Are you following the Fabric Mart challenge? This sweater dress is my entry for this week and I’d sure love it if you’d check out all of the other entries (but ultimately cast your vote for me) here. Does this dress look familiar to you? I’ve made it twice before, once as a flirty party dress and again as a favorite fall dress. Pretty much every woman who sews regularly for herself has made this dress at one time or another. This is my third iteration of this dress and I also made a detachable cowl neck for the winter months, which completely changes the look of this dress. To learn more about why I love this pattern so much, and for some tips on how to achieve a perfect neckline on a knit, read on.
First, let’s talk about this fabric. It is a really nice charcoal knit that I picked up at Joann’s and I just love the weight of it. I want to say it was about $15/yard, which is annoying for Joann’s, but it really is a nice fabric. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I’m a print girl, but this charcoal gray looks and feels very luxe to me. Knits still intimidate me, but nothing beats the comfort and ease of fit that comes with a great knit pattern. Everyone loves this pattern because it’s so easy. My side seams, sleeves, and armholes were all stitched with my serger. The only thing left was the neckline and hems, and I wanted to nail them this time. I’m so pleased with the results.
How to get that perfect neckline on a knit:
Hemming an unbound neckline on a knit has forever been my Achilles heel, far worse than attaching an eased sleeve. For the life of me, I could not finish a knit neckline without stretching the damn thing out and getting wonky stitches. Well, I did a little research and learned that the trick is all about properly prepping your fabric. I bought knit stabilizer tape in a 1/2 inch width and applied it with an iron all along the perimeter of my neckline (on the wrong side/inside of your fabric). After that was applied, I used “fuse a seam” tape to temporarily fold over my fabric and hold the neckline in place. Make sense? I should have taken photos so forgive me. Anyway, once my fabric was prepped and folded over, I went to my sewing machine (where I already had a twin needle inserted) and I increased my stitch length to three. I held my breath and stitched that neckline down. And you know what? This is truly the nicest neckline I’ve ever achieved and I couldn’t be happier!
Taking the time to do things correctly really pays off. I repeated this method for my sleeve hems and my skirt hem. Once I feel more confident using my coverstitch machine, I’ll coverstitch my neckline and hems using the same fabric prep methodology. The coverstitch machine will allow my hems to have stretch. So once I master all that I’ll report back.
Anyway, I don’t want to talk your ear off, but suffice it to say that I love my slinky new dress. I lived in it all weekend. I wore it to a birthday party Saturday night with a pair of black stilettos. Then I wore it on Sunday paired with these flats for brunch. Then I kid you not I wore it to the office on Monday. It needs to be laundered now.
For the Fabric Mart challenge we were supposed to add a modification. I made a detachable cowl neck collar.
Hopefully it’ll be enough to slide me through to the next round. What about you? Have you made this pattern before? Link yours up in the comments so I can see! Also, what are your best knit tips?