The other day was rainy and bleak and I needed a fun project, so Alice and I hopped into the car to buy ourselves some fabric. I bought 3/4 yd of 100% cotton jersey and decided to learn how to sew on knits. One of the reasons I bought my Bernina several years ago was to have a machine that would work with knits (previously I had a straight stitch Singer from the 1920s) but I’ve just never gotten around to it. I’m pleased to say that while I really didn’t know what I was doing, I managed a very sweet little dress for Alice.
I made up the pattern- just a simple raglan sleeve and gathered skirt. I cut it a little big, both because I didn’t know how to calculate the way that the stretch would affect sizing, and because I wanted it to last through the Spring. I used my rotary cutter to cut it out because I wasn’t sure if my shears would be as accurate on jersey.
I used a ball point needle and used a zig-zag stitch for construction, but I’m not sure the zig-zag was necessary. Any wisdom on that, anyone? I also bought and used a double needle for the first time ever and I’m in love with the way it works. So clever! Such beautiful parallel lines!
The neckline was the only part of the project that gave me some trouble. At first I thought I’d bind it the way I would a woven neckline, but I ended up with a stand-up, gaping collar. I cut it off, cut the neckline down a bit, and did a t-shirt style neckband using this tutorial. It worked like a charm and I love the casual, comfy look. I made the neckband 10% smaller than the neckline, but next time I might even decrease it a smidge more. Another change I might make in the future is to use that clear elastic stuff to gather the waist. I should really read up a bit more on sewing knits- no doubt there are lots of ways I could improve.
I’ve heard people talk about how quick and satisfying knits are to sew, and this project has definitely confirmed that for me. I can imagine all kinds of shirts, dresses, and leggings for Alice and I really don’t think I’d need to buy a pattern for any of them. I might even try something for myself, although I’m generally not into wearing knits unless it’s before 7am or after 7pm. While this dress doesn’t have any sort of heirloom quality to it, it was fun and easy to make and is cozy to wear. Besides, even though jersey is pricey, making a dress is certainly cheaper than buying it from Hanna Andersson, and it gives me the joy of sales-resistance!
As a side note, I’m mystified by how professional bloggers get so many serene looking pictures of their children. I had to take about 50 pictures of Alice to get the ones used above, and 98% of them looked like this: