterie blog post on the subject, so I learned to use Wonder Tape, which I happened to have on hand. The actual sewing of the hem went smoothly, but after the fact, I realized that I had sewn it in the wrong place. I sewed it 5/8” from the folded edge, but I should have sewed it 1” from the folded edge, in order to catch and secure the raw edge. In my haste to finish before vacation, I glossed over that part of the blog post. Oh, well. Making mistakes is the best way to learn, right?