Tag Archives: Sewing with Knits

#SewDots Dress

In my October plans post I mentioned I was going to try to join in with Rosie Martin’s #SewDots movement for the RNIB. She raised £791.29 so far (with a target of £500 being smashed) and you can still donate to the JustGiving page if you’d like. I finished my dress in the nick of time – literally! I posted it on Instagram at about 5pm on the last day.

sew-dots-dress-2This is the Drapey Knit dress from the 3rd Great British Sewing Bee book.


This is the fabric, which I’ve had in my stash for ages. You may recognise it from my running armband tutorial.


I did make a couple of changes to the pattern. The main one was when I traced the pattern, I widened the hem line as I didn’t like the 80s style narrowing. I think I could maybe have widened it a bit more, but I think it looks quite balanced.

sew-dots-dress-5I reduced the sleeve seam allowance to 0.5cm instead of 1.5cm because the fabric isn’t probably as stretchy as it should be for this pattern. Also I think I cut them in the wrong direction – the fabric has more stretch one way than the other and I think this stretchy direction runs up and down the sleeve instead of around! It’s not normally my style, but I like the batwing-style of the upper sleeves.

sew-dots-dress-6The other change I made was to the neckline. The head hole was so small I couldn’t get it over my head (same non-stretch issue I think!) so I sewed it with a 3cm seam allowance instead of the 1.5cm allowance suggested. This did unfortunately mean I slightly messed with the crossover pleat-y-thing at the neckline. I think other people have mentioned this doesn’t sit perfectly and mine definitely doesn’t when I resewed the neckline.

sew-dots-dress-8I can sort of fudge it a little if I arrange it and stand still! Eagle-eyed viewers may spot that my pleat-y-thing is the opposite way around than it should be. For some reason – and without noticing at all – I had the fabric with the wrong side up when I cut out all the pieces for the front (they’re cut in a single layer because it’s obviously not symmetrical) so they ended up a mirror image. Luckily I cut all the pieces wrong so it was sort of fine in the end.

I do like the pockets and the way the pleats flow straight into them. 🙂

sew-dots-dress-3For once I like the fit on the back of this dress! It’s meant to look a bit wider at the top, so it doesn’t look too big I don’t think. I also like how in this photo it looks like I have a real shelf of an arse!


I’m sure I say this every time, but I really think I’ll make this pattern again. I’ve worn it quite a few times already, with a top underneath for warmth. When the weather gets a  bit warmer I think it will still be a comfy dress to wear – but it’s smart enough for work. And I got quite a few compliments on it, which is always pleasing 🙂



Aztec Print Mabel Skirt

On the same day I made my Linden sweatshirt, I made a Colette Mabel skirt from the same fabric. OMG, this was so quick to make! It took, like, 90 minutes – and that was because I made a rookie error and sewed 2 pieces wrong sides together!



I made the size xs and the only change I made was to add 2″ to the length – I held up the pattern pieces and it seemed like it would be waaaay too short!


I think when I cut the skirt out, I didn’t quite get it perfectly straight with the pattern – which I didn’t notice until I saw these pictures! You can see on the hem, below, that the line isn’t quite perpendicular. Boo!


The waistband is also really on the wonk! But with a top covering it, you can’t really see.


But I did triumph on the pattern-matching front on the back seam! Behold!


I used my beloved twin needle for the hem – I’m really starting to get the hang of sewing with knits now I think!


The only problem with this skirt, though, is that I’m not sure if it suits me or is really my style. I might give it a go in the longer length and see if that’s any better. Or maybe make a size bigger. Or slightly change the shape so it doesn’t go in so much at the bottom. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned many times on here, I like to wear looser fitting tops but this skirt looks really weird with a non-tight top as it makes me look top-heavy.


Any ideas how I can make this more ‘me’?

Aztec Print Linden

I made my first Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt! I say ‘my first’ because I’m definitely going to be making more! I feel like this could be a smart enough pattern to wear for work, depending on the fabric you use. And obviously it’s a great casual, slobbing around the house, kind of pattern.


I made the straight size 2, view A, which has the cuffs and hem band – and long sleeves, obvs. This was a really easy pattern to put together and only took a couple of hours, really, once I’d figured out how to attach the neck band, cuffs and hem band. And especially when I realised I was meant to cut 2 hem bands, on the fold and not just one – I did have a few minutes of ‘well how is this going to fit around my hips’ before I realised my mistake!


I didn’t make any fitting changes and, as you can see above. there is quite a bit of excess fabric on the back, especially in my lower back. I pretty much always find this and since it’s a loose pattern, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. I do really need to learn how to fix this, though, for future, more fitted patterns.


There also seems to be something weird going on around the armpit area – does anyone know why this is? I’ve found on previous patterns that I need extra room there sometimes, but I’m not sure if that’s the case here, as it’s such a slouchy pattern.


The fabric was another ‘remnant’ from my beloved Rolls and Rems at Holloway Road. Their remnant bin has long lengths of one-offs and not just the end of rolls of stuff they sell by the metre, so you can often pick up some interesting stuff for not much money. This must have been about 3 metres and it was only £9.99. I love the aztec-y print, and check out my pattern matching at the side seam:


You can barely see the seam, I’m super proud. You can’t really see where the cuffs are either, though it messes up the pattern slightly, but you can’t tell. I also like how the neck band is one row of the zig zags.


The only downside of this sweatshirt is that the fabric isn’t quite as warm as I thought it would be. I definitely want to try this in a proper, thick, sweatshirt fabric and also to experiment with colour blocking – I’m always a bit afraid that colour-blocking will go horribly wrong and I’ll choose 2 things that definitely do not go together! I think I’ll try stealing from a ready to wear top like I did for my Refashioners Dear Creatures rip off!


Have you made the Linden Sweatshirt? Has it become one you’ve made over and over again?

Breton Style Plantain Tee

This has to be one of my thriftiest makes ever. It’s the Deer and Doe Plantain Tee, which is a free to download. I downloaded and assembled the PDF quite a while ago but only just got around to making something from it. I had this little bit of stripey fabric in my stash for a few months – it was only £1.50 and was from Rolls and Rems (where else!). There was juuuust enough fabric to make this tee and I love it!

The stripes are actually navy blue, though they look black in the photos.

With my new haircut (which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE), and in this tee shirt, I definitely feel like I’m channeling Jean Seberg!

circa 1965: Promotional portrait of American actor Jean Seberg (1938 - 1979) sitting barefoot and cross-legged on a stool, wearing rolled blue jeans and a French-striped sailor jersey pulled off one shoulder. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)(image source)

I made this tee in the size 36 and changed the neckline. The classic Breton Tee has quite a high neckline (probably a boat neckline would be best), but the Plantain has quite a low scoop-neck. I raised it to just below the back neckline. I also didn’t bother with the neck band, partly because I would have had to work out a new length for it, and partly because I wasn’t entirely sure from the instructions how I should attach it! So I just turned the neckline under by 1.5cm and stitched it with my twin needle.


The sleeves are 3.3cm longer than the short sleeve length. I would have made longer, 3/4 length sleeves, but I didn’t have enough fabric – there was literally just enough to cut the front and back, then squeeze the sleeves from single layers left over after the other bits were cut out. I hemmed the sleeves with the twin needle too, turning under a tiny amount so as to preserve what length I had managed to eek out.


I think the original hem is a little curved, but I straightened the bottom, using the stripes as a guide. Then I turned up one white stripe and stitched the hem with the twin needle.


I think I’m starting to get the hang of sewing with knits. I matched the stripes on the side seams (but then, of course, forgot to take any photos) and I quite enjoy the professional look a twin needle gives to the hems. This is the thickest and most stable knit I’ve sewn with so far, and I like the fact that this is quite thick. I think I need a bit of a tweak in the armpit area to get it to sit better – I’ve had this before with other patterns, so I wonder if I have something that makes me atypical in the armpit/ sleeve area – I’ll try to make some changes if I make this pattern again, which I suspect I will. Any ideas what the issue is and how I can fix it? I think an armscye that extends lower than the pattern originally does.


I’m trying to make more basics for my wardrobe, so I think there’ll be more and more t-shirts and basic things like that coming up on the blog! Also skinny jeans hopefully!

Sallie Maxi Dress or my first time sewing knits!

Hey you guys, I sewed something out of knit fabric! This is an excellent development as I have a growing stash of knits which I love but I was too scared to sew them for the longest time! It turns out it isn’t that scary! Ta da!


You may wonder why I started with a relatively complex pattern? Because I really wanted a maxi dress, basically. I had pinned a couple of pictures of maxi dresses on my pinterest:

Maxi inspiration 1

Maxi inspiration 2I particularly like the top picture, and will definitely try to make one more of that style one day. I’d been looking out for a good pattern for ages, and then Heather Lou at Closet Case Files released the Sallie Maxi dress and Jumpsuit pattern. I definitely want to make a black jumpsuit, pretty much exactly the same as the one in the pattern photos! I don’t know how much wear I’d get out of it, though, as London hasn’t really had a Summer this year, and I’m not sure how it would look with a sweater on the top!

The same could really be said of the maxi, though. I started making it when it was hot, then it wasn’t hot anymore and I couldn’t be bothered to finish it as I didn’t envisage being able to wear it at all this year. Then it warmed up just enough, so I finished it!


The fabric is one of my many ‘remnants’ from Rolls and Rems at Holloway Road. There must have been 2 1/2 – 3m of this stuff. Not what I’d call a remnant! I can’t remember how much it was, but I fell in love with it instantly. It’s got a nice drape and is quite heavy, but a little see-through.

I made the size 4 and added 4 inches to the hem, which I knew would be more than enough, but I wanted it to skim the floor and by holding up the pattern I could see it would be kind of ankle length. I also only left the slit on one side – I wonder if I should have unpicked the side seam a bit more to make more of a split? It’s enough to walk in, so that’s what’s important.



You can almost see the fact that I underlined the skirt in some of the pictures. The fabric was really too thin to not line as I didn’t fancy everyone being able to see my pants! I thought about trying to line the skirt, but with the pockets and not having made the pattern before, I thought it would hurt my brain too much to work out a lining so I went with underlining instead. This does make it quite heavy, so I felt like I had to keep hoiking it up when I wore it (only once, to the Fashion on the Ration exhibition).


I ended up cutting off 6cm from the bottom, as it did end up too long for me. I then turned up a 1cm hem – I turned it up once instead of twice, mostly out of laziness and a desire to finish it!

The only other major change I made was how the waist seam was done – in the original pattern you top stitch the bodice and then sew the bodice to the skirt lower down that the topstitching to make the channel for the elastic. I was using white thread, though, so it looked a bit weird when you could see a line of stitching. So I unpicked it and sewed the bodice to the skirt in 2 places, at 3cm and 1.5cm, leaving a gap in the 1.5cm line for threading the elastic. You can just about see the 2 lines of stitching in the below photo.


I found I did have to re-tie the straps a couple of times when I was wearing it – I guess this is the perils of having a stretch fabric making up the ties, and with having what is now quite a heavy dress.


I found it went well with my refashioned Victoria Blazer – it picks out the right shades of blue. I feel like that’s my equivalent of a denim jacket, and that this dress would also look good with a denim jacket!

My favourite thing is POCKETS!




I found the pattern was easy to follow – which was good as this was my first make with knitted fabric. I chose this because it didn’t require much fitting – I definitely don’t have the skill to make something skin-tight yet! I definitely want to have a go at Closet Case Files’s other patterns, particularly her amazing Ginger Jeans, which have been made by basically the whole blogosphere! I love the Carolyn pajamas too!

As I’m about to publish this post, it has started pouring with rain AGAIN! I think this may have to wait for next Summer at this rate!