This week I was lucky enough to receive some new season stretch knit fabric from Riley Blake as part of their blog tour for March. Their tour features different projects from designers using their stretch knit fabrics.
When my package arrived I was excited to discover just how soft and silky their knit fabrics were. Spring is just around the corner and the fabric colors were perfectly fresh and vibrant. The Cottage Garden Print in Teal coordinated perfectly with their Small Dots in Hot Pink and I topped it off with a row of 1/2 inch (12mm) lace across the yoke and cuffs.
Jersey knit fabric dresses are so comfortable to wear and are usually quick and easy projects to make. All you need is a few extra tips to get started.
Tip 1 – CHECKING YOUR PATTERN FIT
The Riley Blake knit fabrics I used had approximately a 50% stretch factor so I made sure I took careful measurements of my model to ensure the finished dress was not too loose. My model was a size 2 in the chest and 3 in height so I lengthened the pattern pieces using the instructions included in the Charlotte Dress pattern. As the fabric is quite stretchy it is important to make the dress in the correct width otherwise, it will look too loose when worn.
Tip 2 – CHOOSING THE RIGHT SEWING NEEDLE
When sewing any kind of stretch fabric always use a ball point or jersey needle on your machine (read about types of sewing machine needles) . A ball point or jersey needle will make sure your stitches don’t skip and you get a professional finish to your dress.
Tip 3 – STITCHING THE SEAMS
- When sewing stretch fabric with a regular machine you can stitch your seams with a narrow zig-zag stitch. Try setting your machine on a width of 1 and a length of 2-3 for a strong stretchy seam. If you find the edges of the fabric are curling a little, just use extra pins to hold it flat and make sewing easier.
Tip 4 – SEWING STRETCH FABRIC HEMS
Knit fabrics don’t fray on the edges so you only need to turn over the hem once. To create a smooth, non-puckered hem on the sleeves and bottom of the dress I used a hemming tape. Hemming tape is great to use with stretch fabrics as it stabilizes the hem and ensures no puckering of the zig-zag stitches. Some of the more popular tapes are Wash Away Wonder Tape , Dritz Wonder Tape and Vliesofix T10.
- First press the tape across the hem of the wrong side of the dress.
- Peel away the paper backing and fold up the hem by 1/2 inch (12mm). Press the hem in place.
- On the wrong side of the dress, zig-zag across the hem catching in the raw edge.
- Finish by giving your hem a final press. This is important as it flattens the stitches giving a professional finish.
And that’s it! A great looking dress that is easy to make and comfortable to wear. What more could you want!
Head over to the Riley Blake blog to read about lots of other projects their bloggers have made with the new season stretch knit fabrics. There are lots of amazing projects for you to try.
READ MORE ABOUT HOW TO SEW STRETCH FABRIC