Tag Archives: sewing a dress

Knit Midi Dress

I stopped sewing shorts to make a dress!

Last year, I bought a few different printed rayon spandex knits.  My intention for the 2 yards of this big pink roses on navy background print was to sew a birthday dress.

I cut the dress long, and was undecided how I wanted to finish it: maxi, midi, a drawstring or elasticized waist, add pockets or not, or maybe make two pieces.  My indecision led to not finishing the dress in time for my birthday, and I wore a ready-to-wear dress out to dinner instead.  I decided to put the unfinished pieces in storage and move on to something else.

This year I don’t plan on going out, although outdoors dining is allowed in my city.  But my present to myself is to finish this dress.

Butterick 5607 is an old pattern, and is meant for woven fabrics.  Well, I broke the rules and used it to sew a very stretchy knit! The pattern has 3 neck variations; I chose the scoop. The dress style is a simple shift with a slight A-line shape, and an all-in-one facing is provided for the neckline and armholes. It has bust darts which were not needed on a knit fabric. This pattern would also work well for sleeveless tops.

I had previously cut out the dress and basted it together, and cut out the facings.  I sewed the side seams, and followed the directions which have you sew the shoulder seams last.  Then some hand sewing is required to finish the top of the armholes. While sewing I suddenly realized I could have used the burrito method for a clean finish, but didn’t want to change course.  In the burrito method the shoulders are sewn first, the side seams are sewn last, and the whole garment is  rolled up to sew the armholes.

I stabilized the shoulders by sewing on top of a twill ribbon. This was especially important because the whole garment hangs from the shoulders and my fabric is very stretchy.

Later, I took the ribbon off half of the seam to reduce bulk. (The outer garment shoulder and facing is sewn in one continuous pass). I also edge stitched the neckline and armholes because the weight of the dress was pulling the front down exposing the facing.  I  didn’t skip the understitching, but my fabric was still misbehaving.  I added side slits, sewed a 2 inch hem a little above the ankle, and I was finished.

I sewed a sash with the fabric I cut from the bottom, although I like the fit of the dress just as much without.

I had mixed feelings about the print: first I liked it, then I thought it cloying.  I didn’t add pockets because the dress looks dressy to me, and not like an everyday dress, even though it’s as comfortable as a nightgown.

I enjoyed posing to show off the slit in the photos!

I’m glad I took this birthday (plus one year) dress from UFO to done!