Wednesday 28 October 2015

Moneta Dress - Black Double Knit

After making my first Moneta dress on Saturday, on Sunday I whipped up another one, using a few things I learnt from the first one.  This time I used a heavier black double knit fabric from The Fabric Store, with a white messy dot print on it.  Although this fabric is definitely not 100% cotton, it is quite heavy and stable so it was nice and easy to sew with like the Anna Maria Horner fabric I used for the last version.

Black Moneta

I am really thrilled with this dress and will definitely be wearing it to work!  With blazer, most likely.

I asked people for questions about sewing with knits on my last post, and I've had a few.  I want to say that I am by no means an expert at sewing with knit fabrics, but I'm happy to share what I learnt.

Black Moneta

I made a few adjustments for this dress, based on my experience with the last dress.  The waist in the purple dress is pretty tight on me, so still used a size small bodice for this one, but graded up a size (to a medium) for the waist.  Now I can eat lunch in this dress!

Other tweaks - I only lengthened the bodice by .75", which I think looks better on me.  I also used the size xs neckline, because the neckline on the other dress tends to show my bra straps (not ideal for something I want to wear to work!).  Because the fabric is quite heavy, I kept the size small skirt, which means it is not quite as heavily gathered.  I also omitted the pockets, which I kind of regret now!

Black Moneta

I wasn't super stoked with the neckline on the last dress - it was my first time sewing with a twin needle and I didn't do the greatest job.  

This time, I used a technique to stablise the fabric before hemming, not only on the neckline but also on the sleeves and hem.  Basically, I cut narrow strips of fusible webbing (1/2" for the neckline and sleeves, and 3/4" for the bottom hem), and ironed them right at the edge that I wanted to hem.  I then turned the hem over and pressed it in place, before stitching as usual with the twin needle.  The fusible webbing made it easy to get a consistent hem width, held the hem in place, and kept everything stable so I didn't stretch out the neckline (but also didn't prevent the knit fabric from stretching entirely).  I used Steam-a-Seam Lite, because that is what I happened to have on hand, but I expect other fusible webs would work equally as well.

Black Moneta

Here are my thoughts about sewing with knit fabrics as a beginner:

- Do yourself a favour and start with a knit fabric that will not make your life hell.  Choose something that is thick-ish (but not super thick), and stable (i.e., not super stretchy and not too prone to shifting).

- Use a solid colour or a print you do not have to match.  No stripes (at least, not until you're feeling more confident).

- Pre-wash your fabric.  I almost never pre-wash fabric for quilting, but I always pre-wash fabric for making garments.  It's just not worth the heartache of making a perfectly fitting garment that shrinks the first time you wash it!

- It's worth taking the time to trace the pattern onto something you can re-use.  Erin made me do this and it was so worth it.  We used a very light weight interfacing but apparently Swedish tracing paper is the thing (but expensive / hard to find in New Zealand).

- I used pins to pin my pattern to the fabric, before cutting.  I just used a normal amount, not heaps.  I also used the same pins that I use for quilts - nothing special.  You could probably use pattern weights instead - I had to use weights (actually the hot pads the cats sleep on in winter) to hold my fabric on the table because it was long and kept wanting to slide off!

- I used scissors to cut my fabric.  I believe you can also use a rotary cutter.  I know from cutting curved pieces for quilts that a smaller blade (i.e., 28mm rather than 45mm) is better when cutting curves with a rotary cutter.

- If you can get your hands on an overlocker / serger, do it! Beg, borrow, or steal.  I think it made the experience MUCH simpler and easier.

- If you are going to use a sewing machine, use ballpoint needles.  There is a reason the instructions say to do this!

- Be really careful with your twin needle.  Apparently they are prone to breaking.  I had a backup one, just in case, but didn't break mine (phew!).  Also, if you can get your hands on a wider one, I think it gives a more professional finish (I used a 4mm one).

- I used clover clips to hold the pieces together when constructing the dress, rather than pins.  This is because overlockers + pins = BAD.  It also meant I avoided putting any necessary holes in my dresses.

- Again, if you are planning to make a Moneta dress, I would highly recommend reading the Colette Moneta sew-along and this post about using clear elastic.

Ok, that is all from me for now!  If you have other questions, let me know!



magistra said...

Congratulations! Sewing a knit garment is so far out on the branch of my comfort zone, I can't even see it, haha! I just wanted to say that you are super cute in both dresses! Your pictures look so happy and comfortable :) I have to admit I am partial to the AMH one because it's colorful but both versions are great. So, happy sewing! If I ever get as brave, I hope I remember to come to this entry for your tips :)

Jessica said...

Thanks for all the info and tips! I'm getting ready to try knits for real and I'm excited. Thanks for the prewash reminder. Your dresses look so professional and beautiful! :)

Vera said...

Looking good!

Anonymous said...

Your Moneta dresses look amazing, I love your fabric choices. I agree with your comments for the smaller rotary cutter - I changed from cutting with scissors a little while ago and never looked back, especially with knits, and the smaller blade is definitely best. I also love sewing knits with just my overlocker but with a regular machine it's just as good with the right needle. I have "Stretch", "Jersey" and "Ballpoint" needles, so I just test which one works best on some scrap.
You should come and hang with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers some time, we're always looking for more fabulous sewing blogger ladies, we'd love to meet you :)

LethargicLass said...

it really looks great! I use freezer paper for my pattern piece with knits, just iron it on and cut around it (I am hoping it is easier for you to find than the Swedish Tracing Paper which I have also had trouble with finding in the past)

CandyR said...

Love it! Looks great on you!

SeeMaryQuilt said...

Lovely dress! This pattern is on my list to sew, so thanks for your tips!

Lynette said...

Wow! That's certainly a complete success! It looks fantastic with or without the jacket. Love the print.

Archie The Wonder Dog said...

It's gorgeous on you!