One thing of note, the pattern I uploaded yesterday had a small flaw in the collar length. I originally extended it from the first dress but forgot to account for when I shortened the front neck opening a bit. So it ended up too long, but I’ve (hopefully) fixed that and uploaded the corrected pattern. None of the other pieces were changed so if you’ve already printed the other pattern you can just download a new copy and only print off the collar page.
Onto the construction! If you have one, pull out a ball point needle and put it on your machine. If you don’t have one you should really look into buying one. With thicker knits you can sometimes get away with a normal needle but especially with the thinner stuff a regular needle will rip little tiny holes into your fabric when the thread goes through. This essentially makes a perforated line just ripe for the tearing.
Here are what your pattern pieces should look like when they’ve been cut out with the bottom band pinned to the tops of the dress. Most knit fabrics will stretch in all four direction but will stretch more in one particular direction. You want the stretchiest direction to lay horizontally. Sew where you see the pins.
Something that took me a while to figure out with knits is how to keep the machine from “eating” the fabric. If you start very close to the end of the fabric the needle will pull the edge into the machine and keep trying to sew. Making a big tangled mess. But if you move the fabric up a little and start sewing further from the end the presser foot will help to hold the fabric taunt more and the needle will slide through the fabric better. It’s hard to see in the picture but the one on the right is sewing further from the back of the fabric. It’s a small difference but it really helps.
Another thing that I really have to force myself to do is pressing seams. The collars on the left are right after I sewed them and on the right is after a quick pressing with the iron. It really helps to flatten out your seams but it’s something that I always try to skip since it takes a little longer. After you’ve pressed your collar pieces you’ll need to clip notches around the curves, turn them right side out, and press them again.
The markings on the front dress piece are for the little pleat. Fold the fabric in half and sew down the length of the marking. Then fold the pleat down to flatten it out and sew, on the front, a small rectangle surrounding the seam of the pleat.
I didn’t take a picture of this step but now you’ll sew the shoulder pieces, right sides together.
I like to pin the collar and facing separately. Since the collar will show from the outside I like to have more control of it’s placement but you can pin the facing and collar all at the same time. I’m working with the old collar pattern piece so just ignore that it doesn’t fit properly.
The front collar pieces will need to overlap just a little. since the top 3/8s will fold down you won’t see the overlap in the final product but if it weren’t there your collar pieces would be too far apart. It doesn’t matter which side is on top.
Pin the facing on top of the collar. I find it easiest to work with if it’s draped over something like a chair or my arm, mimicking how it will be worn on shoulders.
Sew everything down using a stretch stitch. It should be listed in your manual but it’s also the stitch that looks like a little lightening bolt. I like to increase my stitch height by .5 but since your default settings may be different it would be best to try it out on a scrap piece of fabric first. If you’re using an older machine that doesn’t have this stitch you can also use a wide, close together zig-zag stitch.
Once the facing is sewn you’ll need to clip it, turn it under, and press again. Then come back and top stitch under the collar.
When you’re top stitching you don’t want to go all the way around since you want the stitching to be hidden by the collar. You’ll have to sew two separate lines starting and stopping before you get to the ends of the collar pieces. I’ve also been known to add a few pieces of hem tape on the inside, underneath the facing just to be extra sure it won’t flip up. When that’s all done, sew up the sides of the dress.
If your fabric has a right and wrong side you’re going to sew the binding pieces together, right sides touching. If it doesn’t then it doesn’t matter which sides are touching! With both the dress and the binding inside out you’re going to slip the arm hole into the binding. You’ll have to stretch the binding a little to get it to fit. I like to align the binding seam with the bottom of the opening, where the side seam begins. Once thats sewn you’ll turn the whole dress inside out, fold the top of the binding down to meet the raw edges, and then fold the whole thing in half again; pulling it down to encase the raw edges and far enough down that it hides your first seam.
You should know that I hate arm binding. I find it really difficult to work with since it’s such a small area and the pins get in the way and it’s just a general pain in the butt. So good luck!
All that’s left is to hem the whole thing up, unless you were smart and used an old t shirt for the bottom of the dress just to get out of hemming. There is nothing better than getting to the end of a project and knowing it’s already hemmed!
And one more time for the pattern link!