A fine jersey romance

One of my plans for 2017 is to become more competent when sewing jersey and to this end I have already made a couple of straightforward tee-style tops. I am an avid fan of “Sew Over It” and have recently joined the PDF club. For my free and discounted patterns I chose “Nancy” and “Heather”.

The Heather dress is specifically designed for knit fabrics and looked to be fairly easy – armed with 2 metres of 150 cms wide Ditsy floral print jersey in Navy and Grey purchased from Fabricland at £4.59 per metre I set about making the dress.

I graded up the pattern at the side seams to accommodate my generous curves. Having read several reviews of the pattern I also increased the width of the sleeves by ½ inch at each side. Within an hour I had cut out the fabric and started stitching it together. I was able to store the partially completed dress on my new dressmaking dummy.

Following the construction information was easy and as I had previously made a woven fabric dress with similar arrangement of pockets in a princess seam, encountered no problems with stitching the pockets. However, the neck banding was much more problematic. Firstly I measured the circumference of the neckline at the seam line and it appeared to be much smaller than the length of the pattern piece. I therefore adopted the formula as detailed in this you tube video.

However the band was then too small. I tried again using a slightly longer band and this time it was too big! At this point I abandoned the idea of a neck banding. I overlocked the neckline and then turned to the inside on the line of staystitching. I tacked the turning, pressed well and top-stitched in place with the twin needle. The hems on the sleeves were also finished in this manner.

Final comments:

The dress at the neckline, shoulders and bust area in this fabric (which is extremely stretchy) are great.

Unfortunately the weight of the pockets tends to drag at the side seams over the hip area and also I think that I need to take in the side seams from the waist to hem at there appears to be too much fabric and no shaping. Again this is probably due to the high stretch qualities of the fabric. It will no doubt be better in a more stable knit. Due to the busyness of the print the details of the seaming is lost. It will be better in a plain or less busy print. Originally I had added 2 inches to the length but at the final fitting I reduced this by 1 inch, turned up 1 inch and then stitched with a wide twin needle. I like the dress and will be making another but this time in a more stable fabric with not so much stretch. I will also be drafting the front panels to exclude the pockets which although are a lovely addition do tend to add “weight” in an area where it is not needed!