Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hey, I Made a Dress!

This past Saturday, I decided I just HAD to take a break from Lady Grey making and posting. I needed a quick, fun project that wouldn't take two months to make. On a whim, I pulled out McCalls 5975 and some wine-colored doubleknit. The next day, I had a new dress! There's something to be said for instant gratification.
The fit on this dress is really forgiving since it's meant for knits—no darts or anything like that—but it's still a shapely sheath. I took note of the finished garment measurements, did a quick tissue-fitting on my dress form, and that was it! No muslins or anything. I made a size 14, but added an extra inch of width around the hips. I did do some couture-ish techniques—like a handpicked, lapped zipper. But for the most part, I stuck with the pattern instructions, and they were great.

This is View B, which has cute pleated cap sleeves and neckline pleats as well. Here's a better shot of the bodice:

I ordered this fabric recently from Fabric.com. It's called Sophia Double Knit, and it comes in a bunch of colors for about $10 a yard. I wanted to give it a try because the double knits I've found here in New York are so pricey—well over $20 a yard for synthetic blends. This Sophia stuff is just as good (if perhaps a bit thinner) and the price is right.
I ordered three more colors of this fabric yesterday! I suddenly got it in my head that I need a whole winter wardrobe of double knit dresses. They're so comfy and cozy and incredibly easy to sew. (For tips, check out my post "Field Notes on Sewing with Double Knits.") I like the silhouette they give me, too: figure-hugging without being overly clingy and showing every little lump or bump.

I was so energized by my quickie project that I'm planning another one! I just cut out Vogue 8409 in some luxe navy wool double knit (this is the real deal, not the synthetics) and I have some fun plans for retro-fying it. More to come!

Vogue 8409

53 comments:

  1. How I envy you! I would certainly not be able to make a dress in a week-end (even a Fast and Easy Butterick is too difficult for me) . This dress is gorgeous,and I love the colour you chose for your double knit fabric.

    xx

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  2. Wine is a good colour for you. Thanks for the review of the sophia double knits. It's hard to tell what fabric will be like when you are buying on line, so it is nice to have a recommendation. I also like double knits. They are hard to find here in the UK.

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  3. Oh, I love knit dresses. Like you said, they are comfortable and elegant at the same time. This colour looks lovely on you.

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  4. This dress looks much better on you than it does in the pattern photos!

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  5. Lovely dress! Are you going to wear a slip with it? I ask, because I tend to have problems with static cling when I wear synthetic knits and am wondering if the Sophia knit would be any different.

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  6. Don't you just love those lickety-split sewing projects?! I just cut out a dress myself over the weekend to make up from one of the "tried and true" styles that I keep going back to. Between my snails-pace progress on the LG and this massive slipcover project, I need an instant sewing fix! haha.

    I really love how this dress came out--you look gorgeous! Thanks for the tip about the Fabric.com double knit; I'd been eying it last week, but hadn't made up my mind about ordering it yet. *sigh* There goes my sewing budget for the next month... haha. Can't wait to see what else you make with the other double knits that are on the way!

    ♥ Casey | blog

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  7. I totally love the sleeves on that dress! Yay for simple sewing and instant gratification..

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  8. That's a really lovely dress. It looks comfortable and flattering and is a fab colour. I really must try to do something with double knit soon. But I agree with Karin - double knits are hard to find over here.

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  9. Your dress is beautiful. It must have been a nice break from the weeks of tailoring.

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  10. OMG, I can totally relate. I spent Sept and Oct making a reproduction 1883 2-pc. bustle dress for a historical fashion show I agreed to be in. I think I spent 80-100 hrs on it, and I certainly need winter clothes for everyday a heck of a lot more than a bustle dress!

    Then, because of PhD and life-related stuff I haven't had time to sew for the last couple weeks. This weekend is going to be a 4-day sewing blitz of instant gratification stuff! Skirts and tops I can whip up in a few hours, and thank you for deciding me on at least one dress as well.

    You look MAHHH-vellous! Wine is such a great colour on you. I have one teensy question though - would you consider wearing a slightly darker shade of lipstick with that dress? Not totally matchy-matchy with it, but just a little more related to the colour. I think that would up the whole 'richness' of the look. Just a thought!

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  11. that's a fantastic dress. and it looks great on you! i have never sewn with knits before but recently bought a few yards of a wool knit. keeping my fingers crossed!

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  12. I thought you needed a serger to sew knits -- I'm glad I looked at your "how to" link and found out I was mistaken. Yay for being wrong!

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  13. I m trying to find double knits here in the uk, but cant seem to find them? am i being dumb or not looking hard enough... or are they called a different thing here?

    thanks,

    Aislinn

    @BooBoo Kitty Couture

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  14. http://www.fabric-world.com/Specials-Double-Knit-Jersey-c3_103.html?osCsid=908562fdecb0ee231d5333012f534c07

    found some... answered my own question! wasnt looking hard enough! x

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  15. Marvelous, Gertie! The cut, the color, the fabric ... love everything about this frock.

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  16. This is really lovely. I've bookmarked your tips on sewing with double knits - maybe someday I'll move out of cotton territory!

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  17. Looks great. You inspire me. I tried my first dress a few months ago, but the fit was not right, I need to work on it more and probably take more classes to learn about taloring your clothes. The dress is to boxy in the waist area.

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  18. I wish you would have made this post a week ago! :-( I could have bought the doubleknit from fabric.com and paid less for it. Oh well, I'll know for next time. ;-) Your dress is super cute, and I love the color on you. :-)

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  19. Lovely! A great color on you, Gertie.

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  20. So cute! I would never have given that pattern a second look, but now I think I must try it!

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  21. Your dress is gorgeous!!! I want that pattern. I have a piece of black double knit that would be perfect for that pattern.

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  22. Looks great! This is totally what I'm going to do next. The one-weekend project fix.

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  23. What a lovely dress! It's super chic & the color is fantastic on you.

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  24. The shape of that dress is great. Maybe it is all of your hula hooping! I need one of those dresses. The color is gorgeous as well.

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  25. Gorgeous! On my way to fabric.com now... :)

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  26. Can I make a pitch for Vogue Fabrics' Sophia Double Knits? There's a great selection of colors. Here's a brick red:
    http://www.voguefabricsstore.com/store/product.php?productid=8064&partner=vogue12

    And the shipping is hard to beat $6 in domestic U.S.! This would be a great way to send out holiday gifts in December....

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  27. Beautiful dress - and Sophia is the softest double knit for the money. I wish royal blue was offered, though. I have successfully used it with woven fitted patterns, such as a fitted princess bodiced dress with flared gored skirt, twice. Has enough ease in the fabric to make fitted garments feel good. And yes, wear a half slip to the commenter who asked earlier, because it will glide over the hips and legs better.

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  28. Gertie,
    I'm quite jealous - it looks fab - and a great fit - I do love knits.

    I'm on muslin no. 2 on my Vogue and I'm ready already for it to be done!

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  29. Beautiful dress! Such a great color and drape for fall/winter. I esp love the pleats to the neckline!
    I totally agree, while working on a longtime projects, some small instant-gratification-projects are not to be underestimated =)

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  30. You look great in this color and this dress! This is a nice silhouette for you.

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  31. that color looks fabulous on you! love the silhouette on you too!

    xo,
    cb

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  32. Oh I do love it! It looks superb on you, especially with your great haircut. I also, have been looking for a few more "easy" projects to add to my repetoire. Sometimes that's what you need to keep going with the big, time consuming ones. You know, like a quick win. I totally hear ya sister. Lovely creation!

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  33. I made that vogue, in exactly the same fabric and color...got tons of copliments. I'ts a very grown up style dress.

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  34. dumb question - how do double knits work with winter tights? I hate it when dresses cling and ride up... or does the weight of the fabric stop that from happening? This is Caroline by the way!
    C

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  35. What a great color for fall. Commenters often write "your version looks better than the pattern envelope!", but yours *really* does. ;)

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  36. Oh fun! It's so much fun to whip up a fast(er) project after something huge like a coat. Gorgeous dress, perfect for fall!

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  37. I have that pattern and had been looking at the double knits on fabric.com...now that I know they're nice, have to go snag a few.

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  38. I think I might need that pattern... Your dress looks WAY better than the pattern cover.

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  39. I love double knit for dresses! I have several colors of the Sophia knit, and it's very nice. The teal color is really gorgeous (though more blue than teal.) I love your dress - much nicer than on the pattern envelope!

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  40. I like that dress and the color fits you great!!! You are a very fast sewer!!

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  41. This looks great, Gertie! I love posts on patterns like this, as I tend to skip over them when flipping through pattern books when they're made up in boring fabrics. Will be trying a double knit for my next project, methinks!

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  42. The dress looks great and I am really inspired to do the same. In your post about double knits, you quote Claire Schaeffer stating that "Also, double knits cannot be used for patterns labeled "knits only." Yet, this patterns says just that, "for knits only". I would really like your input on that! I too struggle with finding good knits. THanks a lot in advance!

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  43. Thanks, everyone!

    I wear doubleknit dresses with tights often, and I've never noticed a clinging problem. Maybe because they're so drapey?

    Catharine, good question! I used this pattern because it calls for double knits in the suggested fabrics AND also because it's not constructed like a typical knit. It has a zipper, so the fabric doesn't have to have enough stretch to be put on over your head.

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  44. Thanks for talking about those doubleknits at Fabric.com. I've wondered about the quality, so now maybe I will go purchase. You look wonderful in that dress.

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  45. That is fabulous! It looks even better on you than on the pattern! I've got some beautiful merino knits saved up - I think I'll pick up this pattern and make it up for myself.

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  46. Beautiful and very flattering dress!

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  47. This dress is really nice and "chic" ! Love the colour.

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  48. What a great dress! Isn't this fabric awesome? Not long ago I started collecting a little stash of doubleknit when I saw it showing up in some designers I like; it's so comfortable and easy to sew. I used to have a prejudice against it, maybe because the 70s kind was was so icky and itchy--or I associated it with itchy shiny cheerleading skirts, which are usually 100% polyester doubleknit.

    Anyhoo, if anyone is curious about where to find online (because i have no fabric shops here): Sometimes Gorgeous Fabrics has nice doubleknits which are 100% rayon--really soft and breathable. Mood Fabrics has some inexpensive doubleknits. There is also Ponte, which is a kind of doubleknit, and it too is very soft and fun to sew. Mood Fabrics has a lot of ponte knit in different colors. Sometimes it is all rayon, but usually it's a rayon/polyester/lycra combo. I ordered a few yards from marcytilton.com--she carries some very beautiful pontes--a bit more expensive but the quality is lovely.

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  49. So, I'm kind of a stickler for natural fibers in my clothing. Only problem is, I've not found any natural double knits (wool, cotton, silk). Has anyone found any in their searches? I just prefer the feel of cotton, wool, silk, or linen.

    Also, after seeing this dress on you I've been so tempted to buy the pattern. I need more easy to wear dresses for work. Fabulous job!

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  50. What kind of machine stitch did you use for your hem or did you do it by hand?

    I was working with this sofia double knit and my machine didn't want to do a narrow hem. So I just did that part by hand.

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  51. I love the color of this fabric. The dress looks great.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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